BuzzFeed is so much more than videos of exploding watermelons. People are sometimes surprised to hear that the globally distributed digital media powerhouse has more than 9 billion monthly content views, across more than 30 platforms, delivers not just entertainment, but hard news and media services. Since being founded in 2006, the company has grown massively.
BuzzFeed fosters a unique culture, admittedly obsessed with innovation and focused on building a media platform for today and into the future. The company aims to connect deeply with its audience, creating content that will be worth sharing with people. Whether it’s delivering breaking news or exclusive investigative reporting, from teams of data scientists to leading-edge entertainment creators, BuzzFeed brings social content and news reporters all under one roof. In particular, delivering hard news brings new challenges when it comes to the business of content, and especially when delivering what at times can be sensitive information.
In the last two years, the company has doubled in size, both in employees and by output. We spoke with Jason Reich, Director of Global Security to learn more about BuzzFeed’s challenges and how IT has adapted to rapid content growth.
Jason was BuzzFeed’s first hire to focus solely on security. His position ranges from a traditional security role, physically protecting personnel and reporters in order to allow them to do the jobs they need to do, to ensuring digital content security across offices and enabling collaboration with external partners.
BuzzFeed relies on the agility provided by the cloud to constantly produce a huge amount of high quality content leveraging cloud-based collaboration tools, often sharing documents among reporters, editors, field offices and business and sales teams. The IT team needed to account for many different internal stakeholders, including legal, IT and finance teams, as well as reporters and staff in the field. It was a delicate balance maximizing the agility of the business and allowing employees to use whatever tools possible to meet the goal of generating quality content and providing the information protection the company needs to protect sources’ and clients’ confidential information.
Over time as BuzzFeed’s profile as a media outlet increased, security became critical and breaches, even unintentional ones by employees, had the potential to severely impact business operations as well as BuzzFeed’s credibility as a media outlet. BuzzFeed wanted to better understand what was happening with content and data within the company without implementing a system that would disturb the high-paced workflows of the company’s media creators. The IT team also needed to ensure all media creators across BuzzFeed felt they could do their jobs without interference or needing to adhere to new processes.
“Being in the business of news and entertainment can often put you in the spotlight,” explains Reich. “It was our job to ensure data governance and protect communications with a secure content governance solution, as well as implement more content processes and procedures across the entire BuzzFeed organization.”
The first order of business was to do a bit of education and evangelism around the need for corporate content governance. While some companies focus solely on the inevitable hacking, Jason and the team wanted to look at best practices and educate BuzzFeed employees around privacy and security, as well as the impact a breach can have on the business and its brand. The team at BuzzFeed was acutely aware that less than half of all data breaches were caused by hacking and the majority were caused by employees or partners and usually unintentionally.
Egnyte can identify issues with permissions and has the ability to eliminate non-secure links. By knowing what files contain sensitive, and confidential information, like a confidential source’s identity, Egnyte is configured to limit file access or exclude folders automatically, meeting privacy and regulatory requirements. This adds automated alerting to BuzzFeed’s current ability to conduct routine audits, enabling them to act quickly and mitigate leaks or breaches.
Content has more than doubled at BuzzFeed, including expansion of global distribution and professional services it offers to clients. BuzzFeed now understands how data moves around the company, with advanced control and notification through Egnyte. Clients can be confident that their BuzzFeed projects and deliverables remain confidential, are continuously monitored, and can only be accessed by them satisfying any governance requirements.
Business operations have simplified, without hampering employee work flow. Egnyte provides deep capabilities on the administrative backend to ensure greater security without impacting how teams collaborate. Content is monitored with Egnyte for secure workflow and detecting any vulnerabilities in real time, but employees can still use their favorite apps and content repositories to get the job done. This is a meaningful selling point as BuzzFeed offers a larger portfolio of business services to its clients.
Following the Egnyte deployment, BuzzFeed has visibility and insight into how their content flows throughout the company and can sleep better knowing that even unintentional risks will be brought to their attention. From simple changes like adjusting the expiration time on a shared link to identifying directories with private information that may be exposed, BuzzFeed has been able to improve their content protection without introducing new processes, a win-win for both IT and BuzzFeed’s business. With external and internal collaborators, files are given a certain amount of time before expiration, which helps to meet deadlines and keep clients and users on task.
BuzzFeed knows that employees will default to the quickest and easiest way to do their job. In Egnyte they have a content governance solution that allows employees to be at their best without putting the company’s business at risk. Now, that’s good news.
BuzzFeed is a globally distributed media powerhouse, read and watched by over 500 million people worldwide. With a global news organization based in New York and an entertainment studio in Los Angeles, BuzzFeed produces news and entertainment to a highly engaged audience across more than 30 platforms across the globe.
Headquarters: New York, NY