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5 risks your business faces from credential sharing

In 2016 hackers stole tens of millions of customer credentials in a string of high-profile breaches. And it's not just the targeted company splashed across the headlines that suffers in these attacks. Credentials can be taken from one site or service and used fraudulently on others, so it’s vital that your organization recognizes the huge damage credential sharing could do to your business and your customers.

Your business might choose to shy away from using technology to counteract the issue as they see casual sharing, particularly among family members, as acceptable usage. As a content provider, the last thing your business wants is to inconvenience its loyal customers while trying to stop errant account activity.

However, credential sharing covers a wide spectrum of activities, from sharing account details with friends to selling valid or fraudulent accounts. Such activities can create significant problems for your business. Cisco research suggests five key risks are apparent.

1. Outages

If credentials are knowingly or unknowingly shared, your expectation about how many customers will be online at any time can be incorrect. Evidence suggests this issue is particularly problematic during big-ticket events, such as movie premieres or major sports events. One potential coping strategy is to buy IT infrastructure on-demand, but the cost of such provision can be high.

2. Loss of customers

Illegal logins can cause problems for paying users who see their viewing profile has changed and their recommendations are awry. Your customer service team might provide some useful feedback, but Cisco has found examples of customers bemoaning repeated breaches. If your business can’t ensure account integrity, customers may decide to cancel their subscriptions.

3. Leaks of private customer data

Account security is perhaps the biggest concern of all, as credential sharing can expose crucial personal information. The level of detail that can be accessed varies considerably and includes addresses, payment plans and call histories. Someone who buys credential details online might be able to use these account details beyond video and across other online platforms.

4. Brand reputation

If your business gets known for service outages, losing customers and leaking data, then you can expect a big hit to your brand reputation. Rather then becoming advocates for your brand, these affected customers can use online forums to vent their frustrations. The damage can be compounded by the possibility of lawsuits and financial losses.

5. Loss of revenue

A fall in profits can be seen as the final hit to your business. Content providers are best positioned to estimate the direct losses caused by potential customers who gain unauthorized access, instead of taking a legitimate subscription.

Research from Park Associates estimates that content providers lost as much as $500 million through 2015 due to credential sharing.

With video increasingly being accessed over the internet on connected devices, you must gain the awareness and ability to control credential sharing-based piracy to avoid significant risks to your business. Whatever your organization does, it must not dismiss the risks posed by this problem. 

Start the solution today

The good news is that there are solutions to the challenges your business faces around credential sharing. Partners like Cisco use a combination of innovative technology and human intelligence to create rigorous detection and prevention strategies.

Start exploring how your business can deal with the risks of sharing video service access credentials now. Our eBook explains it all.

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