How Contino Helped Transform One of the UK’s Largest Insurers With Microsoft Azure
The customer is a leading multinational insurance, savings and investments company.
The customer—an existing user of public cloud—was looking to deploy critical workloads on the cloud to reimagine the way their employees work and how they interact with their customers. However, its existing cloud platform was not fit for purpose.
As part of its multi-cloud strategy, the customer required support in deploying key workloads on Azure. These workloads would provide:
- A re-designed employee experience via virtual desktop and remote working services
- More resilient corporate shared IT services and the ability to test change on critical services prior to promoting these to production
- An enhanced customer experience by scaling the use of APIs and microservices by using cloud native services
However, the customer faced some key challenges:
- Limited Azure skills: significant upskilling and education was needed for existing cloud platform engineering teams due to lack of experience in managing enterprise-wide cloud platforms and workloads on Azure
- Regulatory and compliance needs: as a regulated institution, the customer had stringent compliance, risk and control requirements to adhere to, requiring a modern approach to managing cloud controls
- Complex legacy and multi-cloud environment: a complex on-premises estate and and existing cloud environment that needed to be integrated with, to move towards a multi-cloud architecture
- Operational resilience and secure route to live: given the critical nature of the workloads being deployed, the customer would require a consistent, scalable and mature approach to deploying changes across their cloud platforms; all whilst maintaining operational stability and resilience
The aim was to expand its public cloud capabilities and build a secure set of cloud foundations on Azure to support critical business workloads and move towards a multi-cloud architecture; thus breaking free of their previous dependencies with a sole cloud provider.
Together with Microsoft, Contino helped to build a mature set of cloud foundations for product development and testing purposes prior to scaling the consumption of Azure into production—all whilst upskilling their existing teams.
To meet their core challenges and set them up to achieve their objectives, Contino worked with the customer on:
1) Building an Azure Landing Zone:
Contino worked with the insurer to design, validate and build an Azure landing zone in-line with Microsoft’s Cloud Adoption Framework and Enterprise-Scale blueprint, in order to ensure their required platform was delivered in-line with industry best practice.
2) New Ways of Working:
Contino brought engineering excellence, DevOps ways of working and Agile practices to the customer, e.g. sprints, daily standups, weekly demos and sprint retrospectives.
3) Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Integration:
The customer can integrate across their various cloud platforms and on-premise, now having the tooling and skillset to be able to do so, and enabling them to become a multi-cloud organisation.
4) Training and Upskilling:
Contino worked with the insurer to upskill teams on Azure applying pair programming methodologies.
5) Meeting Regulatory & InfoSec Requirements:
Working with the customer's Risk, Controls and Security Teams, Contino established a solution that enabled continuous security, compliance (via guardrails and policy) and visibility to help meet InfoSec requirements in-line with their regulatory risk posture.
As part of the Azure Enterprise-Scale build, Contino applied a variety of modern engineering practices and design principles to provide the customer with a mature set of foundations which could grow in-line with their Azure and Cloud Adoption. These principles were part of the core architectural design and consisted of the following:
- End-to-End Automation & Bootstrapping
- Infrastructure as Code
- Code Compliance
- Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment via Nightly Builds
- Secure Route to Live
- Use of Azure Native Services
Over a six month period, Contino successfully enabled the customer to enhance its customer and employee experience and improve its regulatory compliance, whilst also addressing critical InfoSec requirements by adopting Microsoft Azure.
Some key outcomes included:
- Streamlined onboarding for critical and regulatory sensitive workloads with continuous compliance and regulatory auditing, providing real time visibility into the security and controls posture of the Azure platform.
- Unlocked innovation opportunities by providing a world class developer experience for rapid experimentation: the platform delivers secure and compliant Azure environments in under 4 hours, giving development teams streamlined access to environments on-demand.
- Compliance with UK Financial Services Regulations with controls embedded in the platform, providing the organisation with a compliant and resilient foundation for managing digital services on cloud.