Go hybrid to secure your clout in the cloud

The universe of cloud computing is borderless. Fusing the private and public cloud together can offer the best of both worlds in terms of security and scalability, as well as the agility to innovate quickly when your business expands. Lara Tan discovers more.

Contrary to popular belief, original content is not the panacea to winning the streaming wars. Instead, one should focus at successful streaming services that use the scalability of the cloud to provide a glitch-free user experience.

Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) companies that leveraged the cloud to achieve digital transformation have reported rapid growth and great improvement in efficiencies, according to an Ernst & Young announcement in 2019.

Netflix, an international leading streaming provider, was struck with a data centre failure in 2008; as the cloud offers petabytes of storage space for high-quality content and monolith volume of consumer data, the fast-growing company has since migrated its traditional infrastructure to the cloud.

EY advisers believe that the cloud paradigm will help transform TMT companies by greatly accelerating their ability to roll out new products, gauge their customers’ responses and make rapid-fire adjustments.

To achieve operational efficiency and scale rapidly in an affordable manner, many enterprises are choosing a hybrid-cloud approach that integrates on-premise infrastructure with cloud-resources. Dan Murray, director marketing at Telestream, explains: “The hybrid-cloud step is a natural combination of using existing on-premise investments and operations process while leveraging the benefits of cloud technologies where appropriate. 

“Streaming multi-screen encoding, multi-language captions, personalised advertising, delivery networks, digital rights management, quality monitoring and content archives represent opportunities for cloud technologies.”

For instance, in 2018, FOX Sports leveraged on Telestream’s Lightspeed Live over cloud network during the remote production and broadcast of the World Cup in America – effectively spinning up the workflows on demand.

According to Deloitte’s 2020 Technology Industry Outlook, hybrid-cloud serves as an interim step in the digital transformation process of the TMT sector. However, Ignatius Wong, director of Product Management (Hybrid IT & Cloud) from CenturyLink offers a different perspective: “Increasingly, we are seeing media operators adopt hybrid-cloud as part of their IT strategy.

“Their business is primarily in content distribution, broadcasting and media streaming which has relatively high-performance and low-latency requirements.

“We do not see it as an interim approach, rather it will be the industry practice for media operators as digital businesses that have different application workloads that will have to be housed in either a private cloud or public cloud, depending on their requirements.”

CenturyLink, a global technology company, provides media operators worldwide with secure, high-performance cloud and data centre connections to turn up new cloud-based applications and services in real time, thereby allowing a hyper-scalable user experience and acceleration of the digital transformation process.

Wong added: “Through a hybrid-cloud approach, media operators would be able to leverage the economics and scalability of public clouds and also on private clouds for geographical locations with low latency requirements; they can site a private cloud instance to store and process mission critical content with zero latency requirements at strategic edge locations.” 

In the past, content delivery is impacted by the distance between geographies and congested Multiprotocol Label Switching Lines (MPLS). However, broadcasters today can achieve a smooth transmission with proper deployment of the hybrid-cloud.

Chin Woon Lee, product director of Epsilon, points out the foundation of a successful cloud deployment: “For global media operators with business processes and content delivery enabled by cloud architectures, ensuring good network functionality is an equally important step in the digital transformation process to avoid serious challenges like packet loss and latency issues.”

“Media operators must therefore consider how they interconnect data centres and public clouds over the networks.

“To do so effectively requires flexible and scalable bandwidth capacity to support high traffic volume between their data centres and public clouds.

“Paying attention to the quality of network infrastructure is critical for media operators looking to optimally and securely deliver content to end-users, especially across geographical locations.”

Indeed, hybrid-cloud technologies can become the key digital enabler for broadcasters to achieve zero-latency transmission between geographies and networks.

Despite the purported benefits of a cloud-enabled enterprise, security remains the top concern for 66% of IT professionals in the TMT sector, according to EY’s observations in 2019. The concerns are not unfounded as one in four organisations have experienced data theft from the public cloud and one in five organisations have experienced an advanced attack against its public cloud infrastructure, according to a recent study conducted by McAfee.

Gauri Bajaj, director of Managed Security Services of Tata Communications, highlights that the desired level of control and reliability on public, private or hybrid cloud would impact the security provided by the cloud provider.

Bajaj suggests: “Compared with public cloud solutions, private clouds give enterprises a lot more control over all applications, complete visibility over where data resides, as well as the liberty to implement controls over the entire cloud estate depending on changing business demands.

“While a private cloud platform hosted in the local market is part of the solution to ensure data sovereignty and regulatory compliance, enterprises with global operations should choose a private cloud that gives them additional flexibility through a granular data centre approach, which enables
them to store their data in multiple different geographies.”

Furthermore, edge computing provides advanced security to broadcasters and content providers. CenturyLink’s Wong explains: “Traditional cloud architectures are very centralised which makes it vulnerable to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and power outages.

“With edge computing, processing, storage, and applications are distributed across devices and data centres which makes it difficult for any single disruption to take down the network.”

Apart from improved security, Masstech told APB+ that edge computing allows broadcasters
access valuable media assets securely; thus enabling remote video and audio editing as well as other forms of media collaborations.

“The time is right for companies to seriously consider exploring the advantages – including reduced latency and lower bandwidth costs – of processing data locally, at the edge of their networks,” stated

Paul Sallomi, global technology, media, and telecommunications industry leader and US global
technology sector leader, in the Deloitte report.

Wong concludes: “We believe that for companies to deliver applications faster they will require three key components integrated with their IT strategy:

n hybrid-cloud with the right application in the right cloud environment;

n multi-cloud management to seamlessly manage applications across multiple clouds; and

n secure global connections to enable secure dynamic network connectivity.

“This will allow them to increase their speed to market, while giving visibility into governance, compliance and cost control.”

As the media industry switches to a direct-to-consumer model, glitch-free content has become pivotal in determining the success of a streaming provider. To scale and secure a clout in the streaming war, content providers must adapt to evolving needs and leverage cloud technologies.

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