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Using AWS, Companies House Maintains Register of 4 Million Businesses

2020

Companies House runs virus checks against documents for late-filing applications without the need for managing servers by using AWS Lambda. Companies House maintains a register of limited companies in the UK. Document uploads to Amazon S3 trigger AWS Lambda to scan the materials for viruses.

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We are a large public service. We have to take virus and malware threats seriously."

Ross Maude
Director of Digital at Companies House

A Register with 4 Million UK Companies

Companies House keeps a register of all limited companies in the UK. It’s responsible for incorporating and dissolving limited companies, examining and storing company information, and making it available to the public. Currently, the register contains data on more than four million companies.

Working with Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Companies House runs the Companies House Service (CHS) on the AWS Cloud. CHS, which receives approximately eight billion requests for companies’ data annually, allows users to access company information for free.  

Companies House recently saved $140,000 a year when it moved CHS to smaller Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances and Amazon EC2 Reserved Instances (RI). 

The Need to Scan Applications for Viruses

Each registered company has a deadline for filing accounts, and sometimes, they need to apply for a deadline extension. To save time, they can upload documents to support the application via CHS. Companies House, however, needs to check the documents for viruses.

“We are a large public service. We have to take virus and malware threats seriously,” says Ross Maude, director of digital at Companies House.

Protection without Having to Manage Servers

Companies House protects the process for filing extensions with AWS Lambda, which lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers. AWS Lambda triggers scans when the extension documents are uploaded to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).

In the past month, 85 companies uploaded documents. Using AWS Lambda, Companies House ran virus checks against each document without having to administer a server, and because Companies House didn’t exceed one million AWS Lambda requests that month, the cost of running the checks was zero.

Steve Bowen, head of platform engineering at Companies House, says, “There are no management overheads. AWS Lambda scales automatically to the number of uploads, and we start paying only after exceeding one million requests per month. We are planning for AWS Lambda to be part of our continuous integration/continuous delivery pipeline. The service will save us time because all deployments are currently manual.”


About Companies House

Companies House incorporates and dissolves all limited companies in the UK. It registers company information and makes this information available to the public.

Benefits of AWS

  • Scans documents for viruses without the cost of running servers
  • Saves $140,000 a year after resizing Amazon EC2 instances

AWS Services Used

Amazon EC2

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers.

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Amazon S3

Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is an object storage service that offers industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance. This means customers of all sizes and industries can use it to store and protect any amount of data for a range of use cases, such as websites, mobile applications, backup and restore, archive, enterprise applications, IoT devices, and big data analytics. 

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AWS Lambda

AWS Lambda lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers. You pay only for the compute time you consume. With Lambda, you can run code for virtually any type of application or backend service - all with zero administration.

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