Interview With Limecraft – Maarten Verwaest

Aviva Zacks
Aviva Zacks Cybersecurity Expert and Writer
Aviva Zacks Aviva Zacks Cybersecurity Expert and Writer

Maarten Verwaest, one of the co-founders and CEO of Limecraft, told Aviva Zacks of Safety Detectives about his company’s audiovisual asset management services.

Aviva: What motivated you and your co-founders to start your company?

Maarten: Prior to incorporating Limecraft, we were running the research development department of the Belgian Public Service Broadcaster, where we were responsible for digitizing the news operations. In our capacity as R&D engineers, we discovered there was huge opportunity to develop a coherent online workspace for professionals in the audiovisual space—managing audiovisual data—which is really big data.

Vast volumes of audiovisual data are being produced by audiovisual professionals, to the extent that it is increasingly unmanageable using off-the-shelf IT technology. It requires a different approach in terms of infrastructure and bandwidth. Apart from that, given the mission criticality and the value of the data (up to 100k per shooting day), availability and security are very important concerns. Our infrastructure is at the core of their production, albeit as a service. To most of our customers, we deliver mission-critical services, which illustrates the high priority for security-related anything.

Aviva: Tell me a little bit more about your company services.

Maarten: Limecraft manages audiovisual assets on behalf of its customers. These include producers like Warner Brothers, postproduction facility companies, and broadcast operators and distributors. Among them are a few worldwide brands in news and documentary, as well as big news agencies that work for them. Hence, the mission criticality of the services that we deliver to our customers.

Aviva: What makes your company unique?

Maarten: The migration to the cloud is irreversible, but for professional producers, the cost of forklifting all available content to the cloud would be prohibitive. Unlike our competitors, we offer a hybrid model that allows our customers to create an intelligent combination of what is stored on-premise and what runs in the cloud.

Some of our competitors are still proposing 100% local deployment, creating difficult isles that are hard to integrate. Others are completely in the cloud, which may be fine for small business or corporate content production using compressed images. However, the volumes of data we are processing on behalf of our customers is so huge that the cost of transferring that content to the cloud would not be feasible. Therefore, we propose our customers keep the material stored on-premise on local cold storage. Collaboration in the cloud is made possible using lower-resolution versions, while we keep all versions connected. By doing so, our customers benefit from the best of both worlds—the scalability and the cost-benefit of local cold storage, in combination with cloud-based collaboration.

Aviva: How does your company deal with cybersecurity?

Maarten: Cybersecurity is an extremely important subject, prominently on the agenda of several meetings almost on a daily basis and in all operational layers of the company. It is taken into account as part of software development. From the first letter of code onwards, we develop with the security perimeters in our mind. Obviously, there is encryption all over the place. No customers or third parties can directly access the storage; each call to our servers is double-checked against access control lists. On top of that, we do lights-out and systematic vulnerability checks on all APIs feeding them with legitimate and illegitimate input to see if the APIs behave properly in all circumstances.

Aviva: How is the pandemic affecting your industry?

Maarten: As you can imagine, the health situation and the subsequent lockdowns, significantly accelerated our business. Prior to these, much of our customer base was still in doubt as to whether the cloud was a good alternative for on-premise installations. There were technical concerns, psychological concerns, cost-related concerns, and security concerns.

People thought that what they did on-premise was obviously more secure and more reliable than whatever happened in the cloud. As a vendor of cloud services, we have always evangelized something different. But it took a pandemic to convince people to start thinking out of the box and to look at the benefits rather than at imaginary complications. In March 2020, the entire industry of audiovisual media and entertainment wanted to move into the cloud almost overnight, and all the concerns that we had to fight before were rapidly mitigated or compensated for. At some point in 2020, we could not keep up with the new customers.

About the Author
Aviva Zacks
Aviva Zacks
Cybersecurity Expert and Writer

About the Author

Aviva Zacks is a content manager, writer, editor, and really good baker. When she's not working, she enjoys reading on her porch swing with a cup of decaf.