Have you ever wondered how your finances compare to those of other people? Do you know if you’re overspending, not saving enough, or paying higher interest rates than people like you? Data scientists Majd Maksad and Korash Hernandez know the answers. After working at companies like Discover Card, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs, they have now launched Status Money (statusmoney.com) – the first personal finance management company that lets you anonymously compare your finances to millions of other people.
“There is a lack of transparency in the world of personal finance,” says founder and CEO Majd Maksad, “and it results in people not knowing if they’re paying high interest rates or budgeting effectively.” There has been no way for people to know how their finances compare with people that have similar demographics like age, location, income, and credit score. “We’re here to democratize the flow of information, so that people can find ways to save money,” says Maksad.
That’s where data science comes in. Create your account and Status will automatically compare your finances with millions of people across the country. You’ll see your interest rates and the range of interest rates that similar people are paying. You’ll also find out how your spending, income, and net worth compare to those of people like you so you can easily manage your budget.
Choosing an AWS Partner
The massive computing engine that allows Status to perform this analysis is the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud. To build a secure, high-performance solution on AWS, CTO Korash Hernandez chose to partner with Logicworks, a leading provider of compliant cloud solutions.
Hernandez’s principles in designing the platform behind Status were usability, stability, security, and cost efficiency. “Spinning up a few servers on AWS’s console is a piece of cake,” says Hernandez, “but achieving our core principles across a complex and growing infrastructure was something we quickly determined would be better handled by an expert partner like Logicworks.”
In choosing a partner, Status considered three of the seven companies that Gartner identified as “Leaders” in the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud Managed Services Providers. “We found fundamental differences between Logicworks and competitors like 2nd Watch and Datapipe,” says Hernandez, “Everyone I spoke with at Logicworks, from our sales rep to the CEO, has passed an AWS certification exam. Also, Logicworks focuses on mid-market clients, so we didn’t have to be a billion-dollar enterprise to get excellent service and feel like a valued client.” Logicworks brings to bear over 24 years of traditional IT experience, as well as a professional services group with the latest cloud-native tools.
Status began by engaging Logicworks to optimize their existing AWS architecture design. Logicworks worked with the Status team to improve performance and security based on AWS best practices and their experience on hundreds of cloud projects. “Our technical lead was fantastic in helping us to understand the implications of all the changes they were making, and we hit production deadlines on schedule and on budget,” says Hernandez. Logicworks collaborated with Status on their reference architecture, built the system, assisted with the initial installation, and then took over primary monitoring and support responsibilities for Status’s infrastructure.
Status displays complex financial information using interactive charts and natural language. This requires a very intricate software design, a huge amount of development work, and frequent revisions. As a result, Logicworks delivered a DevOps-enabled AWS environment to accelerate the process of software development and deployment. Status’s development team deploys code through the continuous integration tool Travis CI. This integrates with AWS CodeDeploy for continuous delivery of code updates to AWS EC2 instances. Infrastructure is created using AWS CloudFormation, and server images are deployed automatically through Puppet, a configuration management tool. Status also relies on AWS features for object storage (S3), managed relational database service (RDS), logging (CloudTrail), email (SES), and queuing (SQS). The fully automated process allows for rapid iteration, validation, infrastructure provisioning, code drops, and reduces the possibility of human error.
Status needs sensitive member information to deliver valuable financial insights, so the team wanted to exceed industry security standards and provide an exceptionally protected architecture. “We combined best-in-breed security services across penetration testing, intrusion prevention, secure networking, encryption, authentication, and security monitoring,” says Hernandez. “Logicworks integrated these products into our automated workflow and monitoring.” As a result, Status has many layers of data protection at the network, host, application, and data level. Penetrating any one of these layers would lead to other independent systems that further protect member data.
“Here at Logicworks, we always begin with rock solid architecture from a performance and security perspective,” says Logicworks CTO Jason McKay. “But the real secret sauce is how we maintain and enforce these principles in an environment where clients have root access and are constantly changing their configurations.” Logicworks has designed infrastructure-as-code solutions to address this, including a series of bots that continually scan all client environments and enforce best practices. In this way, Logicworks will be alerted if Status is at risk from any change to their configuration that deviates from well-established norms and security protocols. Combining automated best practice enforcement with 24×7 support, Logicworks takes a proactive stance against any issues that might affect Status’s members.
Logicworks also helps Status optimize Return-on-Investment in a number of ways. Status and Logicworks have monthly meetings to review spending and implement any possible efficiency improvements. Logicworks also provides a team of engineers to provide 24 x 7 support, saving Status the expense of hiring, training, and staffing shifts of technical resources. “Logicworks is able to provide an entire outsourced infrastructure management team for around ⅛ of what it would have cost us to do it ourselves,” says Hernandez.
Status launched last month and it is currently the only personal finance company on the market that is dedicated to creating financial transparency through comparisons. The flexible, automated, and fully managed infrastructure built and supported by Logicworks is allowing the development team to focus 100% on product features and member acquisition. The system has maintained 100% availability while reducing infrastructure costs by 10% and reducing in-house staffing costs by over 80%. As Status grows, they have the confidence that their infrastructure and operations team can scale seamlessly with their business and deliver highly available, secure systems for their members.