Coronavirus: data intensive video streaming downgraded
The biggest content streaming companies such as Netflix, Facebook and Disney are reducing their video quality in Europe to free up bandwidth.
Last week Netflix announced it was to achieve a 25% reduction in Netflix traffic on European networks, after a request from EU industry chief Thierry Breton, who asked for companies to reduce quality and in doing so free up bandwidth for remote working and schooling activities.
In a blog post, Netflix’s Ken Florance, VP Content Delivery, explained how this was achieved, saying: “In normal circumstances, we have many (sometimes dozens) of different streams for a single title within each resolution. In Europe, for the next 30 days, within each category we’ve simply removed the highest bandwidth streams. If you are particularly tuned into video quality you may notice a very slight decrease in quality within each resolution. But you will still get the video quality you paid for.”
Disney’s long awaited Disney+ streaming service, meanwhile, which is being released across Europe this week, is also to abide by the European Union’s request.
It’s easy to forget that content streaming does not just include longer form films and television series, with short social media clips also consuming huge amounts of data. Consequently, Facebook is, according to Reuters, to downgrade video quality on both Facebook and its Instagram image and video sharing platform.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic confined people to their homes, data use has been rising at a precipitous rate. Mobile data traffic grew by 49% from the last quarter of 2018 to 2019, boosted by both increasing customer numbers and the rise of content streaming.
It’s not just recreational pursuits driving the need to cut back on quality. According to statistics from virtual private network provider NordVPN, the UK has seen business VPN uses jump by almost 50%, the USA over 65% and Canada over 200%, reflecting the number of people now working from home.
IT Employees Predict 90% Increase in Cloud Security Spending
As companies get back on their feet post-pandemic, they’re going all-in on cloud applications. In a recent report by Devo Technology titled “Beyond Cloud Adoption: How to Embrace the Cloud for Security and Business Benefits”, 81% of the 500 IT and security team members surveyed said that COVID accelerated their cloud timelines. More than half of the top-performing businesses reported gains in visibility. In fact, the cloud now outnumbers on-premise solutions at a 3:1 ratio.
But the benefits are accompanied by significant cybersecurity risks, as cloud infrastructure is more complex than legacy systems. Let’s dive in.
Why Are Cloud Platforms Taking Over?
According to Forrester, the public cloud infrastructure market could grow 28% over the next year, up to US$113.1bn. Companies shifting to remote work and decentralised workplaces find it easy to store and access information, especially as networks start to share more and more supply chain and enterprise information—think risk mitigation platforms and ESG ratings.
Here’s the catch: when you shift to the cloud, you choose a more complex system, which often requires cloud-native platforms for network security. In other words, you can’t stop halfway. ‘Only cloud-native platforms can keep up with [the cloud’s] speed and complexity” and ultimately increase visibility and control’, said Douglas Murray, CEO at cloud security provider Valtix.
Here’s a quick list of the top cloud security companies, as ranked by Software Testing Help:
What are the Security Issues?
Here’s the bad news. According to Accenture, less than 40% of companies have achieved the full value they expected on their cloud investments. All-in greater complexity has forced companies to spend more to hire skilled tech workers, analyse security data, and manage new cybersecurity threats.
The two main issues are (1) a lack of familiarity with cloud systems and (2) challenges with shifting legacy security systems to new platforms. Out of the 500 IT employees from Devo Technology’s cloud report, for example, 80% said they’d sorted 40% more security data, suffered from a lack of cloud security training, and experienced a 60% increase in cybersecurity threats.
How Will Companies React?
They certainly won’t stop investing in cloud platforms. Out of the 500 enterprise-level companies that Devo Technology talked to throughout North America and Western Europe, 90% anticipated a jump in cloud security spending in 2021. They’ll throw money at automating security processes and investing in security upskilling programmes.
After all, company executives will find it incredibly difficult to stick with legacy systems when some cloud-centred companies have found success. Since moving from Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) offerings to the cloud, Accenture has saved up to 70% on its processes; recently, the company announced that it would invest US$3bn to help its clients ‘realise the cloud’s business value, speed, cost, talent, and innovation benefits’.
The company stated: ‘Security is often seen as the biggest inhibitor to a cloud-first journey—but in reality, it can be its greatest accelerator’.