Three simple steps to achieve digital signage security


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Mar 13, 2023

Three simple steps to achieve digital signage security

By Guest Author in Digital Signage and DOOH June 7, 2023 0 Standard but

By Guest Author in Digital Signage and DOOH June 7, 2023 0

Standard but adjustable security profiles, specific workflows that hinder backdoor access and consistency of approach across product generations are important to consider, writes Jeff Hastings.

As a company that builds both hardware and software, we have a unique perspective on the symbiotic relationship between software and hardware. Hardware companies are almost entirely dependent on software to achieve mass-market adoption – and not just software native to the device. We’re living in the ecosystem era, when hardware relevance is determined by how widely embraced a given hardware device is by software providers in a given market. This holds especially true in the AV space, particularly with digital signage.

Maintaining software platforms is a heavy lift. Development resources are finite, so it's understandable that software companies would pick and choose which hardware devices they support, and which they abandon. And while a range of factors comes into play when making those decisions, I’d say that the single most important consideration when determining the longevity of any hardware device in the AV space boils down to one thing – security. For hardware manufacturers to take the right approach to security, there are three key considerations that I’ll describe in detail below.

Setting the Security ProfileIt's no easy feat to build a media player with just the right level of security. There can be trade-offs involved: if you make a device more secure, you’re inherently limiting flexibility in terms of where and how that player can be used. Most manufacturers – BrightSign included – factory-set what's commonly referred to as a security profile, which includes a long list of parameters that determine how a device can be used in a connected environment, and what the workflow looks like when moving content to and from the device. Our security profile has been honed by years of use in the field. Our standard factory profile works very well in most applications, but it can also be easily adjusted for market segments with more stringent security requirements such as government, financial or healthcare.

Defence in DepthOne way to ensure the security of a media player is to implement a process that makes it impossible to interact with that player without following a very specific workflow. For example, we have a protocol that requires multiple steps before a player can accept content from an outside source. This protocol goes a long way to preserving the integrity of the player and all but eliminates any backdoor attempts to tamper with and use the player for nefarious reasons.

Build for LongevityProduct development over the course of many years is not always linear. What I mean by this is that some companies are not focused on security continuity from one product generation to the next. This lack of consistency causes a ripple effect that greatly impacts end users. Changes in security protocols and practices are at best an annoyance, and at worst can disrupt entire networks. The answer? Ensure consistency across all aspects of the player's security profile.

To use BrightSign as the example, administrators can manage a blended suite of our products from the past decade all via a single platform. This advantage cannot be overstated, especially in larger deployments that scale over time with new players added over the course of many years. Ensuring that the security protocols are consistent across the entire network of blended players is essential for any administrator who wants to manage all those players within a single management platform.

Robust security is essential for any digital signage application, particularly in large-scale deployments that require network connectivity. The right approach to security today ensures years of trouble-free usage, while a flawed approach all but assures administrative frustration and potentially damaging security breaches for the life of the deployment.

Jeff Hastings is CEO of

Setting the Security Profile Defence in Depth Build for Longevity Guest Author