27 August 2019

Northmill inspires during AWS User Group Workshop

News Northmill x AWS


Northmill arranged an AWS Workshop to discuss, educate and inspire around the newest cloud technology and exciting features. We took five minutes with our very own experts Michal Gorski and Wojciech Dabrowski to discuss what is it really like to work for a cloud-only company and how to handle a growth journey from a tech-perspective. Enjoy!

What do you learn during the workshops? 
In a nutshell, we walk the participants through what the serverless concept is and what are justified cases of using several AWS services. But we also cover infrastructure as a code approach and how to implement it in an AWS environment in order to make it easier to maintain. We round up the session with a discussion about the full continuous deployment process for serverless applications in the AWS cloud.

So, what are the key benefits of a cloud-based approach? 
There are several! Most of them are related to the fact that you can prevent a lot of problems connected to on-premises infrastructures, such as scalability. You can change the configuration of your servers in a few seconds, or even better, scale automatically without any downtime using serverless technology. It will also help in reducing costs since there is no need to invest in the maintenance of physical infrastructure. Another example is disaster recoveryWe do not need to think about backups and storing data in more than one place.

"One benefit with a cloud-based approach is that you can change the configuration of your servers in a few seconds."

Northmill moved to the cloud already in 2013 and has since then been a cloud-only company. At the same time, the company has had an annual growth rate of 60 percent. How do you handle maintenance and implementation work during a period of such rapid growth? 
One of the most important things while growing is to have a proper deployment process. We are always creating microservices using Infrastructure as a Code and fully automated CI/CD process to enable automatic deploying changes to any environment. This has always been crucial for us. And then again, it helps us in every aspect of our day-to-day operations that we truly are a cloud-only company without any legacy IT. 

Security and data handling is always a hot topic. Why is a cloud-based environment safer for storing customer data?
Basically, you are getting the security out-of-the-box from Amazon. Of course, you still need to think about it and properly use the AWS Services, but it is ready for you to use. And in addition, you can create your own Virtual Private Cloud with Security Groups and Subnets to hide your infrastructure from the world. When it comes to storing data, you can encrypt your data using AWS KMS or use AWS Secret Manager to store sensitive credentials. It is also possible to automatically create backups in different places in the world to protect the data from possible disasters. Additionally, you can use services like AWS WAF (Web Application Firewall) or AWS Shield to protect your applications against web attacks, such as DDoS.

"It helps us in every aspect of our day-to-day operations that we truly are a cloud-only company without any legacy IT."

What kind of things are you looking forward to doing with AWS? Are there any new features coming up?
How much time do we have!? Haha, one example of what we are looking forward right now is using the new EventBridge in production. It is a new way of distributing messages, even from outside of AWS to trigger our services on the AWS Cloud. Another one is AWS CDK, a new level of the Infrastructure as a Code. Right now we are using YAML-files to describe our infrastructure but using AWS CDK you can enhance it and write in for example C#.

Northmill is a fintech innovation company with a focus on developing straightforward and secure financial services to everyone. To date, Northmill has over 120 employees with over fifty percent working with IT.


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