As we begin to settle into 2023, it’s important to review our disaster recovery plans because as we saw this week, everyone is susceptible to a cyberattack. Unfortunately, there are even more scenarios that broadcasters have to worry about, like a fire, flood, or any other natural disaster that could affect our on-air operations. Now, this isn’t meant to scare you, rather inspire you to review what actions your station will implement if they must pivot operations. That’s where Zetta Cloud Based Disaster Recovery can help you stay on the air during a disaster and more importantly, quickly, and efficiently recover so that you and your team can return to normal operations.
Let’s start by reviewing how the disaster recovery portion of Zetta Cloud works. Zetta Cloud utilizes Zetta’s Site Replication, so treat your Zetta Cloud as its own individual market or entity that receives logs, audio, and SQL backups from your local Zetta system. For whatever reason, if your Zetta system goes down, then engineers can log into Zetta Cloud via any web browser, enable the sequencer, queue up the log and you’re live once again. It’s important to note that Zetta Cloud utilizes two-factor authentication to login and is a simple URL, so you can access your Zetta Cloud from any device or operating system that can access the Internet. While your team continues to broadcast from Zetta Cloud’s built-in encoder, engineering and IT can restore your Zetta environment from your SQL backups. In regard to the restoration process, since we’re restoring your previous Zetta environment, as long as the naming scheme matches, all of your configuration is ready to go. In addition, Zetta will dynamically restore audio based on your schedule. The best part? All of this can be backed up automatically.
Behind the scenes, the RCS Cloud environment is not a virtual machine, but software that is written for and on an Amazon Web Services S3 container, while respecting AWS’ best practices and securities. Plus, since all your metadata, audio, schedules and backups are stored in a cloud environment, you have next level protection, security and redundancy. All of this while giving your team peace of mind, allowing them to operate during a stressful disaster, without being off the air.
Now that we understand the Zetta Cloud Based Disaster Recovery portion, let’s demonstrate how users can operate within Zetta Cloud. Think of Zetta Cloud like a hybrid between Zetta and Zetta2GO. Starting with Layouts, customize your Zetta Cloud experience with individual user or station specific layouts. There are no restrictions in regards to the amount of modules open, as long as you have the proper screen real estate. Zetta Cloud includes the following modules: On-Air, Playlist, Library, Hot Keys, Voice Tracker and System Monitor.
Looking at the On-Air module, users can control the everyday Zetta workflows. We have the Auto, Live Assist and Manual modes, as well as the capability to play, pause or stop the on-air content. It’s also important to note that Zetta Cloud has the capabilities to feature live streaming, like for a morning show, typically through Revma, our Content Delivery Network’s Conference App.
Next, we have the Playlist module, which receives all the log changes from Zetta. This includes simple changes like the Chain Type or any type of insert/delete. If it’s a documented log change in Zetta, that trigger will be respected in Zetta Cloud. Like Zetta, Zetta Cloud features an enterprise solution, so select the station, playlist, and use the hour navigation tool to work through your day, clicking on the Home icon to return the playlist to what’s currently playing on air. Also like Zetta, users can voice track any transition with the “+ Voice Track” icon or tie in the Voice Tracker module to open up any transition to utilize the Segue Editor or Voice Tracker.
Remember, although Zetta Cloud receives the majority of its metadata, audio and schedules from your Zetta system, Zetta Cloud does operate individually. So, if you delete a song in Zetta Cloud, that action will not be replicated in your local Zetta environment. With that said, RCS did want to include some COVID friendly enhancements, like voice tracking. For example, if you have a talent who doesn’t have VPN credentials, we’ve created a workflow in which an Empty Voice Track position can be recorded so that the voice track will land back in your Zetta environment. Of course, with two-factor authentication, you’re not losing security while maintaining efficiency.
Your Library and corresponding Metadata module behaves the same as your Zetta system, duplicating all of your custom asset types, station specific audio and corresponding audio marks. Since we are operating in the cloud, don’t be surprised to see a “Download” icon throughout Zetta Cloud. Optimizing performance, this merely means that you need to download the locally cached piece of audio to preview it. Pivoting to the Hot Keys, this is where users can drag and drop audio from the Library into a custom Hot Key layout to play any desired audio over the air.
You may be thinking, “What a second, why can’t I simply operate in the cloud 24/7?” And the good news is that we’re working on it. As we speak, our development team is blending Zetta Cloud Based Disaster Recovery into Zetta Cloud Automation. Stay tuned for exciting updates later this year!
We hope that you’ll never have to worry about a cyberattack or a natural disaster like a fire, or flood, but the reality is that we need to make sure we have proper procedures in place so that if there ever is a catastrophe, your team is prepared. In the case of a cyberattack, unplug your machines (preventing it from spreading), open your phone, enable Zetta Cloud’s built-in sequencer, have your talent log into Zetta Cloud to continue to voice track or control the on-air product, and allow your station to continue to operate, while simultaneously giving your engineering and IT team a chance to take a breath to assess the situation. Then, once you’ve recovered, restore your Zetta SQL backup and return to normal operations in hours, not days.
Did you know that RCS is hiring? We have a rare outside sales music scheduler position open right now at our careers page. Or, showcase yourself and your studio by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured in our #StudioSpotlight. We’re always looking for Beta users and if you want to check out the latest Zetta, GSelector, Aquira or more, don’t hesitate to reach out to your RCS contact to get in touch with our Beta program. And finally, we’re extremely excited to hit the road again in 2023. This year, we’re focusing on YOU! We’ll be scheduling one-on-one sessions while we’re attending local radio conferences, so if your curious about any workflows or you have questions about any RCS product, reach out on social media to schedule some time. Otherwise, we see you next Thursday at 11am ET for another RCS Live.