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Pokémon Leverages Digital Guardian's Secure Collaboration to Protect Intellectual Property and Personal Information

Media and entertainment rely on high levels of collaboration with third parties to bring new con-tent to market and evolve existing products. By working behind the scenes to encrypt and track files containing sensitive intellectual property, Digital Guardian Secure Collaboration (formerly Vera) secures the exchange of information across supply chains without slowing down workflows.


Pokémon GO exploded in popularity when it was first launched in 2016 and continues to enjoy high activity levels. Two years after its launch, it saw 5 million daily active users, with over 800 million downloads.

The overnight success of the augmented reality game put the small information security team at Pokémon under pressure, with an influx of users’ personal identifiable information (PII).  Pokémon Leverages Digital Guardian's Platform to Secure Intellectual Property and Personal Information.

 In addition to securing end-user PII, the Pokémon information security team is responsible for protecting intellectual property relating to its animated TV series, movies, home entertainment, and website. 

To successfully launch and promote new products, the business relies on sharing sensitive intellectual property among employees and external stakeholders. They needed a secure way to share rich media files, game designs, and new character ideas, allowing for mass collaboration and dynamic editing over a lengthy production process. 

With increasingly complex security requirements, the IT team wished to bake security into business operations in an automated fashion. They adopted Digital Guardian to enable seamless collaboration and protect data wherever it resided. Locking down the means and location through which employees access corporate information in today’s mobile workplaces is no longer a practical option. Faced with the new reality of a borderless IT environment, the Company needed a more flexible approach to data security that empowered remote and mobile workers.

Use Case #1: Protect User Personal Identifiable Information (PII) 

Pokémon GO and other games generate a great deal of sensitive user data, including name and locations. With increasingly strict state, federal and international data protection regulations, the Pokémon information security team needed an auditable way to control access to data as it moved across internal systems. Pokémon deployed Digital Guardian Secure Collaboration to encrypt files which contained PII and track these files wherever they traveled. Each file is encrypted with a unique key that is secured within the Digital Guardian Platform. Security policies define which personnel can access these files, and the actions they can perform with this information. For authorized users, encryption and decryption happens behind the scenes, with no need to download agents, or install plugins to access data. Digital Guardian's technology protects against man-in-the-middle attacks, preventing unauthorized access to PII from malicious actors. Audit logs are available through the Digital Guardian Dashboard, showing all successful and unsuccessful attempts to access information. This creates a chain of custody, allowing the information security team to demonstrate compliance to regulations and ensure control of all PII.


Secure Third-Party Collaboration

  • Digital Guardian Secure Collaboration enables companies to collaborate securely with extended teams and third parties.
  • Secure sensitive information regardless of how and where it is shared.
  • Seamless integration with cloud collaboration tools.
  • 360-degree visibility into where sensitive data travels.

Use Case #2: Secure Sharing of Intellectual Property 

Pokémon GO and other games Pokémon employees use cloud collaboration platforms such as SharePoint and DropBox to move information between organizational teams and third parties. The security team was confident of controlling information within their own environment but recognized the risk of sensitive files landing in the wrong hands after leaving their network. Rather than restrict information sharing, which employees relied on to perform their jobs, the security team needed a way to retain control of intellectual property stored in cloud platforms or downloaded onto external devices. 

With Digital Guardian Secure Collaboration, they could secure at the document level using encryption capabilities that followed data outside the Pokémon environment. Designers could send new artwork to third parties, while retaining control over user access and which actions were permitted, such as forwarding or copying. 

Pokémon leveraged integrations with popular cloud sharing applications for swift and simple deployment. By automating the encryption of files shared externally through DropBox and other applications, they avoided issues with user adoption, securing enterprise data no matter which application or device it resides on.

Active file protection makes sure that file content is always secure, even while in use. This is done by using Digital Guardian's Secure Collaboration patented always on File Security and capturing all calls between the application layer and the system layer. Granular visibility and centralized control are other capabilities so the Company understands how their content is used, by whom, and can proactively investigate unauthorized access attempts. In addition, policies can be based on a number of pre-defined parameters including file location, name, type, securer, sender, recipient, group, or other pre-existing permission structures.

Bottom Line 

The strategy of the information security team at Pokémon is to act as business enablers first and security professionals second. Rather than trying to lock down data, or restrict the ways that teams collaborate, they needed a data security solution that made people’s lives easier and enabled them to do their job more effectively. 

Using Digital Guardian's Secure Collaboration, they could automate the encryption of sensitive information in a way that is invisible to users and integrates seamlessly with popular communication platforms. The security team got clear visibility into where data traveled, internally and externally, and gained granular control of how it was used. 

This enabled them to protect intellectual property, which is the lifeblood of any organization, while ensuring that user PII is protected as it moved around the organization. The flexibility of the Digital Guardian solution gave the security team peace of mind that data is secured no matter what the file type, storage platform or location. 

As a result, diverse teams across the company, including designers, finance executives and tournament organizers, could do their job at speed, without compromising security.