Life insurance purchasing rates are at their lowest in 50 years. The process of purchasing life insurance is notoriously complicated. It requires a lengthy application process, health checks, and can take weeks or months for approval.
A new digital life insurance startup is looking to revolutionize the life insurance purchasing process. The company has introduced an easy online application process with immediate approval, which relies on innovative, custom software that can underwrite insurance instantly. Their goal is to disrupt the traditional life insurance market and appeal to younger consumers with a transparent, on-demand purchasing process and better customer service.
Migration to AWS
The startup is wholly owned by a large, multi-billion dollar insurance company. While under development, the new software was hosted in its parent company’s on-premises servers. Since the startup only staffed software engineers, they relied on its parent company’s IT staff to manage and maintain its infrastructure.
When the software was ready for launch, they decided to migrate to the cloud in order to scale to support unpredictable traffic spikes. Amazon Web Services (AWS) was immediately chosen due to the maturity of its security tooling and proven reliability. Without in-house system engineers, the company hired an AWS partner to help migrate to AWS and manage their environment on an ongoing basis.
The startup hired Logicworks, an AWS Partner Network (APN) Premier Consulting Partner with extensive experience building and managing AWS environments to host sensitive, highly regulated data. Logicworks had already worked with organizations like Orion Health and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to build and manage HIPAA-compliant cloud environments, and the company felt assured that Logicworks had the right expertise in AWS security and HIPAA compliance.
As the first step in the AWS migration process, Logicworks consulted with the startup’s engineers to build a target AWS environment to meet their software requirements. The environment needed to scale to meet demand without human intervention. This required integration of AWS Auto Scaling with their deployment pipeline. Logicworks built a redundant and scalable architecture using Auto Scaling Groups, Multi-AZ RDS instances, Elastic Load Balancing, and deployments via AWS Code Deploy. In addition, each instance was built utilizing a custom AWS CloudFormation template to configure security groups, IAM roles, network ACLs, route tables, naming conventions, VPC peering, and more. A standard Puppet-based bootstrapping procedure and userdata ensures standards are enforced on all instances and that each instance gets the latest bootstrapping process when it boots. Very frequent Auto Scaling events require careful balance between features baked into custom AMI and those configured by Puppet. Puppet also turns on detailed monitoring at deploy time in AWS CloudTrail and AWS Config, installs and configures in-instance metrics, and pushes to AWS CloudWatch and Logicworks Pulse, our custom Cloud Management Platform.
Logicworks also architected the environment for HIPAA compliance by implementing a Hub-Spoke VPC model. The central Hub VPC with all required security and access tooling (including Intrusion Detection, Bastion Host, Puppet master, Log Manager, and AD) is peered to child VPCs that each contain a separate SDLC tier. For added security, the startup has zero access to the production environment. All code deployment is done via AWS Code Deploy, with IAM policies limiting who has the ability to push code from UAT to production.
After Logicworks built the target AWS environment, the startup used Code Deploy to do a clean install of their software on AWS. The project launched on-time and on-budget, with the company’s internal software team and Logicworks working hand-in-hand at go-live.
After the software’s launch, the startup engaged Logicworks for its AWS Managed Cloud service, which includes 24×7 monitoring, ticket and phone support, OS patching, backups, and regular engineering reviews. Logicworks employs a team of highly certified, on-shore AWS engineers to support hundreds of companies around the world.
Logicworks helped the organization maintain uptime throughout severe traffic spikes that the startup experienced in the first year of business. The automation Logicworks developed worked as expected. Over the course of the year, minor tweaks and updates were made to the Auto Scaling rules and configuration management scripts to make the process more efficient.
In addition, Logicworks’ ongoing management helped the startup maintain HIPAA compliance as their environment evolved. Logicworks’ scripts and scanners ensured critical configurations were maintained and automatically enforced in some cases. Logicworks’ scanners detect when monitoring and logging services are not enabled, MFA is turned off, and dozens of other best practices are not configured. The company can configure how and when they are notified of these configuration changes in Logicworks Pulse.
Logicworks Pulse also provides real-time monitoring of the company’s AWS costs, which can be broken down by AWS service, tag, and SDLC tier. Over time, Logicworks and the company collaborated to adjust instance sizes, remove “zombie” instances, and purchase AWS Reserved Instances as necessary to optimize AWS costs.
As a result of migrating to AWS with Logicworks, the company has maintained 100% uptime, even through major traffic spikes and dozens of Auto Scaling events per week.
In addition, the company estimates it saved 40% on infrastructure costs versus hosting on a colocated or private cloud system. Even as the environment has grown, they are confident that the system is efficient due to Logicworks’ continued optimizations.
Over the last two years, the company has grown tremendously and is now one of the most highly rated insurance companies on the market. Customers praise the company for its fast approval process and ease of use, and their staff has grown considerably to meet demand. With the help of Logicworks and AWS, they can be confident that their innovative software is running on a secure, reliable, HIPAA-compliant cloud.