Case Study: DevOps Staff Augmentation for a Public Nasdaq-Listed Company

29 May 2024

8 Min

113 Views

Follow

Share

Encountered with growing infrastructure requirements, our client decided to expand its internal platform team with external DevOps expertise. For this case, they turned to team augmentation services to bolster their cloud infrastructure capabilities swiftly.

How we approached a business challenge and provided a client with a relevant IT staffing solution to streamline their DevOps services — in this case study. Read on to find out!

Client Background

Penneo is a Danish SaaS provider that combines digital signing and KYC workflows into a single platform that streamlines critical business processes for anti-money-laundering regulated B2B companies. In 2020, Penneo began trading on the Nasdaq First North Growth Market Denmark and became listed on the Nasdaq Copenhagen Main Market. Presently, the company is trusted by 3000+ companies in the Nordic countries.

The company offers Penneo KYC, a tool that enables organizations to securely gather and verify customer identities and organizational ties in order to perform customer risk assessments. This is critcial to ensuring compliance with Know Your Customer (KYC)/Anti-Money Laundering (AML) requirements across various industries. Penneo also provides a platform called Penneo Sign that allows organizations to obtain legally binding signatures on documents, either digitally signed with eID or through a simple electronic signature.

All operations and processes within the company adhere to ISO/IEC 27701:2019 standard certificate, ensuring a commitment to compliance with security requirements for information protection.

Business Challenge

Penneo offers a cloud-based platform for digital signatures and KYC/AML compliance based on AWS. The company has engineering teams who continuously support elements of their software. As the business operations grow and its user base expands, the demand for their platform increases. This puts a strain on the existing cloud infrastructure's capacity, requiring it to scale. For this reason, the customer decided to extend their internal platform team with two senior DevOps engineers.

Primarily, they were seeking competent security specialists to bolster their cloud infrastructure in various AWS accounts. Ultimately, they found the required expertise at Cleveroad.

How We Approached the Issue

We provided the customer with IT team extension services to reinforce a company’s in-house development capabilities with candidates for the role who possess the necessary qualifications.

Our team started by analyzing the client’s staffing request. Based on the evaluation process, we provided a choice of candidates within 24 hours whose CVs match the client's requirements. The customer selected the resumes and we arranged interviews for team augmentation with approved candidates. The interviews were conducted on the 3rd day after the first contact.

What were the important criteria for the client when selecting DevOps specialists?

  • AWS technology proficiency. Since the client’s platform runs on AWS, the DevOps engineers should have a strong understanding of AWS services like EKS, AWS cross-account resource sharing, VPC networking, etc. They had to be comfortable handling resources within the AWS environment.
  • Solid expertise in cloud infrastructure management. The specialist had to retain the skills and knowledge to configure and automate the cloud infrastructure. This includes competence in Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tools like Terraform or AWS CloudFormation to control infrastructure in a repeatable and steady way.
  • Good English communication skills. Strong communication skills in English were crucial for effective teamwork and information sharing. The candidates must precisely understand the project’s requirements and submit clear reports to the Head of DevOps.
  • Availability for long-term cooperation. Long-term commitment to collaboration was another client’s requirement for candidates. It was necessary to guarantee the availability of DevOps experts for ongoing partnership to support the cloud infrastructure, making adjustments and extending the environment as the user base grows.

Here's what a company's CTPO, Hans J Skovgaard, tells about their experience collaborating with Cleveroad's DevOps engineers:

Hans J Skovgaard

Hans J Skovgaard

CTPO at Penneo

"We are pleased with DevOps engineers’ performance, communication skills, and organizational abilities. The specialists managed to quickly onboard the team and contributed to the project's success. We are intending to continue our collaboration with Cleveroad and extend our team.”

Staffing Procedure

The implementation process of the DevOps engineers into the platform team consisted of two stages:

  • The interview stage
  • The onboarding stage

Let's go over these steps.

Interview stage

The interview stage was also divided into several steps to ensure the client received the well-suited candidates within the shortest possible time frame.

Step 1. Proposal preparation

We performed CV screening of our DevOps experts, picked the most fitting candidates (based on the project needs) and got back to the client with our proposal within 24 hours. It contained information about each specialist and their relevant experience. The company’s CTPO and Director of Platform Engineering reviewed the resumes and agreed upon the introductory call.

Step 2. First screening

The introduction interview with each DevOps expert took place via a video call. From the client's side, the CTO, the Director of Platform Engineering, and a tech expert participated in the call. The company representatives provided an overview of their business and project needs and specified the requirements related to the candidate, both skills and organizational aspects. Cleveroad's DevOps experts were asked for their experience and areas of competency in cloud computing and English communication skills. After the interview, our specialists were given a test task to perform. The timeline for task completion was one week, followed by an additional week designated for the review process.

First screening with Cleveroad's DevOps experts

First screen interview with Cleveroad's DevOps engineers

Step 3. Tech interview

The second (tech) interview was based on the technical task results with the Director of Platform Engineering and the DevOps Team Lead. The company tech representatives assessed the candidate's knowledge and experience in various areas related to DevOps practices, including cloud platforms, CI/CD pipelines, infrastructure as code (IaC), automation tools, security, scalability, performance optimization, and more. Our DevOps engineers were also presented with small tasks to solve during the interview to evaluate their skills and competencies in real time.

In 2,5 weeks we expanded the client’s internal platform team with two middle DevOps engineers

Onboarding stage

After client approval and signing SLA (Service-Level Agreement), our DevOps engineers joined the project within a week. The process of onboarding lasted one month. During this stage, the client ensured a smooth adaptation procedure for our DevOps experts, submitting them with the necessary resources and support to successfully integrate into the in-house team. It included:

Company overview and project introduction. The company representatives provided information about the company, its main products, performance metrics, and values. The Director of Platform Engineering held a meeting to describe the organization's infrastructure and systems, as well as the project management methodology the team works with.

Environment setup and configuration. Our cloud engineers set up their workspace, tools, and workflows in accordance with Penneo security requirements and industry standards. The company’s tech specialists also helped them configure access points to meet company's requirements.

Adaptation to the development process ecosystem. The Lead Platform Engineer familiarized our DevOps engineers with the internal tools and systems necessary to understand the project's knowledge areas. It included:

  • Linear: a task management system to streamline workflows for project teams
  • Octa: identity and access management platform for single sign-on (SSO) authentication.
  • Communication channels: Slack, DevOps company-wide channels, and targeted channels by assignment
  • Drata Agent: security audit software to ensure that the employees’ workstations comply with various security standards

Setting up communication within the team. The DevOps Team Lead was helding a weekly internal team meetings to ensure everyone had the most recent information to execute their tasks effectively. There was also a biweekly meeting with a broad team of representatives from adjacent departments and management.

Interaction with cross-functional departments. Our DevOps engineers were introduced to other teams (development teams, QA teams, integration team) within the organization for optimizing decision-making and obtaining early feedback on potential issues related to cloud infrastructure.

Recruiting process for DevOps team augmentation for Penneo

Staffing procedure for DevOps team extension for Penneo

Challenges Implemented by Our DevOps Engineer

Throughout the collaboration, our DevOps engineers handled diverse tasks to support cloud infrastructure according to the company's best practices, using the Infrastructure-as-Code approach and Terraform as an IaC tool.

Grafana database migration. Grafana configuration files update to facilitate the data migration from the SQLite database to a new persistent SQL database within the existing AWS infrastructure.

Moving Prometheus to its own dedicated node group. The determination of a separate node group specifically for operating Prometheus. Deployment configuration upgrading for Prometheus to transmit data from the old instance and import it into the new deployment.

Granting access to AWS ECR to the group of developers. Creating a distinct IAM group (Identity and Access Management) within the AWS account for the Development department. Giving the group members the necessary permissions to access and interact with the AWS ECR registry (Elastic Container Registry) according to the defined IAM role's policies.

On-demand cloud infrastructure management support. Fulfillment of all activities related to cloud infrastructure administration support. In particular:

  • Users/groups/permissions management. Creation of IAM entities such as users, groups, and roles in a multi-account AWS ecosystem. Granting access to group members for diverse AWS services by assigning appropriate permissions.
  • Service access management. Access controls configuration for diverse services or extended capabilities for AWS, Grafana, Prometheus, and other systems that integrate with Okta for single sign-on (SSO).

CI/CD pipeline support. A robust and automated CI/CD pipeline infrastructure handled through Terraform that enables stable software delivery and deployment with minimal manual assistance.

Technologies and Tools Used

Our DevOps specialists applied widely recognized services, tools, and approaches that have been battle-tested and proven effective over time.

AWS

It's a cloud computing platform that provides a wide range of services such as computing power, storage, databases, machine learning, and more. Our DevOps experts leverage AWS services such as EC2, S3, RDS, and others to provision, handle, and scale infrastructure resources in various AWS accounts.

Terraform

It is an open-source solution that comes under the category of Infrastructure as Code (IaC). The tool is used to automate and supervise infrastructure through the code. Terraform deploys infrastructure through diverse cloud and on-premises data warehouses and safely re-configures infrastructure in reply to configuration changes.

Prometheus

This tool monitors the health and performance of cloud infrastructure and solutions operating in various AWS accounts. Our cloud engineers configured Prometheus to retrieve performance metrics from various AWS services.

GitHub Actions

It stands for continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) platform incorporated into GitHub repositories. Our cloud experts applied GitHub Actions to automate CI/CD workflows across diverse AWS accounts.

The Outcomes and Customer Feedback

By augmenting the internal platform team with 2 Senior DevOps engineers, the company achieved the necessary improvements in its operational efficiency and reliability. Cleveroad's DevOps engineers were able to quickly and seamlessly integrate into the existing workflows and collaborated closely with clients' in-house teams to streamline cloud infrastructure management operations.

Check the company's CTPO feedback on the IT staff augmentation services received from Cleverod:

Hans J Skovgaard, CTPO at Penneo gives feedback about cooperation experience with Cleveroad

Author avatar...
About author

Evgeniy Altynpara is a CTO and member of the Forbes Councils’ community of tech professionals. He is an expert in software development and technological entrepreneurship and has 10+years of experience in digital transformation consulting in Healthcare, FinTech, Supply Chain and Logistics

Rate this article!
3 ratings, average: 4.77 out of 5

Give us your impressions about this article

Give us your impressions about this article

Latest articles
Start growing your business with us
By sending this form I confirm that I have read and accept the Privacy Policy