Mott describes a major shift in the type of risks that game makers are facing. Traditionally, they have focused on channels within their supply chains, to prevent the theft of stock along the way. Now, producers must worry about thieves getting access to product before it's released. "In the digital world," he says, "we're seeing attacks from locations where you can't even track the perpetrator down."
That's a particular concern of Electronic Arts, the world's largest video games publisher. Mott says the company still must maintain tight security measures for the physical goods channel, covering product from its development to appearance on the retail shelf. Complicating the picture is the growing popularity of subscription models, involving electronic banking and commerce, and access to confidential customer data. Mott says it's vital for game makers "to build a relationship of trust that we can maintain and secure that data."
The first step toward protecting content is to understand the "threat landscape," he says. Over the last year, he has seen a growing level of unpredictability in that area, with new risks related to the reliance on information technology to convey product to customers. Everyone in the organization, "from senior management to the ordinary Joe," needs to get involved in the effort. Obtaining buy-in from top executives is especially crucial to building an effective program.
In the future, trade organizations will take on an increasingly important role in preventing theft, Mott predicts. He sees opportunities for game producers to cooperate through the sharing of intelligence, possibly under the aegis of industry groups.
Mott urges companies to be "very imaginative and creative." Look beyond historical patterns and examine the current picture, he says. Secondly, build good continuity plans in order to deal with the inevitable incidents of theft. No matter how effective a company's prevention program, "bad stuff will happen."
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