LRN Helps Firms Worldwide Automate Ethics and Compliance Programs with AWS
Ethics and Compliance Challenges On Premises
In IT, the thought of not governing your product application stack is worrying, yet software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers face it all the time. According to S. Parthasarathy, senior director of technology operations at knowledge service provider LRN India, “Your customers are in control. Their demands on your service are what’s really governing your product stack, which can be a concern if your IT isn’t flexible.”
Launched 25 years ago, LRN provides training in regulatory compliance and business ethics to companies around the world. Its SaaS platform enables ethics and compliance professionals to automate programs, track and share results, mitigate regulatory gaps that their companies may have, and reduce risk. Programs running on its SaaS platform can be integrated with customers’ human resources and learning management systems and customized for 67 languages.
The infrastructure behind LRN’s SaaS platform is managed day-to-day from India, where Parthasarathy helps guide the company’s global IT strategy. In 2016, LRN launched a cloud-based infrastructure to ensure it gained the flexibility that’s critical to SaaS providers. Up to that point, LRN had used colocation sites around the world and served customers through on-premises infrastructures. Capacity planning was an ongoing requirement, with IT personnel having to estimate future peak loads and ensure they had the hardware to meet them. Parthasarathy says, “The problem with this approach is you always plan for the maximum, which means hardware can be sitting unused some of the time. Hence, a cloud-based infrastructure where we could easily scale up and down our hardware was a better solution.”
“With Amazon CloudFront, the web pages in LRN training courses are loading more than 50% faster, improving rates of customer satisfaction.”
Senior Director Technology Operations, LRN
A Smooth Migration to the Cloud
LRN assessed the leading cloud providers at the time to decide where to relocate its infrastructure. Parthasarathy says, “We ran proofs of concept and made an internal assessment of each cloud provider before coming to a decision.” After its reviews, the company chose Amazon Web Services (AWS). “The AWS infrastructure was more developed globally than competitors’ offerings, and the ease of use of AWS services was a differentiator. Furthermore, AWS offered per-minute and per-second pricing models and a larger pool of IT professionals in India with AWS skills.”
LRN migrated the production and disaster recovery environments for its SaaS platform from colocation sites around the world to AWS. “By July 2018, we had moved all our production and workloads for the platform, including those for our main US market, to AWS,” says Parthasarathy. “We had a lot of support from AWS solutions architects, who advised us on the design of our AWS infrastructure that runs the platform, including our mission-critical Oracle database of around 15 TB.”
An Infrastructure Supporting Evolution
The LRN IT team completed its migration to the AWS Cloud without any downtime. The company switched from on-premises hardware to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances for its core training applications and Oracle database. It moved to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for backups and made a switch from Akamai—its previous content delivery network provider—to Amazon CloudFront to deliver training courses across the internet to clients. LRN also uses Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) to send messages to customers via its Catalyst Connect mobile app, which gives customers on-the-go access to LRN programs. The company is also investigating more use cases for AWS Lambda, which lets customers run code without provisioning servers. Currently, LRN uses AWS Lambda functions to manage downloads of reports in response to customer requests. Parthasarathy says, “In the future, when we move toward a microservices architecture for our product stack, I think AWS Lambda will play a bigger role in our IT.”
Reduces IT Costs by 40%
With a microservices architecture running on AWS, LRN can expect to increase IT efficiency by breaking its complex applications into easier-to-manage code. For now, the main benefit from migrating to AWS has been a reduction in IT costs by about 40 percent. Parthasarathy says, “Because our savings have been so significant, the wider business can easily see the difference AWS has made to our IT. My goal is to channel the money saved to drive development, such as the adoption of microservices.”
Cutting Weeks from Development Projects
Besides lowering IT costs, LRN has accelerated the pace of service development by weeks. For instance, the ability to spin up environments coupled with taking advantage of Amazon ElastiCache, an in-memory data store, accelerated a recent project to implement centralized token authentication. Parthasarathy explains, “We took Amazon ElastiCache, created a unique server cluster in high-availability mode, and migrated the authentication token applications for all our products over to the cluster. Now, customers log in once and get access to all their training products. I believe we saved 4–6 weeks on the entire project.”
Improving Page Load Times by 50%
Since migrating to AWS, new services like centralized token authentication, as well as an increase in responsiveness for LRN’s online training products, have been met with customer approval. Parthasarathy comments, “With Amazon CloudFront, the web pages in LRN training courses are loading more than 50 percent faster, improving rates of customer satisfaction. Plus, uptime is constantly beating the earlier benchmarks and ensuring more reliable access to courses, which customers notice.”
Supporting a 200% Spike in Traffic
Parthasarathy doesn’t miss the days of capacity planning from when LRN’s IT was colocated. The company now has more flexible IT, which, he observes, is ideally suited to a world where ethics and compliance programs are increasingly important. He uses the example of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) brought into effect by the European Union in 2018. At the time, LRN customers had to rapidly bring their employees up to date on the implications of job regulations. Parthasarathy says, “The workloads on our AWS Region in Ireland peaked at 200 percent above normal usage, but we simply scaled up our infrastructure and scaled it back down when the peak was over. We were in total control.”
LRN provides a software-as-a-service platform that enables ethics and compliance professionals worldwide to automate programs, track and share results, mitigate regulatory gaps that their companies may have, and reduce risk.
Benefits of AWS
- Reduces IT costs by 40%
- Cuts weeks from development projects
- Improves page load times by 50%
- Supports a 200% spike in traffic
AWS Services Used
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
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. Amazon EC2’s simple web service interface allows you to obtain and configure capacity with minimal friction.
Amazon Simple Storage Service
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.
Amazon CloudFront is a fast content delivery network (CDN) service that securely delivers data, videos, applications, and APIs to customers globally with low latency, high transfer speeds, all within a developer-friendly environment.
AWS Lambda lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers. You pay only for the compute time you consume.
Companies of all sizes across all industries are transforming their businesses every day using AWS. Contact our experts and start your own AWS Cloud journey today.