Cloud Playout Solution For Channel Security & Management

Learn how our TVU Channel provides cloud playout solutions within its scheduling platform promoting business continuity and disaster recovery for TV broadcasters and Media Organizations.
Cloud Playout Solution for TV channel security and management

Intro

A Reliable cloud playout is essential in the age of ransomware. High-profile ransomware attacks on TV broadcasters over the past year have sounded the alarm bell for organizations that want to protect against information disruptions.

Protection against malware hacks and ransomware attacks is a necessary and highly effective business solution for media organizations in today’s world of large-scaled cyber security threats.

From public and economic disruptions to broadcasters not to mention any regulatory headaches that might be involved with stations going dark for an extended period of time.

 

Ransomware Attacks Towards Broadcasters & Media Companies

While statistics about the consequences of media-specific ransomware attacks are hard to come by, ample data is available on the scope and cost of such attacks on businesses and governments at large. 

A January 2022 article from Cloudwards editor Aleksandar Kochovski on ransomware statistics offers a clue about what media companies are up against if their experiences echo the broader landscape. Among the findings: 

  • Ransomware attacks struck 37% of all businesses and organizations in 2021.
  • The average cost of recovering from such an attack stood at $1.85 million last year.
  • Only 57% of businesses successfully recover their data using a backup. 

While a major threat to business continuity, ransomware isn’t the only culprit media companies face. Hardware crashes, software bugs, and computer viruses can occasionally interrupt operations as do weather events like hurricanes and tornadoes, natural disasters, and even political strife, terror, and military action.

 

An Industry Need For Business Continuity And Disaster Recovery Solutions

Until recently, recovering from these sorts of disasters in the short term typically meant drawing on the resources of sister stations in a group, leveraging the excess capacity—if any—of their on-prem data centers, master control operations, playout servers, traffic systems, and other associated technology. 

While such a “get-by-with-a-little-help-from-my-friends” strategy has gotten organizations over rough patches in the past, there are potential risks with this approach. 

Adequate resources may not be available to sustain operations of both without something suffering, service interruptions can ensue when switching to the backup, and the same threat—whether it’s a ransomware attack or a massive hurricane—may also threaten the operations of the helping station.

 

Redundancy In The Cloud

A cloud solution is a far safer and more reliable alternative for disaster recovery planning and business continuity purposes. This approach entails duplicating in a secure manner a station’s entire program schedule, programs, commercials, promos, and PSAs in the cloud as a backup. 

Once in the cloud, the schedule and content are safe from any of the threats that may take down the brick-and-mortar operations of a station. Depending on the specific cloud backup provider, stations copy their broadcast day to the cloud, by loading their schedule to cloud servers for playback in perfect synchronization with station playout operations.

In the event of a failure at the broadcast studio, the broadcast schedule synced to the cloud automatically takes over and plays back the duplicate programs and commercials from the cloud as an IP stream targeting a decoder at the transmitter and distribution partners like cable headends.

A critical consideration in selecting a cloud backup for business continuity and disaster recovery is whether or not it is cloud-native

Cloud-Native vs Cloud Solution

  • Cloud-Native – built-in cloud solutions harnessing the power & resources of the cloud enhancing security, reliability, stability, and scalability.
  • Cloud-Solution – Solutions are not built-in and goes off the cloud to work, risking lower protection of data and processes.

In other words, was the solution designed and built to work in the cloud, not outside the cloud where it relies on on-premises infrastructure to work. Making sure it is cloud-native will ensure a media organization’s disaster recovery system and business continuity strategies are secure, reliable, stable, and scalable.

 

TVU Channel, a cloud playout and scheduling solution

TVU Networks this year introduced its TVU Channel cloud-native scheduling and playout solution. An effective, reliable cloud playout alternative to traditional on-prem scheduling and playout servers. Being equally adept at disaster recovery management and business continuity applications while powering playback for Diginets, FAST channels, and other linear TV services.

TVU Channel at home

TVU Channel harnesses the full power and resources of the cloud, and because TVU Networks offers it on a pay-as-you-go basis, stations and other users avoid making the massive capital expenditures that can top a half-million dollars for a backup that leverages traditional hardware and software on-prem.

Like many of its other popular cloud-native television solutions, such as TVU Producer, TVU Commentator, and TVU Partyline. TVU Channel requires zero infrastructure to deploy, making it quick and uncomplicated to start the ball rolling. No extensive training is necessary with TVU Channel. Scheduling playback is simple—as easy as creating a calendar event in Google Calendar. 


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Accessing a browser-based interface via a laptop or smart device from anywhere with internet connectivity means personnel doesn’t have to be present at the station to sustain operations. Something that might come in handy in the event of a disaster like a hurricane. It also means more people at the station can easily be trained to use TVU Channel.

 

Easy Restoration of Cloud Playout Operations

Simplicity is key to restoring playout operations easily. TVU Channel makes it possible for a station to restore playout with a single, remote button push. Not only is TVU Channel simple to restore scheduled programming, but it also makes it simple to do live news cut-ins from the field, local newscasts, and take live network feeds. In the case of most local broadcasters, this accounts for five or more hours of the program day. 

Cloud solutions for broadcast scheduling through cloud playout TVU Channel

Making TVU Channel simple to use was important because broadcasters don’t face restoring playout from a backup every day. They may go months or even years before a circumstance arises that requires implementing their disaster recovery and business continuity strategy. 

But when a situation occurs, having an easy method of switching over to the cloud-native playout backup prevents any unnecessary fumbling around or panicking leafing through manuals. 

TVU Channel also works with virtually every broadcast scheduling software platform. Programming personnel continues to schedule content as normal with their on-prem solution, but that schedule and content are mirrored in the cloud. 

When it’s necessary to activate cloud playback from TVU Channel, all that’s needed is for someone to click the play button from a laptop or smart device logged into the cloud-native solution.

Importance of a cloud playout & 24/7 channel backup

The importance of 24/7 channel backup is well-understood, but the ability to restore quickly and easily with a more cost-effective method is less so. With increased external and internal vulnerabilities and the availability of intuitive, cloud-native solutions, it’s easier than ever to secure a station in the event of a catastrophic failure.

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