Guroo Producer reduces risk with PolarSeven’s innovative Disaster Recovery solution
Introducing Guroo Producer
Guroo Producer offers a learning design platform that allows Learning & Development (L&D) specialists to analyse, scope and then build an engaging, self-paced eLearning module that can be published and shared on any Learning Management System (LMS) or via Academy - which is Guroo's own hosted platform for delivering eLearning. Guroo Producer is passionate about immersive and personalised learning. Their goal is to change both the learning experience and the learning creation process.
With an increasing number of users online concurrently designing, developing and deploying eLearning modules, any downtime and data loss resulting from an outage caused by technical failure or account compromise, could have cost Guroo Producer dearly. Risks that Guroo Producer could no longer accept.
By implementing AWS Organisations to tighten user security policies, and building an innovative and tested Disaster Recovery solution, PolarSeven have managed the risk so that even in the worst circumstances, a user can lose no more than one hours work and be up and running again in three.
Guroo’s main challenge was the risk of data loss and associated downtime whether caused by a system outage or account compromise. Though Guroo was currently backing up their live environment into AWS’s Simple Storage Solution (S3), there was no automation either of the back up or the restore of the environment. This meant that in the face of technical failure or account compromise, they had no feel for the recovery time taken to get their system up and running and their users productive once again. Any proposed solution also needed to take into account their requirement for data sovereignty - the practice of storing Australian data in Australia.
Additionally, they had poorly implemented security policies with a lack of segregation of user roles – something which can increase the risk of account compromise.
PolarSeven’s first step was to address the user security issues by setting up AWS Organisations. AWS Organisations helps an organisation centrally control access, compliance, and security; share resources across AWS accounts; and manage billing. It allows for security policies based on the Principle of Least Privilege, i.e., only allowing a user access to those resources absolutely necessary for them to do their job.
The second step was to address Guroo’s backup requirement. The usual solution would be to simply replicate the whole environment in a separate region and load balance between the two, but because Sydney based users required Australian Data Sovereignty, this method could not be used.
Instead, a Disaster Recovery (DR) account was set up in the same Sydney Region, and the production and copying of hourly snapshots of the live Relational Database Service was automated. Additionally, a monitoring service was set up to ensure that these backups were being both correctly created, but also deleted after a defined period, and not left to simply consume storage space.
The final step was to test the recovery process, to ensure the DR environment could replace the live environment within the required timeframe. This was done simply re-directly users from the live to the DR account.
Results and Benefits
By using AWS Organisations to configure user accounts, PolarSeven significantly reduced the first risk of account compromise.
By implementing an innovative Disaster Recovery solution, Guroo have achieved a Recovery Point Objective of 1 hour, and a Recovery Time Objective of three hours. This means that the maximum possible amount of work a user can lose is the last hour's worth and the longest time a user might have to wait before the system is back online with the data restored is 3 hours.
With their business continuity risk minimised, Guroo Producer can now focus on the core business – supporting the development and deployment of immersive and personalised learning experiences.
Guroo and PolarSeven
Guroo engaged with PolarSeven two years ago. At that time, Adam Steff, Guroo Producer’s CTO, had set up the infrastructure himself but wanted to automate it. Adam was too busy to build the pipeline himself and reached out to AWS. They recommended PolarSeven.
Since then, PolarSeven has assisted Guroo Producer with modifications to their pipelines. Thanks to PolarSeven’s high standard of AWS work thus far, they were a natural choice for Guroo Producer’s disaster recovery project.