An Open Letter to the CDSA Membership

By Spencer Mott, CISO, Electronic Arts and CDSA Chairman of the Board

CDSA Board Chairman Spencer Mott

Many thanks to the CDSA Board of Directors for naming me Chairman of the association, which is now celebrating its 40th anniversary. I would like to acknowledge and thank our outgoing Chairman, Frank Russomanno, for his outstanding leadership, foresight and expertise. I am delighted, if not somewhat relieved that Frank will still be actively involved in the association; I know that I will depend on his support as we open the next chapter in this association’s proud history.

It is not without careful consideration that I take on this responsibility and I promise this membership, and our stakeholders, that I will take on this challenge with a clear set of objectives to support and grow the success of the CDSA, our respective businesses and our industry as a whole. I have a strong desire to optimize our recent transformation and successes without forgetting our legacy and current service offerings.

It is important for me that, as an association, we have full clarity on not only what our mission and vision consists of, but a tangible plan to take us to a place that is clearly articulated for this membership. I would like to take this opportunity to indicate our course, direction and speed.

In the last couple of years, CDSA has gone through a significant transformation including a change in branding, and some initially tentative, steps into the digital space. In recent months, under the executive management of MESA, we have adopted a strong focus on our clear value-offering. This ‘Jewel in the Crown,’ so to speak, is found in our Content Protection and Security Accreditation Program (CPS). This is a tangible, innovative and unique product in the entertainment media and content storage/management/distribution space that is based on realistic, business-savvy risk management principles and that is being used today by many content holders and their services providers worldwide.

The program has proven benefits for the company that I work within and I strongly feel, that it could help to drive down our industry’s risk management costs, improve our general security posture, reduce system unpredictability and help optimize our value chain in a way that consumers/customers will relate to.

With the CPS, we have the aggregate experience of industry partners working collaboratively and tirelessly to agree and publish not only a set of standards, but a workflow that seeks to maximize our endeavors, our business relationships and the consumer/customer experience of our products and services. The compliance and risk management landscape is convoluted; there is opportunity for efficiencies for everyone. CPS was authored, and is being executed by industry folk and not by consultants or theorists!

I intentionally do not spend a great deal of time differentiating between the physical and digital channels as it relates to content protection and security. So many challenges and risks port across and, although we have less time and an infinite number of business models in the digital world, the principles of protection remain consistent. There are huge opportunities for CDSA in the digital space, but I remind myself every day that there is plenty of new life left in physical media and, in fact, lots of untapped innovations including hybrids and physical-to-digital gateways.

Simply put, we need to do all we can reasonably do to mitigate the risk of our content being exploited, our consumers losing trust or faith in our products or services and our reputations being damaged. This approach benefits us all if we do things better, faster and cheaper.

To that end, I have a few ideas around our initial plan and I really look forward to shaping CDSA and our association’s future beginning with our June meeting:

1.      Grow our membership and socialize a clear value statement for our existing, and future membership by demonstrating tangible benefits through our service offering;

2.      Make CDSA’s Content Protection and Security Certification Program the de facto, industry standard within the entertainment media, content storage and distribution sector;

3.      Strive to eliminate duplication, redundancy and waste through the repeated auditing of our partners and suppliers relying on standards not suited or relevant to our industry genre;

4.      Provide members with the tools and resources to support their content protection and enterprise risk management goals and objectives;

5.      Enable and empower businesses to make the right decisions when migrating content or services to Cloud or SaaS models by providing tools and resources in support of these initiatives; and

6.      Build the reputation and standing of CDSA as a global network of forward thinking individuals, working collaboratively to advance our industry – securing jobs, protecting and maximizing revenue and remembering that we should be having fun in this industry!

In closing, everyone I meet involved with CDSA is fired up about our new direction and our association’s focus on content protection. There is a growing realization that, as an industry, we need to collaborate more on securing the value chain. It’s time to think again about how we can efficiently protect our content, products and services from those who would seek to damage our industry’s growth and prevent us from investing in new and exciting innovations. Engaging our partners, customers and consumers is critical in this new way of thinking about risk management. It’s not all about defense or control; it’s also about doing the basics well, winning hearts and minds, and having a fresh business strategy that everyone has a stake in seeing succeed. This isn’t something we can achieve alone, but as a community we can be strong and effective.

I look forward to serving our association, our membership, our customers, our partners and our industry.