Managing a Surge in Traffic from the Prime Minister's Live Broadcast

Create a secure, scalable and highly-robust solution for an imminent, unprecedented level of website traffic from the Prime Minister’s live national broadcast.

(Oh… and you have a week to do it.)

We wanted a service that would be able to handle extremely high levels of traffic. The fact that we turned this around so fast, in just over a week, showed an incredibly high level of resilience and ability to handle the traffic which, at the time, was largely an unknown quantity.  

I had confidence that the solution the team and the architects put in place was going to meet those demands which was comforting in such uncertain times.  

Whilst we had to turn the solution around quickly, if we had to do it again, with the same amount of information available now, we wouldn’t change anything.    

Overall, it was a good and enjoyable experience working with Arq Group on a common goal and still having a bit of fun along the way.

Luke Caleo
IT Solutions Delivery Manager  
Beyond Blue 

Project Background

Commissioned by the Australian Federal Government in 2020, Beyond Blue provides people in Australia with a dedicated Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service. As unprecedented times require unprecedented action, Australia’s Prime Minister announces on live national broadcast the new initiative and launch date – one week to rollout across the nation.

To seize the moment and capture the surge in traffic from the Prime Minister’s announcement, Beyond Blue needs an uplift in digital content. With the national announcement comes the expectation of national user traffic, triggering a surge, and the potential of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. The timing also coincides with national security guidance on the increased presence of DDoS attacks upon government websites.

Beyond Blue turned to ARQ Group to ensure their website assets were ASIO standard secure and their services maintained continued uptime. Imperative was the need for online stability to support Australians during the influx of traffic.

The Challenge

ARQ needed to deliver a solution strengthening Beyond Blue’s current capabilities to accommodate the imminent surge in new website traffic.

Enter AWS, who ARQ engages for Infrastructure Event Management and work closely to re-evaluate the architecture of the site.

The Task: design a robust solution that would manage the new traffic volume while maintaining the seamless user-experience (UX) Beyond Blue are reputed to consistently deliver.

Time is ticking, and with less than a week on our side, agility was crucial. In a strategic move, a microsite is built to receive all incoming traffic from the Prime Minister’s officially announced web address.

The Idea: decouple the static microsite from the main site. It’s simple by design, acting as a dedicated platform for Beyond Blue’s Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service. Tactically, should the microsite suffer from a DDoS attack, Beyond Blue would maintain operational continuity.

The Outcome: designed, produced and deployed within a week – on time and on budget. The Federal Government’s announcement of the new microsite created the anticipated surge in traffic.

Beyond Blue’s website never missed a beat (or subject to DDoS attacks). Beyond Blue is satisfied knowing their infrastructure is stable, reliable and built robust for scalable growth now and tomorrow.

From project beginning Beyond Blue witnessed a 40% increase in user traffic compared to the same time last year. The coronavirus pandemic has increased feelings of distress or anxiety, as typical responses in times of uncertainty.

The impact of the Beyond Blue microsite for visitors saw over 800,000 users seek practical advice, information and digital tools to help manage mental health and wellbeing.


ARQ Group designed the solution using the AWS Well Architected framework capitalising on ARQ’s experience in managing some of Australia’s largest websites.  

The solution leverages several components of AWS including: Route 53, AWS WAF, CloudFront, EC2, RDS, S3 and Elasticsearch, and has been tested to ensure the site scales at speed when needed – is highly available – and secure. 

AWS services used:  

– AWS S3   

Static content residing in a S3 bucket was used as origin for CloudFront services for the website. The S3 bucket was encrypted and versioned to allow roll back functionality and an additional bucket deployed for access log data collection.  

– AWS CloudFront  

Amazon CloudFront is a global content delivery network (CDN) service that accelerates delivery of web services.  

– AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF)  

AWS WAF is a Web Application Firewall that helps to protect web applications from common web exploits. It is integrated with CloudFront.    

– CI/CD Pipeline Deployments  

Octopus deploy was used to allow for appropriate build workflow for automated deployment into the S3 bucket.    

– AWS Shield Standard  

AWS Shield Standard was used to provide quick detection and inline attack mitigation for DDOs related attacks at Layer 3 and 4. 


  • Robustness: Beyond Blue’s website passed industry standard heavy load testing.
  • Scalability: Scalable at speed, in an instant; future-proofing Beyond Blue’s online capabilities.
  • Security: ASIO standard security able to withstand DDoS attacks and decoupled to ensure operational continuity.

About Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue is an independent, not-for-profit organisation working to reduce the impact of anxiety, depression and suicide in Australia.

About ARQ

ARQ is an AWS Premier Partner that makes great things happen for our customers. We are humble and don’t talk about what we do; we would rather talk about what our customers have achieved (or even better let them tell the world). ARQ is an AWS Managed Services Provider, holder of both the AWS Mobile Competency and the AWS data and Analytics competency. AWS raise the bar and we rise to meet it each year. Our capabilities and practice encompass everything in the cloud, advanced data, analytics, AI & ML and digital experiences across all channels. We are the true end-to-end partner for companies of all sizes that need the best, and value experience and expertise. We partner with half of the top 20 ASX and over 100 other Australian companies to help them get the best from their own cloud adoption journey.