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Case Study: Signiant Saves Time, Money, and Improves Security with CloudCheckr

Growth in AWS use leads to challenges managing costs and changes

In 2012, Signiant began offering customers the ability to transfer large files using its Flight and Media Shuttle SaaS solutions. The company runs their services across a variety of cloud infrastructure providers with Amazon Web Services (AWS) being the main provider.
Early on, Signiant found tracking changes and costs of their AWS accounts manageable. That was when they had only had one development account and one production account. As customer demand for their SaaS solutions grew, so did their use of cloud infrastructure.
Within months, Signiant had nine AWS accounts for various departments in the company including pre-sales, development, and production. Tracking changes, forecasting costs and monitoring for security across this many accounts became increasingly difficult and time-consuming. The DevOps team began investigating third party solutions to help them:

  • Save money by proactively managing costs across their AWS infrastructure
  • Automate the purchasing on reserved instances (RIs) to optimize AWS spend
  • Improve security by managing numerous changes to AWS reserved instances (RIs)
  • Provide the finance team with self-service tools to obtain up-to-date costs for AWS investments

CloudCheckr shows immediate return on investment

After evaluating multiple potential solutions, Signiant decided to take advantage of the risk-free free trial of the CloudCheckr platform to validate that it fully met the company’s needs for managing AWS reserved instances (RIs) and both cost and security management.

“From the beginning it was clear that the feature set of CloudCheckr went significantly beyond that of the other applications we were looking at,” says Dave North, the Director of DevOps at Signiant. Within the first week, the S3 reporting functionality in CloudCheckr alone revealed immediate cost savings that paid for the monthly subscription for CloudCheckr three times over. “Combine that with RI tracking and cost forecasting, we had seen enough to make a purchase decision.”

“Leveraging CloudCheckr data, we spent around $80K to purchase 165 RIs in just one minute and got an ROI of 91 percent. CloudCheckr showed us that we’ll recoup that $80K in just five months, with the remainder of the year a pure cost savings.”

Dave North Director of DevOps Signiant

CloudCheckr helps automate purchasing of reserved instances to optimize AWS spend

AWS offers an auto-scaling feature that adds and removes machines based on demand. Signiant developed a tool to refine their purchase decisions using data from CloudCheckr’s Reserved Instances by Frequency report to automate the purchasing of RIs based on historical resource utilization and predictive analytics sourced from the CloudCheckr platform. This empowers the DevOps team at Signiant to confidently acquire the resources needed at the most effective price point to keep costs down and resource utilization up.

“Leveraging CloudCheckr data in our own homegrown tool, we spent around $80K to purchase 165 RIs in just one minute and got an ROI of 91 percent,” Dave says.
“CloudCheckr showed us that we’ll recoup that $80K in just five months, with the remainder of the year at a pure cost savings.”

CloudCheckr improves Signiant’s AWS security posture

With multiple AWS accounts and multiple users making changes, Signiant needed greater visibility into those changes to monitor for security issues. They use the Daily Change reports, alerts and CloudCheckr Best Practices to look for security holes introduced by changes made during the previous 24 hours. CloudCheckr also alerts Signiant by email when a change goes against AWS security policy. At that point, Signiant approves or rejects the change based on how it impacts the business and security.

“The CloudCheckr change reports and best practice recommendations shows me if access permissions in our security groups for an AWS account provide users greater access than needed to do their job, explains Dave. “That lets us immediately fix the vulnerability before it turns into a true security issue.”

As well as being a security auditing feature, the change monitoring capabilities also helps to uncover potential hidden costs. Much of the time, the people creating the AWS instances don’t fully understand the cost implications so CloudCheckr allows for instant follow-up on these cases. For example, proactively identifying Signiant to the potential issue of a developer spinning up very large AWS instances helps ensure visibility and control.

CloudCheckr unifies DevOps & finance teams around AWS cost management

As the company’s AWS cloud infrastructure has grown, Signiant has found it increasingly difficult to provide the frequent cost updates for each AWS account requested by Signiant’s Finance team. In the past, they had to manually pull together data from numerous different accounts to satisfy each request. With RIs coming on- and offline as demand dictated, Signiant was trying to pin down a static number for each account from a dynamic, moving target. The process had become unmanageable and the information only accurate for a point in time. CloudCheckr allows Signiant to provide the Finance team with “self- service” access to its up-to-date cost information.

“Because we now have continuous visibility across all our AWS accounts within CloudCheckr, it’s easy for Finance to see where the spend is and helps create accountability across key stakeholders. I think the Finance team now uses CloudCheckr as much or more than I do!”

CloudCheckr customer support goes above & beyond

Having previously worked in customer support services, the Signiant team recognizes good customer service when they experience it. “The support team worked with me to quickly resolve any issues we found,” says Dave, “going the extra mile to perform incredibly quick patch rollouts where needed. When we were less familiar with certain CloudCheckr features, they even offered us 1-on-1 training. Every interaction with the CloudCheckr support team ranks up there as one of the best experiences I’ve had with any vendor.”

CloudCheckr continues to exceed their expectations.

“Every interaction with the CloudCheckr support team ranks up there as one of the best experiences I’ve had with any vendor.”

About Signiant

Since 2000, Signiant has helped companies of all types and sizes move large files fast.

Originally adopted by the Media and Entertainment industries, many or the world’s top content creators and distributors use Signiant solutions to ensure fast, secure delivery of large files over public and private networks. Today, media and entertainment are no longer alone in the need to move massive files, and Signiant’s rapidly growing customer base includes companies with digital assets ranging from satellite imagery and big data analytics to genome sequences and biotech research. Built on patented technology, the Signiant’s solutions move petabytes of high-value data every day between people, systems and to the cloud with proven ease.

About CloudCheckr

CloudCheckr is a unified cost & security management platform that helps you gain visibility and get control of AWS costs, secure your AWS environment and keep your cloud in check.

CloudCheckr unifies IT, Security and Finance teams who need to have clarity, actionable intelligence and accountability for their cloud. Unlike other AWS tools that only make recommendations, CloudCheckr turbo-charges your cloud with a unified AWS cost,
security and automation solution to help be more efficient and secure while saving money. CloudCheckr helps save on average 30% off your monthly cloud expenditure, protect you from cyber threats and automatically keeps your cloud operationally optimized and secure.

Government organizations and Global 2000 enterprises trust CloudCheckr to unify their native AWS data and deliver the most robust cloud management platform in today’s marketplace.

Curious how CloudCheckr can help you increase security while reducing cloud costs?

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