Archives for December 2017

Staying aLIVE: The Versatility of Live Video Streaming

One press of a button and you’re live. Live for everyone to see. With worldwide reach and minimal to no cost of production, social media live videos are suddenly everywhere. Easy to see why it’s caught on with individuals. But why are companies interested in this social phenomenon?

Live streaming video began in 2013 when Snapchat first launched video sharing through its 24-hour stories feature. Users could record and post content up to ten seconds long for their Snapchat friends to view.

Three years later, Instagram developed its own version of 24-hour video sharing, along with a new feature, “Go Live.” With this feature, Instagram sends a notification to the screen of a user’s followers that a video is playing live. The video is accessible during its broadcast and for 24 hours afterwards. Then it’s gone. Controls allow the user to configure who can see the video and interact with the user while it’s playing. That’s the objective, to engage with immediacy.

Since the launch of 24-hour video sharing and “Go Live,” more businesses have found ways to harness this dynamic medium to showcase thought leaders, brainstorm business concepts, communicate with remote personnel, and promote a sense of unity among disparate business units, among other purposes. Video posts and live video streaming has grown into the new “in” thing. The reasoning boils down pretty simply. Here’s why.

  1. Cost-Efficiency

Video stories and live video streaming have low to no cost of production. For example, there is no need to have a production, editing or set crew to capture company events for individuals unable to attend in person, or for audiences who may have a stake in a company event.

  1. Increased Connectivity

Live streaming video amplifies a company’s ability to connect and engage with followers. Yes, followers can leave likes and comments on articles, pictures and posted video content, but with live video the connection is immediate. And viewers can leave comments and feedback for prompt attention. It’s a more intimate experience that can help build stronger relationships with stakeholders, and engender credibility if managed well.

  1. Transparency

The most important aspect of live video sharing is its transparency.  Since the video content is in real time, there is no editing, manipulating, fast forwarding or rewinding. It’s completely transparent and organic in contrast to conventional videos which can be manipulated through editing. It demonstrates the company is willing to engage directly and authentically with its audiences, which may engender greater trust.

When live streaming first came out, I was hesitant to use it. The pressure of producing live video that allows for followers to see deeper into my life made me a little cautious.  After using it a couple times, I now better understand the usefulness of the feature both personally and for the businesses I interact with. For example, live video has allowed me to see how some of my favorite clothing brands design and produce the clothes I am wearing, allowing me to become more knowledgable about the clothing industry and the products I choose to purchase. Other friends of mine who host YouTube pages find live video further connects them with their fan base, and makes them appear more “human,” versus making and editing videos online.

In my current position as an intern with Susan Davis International, I have learned how live videos are shaping events in the public relations and social media fields. At SDI, we use live video streaming to help promote events and increase our audiences. We also use it to connect out-of-state reporters with local client events by providing a live-stream link, which gives them a birds-eye view without leaving their desks.

SDI has also used live streaming to build audiences for clients such as the World War I Centennial Commission, Army Historical Foundation, and Museum of the Bible. For example, the centennial commemoration ceremony of the U.S. entry into World War I welcomed thousands of attendees to Kansas City. In addition to those thousands who watched in-person, the live stream video added an additional thousand guests who would not have otherwise been witness to the historic occasion.

While still new, the usage of live streaming is gaining ground quickly. There are over two billion Facebook users and over 700 million Instagram users worldwide. Sharing content through live video on these platforms is an amazing technology that businesses and individuals are finding more creative uses for. Whether you’re a social connector, blogger, small business owner or worldwide corporation, live video streaming may help you stay current and aLive with your hungry audiences.

By Arielle Berger, SDI intern

December 21, 2017

Warm Holiday Wishes

As the holiday season gathers steam, we traditionally pause to take stock of our many blessings. This year we can find one in the just released U.S. National Security Strategy.  It appears we’ve won the war on climate change, and climate change is no longer a national security threat, so a long winter’s nap should be marginally easier to come by.  However, the strategy does recognize the growing threat from cyber weapons, and the evidence of that threat is abundant.

CSO online just issued its security predictions for 2018, and predictably, it forecasts ever increasing state sponsored cyber attacks.  As the article notes, “The usual suspects for state-sponsored attacks — North Korea, Iran, and Russia — don’t have much to lose by continuing their attempts to extort, steal, spy and disrupt by infiltrating information systems. All are already heavily sanctioned, and the consequences — at least those we know about — in response to state-sponsored attacks have been minimal.” Their forecast is consistent with the outlook of Experian, which pointed to critical infrastructure as a sector where breach activity by nation states is likely to rise.

How timely then that FireEye just announced that Schneider Electric SC had just received a lump of coal in its business stocking. Schneider provides safety technology, and one of its products, Triconex, is widely used in the energy industry, including at nuclear facilities, and oil and gas plants. The breach victim is said to be in the Middle East, and some cyber experts suggest Iran had sponsored an attack on Saudi Arabia, which, if true, would hardly be shocking news. More importantly, this seems to be the first report of a safety system cyber breach at an industrial plant. This offers a new front in cyber warfare, because by compromising a safety system, hackers could destroy the ability of an industrial plant to identify an attack or limit the damage.

This comes as security experts are closely watching developments in the Ukraine, where the holiday season in recent years has been marked by significant attacks on their power grid. Officials from other nations have been studying the attacks on the Ukraine to determine what additional safety measures need to be employed to lessen the vulnerability of power grids around the world. It’s fair to say that if Ukraine is again victimized the repercussions will ripple widely. When we say we hope your holiday season is warm and bright this year, we really mean it.

By Tom Davis, SDI Cyber Risk Practice

December 19, 2017


An Eye on GDPR

There is a lot of talk about the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679).  And rightly so, because it will impact a great many organizations, many of which reside in the U.S.  Set to come fully into effect May 25, 2018, the GDPR has understandably caused a lot of headaches because it is wide-sweeping and costly regulation, especially if you are in violation.

Clearly, the first question to ask is if the GDPR applies to you. If it doesn’t, you are in the clear (but that is not an excuse to relax your data protection measures).  If it does, well, you have work to do if you haven’t been on top of your GDPR compliance. This is especially true if you are a big organization, are not based in the EU, and have a lot of EU customers and clients.

I would like to take a step back here for a moment and perhaps calm some of the GDPR hysteria out there. Yes, some commenters and compliance professionals are rightly having heartburn over the GDPR. And some others have said not to freak out, like Elizabeth Denham, the UK Privacy Commissioner, stating that the GDPR should just be looked at as an “evolution” in data protection and not a revolution.

My humble opinion is that if the GDPR applies to you and you are a non-EU country, your worry should be greater than zero.  Here is why: the EU needs money. And who do you think they will fine first?  EU-based organizations or non-EU-based organizations?  Option 1 seems like it could be detrimental to the EU economy (something about hurting your own) but Option 2 seems like a nice windfall being extracted from a competitor.  If I’m the EU, I know who I am fining first.

But the fines can’t be that bad, can they?  Yes, they can be that bad. Violators of the GDPR can be fined up to 4 percent of annual global turnover or €20 Million, whichever is greater. That sounds like some industrial strength motivation to take the GDPR seriously, especially if you could end up near the top of the pecking order.

Apart from all your usual data protection and cybersecurity grief, the real shift of power of the GDPR comes in the form of individual rights, specifically in terms of privacy. This nuance is important culturally, because Europeans have generally had more constitutional protections that relate to privacy than say freedom of speech.  And from a business perspective, what that means is that individual consumers will have incredible leverage over organizations.

The GDPR will give individual consumers the following powers:

– The right to be informed

– The right of access

– The right of rectification

– The right of erasure

– The right to restrict processing

– The right to data portability

– The right to object

– Rights related to automated decision making and profiling

All of this sounds pretty straightforward, but think of all the resources required to implement and comply.  To begin, anything that could be considered “personal data” is swallowed up by the GDPR. This could be a name, a credit card number, IP address, and preferences.  As you can imagine, the list can go on and on. This begs the question: have you identified all possible pieces of “personal data” within your organization?  By the way, charities are not exempt from the GDPR, so if your thought is that your well-meaning good-cause not-for-profit will be given a pass, I wouldn’t bet the farm on that sort of wishful thinking.

Of course, each of the rights presents its own set of headaches for the organization, but I will pick the first “the right to be informed” as an example. Think Equifax. Think Uber. Now think about how to notify those tens and hundreds of millions within 72 hours. That is the sort of headache you are going to have to deal with.

A single blog post is not going to give you all the answers you need regarding GDPR, but I will close with this: the Data Protection Officer (DPO), could end up making or breaking you. The comparison to the Chief Compliance Officer is not right, because the DPO has some incredible powers that other C-Suite officers may not have.  For example, the DPO must:

– Act “independently”

– Not take instructions from their employer regarding the exercise of their tasks

– Have expert knowledge of data protection law

– Be provided with sufficient resources

– Not be dismissed merely for performing their tasks

– Report directly to the “highest management level”

And guess what?  You could be fined for not allowing your DPO to do their job!  If this GDPR thing is starting to give you some unexpected heartburn, it would be completely expected.

While I would like to believe the intent of the GDPR is to instill some good data protection and cybersecurity habits into all of us, remember what is driving it: a focus on privacy and a very big stick (with no apparent carrot in sight).  The coffers in Brussels need to be refilled, so don’t be surprised if the bureaucrats are looking across the pond for a way to do just that.

In closing, a very Merry Christmas and Season’s Greetings!  May the Holiday Season and the New Year be full of health, happiness, and success for you and yours!  See you in 2018!

By George Platsis, SDI Cyber Risk Practice

December 5, 2017


Susan Davis International Wins Prestigious Stevie Awards!

SDI Executive Vice President Judy Whittlesey accepts Gold Stevie Award. Photo credit: Stevie Awards.

During the annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business ceremony in New York City, SDI received the Gold Stevie Award for Communications or PR Campaign of the Year for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation Hidden Heroes Campaign and a Silver Stevie Award for Women-Run Workplace of the Year – More Than 10 Employees – Advertising, Marketing, Public Relations and Business Services.

The Gold Stevie Award, celebrating businesses, organizations, and individual achievements in more than 60 nations, recognizes SDI’s role in the 2016 launch of the Hidden Heroes campaign for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation (EDF). EDF, founded by Senator Elizabeth Dole in 2012, is a non-profit organization strengthening and empowering America’s military caregivers and their families by raising public awareness, driving research, championing policy, and leading collaborations that make a significant impact on their lives.

SDI’s Judy Whittlesey and Dan Gregory joined the Army Historical Foundation, National Museum of the United States Army and Clark Construction to sign the Museum’s final steel beam. Photo credit: Frank Ruggles.

The Silver Stevie Award for a Women-Run Workplace of the Year – More Than 10 Employees – Advertising, Marketing, Public Relations and Business Services was awarded to SDI for the firm’s work with diverse clients ranging from nonprofits to corporations and government agencies. Competition for both Stevie awards was global.

The Stevie® Awards are the world’s premier business awards.  They were created in 2002 to honor and generate public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of organizations and working professionals worldwide.

Susan Davis; Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington; Roma Downey and Mark Burnett celebrating the dedication of the Museum of the Bible.

Winning the Stevie Awards capped a banner month for SDI. During November SDI spearheaded the grand opening of Museum of the Bible; the topping out ceremony for the National Museum of the United States Army, and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ 2nd National Convening: The Military Caregiver Journey.  SDI also supported the 20th anniversary of the Women’s Memorial and the groundbreaking of the WWI Memorial.

SDI salutes the team members whose outstanding work contributed to such an extraordinary month.

Senator Elizabeth Dole, Former First Lady Laura Bush, and U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin meet with caregivers at the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and VA’s 2nd Annual National Convening, managed by SDI. Photo credit: Lisa Nipp.