Blockbuster A/S needed to safeguard its business and customers with a cost-efficient solution that could seamlessly detect fraud and digital identity risk among millions of users and devices.
The enterprise deployed the any.cloud ReTrust service, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution featuring Trusteer technologies and rapidly integrated on a hybrid cloud infrastructure.
Helps protect customer data and studio assetsby transparently identifying unauthorized users, including automated bots
Drives new business and user satisfactionwith innovative security features that strengthen digital identity trust
Frees IT resources for strategic initiativeswith a SaaS solution from an experienced multicloud service provider
Business challenge story
Protecting customer data and creative assets
Today’s streaming service viewers value fresh content and convenient services. They expect access to myriad movies and TV series, delivered through flexible, frictionless digital experiences.
"Consumers want to stream everything they want, when they want, and how they want," comments Jens Grønlund, EVP Head of Nuuday's digital brands - including Blockbuster A/S, a popular streaming media provider in the Nordic region. The TDC Group, the largest Danish communications company, owns Blockbuster, having licensed the regional rights to the Blockbuster brand after Blockbuster LLC, the international video rental business, went bankrupt in 2010.
Customers appreciate that Blockbuster offers more than 11.000 movies, including first-run films, and TV series; personalized experiences; and a pay-per-view model rather than subscription-based agreements. In addition, customers can stream content on a range of device types and vendor platforms. However, to retain existing customers and attract new ones, Blockbuster must continually distinguish itself from other streaming service providers that offer similarly timely content at comparable prices.
"We work in a nonexclusive marketplace that calls for differentiating elements -- such as a convenience, ease of use, and security and privacy -- surrounding the core product, the content," says Grønlund.
Blockbuster must also satisfy distribution requirements meant to protect intellectual property (IP). Movie and TV studio agreements, for example, stipulate that providers must ensure customers pay to view content and limit customers to 5 – 6 devices each. That means the company must verify that millions of devices used to stream Blockbuster content are securely registered with an account.
Like other providers, Blockbuster faces increasing account misuse resulting from customers freely sharing their login credentials with family and friends. A greater threat, however, are cyberattacks that lead to data theft and identity fraud.
Credential stuffing, for example, involves using automated bots to gain unauthorized access to vulnerable accounts to purchase content, spend stored vouchers and steal personally identifiable information (PII) and other sensitive data. Hackers typically perform these large-scale cyberattacks using databases of users’ credentials previously obtained through third-party cyberbreaches. Consumers indirectly help pave the way for the crimes by using the same login credentials for multiple applications and services.
Blockbuster tried to thwart digital fraud by requiring customers to log in to their accounts every time they used a new device or cleared caches on existing devices. Yet customers quickly grew weary of this practice. The company needed a more seamless way to securely manage its complex ecosystem of users and devices.
Real-time security insights as a service
Blockbuster engaged IBM Business Partner any.cloud, its established cloud service provider, to deploy the ReTrust identity and detection intelligence service, powered by the Trusteer solution from IBM Security. The first-of-a-kind service uses a SaaS model to give enterprise businesses easier access to Trusteer technologies, originally offered by IBM to help large banks and other financial institutions fight fraud. Cross-industry organizations now depend on the Trusteer solution for digital identity risk prevention.
With assistance from any.cloud, Blockbuster can employ a more proactive, risk-based approach to content and account security. Able to initially take advantage of Trusteer AI and machine learning — and later tap into its behavioral biometrics capabilities — the company can track patterns associated with each user’s attributes, device footprint, current activity, network environment and other factors. It can then apply these insights to calculate real-time risk scores for individual users logging in to a Blockbuster app.
Users with low risk scores can be immediately welcomed, while users with high risk scores are denied immediate access. They can either be automatically rejected — especially if the analysis reveals a bot is at work — or prompted to confirm their identities and then perform multifactor authentication. In cases of criminal activities, the company can also notify customers that their accounts have been compromised and request they change their passwords.
With the any.cloud ReTrust service, Blockbuster can also better understand user devices, such as which devices are and aren’t registered with customer accounts. In instances where a well-known customer wants to stream Blockbuster content on an unregistered device, the company can automatically pair the device with the user’s account, saving the customer the hassle of registration.
“For example, a customer might want to use our app on a smart TV that does not have their login credentials already saved on the device. If the ReTrust service tells us that it knows the user to be a specific customer and knows the device, we can skip the pairing. We can just say, ‘Welcome,’” explains Henrik Loop, Chief Technical Officer at Blockbuster.
Notably, all user identities and other data remain anonymous to any.cloud and IBM. Furthermore, any.cloud can tailor the ReTrust service so that Blockbuster’s data collection practices meet the TDC Group’s high compliance standards for adhering to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for data protection and privacy.
A step ahead of hackers
With the any.cloud ReTrust service, Blockbuster can improve its competitive advantage in multiple ways. First, the company can take advantage of real-time user, device and other information to differentiate its streaming service experiences with innovative security features — including during unexpected increases in consumer demand.
“We are only dipping a toe in the water with seamless ID management, which can prompt individuals to use our service more frequently simply because it's easy,” says Hald. He adds that the company will continue to drive new business with features that can enable greater convenience for customers while strengthening digital identity trust.
Second, by rapidly and transparently separating unauthorized from authorized users, Blockbuster can better protect customer PII and its own business from account misuse and lost revenues. “We are now in a position where we are one step ahead of the hackers,” says Loop. The company can also more stringently uphold its contractual obligations with studios and better protect IP.
Loop stresses that not just small companies like Blockbuster can benefit from the solution. “In today’s times, the entire media and entertainment industry and in fact any digital service company needs a proactive fraud solution,” he says.
Third, Blockbuster reduces IT complexity by using a comprehensive IBM solution seamlessly deployed as a service and supporting hybrid cloud technologies. Loop estimates that the company would have needed to purchase 5 – 10 different third-party systems to achieve the same capabilities that the ReTrust service delivers.
Finally, if suspicious activity is detected, any.cloud can investigate the incident faster and more efficiently than Blockbuster’s small IT team can on its own. By capitalizing on any.cloud’s security expertise — and potentially saving the company significant investigation costs — Blockbuster can free resources to focus on new streaming service features.
Blockbuster looks forward to continuing its work with the IBM Business Partner. “Our relationship with any.cloud is very good,” says Loop. “The TDC Group is a big business, and sometimes it can take time to get changes approved. The any.cloud team is really patient with us in that regard. Also, every time we request technical assistance any.cloud pings us right away. They are on spot every time. We highly recommended them.”
Blockbuster & any.cloud
Owned by the TDC Group in Denmark, Blockbuster is a media service provider offering unlimited streaming and 48-hour rental of films and TV series using a pay-per-view model. The company is part of Nuuday, a TDC Group subsidiary that delivers high-quality connectivity products and digital services to the majority of Danish homes and businesses. Founded in 2014, Blockbuster serves 1.2 million registered users in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. It employs approximately 30 people at its offices in Copenhagen, Denmark.
IBM Business Partner any.cloud delivers professional ISO-certified cloud services and IT consulting to more than 500 customers in approximately 30 countries. The company focuses on helping customers work more efficiently and grow their businesses quickly and securely. Founded in 1998, any.cloud employs 45 people at its headquarters in Denmark and branch offices in Poland and the Czech Republic. The business received the 2019 IBM Technology Service Provider of the Year Award for its development of the ReTrust SaaS solution.
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