About Our Customer: Alden Investment Group

In this unpredictable “new normal” of trace testing and massive market fluctuations, smart companies need to adapt quickly. Whether it’s Silicon Valley unicorns or the typically sluggish financial services sector, only the cost-savvy innovators will evolve and survive.

Enter Alden Investment Group

A financial services company with securities and asset management solutions for the economy of today. The firm is a bold ground-breaker with forward-thinking executives that prefer agile methods and creative solutions, from their cutting-edge financial offerings to their startup approach to their technology infrastructure.

Chief Technology Officer, Gregory Hansell conceived a serverless web app approach to meeting their rigorous finance industry regulatory needs. Alden required a way to port their company-wide instant messaging to their e-compliance vendor, but standard solutions were overpriced at a levels unacceptable for nimble mid-sized firms such as Alden. Hansell offered an RFP with detailed requirements: a web app tool converting Slack JSON to EML and sending via authenticated SMTP, with extensive logging and tracking to ensure strict compliance, and secured with end-to-end encryption and multi-factor authentication.

Our team at VisionFirst beat out the competition for Alden’s business with deep AWS experience and a detailed blueprint out of the gate, at a highly competitive price. Read on to learn more about our innovative approach and how companies today need to adapt to a fast-moving post-Covid-19 world.

Our Solution

The customer chose Global Relay as its Archiving Partner. This archiving solution uses the WORM (Write Once Read Many) format, where conversations once written cannot be deleted.

Serverless Backend Process

VisionFirst Technologies Private Limited designed and developed a web application through which authorized users from the customer team can upload an export of conversations from Slack. The serverless backend would then read the export, compare with the last upload and send the changes to Global Relay. The whole solution was designed on serverless backend to provide minimum cost of operation and yet the ability to provide infinite scalability.

Technical Architecture

Please see below the architecture of the Slack to Global Relay Conversion tool.

Slack to Global Relay Conversion Tool

In this figure, we have divided all the layers into four categories which are:

  1. Presentation Layer
  2. Authentication and Authorization Layer
  3. Application Layer
  4. Data Layer

1. Presentation Layer

S3 bucket served as Web Server while Amazon Cloudfront acted as CDN to cache and serve web pages fast to the users. The layer provided the platform for users to interact with the application – upload file, see logs, provision to login and logout.

2. Authentication and Authorization Layer

AWS Cognito is used to authenticate users. Please note that Cognito provides advanced security features. AWS Certificate Manager provides SSL certificate for providing end to end encryption.

3. Application Layer

AWS Lambda and API Gateway formed the core components of Application Layer. Simple Email Service (SES) and Simple Notification Service (SNS) were used for email and notification services respectively.

4. Data Layer

DynamoDB (serverless DB of AWS) formed the Data Layer of this application. DynamoDB is very cost efficient (similar to S3), provided as managed service (no servers to provision) and can be highly scalable (same category of DB as Cassandra).

Conclusion

Our customer received a tool to meet its compliance objectives in an innovative, secure, scalable, and cost-effective manner. This smart use of cloud technology to reduce costs and provide maximum flexibility is key to any business surviving and thriving in the unpredictable world of Covid-19. The maxim of this moment is: Innovate, or Annihilate.

The low running cost of our solution for Alden Investment Group is a particularly strong advantage. The cost-savings Alden received with this approach paid for the web app development costs almost immediately. For more information on the cost-reduction possibilities for your organization, please read our article “Less than USD 10 per month Web App (Serverless Architecture)“.

“We worked with VisionFirst on developing a complex cloud application for piping leading chat platform data into an e-discovery and compliance vendor. Their work was excellent and innovative, constant and courteous. I have worked with many vendors over a 20+ year career in this space, and VisionFirst ranks among the best I have seen. I look forward on working with them again soon. Highly recommended.”

 

– Greg Hansell, Chief Technology Officer

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