Laying Foundations for Fast, Secure and Effective Cloud Adoption

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Cloud at scale core foundations

About the Client

A UK-based provider of reconciliation services for Global Systemically Important Banks set out to modernise its technologies and ways of working with an ambitious cloud adoption program.

With our support, this greenfield project facilitated the client’s technical and cultural shift to a service-based model while leveraging cloud benefits.

  • Deployment timescales taken from weeks to half an hour.
  • Security and compliance standards established for future cloud deployments.
  • Internal team’s confidence and capabilities in the cloud significantly enhanced.
  • Developers and product teams empowered with advanced cloud tools and methods.
  • Robust, repeatable approach will accelerate ongoing cloud migration.

Challenge: Gearing up for Greenfield Cloud Deployment

Having been established more than 20 years ago, with technology stacks hosted on premise, the time was right for this financial services technology vendor to leverage the opportunities of cloud. However, greenfield cloud deployments can be daunting for inexperienced teams, and a host of technical and cultural issues threatened to stall progress. What’s more, as a provider of reconciliation services for Global Systemically Important Banks (G-SIBs) and other financial services institutions (FSIs), compliance and risk management were high priorities.

Sourced Group, an Amdocs company (Sourced), was appointed to help ease the transition to cloud by laying strong foundations in Amazon Web Services (AWS) and enabling the organisation to work confidently and securely with cloud-based tools and technologies. Objectives for the engagement were two fold:

  • Empower developer and product teams to perform quick, repeatable, and safe iterations using an efficient and straightforward virtualised infrastructure.
  • Enable the transition to hybrid cloud with a scalable, resilient, and flexible infrastructure using approaches such as Platform as a Service and managed services to accelerate development.

“This was the client’s first venture into the cloud, so it was important to lay strong foundations aligned with AWS best practice from the start. As well as helping with the technical aspects of this, we encouraged and supported the team’s shift towards a cloud-based mindset.”

David Burton, Cloud Solutions Architect

Solution: Setting Technical Standards and Boosting Confidence

At the outset, we held a discovery and design exercise. This ensured all stakeholders’ expectations were aligned and gave us a valuable window on the client’s goals and existing technical set-up. Our brief was to implement an AWS landing zone for an initial target application and establish standards for the build of future applications in the cloud. Instead of migrating an existing application, the decision was taken to deploy a new application on AWS for one of the client’s large banking customers.

Introducing Cloud Technologies

We understood that the long-term success of the client’s cloud activity depended on improving the confidence and skills of the internal team. To achieve this, we began by introducing the team to Amazon ECS Anywhere. This powerful solution provides a consistent tooling and API experience across containerised applications, whether they’re held on-premise or in the cloud. Combining this with tools such as AWS Systems Manager meant the team could access on-premise environments from the cloud, ensuring a quick and seamless start to hybrid cloud adoption.

Establishing Robust Security Measures

When it came to the implementation of the target application, maximising security and compliance was crucial. To this end, we configured AWS Security Hub for the automation and aggregation of best practice checks, alerts, and remediation, using relevant compliance packs to support ISO27001 for the management of information security. Further enhancements were made with the use of VPC endpoints to enable secure communications without requiring an internet gateway.

We employed Amazon CloudWatch to enhance the overall visibility of application health and centralise logging for easier identification and resolution of any problems. Alongside this, we ran AWS Fargate within AWS App Mesh for end-to-end encryption using private certificate authority pipelining with GitLab. This both increased reliability and enabled a self-service mechanism to be incorporated.

Embedding Modern Approaches

The client’s technical support team had previously spent a great deal of time building bespoke tools for use in the on-premise environment. The AWS solutions we leveraged demonstrated that switching to a managed services approach can deliver major time-saving benefits and that any trade-offs can be managed effectively. We also introduced a Platform as a Service solution, empowering developers to provision environments independently and taking pressure off the support and infrastructure teams.

“This project introduced our business to an effective way of working in the cloud. The workflow and communication style are solid, and effort/time expectations are realistic. Working on small, incremental tasks makes it easy to course-correct when miscalculations happen.”

The client’s Technical Lead

Outcome: Teams Empowered, Enabled and Energised

Noteworthy achievements of this project include the use of new approaches to streamline and shorten the application deployment process. What previously took weeks of effort can now be achieved in half an hour.  

In a period of six months, this engagement significantly moved the needle on the client’s cloud strategy. We built the landing zone with current and future needs in mind, ensuring it is solid, secure, and scalable. The initial application that we deployed on the landing zone sets standards by which other applications can be built in the cloud. It forms the basis of a cookie cutter approach to maximise the speed and security of future migrations and deployments.

Overall, this project has inspired and re-wired the client team. They are now embracing the opportunities of cloud computing and showing evidence of a cloud-based mindset as they leverage modern tools and methods for future projects.

“We met the client’s core objectives of empowering the developer and product teams to work quickly and safely in the cloud. What’s more, by demonstrating the potential business benefits, this project has created an appetite for largescale cloud adoption.”

Kirsty Newland, Agile Delivery Manager