About the Company

This European fintech company, founded during the last decade, has grown quickly in a short time. They are a leading, award-winning provider of financial technologies and turnkey operations services to Forex and CFD (Contract for Difference) trading companies. The company’s multi-channel trading software, systems, and services cover all aspects business operations. The fintech is also the developer of a globally recognized online trading platform, offered B2C to private individuals engaged in online trading.

More than five million accounts worldwide use the company’s Forex and CFD trading platform with data-driven front-end and back-office software.

The company’s cloud environment was born in and resides on the AWS cloud. Continuous availability and data-loss prevention are core issues and critical objectives for this fintech company.

Industry

Fintech

Technologies

AWS services including EC2, CloudFront, S3, ELB, ASG, RDS and others

Challenges

As a company developing in a relatively new industry, the European fintech was able to benefit from the many advantages of establishing their native cloud-based business environment on AWS. This included quick set-up, application development, time to market and lower TCO – all this without the burden of interfacing with legacy systems, datacenters or private clouds. In addition, AWS was responsible for significant parts of the operational and management activities of their environment. But, AWS is not responsible for everything; the fintech learned that it is responsible for its own operating system, software and utilities, and more. 

Implications

In practical terms, this meant that guaranteeing unfailing access to apps and services as well as responsibility for the security of customer data and the trading platform are in the fintech’s court. Specifically, the fintech must make sure that all the trading, training, services and customer support they provide are available 24x7x365 to their clientele who hold 5 million accounts, are located on three continents, in several different time zones, and communicate in nine languages.

Uninterrupted availability is vital

The business of trading frequently requires split-second decisions and actions and thus there is no room for downtime, lags or “glitches.” Customers need continuous access to relevant business information and the ability to make trades.

Self-analysis on the road to resilience

Just as enterprises use penetration tests to discover weaknesses in the level of their cybersecurity, the always-on, highly-charged nature of the fintech’s business was driving them to proactively discover weak points in the resilience of their AWS environment. Of particular concern were vulnerabilities that could cause unavailability or data loss and services and apps that might not be 100% reliable and could cause disruptions, all of which would prevent customers from 24×7 access to the site and services. 

The fintech’s challenges were intensified by the fact that they operate in a highly regulated industry and must comply with regulatory best practices.  Their complex AWS environment experienced a large volume of ongoing changes that also needed to comply with the hundreds and even thousands of constantly evolving best practices of their vendors, the industry and the user community. 

AvailabilityGuard NXG for AWS delivers for the fintech

After contacting Continuity Software, the decision was made to begin a trial period using AvailabilityGuard NXG for AWS. 

How AvailabilityGuard NXG works

AvailabilityGuard NXG for AWS gathers and analyzes the resilience status of AWS environments. The SaaS solution automatically, proactively and continually scans all components of the AWS environment.

Each scan gathers information about AWS configurations, which is compared against a large and growing proprietary knowledgebase containing 300+ (and growing) rules derived from the best practices needed to maintain reliability, protect data, and more, as well as rules regarding compliance with regulations, standards and SLA commitments.

When deviations are discovered between configurations in the environment and best practice rules, the relevant teams are notified. They receive incident tickets along with instructions for repair.

The trial period

AvailabilityGuard NXG for AWS scanned production workloads including components of AWS environments that included 468 EC2 instances, 166 load balancers, and 4 RDS instances. 

The solution collects only configuration data (metadata) from AWS via 20 (and growing) AWS native APIs using read-only privileges and employing secure and light-weight data collection. The scans do not and cannot change configurations.  

Metadata was collected over a month at the fintech. There was no performance impact and no agent was installed.

Results 

AvailabilityGuard NXG for AWS scanned and analyzed configuration data from all the AWS infrastructure layers. The scans detected 276 configuration risks in EC2, CloudFront, S3, ELB, ASG, RDS, and other AWS services.
The fintech discovered that more than 80% of the risks detected could impact continuous availability, security and data protection, the very issues that were of greatest concern to them. See the charts below.

Calling for special attention were the risks ranked as “high” to security and risks of data loss, and the many different types of downtime risks. 

While numerous serious risks to resilience were identified, the fintech also discovered that repairing them with instructions provided by AvailabilityGuard NXG for AWS was quick, simple and straightforward. Using the solution’s intuitive dashboard, they were also able to track their resilience status and view the status of AWS services they use and identify areas needing repair. They could also see the overall health status of their AWS environment. 

Below, a sample screen from the solution’s dashboard is shown. Clicking on the different tabs presents more specific information; drilling down on parameters displayed on the screen provides details.

Conclusion: The bottom line

The fintech decided to adopt the solution. The month-long trial confirmed to them that the proactive process conducted by AvailabilityGuard NXG for AWS is critical to maintaining a continuously-available environment. The trial outcomes showed that the solution prevents disruptions and outages, and makes sure data is not vulnerable to loss, damage, and theft, and is always recoverable.

AvailabilityGuard NXG for AWS is a dedicated solution.

The solution conducts a significantly greater number of checks to the environment than offered by AWS. Its checks are wide-ranging and cover hundreds of issues that affect resilience, as described above. The solution provides the fintech teams with a deep dive into all the different types of risks and describes how each one can impact business and technical aspects of their operations. All risks are ranked by urgency, which makes it simpler for teams to set priorities for repair.

Customer Value

The trend worldwide is for enterprises to move more workloads to the public cloud but enterprises that are exclusively cloud-based or were born in the cloud still comprise a minority of companies. Such AWS-native enterprises are still figuring out where AWS responsibility for their environment’s resilience ends and their own begins. When the fintech adopted AvailabilityGuard NXG for AWS they gained new confidence in their ability to meet their commitment to customers for a fully robust site where they can safely conduct business.

Impact

The European Fintech successfully:

  • Prevents outages and data-loss incidents of critical workloads deployed on AWS before they impact business
  • Assures reliability of the AWS infrastructure and services
  • Meets organizational resilience and availability goals
  • Increases stability and quality of AWS infrastructure

Take a Proactive Approach.
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