Case study

GradeMaker benefits from rigorous checks and improved security measures.

Wirehive reinforces security measures for GradeMaker, facilitating the thorough protection of their highly sensitive offering with an AWS Well-Architected Review.

GradeMaker brings national assessments into the digital age by providing SaaS to the exam body sector. Exam bodies use the software provided to produce high quality exam papers with the assurance that the sensitive information contained within the papers will remain secure. The SaaS provider’s services are well renowned; the GradeMaker Pro system has been announced as a 2021 finalist for the EdTech Awards.

Sector

Education

Vendor Partner

Amazon

Project Scope

AWS Well-Architected  Review and ongoing
management

Platform

AWS

Approach

Wirehive has been working with GradeMaker since 2019. To date, we’ve been able to provide them with a 24/7 managed service contract, alongside retained hours to complete professional service project work. In doing so, Wirehive have been able to ensure that GradeMaker’s customers benefit from a secure and protected platform meaning their customers are able to produce sensitive documents with peace of mind.

Following our AWS Well-Architected Review accreditation later in 2019, GradeMaker opted to undertake a further review conducted by the Wirehive team to validate the build of their mission critical workload. After a thorough examination of their workload, we were able to identify several ways in which their existing security features could be strengthened, whilst improving the operational excellence and cost-efficiency of the workload simultaneously. Wirehive successfully addressed the five pillars that constitute the AWS best practice in relation to GradeMaker’s workload: security, reliability, performance efficiency, cost efficiency and operational excellence.

Challenge

GradeMaker’s products and services fundamentally rely upon stringent security measures. Following a review of their existing workload, the Wirehive team identified that the operating system was reaching its end of life and as such its security features would be weakening. They put their trust in the Wirehive team to strengthen their AWS workload and ensure that it’s able to continue to operate seamlessly and effectively.

The sensitive nature of the services offered meant that security was made the priority for the Wirehive team when looking for weaknesses in the workload and suggesting remediations. The GradeMaker leadership team also requested a more in-depth review into the workload’s cost effectiveness and operational excellence.

“We were really impressed when Wirehive presented this project to us and demonstrated the number of remediations they made from our Well Architected Review. Security and compliance is very important to us at GradeMaker and it was great to see the number of innovative ways that this project enhanced out security position, alongside the other Well Architected Pillars”

Jim Allen

CTO, GradeMaker

Solution

Wirehive was able to identify an opportunity to improve multiple components of GradeMaker’s workload. Through conducting the Well-Architected Review, our team of experts were able to significantly boost the security measures already in place that were rapidly losing their efficiency.

Using Continuous Integration / Deployment methodology Wirehive built Grademaker an automated system to build a patched up to date Operating System, combined with upgraded infrastructure setup using Infrastructure as Code, and then supported in a successful migration to the new environments on go-live.

We used the latest technology to optimise GradeMaker's system:

  1. Packer for Golden AMI creation.
  2. Terraform for infrastructure creation and updates.
  3. Amazon Linux 2 for a secure Operating System.
  4. Elastic Beanstalk for automating deployments.
  5. S3 for object storage.
  6. ElastiCache for session data.
  7. VPC for networking configuration.

By combining the latest AWS Best Practises with modern technology, we were able to significantly improve the effectiveness and security of GradeMaker's online platform. 

Results

  • The AWS Well-Architected Review carried out for GradeMaker was thoroughly completed within a week. The fast turn-around provided the GradeMaker team with peace of mind.
  • The process wasn’t a costly one. The customer was able to benefit from $5000 worth of credit from AWS, meaning that the process largely paid for itself. Find out more about the Well-Architected process and the credit available here.
  • Following the implementation of Wirehive’s suggested remediations, the online security of GradeMaker’s AWS workload has been significantly strengthened and improved. The threat of a data breach has been drastically reduced by the Wirehive team.