It was not long ago that Sony Pictures suffered a hack that resulted in the release of confidential information and cost the studio millions of dollars. Back in 2014, we were only at the beginning of what was going to become a new normal for companies, facing the threat of wide-scale hacks on their systems. 5 years on, and we have GDPR, the EU-US Privacy Shield and much stricter data laws – with companies big and small being sued for data breaches where personal information is stolen and ends up on the dark web.

In the US, following on from the GDPR law which the EU put into place in 2018, California is set to impose stricter data regulations with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) going into effect in 2020. The regulation will protect people’s rights in relation to how their data is used, and companies will need to get ready for when it is introduced to be compliant.

So where does this leave the entertainment industry? Many big brands from Apple to Spotify handle a variety of personal information, whether it’s employee data, people’s credit card details, addresses and much more. With stronger data laws and regulators ready to issue large fines for non-compliance, entertainment businesses are still playing catchup to ensure their systems are as safe as they can be. And it’s not just affecting operations in the US. Multinational companies and big entertainment brands that operate in other countries also have to be mindful about data being transferred between countries, especially as these new laws lay the groundwork for stricter data processes.

Some companies are even taking things a step further with their cybersecurity to provide an added layer of insurance given the risks of data breaches and the damage they can have. Verity Systems, a manufacturer in data security products has seen a large increase in demand for data degaussers, equipment that erases hard drives and backup tapes magnetically. As computer systems get changed, upgraded, and recycled, there remains a considerable risk with data not being properly removed, or destroyed, and degaussing has become more important in the overall data security landscape.

As the entertainment industry moves towards streaming movies, music and entertainment with micro-transactions, it’s becoming clear that more data security, not less, is the new normal. With the risk of reputational damage and lawsuits arising from data breaches, data security is very much on the agenda for all media companies that handle personal information.