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‘We Ensure That Our Customer’s Revenue Is Always Protected’
We are able to counter these attacks that are being planned. We make sure that by the time, a person prepares to attack, he doesn’t have access to execute his attack
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As the businesses are increasingly going the digital way, the performance of the website has become quintessential. Webscale, a pioneer in integrated web application delivery in the cloud has come up with a new platform offering a fast track to the cloud. In an exclusive interview with BW Businessworld, Sonal Puri, CEO of Webscale, speaks about cloud service, load balancing, cyber threat and more:-
Being a cloud service based company, what are the facilities that you provide your clients?
We have over 600 e-commerce stores that run on the Webscale platform, and right from making them cloud-ready, migrating them to the cloud and then improving their performance, availability and security, we enable them with continuous delivery, where they roll out new versions without any downtime, improving their conversion rate and then making them successful. We also provide them 24*7 support through the entire workflow of their critical web applications.
As the vulnerability of the cloud platform has increased, how do you ensure the safety of your cloud platform?
There are actually, two aspects to that. There is the security of our own platform as software and as a service, our platform runs across multiple cloud providers and multiple regions, and we are PCI compliant at every level from physical to network access, everything is very controlled, and we have a security officer within the company. Then, for the customer data, we do two kinds of security, one is a web application firewall which makes decisions on behalf of the customers in terms of the traffic, be it blacklisting the traffic or white-listing the traffic making sure that commonly known exploits are protected across the platform or DDoS protection against large application flood-based attacks. Then for some enterprise customers, we also do end to end security or managed web applications where we do things like file integrity management for the back end, bot mitigation and detection and so on. It’s from the front end of the security and the back end and everything in between as well.
Websites often crash due to increasing number of server requests, how does Webscale sort this problem out?
This is probably our biggest differentiator in terms of technology. Our founder James Smith is a PhD and his initial PhD thesis was based on dynamic resource allocation. So, what we do is we dynamically allocate resources based on requirements. If you see, websites often crash when more people flock to it. At Webscale, we sense the arrival of customers to a website and then based on that arrival rate, we add infrastructure dynamically. So, what we do is predictive auto-scaling and it is in real time ahead of demand overwhelming the application. We protect the customer’s revenue by ensuring that the website doesn’t crash but also make sure that the website doesn’t slow down, as the users don't have the patience anymore, and they will go away from your site if page load times are less than three seconds.
How do you ensure load balancing?
When you add on additional resources to the site, and you make sure that the site gets additional infrastructure within the cloud, you have to make sure that you are balancing the traffic across the new infrastructure, so we provide a load balancing feature. Since we are software as a service, we do what is called self-healing, which means if one of the servers is not working properly, our agents will fix the snag so that no user is being sent to a slower server. The problem is fixed real-time using the technology.
How do you figure out any cyber threat before it cripples the network?
Think about it in two ways- one is network attack and then there is a layer-seven attack which is an application attack. A lot of security solutions offer protection at the network level which usually floods the website with a tonne of traffic and there are enough ways to tackle those attacks as they come, The newer attacks basically impact over a period of time and data can be stolen from the back-end. So, Webscale white-lists the IPs that are currently working on the site, this is an access control method. We also monitor changes in what you call the file system constantly. If there are changes to these files, we automatically come to know that something is not normal and then we can inform our customers that at this time, from this IP, something was changed, you need to go ahead and take a look as to where it came from. So, we are able to counter these attacks that are being planned. We make sure that by the time, a person prepares to attack, he doesn’t have access to execute his attack. The whole attack system has become very sneaky on the back end. We have customers who ask us block suspected IPs on the basis of geographic locations as well. So, we always make sure that we stay one step ahead.
Tell us about your new platform that aims to offer a fast track to the cloud.
This is called the Webscale auto-provisioning system. Many clients came to us with the request of migrating to the cloud because of the benefits that we offer as well as the benefits of the cloud. So, to avoid any human error we built an auto-provisioning system to seamlessly let our customers migrate to the cloud. It makes moving to the cloud faster, it makes it error free because it is automated, and it is a one-click deployment. It takes us less than a minute to remedy any corrupt aspect of the site as we have the site defined already. It has added a lot of comfort and advantages for our customers. We are trying to reduce the human touch in the cloud migration process. This technology of ours’ has been in use for several months and the response has been more than amazing.
What future innovations we will get to see from you for upgrading web performance?
We are a technology-enabled company and we focus on building technology that makes our customers better. We have 600 different stores. We examine the issues that our customers come across and come up with solutions for it. Like we realized that the websites work slower due to third-party deferment, so we have come up with a solution where they can use third-party tools and yet their site won’t slow down. We learn across our customer base and we focus on making our platform better and better. We invest in building what our customers want. It’s kind of a no-brainer to go for Webscale as we not only enhance the performance of our customers but also cut their costs.
According to a report, firms compromise with their cybersecurity metrics? Do you believe that?
I can only tell what I see across our customer base. So, what I see in the US is that the laws are pretty strong. There is a system in place here. I think things will start changing in India as well. Companies will increasingly become conscious of their security.
You work with start-ups and big players as well. So, what is the difference that you see among the two?
This kind of depends on the company itself, whether it is in the growth mode or they are struggling. If they are in the growth mode, the thinking of both is almost the same, both want to be innovative; both work well and make sure that they make no rash decisions. However, some businesses only try to cut costs and not attempt to build a business, in these cases, they won’t benefit from innovation. People in Silicon Valley are very open to the idea of buying from the start-ups so, as long as you a have a product that has its need in the market and you have pitched it correctly, people will buy it. There is some luck factor too, sometimes, I tell people it’s better to be lucky than good. You have to be at the right place at the right time.