Upside

Upside was created to focus on providing for the unique needs of unmanaged business travelers. “There is a large segment of business travelers who don’t have time to schedule and manage business travel, but who also don’t have the resources of a large company with a dedicated travel coordinator or department,” related Amber Oar, Project Manager for the Site Reliability Engineering team at Upside. “We’re trying to give our customers a better business trip by being a one-stop shop for all their business travel needs and providing them with excellent customer service.”

Upside’s Challenge: Malicious Attacks Trying to Break Into Accounts

“We quickly saw brute force login attempts,” explained Jay Gorrell, Lead SRE at Upside. “Because our users can accrue rewards, there’s a real incentive for attackers to try to break into the user accounts. Our business is about making our customers’ lives easier, so we can’t have them dealing with the headache of a breached account.”

Outside of security, Upside was also looking to optimize their application’s performance. “Speed is a huge priority for us,” commented Oar, “we recently executed a site overhaul to make it faster, and we are always looking for areas to continue to optimize the speed of our site, as this helps us get and retain customers.”

Upside’s Solution: Powerful Rate Limiting and Simplified Deployment

Upside’s existing user-facing tools gave them the basic security and performance they needed, but it had its limitations. “With our previous solutions, domain names were tightly coupled with the CDN distribution they are running through,” explained Gorrell. “With a microservices environment like ours, DNS and deployments need to be easily shuffled around without customer disruption. It’s a frustrating and tedious process to accomplish that with the tight coupling.” While looking for a new vendor, Upside found most solutions for this issue to be overly complicated or too intrusive. The team decided on Cloudflare because it offered ease-of-use, scalability, flexible DNS management, granular Rate Limiting controls, security through the Web Application Firewall (WAF), and CDN.

“Cloudflare had a lot of features out-of-the-box that solved a number of problems for us,” Gorrell began. “Rate Limiting and reputation-based IP scoring help us block the threats we were seeing. By switching to Cloudflare’s CDN, we were able simplify our deployment patterns because the CDN is always available, rather than being a coupled unit of deployment attached to a DNS name.”

With Cloudflare, Upside has seen a significant drop in attacks, and is able to block the attempts that continue to occur. By leveraging Cloudflare’s performance network, Upside has also improved the load times of its pages.

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“Cloudflare is an unobtrusive layer that adds security and reduces complexity of our deployed systems.”

Jay Gorrell

Lead Site Reliability Engineer