CAMBRIDGE ASSESSMENT

AUDIT & INFRASTRUCTURE AS CODE

THE CUSTOMER

Cambridge Assessment

designs and deliver s assessments to over 8 million learners in over 170 countries. As a department of the University of Cambridge, they provide education programmes and exams with unrivalled experience of national education systems, international education and English language learning. Their assessments have to be fair, have sound ethical underpinning, and operate according to the highest technical standards.

THE BRIEF

Cambridge Assessment sought the following benefits from an overhaul of their applications:

  • Free developer time spent on infrastructure to focus on new feature development, and remove constraints on ambition.
  • Improved security (external and internal) and improved governance.
  • Cost efficiencies - both operationally and development time.
  • A more consistent approach to the application infrastructure, shared across current and future projects.
  • Automation of infrastructure to aid current deployments, and accelerate support of new regions.
  • Improved reliability and scalability of the system.
  • Reduce complexity to be less dependent on a small number of people who are most familiar with the products.

Cambridge Assessment uses AWS services extensively. They partnered with us for an audit and to move to infrastructure as code and improve the development pipeline.

THE REQUIREMENTS

  • An experienced technical team to augment the in-house team, and increase their capacity.
  • A deep and broad understanding of all AWS services, software best practices, and development patterns.
  • AWS CloudFormation Service Delivery Partner.
  • Retrospectively establish infrastructure as code.
  • Increase security, reliability and scalability. Reduce operating and ongoing development costs.
  • Expertise and specialist knowledge to train the in-house technical team.

"I am delighted with the results we have achieved by partnering with Green Custard. In 3 months the work has paid for itself, and we are 6 months ahead of where we would have been."

Dan Frost,

Learning Technology Lead at Cambridge Assessment

THE SOLUTION

We conducted a full audit and made recommendations for improvement, covering:

  • Security
  • Database performance and scalability
  • Reliability
  • AWS account configuration, management, and governance
  • Cost efficiency
  • Quality of life improvements for in-house developers

The applications involved many AWS services, including: Amazon API Gateway, Amazon Cognito, Amazon ECS, AWS Secrets Manager, AWS Database Migration Service, and AWS WAF. Our team used their wide-ranging AWS expertise and knowledge of best practice patterns for developing robust infrastructure and pipelines.

Following the audit, we updated the applications to have infrastructure as code and a full CI/CD pipeline. Our work freed capacity of the busy in- house team, and increased security and governance for projects.

We provided a solid base for the future and established a framework for the team to confidently apply to new projects and features.

Cambridge Assessment has a great technical team, who by working closely with us, received free training as an added benefit for the technologies that were new to them. After implementation, we continued to be there for them, helping with migrations, and providing support.

The customer has already deployed one of their applications to a new region: China. Previously this was viewed as a significant challenge and would have taken months to plan. With infrastructure as code, there was minimal planning, a simple deployment, and it was easy to fix any differences needed for the new region.

As the customer said it was “unsexy work that nobody wanted to do, but it was important”. We are always happy to hear about the problems you are facing – we live to provide solutions. Our experienced and dedicated team genuinely get excited about each and every challenge.

"Technology is always moving. It is a full- time job to keep up-to-date on AWS technologies (our job). Clients can take advantage of this expertise, we can augment their team, and free the client to concentrate on driving their organisation forward." - James Green, Director at Green Custard