RegTek.Solutions (a Bloomberg company) – Redesigning on AWS to Offer SaaS

Abstract

Client: RegTek Solutions

Project Dates:  January 2017 through May 2017

Technology Solutions Used:

  • Jenkins
  • Ansible
  • OneLogin for authentication and authorization of client users
  • DataDog for monitoring

Summary

RegTek.Solutions (a Bloomberg company) is one of the premier software providers in the Regulatory Reporting space, serving 15 of the 20 largest global banks as customers.  Their software was developed to run inside a data center, but customer demand required them to provide a SaaS offering in addition to an option running in customers’ own data centers.  Leveraging the flexibility of AWS, Risk Focus quickly adapted the platform to run in the cloud and introduced new automation while decreasing time-to-market and reducing time to onboard new customers.

Due to business developments, we needed to evacuate our data center very quickly. Risk Focus helped us make this move while re-engineering our development and deployment processes. This allowed us to become more agile and increase delivery velocity. Moreover, they helped us deliver our first SaaS offering and onboard our first clients to the new platform.  Risk Focus’s key differentiator is their unique combination of deep Financial Services domain knowledge coupled with technical expertise and delivery excellence.

Brian Lynch

CEO, RegTek.Solutions (a Bloomberg company)

Problem Statement

The RegTek software was originally developed to be tested and run inside a data center as binary artifacts, with VMs running on a small set of Hyper-V racks in the client’s own data centers.  After initial launch, many of them asked for a SaaS solution, and so RegTek needed to move the platform to the cloud while maintaining the ability for it to run locally within a data center.

RegTek enlisted Risk Focus to help:

  • Create a fully-automated CI/CD pipeline outside of its data center that would allow it to provision environments on demand, build the binary artifacts, and run large-scale testing on its suite of products
  • Develop a process to produce different deployable binary artifacts, both traditional wars and Docker containers
  • Create a secure automated SaaS offering for current and prospective customers
  • Onboard its first batch of clients onto the newly-built SaaS platform

 

AWS-Based Solution

We proposed that RegTek move to AWS, but because its software needed to retain the ability to run in any data center, we ensured that the software was cloud portable and not tightly bound to the AWS cloud native offerings. The elasticity provided by AWS allowed RegTek to develop and test much faster by provisioning and tearing down environments in an automated way.

We then deployed some of the RegTek products as SaaS offerings into separate AWS accounts under an Organization, leveraging Consolidated Billing.

The solution involved provisioning single-tenant VPCs with Oracle instances for each client, which were created by using CloudFormation templates. Because of the sensitivity of the data being reported, all SaaS clients had requested complete isolation from one another.

In the new design, CloudWatch was implemented to capture all logs, and CloudTrail to monitor access to all deployed resources.  Resiliency was achieved by relying on ELB, Multi-AZ deployments, and Auto-scaling groups.

 

Financial Services Domain Expertise

The project consisted of three components: developing CI/CD pipelines, re-designing the architecture to offer SaaS, and onboarding customers onto the new SaaS platform.  Risk Focus’s keen domain knowledge of trading risk and regulator compliance was especially useful in the last piece.

RegTek.Solutions enlisted Risk Focus to do all initial customer onboarding, where our Business Analysts identified clients’ required feeds and designed their delivery processes.  Risk Focus also used its deep domain expertise to map required data and enrichment to ensure that the raw trading feeds delivered by the client could be submitted to the SDR (Swaps Data Repository) of the DTCC.

More Options, Better Customer Service

RegTek.Solutions now operates a highly successful business that features both installations within customers’ data centers and a robust SaaS reporting solution hosted on AWS.  This allows RegTek to provide a higher value of service to their clients. It also allows their clients to focus on growing their Financial Services businesses, while staying compliant and avoiding the hefty fines levied on businesses that do not provide accurate and timely reporting.

Confluent Recognizes Risk Focus as a Preferred Professional Services Partner

Confluent Recognizes Risk Focus as a Preferred Professional Services Partner

For Immediate Release
Tara Ronel
June 7, 2019
tara.ronel@riskfocus.com

[New York, NY, June 7, 2019] – Risk Focus, a leading consultancy for highly-regulated industries, is proud to announce that it has earned Preferred status in the Confluent Partner Network Program, the enterprise event streaming platform pioneer.

VAssil

As a Confluent Preferred Partner, Risk Focus has met all the stringent business and technical program requirements, including significant customer development, training and certification of their staff. They have also demonstrated the required skill sets to help its financial services customers implement Apache™ Kafka™ and the Confluent platform in order to harness its flexible event streaming power in new or existing applications.

“We have invested heavily to develop our team through hands-on enterprise project experience, process implementation, Kafka courses and Confluent certifications,” shares Vassil Avramov, Founder and CEO of Risk Focus. “Confluent is, by far, the leader in the event streaming space, and we are thrilled to be nominated to a very small group of Confluent Preferred organizations. We recognize that this is only the beginning, and are committed to jointly helping our customers unlock the power of their data for years to come.”

“Financial services organizations are among the most impacted by the the effects of the digital revolution where technology and data are becoming key for remaining relevant to customers.  That is why so many are turning to event streaming platforms to power their applications to deliver the modern banking experiences customers expect. As the demand from this sector grows, it is important to have fully-trained and experienced Preferred Partners like Risk Focus assisting financial services organizations deploy solutions based on Confluent Platform to deliver contextual event driven applications.”“We have invested heavily to develop our team through hands-on enterprise project experience, process implementation, Kafka courses and Confluent certifications,” shares Vassil Avramov, Founder and CEO of Risk Focus. “Confluent is, by far, the leader in the event streaming space, and we are thrilled to be nominated to a very small group of Confluent Preferred organizations. We recognize that this is only the beginning, and are committed to jointly helping our customers unlock the power of their data for years to come.”

Vassil Avramov

Founder and CEO, Risk Focus

Confluent provides a complete event streaming platform based on Apache Kafka and extends Kafka’s capabilities with development, connectivity and stream processing capabilities as well as management and operations. The Confluent Partner ecosystem is an important element to drive success with customers to assist customers in developing robust data connectivity, building stream processing applications and ensuring the ongoing success of our joint customer’s strategic initiatives.

“Financial services organizations are among the most impacted by the the effects of the digital revolution where technology and data are becoming key for remaining relevant to customers” said Simon Hayes, vice president of corporate and business development, Confluent. “That is why so many are turning to event streaming platforms to power their applications to deliver the modern banking experiences customers expect. As the demand from this sector grows, it is important to have fully-trained and experienced Preferred Partners like Risk Focus assisting financial services organizations deploy solutions based on Confluent Platform to deliver contextual event driven applications.”

“Financial services organizations are among the most impacted by the the effects of the digital revolution where technology and data are becoming key for remaining relevant to customers.  That is why so many are turning to event streaming platforms to power their applications to deliver the modern banking experiences customers expect. As the demand from this sector grows, it is important to have fully-trained and experienced Preferred Partners like Risk Focus assisting financial services organizations deploy solutions based on Confluent Platform to deliver contextual event driven applications.”

Simon Hayes

Vice President, Corporate and Business Development, Confluent

###

About Risk Focus

Risk Focus is a NYC-based company that provides strategic IT consulting to global enterprises. The company’s Infrastructure practice provides solutions, methodologies, and strategic guidance for digital transformation, containerization, and automation. Its Financial Services team offers strong domain expertise and technology acumen to deliver feature-focused solutions in Capital Markets. To learn more about Risk Focus, please visit www.riskfocus.com.

Confluent and Risk Focus Partner to Bring the Power of Event Streaming to Financial Services

Confluent and Risk Focus Partner to Bring the Power of Event Streaming to Financial Services

Confluent and Risk Focus Partner to Bring the Power of Event Streaming to Financial Services 

Confluent the enterprise event streaming platform pioneer, and Risk Focus, a leading consultancy for highly regulated industries, have joined forces to help Financial Services clients realize the efficiency and cost-effective benefits of event streaming architectures for Regulatory Compliance. 

Taking a Bite out of Apple – IT Projections for 2019

Taking a Bite out of Apple – IT Projections for 2019

Written by: Cary Dym

2019 is off to a rotten start for Apple.  On January 4th, Apple hit a 52-week low of $142, 39% off of its all-time high hit in October 2018.   (By some estimates, Warren Buffet has suffered a $4B paper-loss on his Apple stock).  While most of the attention to the fall of Apple has been focused on weak demand from China, another less-discussed factor is that people are keeping their phones longer.   The average hold time for iPhones has increased from 24 months to 36 months driven by higher non-subsidized costs of new phones and very few “must have” features.

So, is this recent change in consumer purchasing behavior also representative of a broader trend in corporate IT spend?   According to a recent report from Computer Economics entitled “IT Spending and Staffing Benchmarks 2018/2019”, while overall IT Budget spend in 2018 increased slightly as a percentage of revenue, capital spending as percentage of IT spending remained flat at a five-year low of 18%, off of a high of 23% in 2014.   Not surprisingly, security/privacy continues to be the major spending priority.  Interestingly, security is tied with another priority—cloud applications – and cloud infrastructure spend is a close third.   Despite the focus—and spend—on  cloud applications and infrastructure, the report goes on to state that “only 20% of companies have converted at least half of their business applications to the cloud”.   This leaves a huge growth opportunity in the Cloud. 

We saw a decrease in overall IT CapEx in 2018 offset by an increase in OpEx, primarily driven by Cloud consumption, but what about the third leg of the IT spending stool – staffing?  On average, IT staffing budgets for most organizations stayed flat in 2018.   While hiring is slowing for lower-level skills such as computer operations, scheduling, and lower-level tech support positions; higher-level skills show increasing demand.   Lower-level skills are being replaced by automation, driving increased IT organizational efficiency.   Meanwhile, demand for higher-skilled resources continues to outpace supply, driving up salaries and/or forcing IT organizations to look to outside organizations for skilled resources. Upskilling resources coupled with automation is a top priority. 

For 2019, Gartner predicts that spending on commodity items, such as communications and data center technologies like servers, is expected to be either flat or down, while spending on IT services and software is expected to go up.   They forecast an 8.3% growth for 2019 in Enterprise Software driven primarily by “Everything as a Service”.    An example for this growth is AWS Aurora – Amazon’s MySQL and PostgreSQL compatible Cloud service offer – which continues to be the fasting growing service in the history of AWS.   Meanwhile, Gartner suggests that the IT services market – the range of services that assist individuals and enterprises in implementing, managing, and operating the wide variety of processes, systems, software, equipment, and peripherals – will top $1 trillion in 2019.

I am personally quite excited about the projection for 2019 and the opportunities to help our clients with their IT priorities.     The needs of our clients reflect the priorities predicted by Gartner and outlined above: they plan to drive automation across their build, deploy and operational workstream and continue to leverage Cloud services and cloud infrastructure as they are decreasing their investment in data center technologies.   In addition, our clients look to us to augment their internal IT organization with highly skilled resources, but ultimately want coaching to help build up their expertise in house.  At Risk Focus, we see a great opportunity to help our clients form and execute their plans, while coaching their internal teams to adopt new practices and work within new processes.  To this end, we continue to build out our bench of skilled DevOps players and coaches in our centers of excellence in NY, Toronto, Pittsburgh, London, Amsterdam and Riga. 

As for the outlook of Apple, as stated in January 5th NY Times article entitled Apple’s Biggest Problem? My Mom, “If there’s an app – maybe its Fortnite 2 – that I can’t run on my existing iPhone, a new iPhone will be on every teenage boy’s shopping list.” Platforms are ultimately only as valuable as the services they enable! 

Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2019!

Risk Focus Expands to Canada’s Queen City

Risk Focus Expands to Canada’s Queen City

Risk Focus, a consulting firm providing specialized business domain and technology implementations, announces the opening of their new Toronto Office. The office is located just outside the city in Oakville, ON and will house a highly technical team focusing on DevOps and Business Transformations, as well as Risk and Trade Solutions for Financial Services.

Though establishing a physical presence in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is new to Risk Focus, the company has worked in Toronto’s Financial District for most of this decade, with an emphasis since 2013 on helping firms drive Business Transformations into the Cloud and proper DevOps practices. Establishing a local presence reflects a commitment to growth in the area, both in terms of expertise and client base.

Over the last several years Toronto has become a mecca for Technology and IT Professionals. With large technical juggernauts moving into the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and the Universities continuing to educate, develop and feed Silicon Valley with quality developers, it makes Toronto a logical destination for Risk Focus.

Karl Kerba, the new Head of the Toronto DevOps Solutions is a native Torontonian, as are several other members of the growing Toronto team. The team will work directly with the Head of DevOps for the firm, Peter Meulbroek. Both Peter, and the entire Risk Focus leadership believes in the community, its innovative culture, deep talent pool and growth opportunities, and expects the company to have a bright future here.

Toronto is an exceptional place to live and work. It ranks as the 7th most liveable city in the world based on The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Index, which considers five parameters to rank a city’s living condition: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.
“We’re here because Toronto has so much to offer. In addition to all those things that make it an eminently liveable city, an immense level of talent exists within the GTA. We couldn’t be more thrilled to bring Risk Focus to this dynamic tech hot spot,” said Kerba.

Risk Focus, founded in 2004, has established an international presence stemming out from their head office in New York City. Their offices span globally – London, Frankfurt, Riga and recently opening a Development Center in Pittsburgh (August) and now in Toronto.