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TheGrill 2015: Box CEO on Sony Hack Lessons, Evolution of Media (Video)

”Somebody will get hacked in your industry, everyone freaks out for a couple weeks or a couple months, and then you kind of go back to business as usual,“ exec says at TheWrap’s sixth annual Media Leadership Conference

The Sony hack could have been mitigated by more modern technology, and the incident hasn’t inspired many changes in how Hollywood protects is content, according to Box CEO Aaron Levie.

“The hack was in a premise environment, and had they been on the cloud, they probably would have been up and running still,” the exec said onstage at TheGrill, TheWrap’s sixth annual Media Leadership Conference.

In a conversation with TheWrap CEO Sharon Waxman, Levie said that the perception that moving content to a cloud infrastructure was somehow losing control is changing and becoming modernized. Sony has what Levie describes as a “legacy IT environment,” housed within the corporation, which made the hack difficult to control and to get the system back up and running amid fear that more data could be exposed to hackers.

The hack has changed the conversation about security at major corporations.

“We used to think that security was something that financial services firms, insurance companies and healthcare institutions were focused on, and what Hollywood was worried about was piracy,” said Levie. “Now what we’re finding out is that because of how interconnected our businesses are and how interconnected these networks are, there’s a whole new set of threats. Maybe some of them are political, some of them are criminal, some of them are purely to abuse certain organizations, but no matter what, there’s a completely new set of issues, that businesses in every industry need to worry about, even beyond Hollywood, and that’s causing a lot of these businesses to realize they’ve under-invested in security.”

Levie said he doesn’t believe anything crucial has been changed in Hollywood as a result of the hack – at least, not directly.

“What happens is, somebody will get hacked in your industry, everyone freaks out for a couple weeks or a couple months, and then you kind of go back to business as usual,” he said. “So what it requires is real leadership and real strategic investments to say, ‘let’s not wait for this to happen again in our industry, let’s actually start investing in the kind of change that’s going to protect us in the future.'”

The tech CEO, who wanted to go to film school and interned at companies like Miramax, is still very interested in content and sees it as the most rare resource in a world where the number distributors who are buying content are growing exponentially.

“What if this industry starts to look a little different once it’s optimized for the fact that three billion people are on the internet,” Levie said, pointing out that a media company’s customers are no longer “just people who go into theaters or listens to the radio or buy CDs?”

That customer base, he added, is “actually every single person in the world, and you can reach them instantly.” He continued, “What does that do to alter everyone’s business model? That’s what everyone is waking up to and recognizing.”