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CASE STUDY: Worldpay Gains Competitive Edge with Faster Delivery of Innovative PCI-Compliant Payment Solutions Globally

Worldpay by FIS is one of the largest global merchant payment processing and services providers.  With billions of transactions annually, the Worldpay footprint spans 146 countries and encompasses more than 300 payment types in 126 currencies. Their goal is to help merchants use technology to solve banking, payment, and investing challenges, as well as deliver superior experiences for their customers. Worldpay does this by building self-service, cloud-based platforms that make it easy for merchants to do business.

2021-12-15 16:16:28


GBI, Industry News


As a major player in the ever-evolving payment business, Worldpay must innovate quickly to stay ahead of the competition.  For example, when COVID-19 hit in early 2020, contactless payments — voice payments, retina-based payments, and digital payment mediums such as UPI, AePS, etc. — were reprioritized in an instant. To speed application build and delivery to meet changing demand, Worldpay utilizes a Red Hat OpenShift-based environment built on Kubernetes. As an organization that helps merchants meet PCI compliance, ensuring uptime and security for applications is of critical importance for Worldpay. The company’s developers need visibility into their various environments, which requires a security and observability solution that highlights potential issues across clusters and clouds.

According to Bernd Malmqvist, Principal Container Platform Engineer at Worldpay, “Sysdig has become an essential part of our offering and I think it's great to see that it really filled the gaps on both sides — the monitoring that development teams want to see, but also on the security side. Everyone has access to Sysdig and uses it.”

50% reduction in operational overhead

Worldpay likes the Sysdig SaaS-first approach. As Bernd explained, “We want 100% cloud usage.  I have a massively dynamic infrastructure and I need it to always be available. I need it to scale and do it globally.  We're heavily pushing the boundaries of how we build and deliver our platforms and I think Sysdig fits in very well in that type of model with its SaaS service.  An on-prem data center is too restrictive and it's not dynamic enough, especially for us. Some of our customers do not have direct internet connectivity and an on-prem solution is too painful to actually manage in that situation.”Bernd expanded, “We want to consume SaaS ser-vices where we can because it makes the operational overhead we have much easier, we just need to drop an agent. We don't need to maintain the backend, so our main focus is running our community platforms. For example, for us, we built our logic around cluster management, but we don't want to manage a Sysdig backend.” According to Natnael Teferi, Lead DevSecOps Cloud Security Architect at FIS, with the easy onboarding, intuitive UI, deep data, and SaaS-first approach, “Sysdig reduced our operational burden by  50 percent.”  As the only  container  and  Kubernetes security solution built as a SaaS solution from day one, Sysdig is optimized for companies that want the flexibility that enables them to innovate quickly. According to Bernd, "We're trying to get to the point where we deploy these clusters and we have zero effort operating  them,  because  they  can  operate themselves.  Sysdig  is  helping  us  get  there.  Sysdig is pushing the  boundaries,  just  like  us.  They are constantly pushing the roadmap and delivering new features. With Sysdig, we're not scared of using new features made available. Sysdig just works and we trust in the product."

Took PCI compliance off of our plate

As a payment processing platform, PCI compliance is a huge hurdle for Worldpay.  As applications migrate  to  the  cloud,  container  sprawl  and  short container lifespan make PCI compliance challenging. Validating compliance  is  the  number  one  blocker for  faster  application  delivery.  A failure to meet compliance could result in massive fines, but even more significant, a loss in customer confidence and revenue. As  Bernd  put  it,  “PCI  compliance  is  one  of  the biggest challenging factors for running a Kubernetes 2 platform  in  a  high-security  environment.  Sysdig made  our  life  easier  because  it  just  reduced  the effort on our side and made the PCI element simpler. There's a lot of work in building a secure platform, but when it comes to certain elements — prevention, runtime  analysis,  intrusion  detection,  vulnerability scanning — having Sysdig just stops the conversation around PCI.”

Security, DevOps and operations work as a team

Running  containers  and  Kubernetes  in  production requires  security  and  visibility  that  integrate  into existing workflows. Sysdig is the only solution that can  address  security,  compliance,  and  monitoring use cases with a single agent and backend, which was  really  important  to  Worldpay.  Beyond  tool consolidation  and  cost  savings,  Worldpay  is  able to  address  several  use  cases  with  less  drain  on resources. According  to  Natnael,  “We  operate  a  distributed platform, so having one tool that addresses several security and monitoring use cases is wonderful. The single agent that is non-intrusive means we do not have multiple agents that could interfere with each other.” Bernd expanded, “My team works very closely with Natnael's team, so having Sysdig Monitor and Sysdig Secure without adding an additional agent was really quite  impressive  for  me.  Other  solutions  we’ve used are very intrusive into an OpenShift platform and that caused issues in the past at Worldpay. I think having that single, non-intrusive agent is very important.”

"With the audit log inside our S3 buckets, we gain full visibility of activity, enhancing our monitoring and investigative capabilities. Having this information saves so much time, because without the audit trails, how do you know what happened? Other solutions do not offer this."- Natnael Teferi, Lead DevSecOps Cloud Security Architect

Audit logs make forensics a possibility for the first time

When it comes to incident response for Kubernetes, SOC  teams  need  to  be  able  to  analyze  an  endless list  of  scenarios.  In  container  environments,  when the container is gone, so is its data, making forensics nearly  impossible.  Having  data  available  to  speed incident  response  is  an  invaluable  insurance  to have  when  something  goes  wrong.  “The  forensics functionality  was  key  for  us  in  selecting  Sysdig  for security. With the audit log inside our S3 buckets, we gain full visibility of activity, enhancing our monitoring and investigative capabilities. Having this information saves so much time, because without the audit trails, how do you know what happened? Other solutions do not offer this. Beyond that, Sysdig will help identify who needs to be notified and with lessons learned from the configurations,” said Natnael.

Natnael expanded, “The lifecycle of the container is measured in seconds, and there is a high degree of variety of how you're going to make things happen, especially  for  the  security  team.  We  need  to  be able to count on the security and the integrity of containers that may be online for a few seconds, maybe a few weeks, and then they are disappearing. With Sysdig, we have real-time visibility across the whole FIS environment. Then if something happens, we still have that data to investigate with.”

Spend time on revenue producing work, not managing risk

According  to  Bernd,  Sysdig  doesn’t  inundate  his team and customers with unimportant information. Instead, Sysdig does the work to show only what is important. “When you use a container security tool, everyone knows that once you deploy and it's connected to the backend, you log in, and suddenly you  get  an  overflow  of  information  about  your containers, indicating they are all vulnerable. It’s so daunting and you don’t know where to start. What I liked with Sysdig is that when you log in, everything is mostly green. The experience using Sysdig is so much more user friendly because logging in doesn’t feel  like  a  hammer  hitting  your  heart,  making  it look like your system is in extreme danger, when in  reality,  most  of  them  are  minor  vulnerabilities. I  am  usually  interested  in  the  high  or  severe vulnerabilities, and that is what Sysdig shows you when you use the dashboards. You can easily get all of the information on the minor vulnerabilities as well, but the majority of time, you aren’t interested in that, right? So I don’t want to wade through that, I just want to be shown what I should care about, which is what Sysdig shows us.”

Natnael went on to explain, “From the security point-of-view,  if  we  identify  a  number  of  vulnerabilities and the Dev team is working in an agile manner, they may  well  have  planned  certain  times  of  the  week to  fix  vulnerabilities.  If  my  team  logs  in  and  sees 500  vulnerabilities,  they  then  think,  ‘am  I  going  to fix our vulnerability or am I going to spend my time developing  something  which  creates  some  money.’ Sysdig  will  highlight  for  you  where  the  fixes  are available. This is so helpful, my team can easily fix the image and move on. Showing us what is important and how to fix it is key to reducing our risk, the tool doesn’t waste our time.” When  it  comes  to  setting  policies  to  manage risk,  Natnael  said,  “With  Sysdig’s  runtime  policy functionality, we can easily create a policy and that immediately  creates  a  notification  alert.  It's  very simple to work through the policies, as well as the deployment. We just create some kind of daemonset. That,  along  with  the  guidance  from  Sysdig  that outlines how to deploy different scenarios, makes it really easy to manage our risk.”

Full Prometheus compatibility

Many developers start with open source Prometheus in  order  to  obtain  key  metrics  for  cloud-native services; however, scaling in production with multiple Kubernetes  clusters  requires  multiple  Prometheus servers, making it difficult to view trends. Issues on microservices that have cross-platform dependencies can easily go unnoticed. For Worldpay, Sysdig’s use of Prometheus and the PromQL language is a huge benefit. According  to  Bernd,  “My  guys  are  very  happy with  Sysdig  because  we  are  heavily  making  use of  Prometheus  and  they  like  Sysdig’s  support  for PromQL. It's essential for us actually. We have built so  much  around  Prometheus,  and  with  Sysdig,  we are able to really use those metrics. One of our next projects  is  continuous  delivery  with  multi-region implementations, and this is where Prometheus will be really important. Sysdig’s support of Prometheus is unique and it is definitely at the top of the list of what will help us build more tooling around these platforms.

Up and running in 30 minutes

With  developers  around  the  world  using  the  self-service platforms from Worldpay, onboarding of any tool is extremely significant — after all, time is money. One thing customers like Worldpay love about Sysdig is  how  quickly  they  can  onboard  and  start  getting results. According to Natnael, “Installing Sysdig is quick and easy.  You  don’t  have  to  implement  a  GUI  or  open firewalls,  which  with  that  type  of  implementation is  costly.  Getting  Sysdig  SaaS  up  and  running basically  took  30  minutes  until  the  first  cluster provided  metrics.  Compared  to  other  tools  we used previously, it took us a month to get to the same point. Sysdig comes with great out-of-the-box policies, which saves us loads of time. ”The  easy-to-use  Sysdig  Teams  feature  enables admins to control who has access to what, which is  important  to  Natnael.  "Going  forward,  after installation,  when  we  add  new  teams  that  need access, we just assign one team manager. The team manager  has  the  ability  to  distribute  access  and manage their teams, so that is another cost where we save. People aren’t wasting your time asking for access and logins, but rather they're going to the team manager and they just organize who should have access and who should not.”

“We’re trying to get to the point where we deploy these clusters and we have zero effort operating them, because they can operate themselves. Sysdig is helping us get there." - Bernd Malmqvist, Principal Container Platform Engineer, Worldpay

Sysdig makes multi-cloud possible

Between FIS and Worldpay, the infrastructure supporting their  applications  spans  several  clouds.  According  to Natnael,  "FIS  adopts  a  truly  multi-cloud  ethos,  so  it is  paramount  to  provide  the  security  and  monitoring functions in a cloud agnostic manner. As the company continues to grow, Sysdig is playing a big role because Sysdig will support all platforms for us. If FIS purchases another  company  within  a  couple  of  years,  we  can just  easily  expand  our  Sysdig  security  and  monitoring tool across when a new company joins. This simplifies the  deployment,  reduces  the  time  to  integrate,  and subsequently secure the new acquisition."

Sysdig is an active member of the open source community

Sysdig is an open source-based company that has contributed several products to the community, including Falco, the de facto cloud-native runtime security project that was adopted by the CNCF.  Sysdig is helping set best practices and doing its part to help the community. Being built on open source also enables Sysdig to innovate faster. According to Bernd, “I really like that Sysdig is so active with open source. Sysdig has open source projects for both security and monitoring. People can deploy both and run them for free. Then there is an enterprise version that fits nicely once you progress through the open source tools.  If you need  more  capabilities  and  features,  Sysdig  is there for you. Being a good community member and driver is important to me.”