Improving Security and Scalability for OECO’s Invoicing Process

Improving Security and Scalability for OECO’s Invoicing Process

31 October 2023

Kilian Niemegeerts

Technologies Used

AWS Cloud – Amazon App Runner – Docker – Terraform – Amazon Cloudwatch –

Nowadays, organisations have to consistently leverage technology to streamline their processes and create a competitive advantage. A great example of this is OECO’s invoicing process. The absence of a centralised system for information distribution limited efficient communication and caused procedural delays. To overcome this predicament, they reached out to Optis to develop a custom application, who in turn contacted us for advanced hosting solutions once the number of tenants and users grew significantly.

The Challenge

While OECO was growing rapidly and diversifying its operational methods across its competence centres, their invoicing process could not keep pace. However, an off-the-shelf solution would not be sufficiently flexible to incorporate their unique requirements.

Instead, OECO needed a tailored solution that offered easy integration with their existing systems while allowing scope for future expansions. They chose Optis for their expertise in developing custom Java and JavaScript solutions, and the potential for scalability offered by the Optis factory model.

Once development had concluded, we helped Optis with an initial hosting solution for the invoicing tool that suited the needs of the OECO cluster. However, once it became clear that the tool would be used by additional clusters, Optis contacted us to enhance the tool’s utility and ensure that its hosting could support a larger usebase.

“As soon as we knew that another Cronos cluster would be using the invoicing tool, we decided to contact an expert in hosting, maintaining, and securing applications. FlowFactor has been our go-to partner for these kinds of tasks, so the choice was an obvious one.”
Mathias Mariman - Managing Partner Optis

Increasing Security Measures

We started our upgrade of the hosting solution with an audit of the application in its current form. Our initial and most important concern was to tighten the invoicing tool’s security, to ensure that the (financial) data of each tenant remained separate. We moved quickly and made sure every cluster had its own private data set, taking a significant step towards enhancing application security.

To further secure essential passwords and other tokens, we used AWS Secrets Manager. This approach ensured that sensitive information was not only safely stored but also efficiently managed. We also implemented Cronos’ User Identity Management system, which runs on Azure AD, providing an additional layer of much-needed security.

Improving Performance and Scalability

Following the security upgrades, we concentrated on improving the tool’s performance and scalability. We leveraged Amazon App Runner, a cost-effective service that manages scaling capabilities automatically while keeping operational costs low. We also employed Docker containers to ensure the tool’s smooth operation across various environments.

We successfully relocated the invoicing tool to our own secure AWS cloud from the initial hosting solution without disrupting operations. With Infrastructure as Code (IaC) via Terraform, we created efficient pipelines for Optis, helping them to rapidly deploy new instances of their application for each new company.

“During the project, communicating with Optis was transparent and efficient. Mathias would provide me with specific requirements or change requests, and thanks to Terraform's IaC capabilities, I could effortlessly translate these into action by adjusting a few variables and deploying the infrastructure code.”
Lana Sakkoul - DevOps Engineer FlowFactor

At the moment, we oversee the invoicing tool’s maintenance, routine monitoring, and support services. We use a combination of Amazon CloudWatch, which is included with App Runner, and Optis’ tenant to collect and visualise various monitoring metrics. Our DevOps services allow Optis to expand the customer base of their new tool, without having to worry about operational issues.

The Outcome

We can look back at another successful collaboration with Optis. Thanks to our combined efforts, OECO and other Cronos clusters now have a secure and steady invoicing management system. By implementing additional security, performance and scalability measures, we ensured that the system not only satisfies their current needs, but is also flexible enough to accommodate future demands.

“We especially like collaborating with FlowFactor because of their flexibility and expertise. We work in the same offices, so there is no need to submit a ticket when we have a question, since the answer is just a few desks away.”
Keshia Niemegeerts - Managing Partner Optis

Are you looking for an experienced DevOps partner to host and maintain your applications? Reach out to us today, and let’s discuss the possibilities together.

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