Building Security Conscious Video Streaming Infrastructure on AWS, Lesson 3: Prepare for Traffic Surges

3 minute read
Content level: Intermediate

Welcome to this multi-part series aimed at empowering startups, DIY enthusiasts, recent graduates, and established businesses to build a robust video streaming infrastructure on AWS. The goal? To ensure your infrastructure is resilient against external threats, without compromising the agility required in today's fast-paced business environments. Too often, in a rush to showcase results, security measures get sidelined. In this article, we'll arm you with best practices to avoid common pitfalls.

Lesson 3: Prepare for Traffic Surges

Welcome to the third installment of our series, highlighting lessons learned from actual AWS customers. This series also offers insights into how you can bolster the security of your AWS streaming infrastructure. For those interested in our previous article, you can find it here: Lesson 2: Protect Your Buckets

Owning a video channel is unpredictable. It's hard to discern whether a traffic spike results from viral content or channel misuse, like unauthorized copyrighted material streaming. Especially for smaller operations, overnight influxes can go unnoticed until morning. To counteract this, use AWS CloudWatch to monitor the content delivery network (CDN) that is distributing your content. Setting alarms for sudden viewership spikes via CloudWatch can initiate timely notifications to stream admins who can review the traffic to see if it is legitimate. You can even automate responses, such as suspending channel operations via Lambda, until you can assess the situation. (The scenario below uses IVS, which has its own built in CDN. The CDN will be the counter for your views and will serve as the basis for the initial alarm. If an admin does not acknowledge the first alarm, a second alarm will initiate a Lambda function to suspend the stream until an admin can take action.)

The process discussed above is outlined here: Enter image description here

As I have said before, there are many ways to go about safeguarding against sudden traffic spikes, but the key thing is to have a plan in place, before you need it. If our customer had the basic setup outlined above, that would have saved them lots of trouble, and money. Feel free to deep dive our notification services, and check out the different services that can aid you in content moderation for streaming and VOD with AWS.

In closing, we have talked about the need to have a plan in place to be able to respond to sudden spikes in viewership which may mean a legitimate viral video, or maybe something nefarious like hijacking your channel to playback copyrighted sports broadcasts to unauthorized viewers. Whatever you do, have a plan in place, and even better - make some alarms, or some sort of automated responses to aid you in protecting your resources.

Thank you for reading, and we will see you next time for: Lesson 4: Monitor Your Spending