OVO partners with Cloudflare to scale and secure Indonesia’s largest digital wallet

OVO is a digital wallet and financial services app serving the general population and underbanked in Indonesia. Its goal is to provide financial services to everyone in Indonesia, especially those without access to traditional banking.

Since its founding in 2017, OVO has grown very quickly. OVO is now accepted as a payment platform by about 1 million merchants across 426 cities. The app is installed on 115 million devices, nearly half of Indonesia’s population of 270 million.

Challenge: Scaling and securing a rapidly growing company

From the beginning, OVO knew it would need to scale its services to meet demand while protecting itself against cyberattacks. In 2019, after evaluating various security and performance providers, OVO partnered with Cloudflare. The company uses Cloudflare solutions, such as Argo Smart Routing, to improve the performance and scalability of its mobile app. Cloudflare’s DDoS protection and WAF protect against near-constant attacks, and Cloudflare Workers supports OVO’s business continuity and digital transformation efforts.

When choosing a vendor, regulatory compliance was a major consideration. Indonesia has strict data protection laws, and OVO needed a provider that had infrastructure local to the country. Cloudflare has a data center in Jakarta, making it a perfect fit for OVO.

Cloudflare protects OVO against continuous attacks

OVO is the leading digital wallet provider in Indonesia, which makes it a major target for DDoS and other attacks. In an average month, Cloudflare blocks nearly 31 million attempted attacks against OVO’s data centers. This includes blocking the IP addresses of computers participating in DDoS attacks as well as blocking more sophisticated attacks.

This protection against DDoS attacks is essential to the company’s success. App users rely upon their systems to be functional and available to make payments. According to Jay Chin, Head of Engineering at OVO, “We have two data centers right now. So just having a sudden influx of traffic could bring us down. But with Cloudflare, we’ve never experienced any downtime from DDoS attacks.”

OVO also found Cloudflare’s security products to be extremely easy to use. When working through a security best practices guide provided by Cloudflare, Chin was impressed at how easy Cloudflare Web Application Firewall (WAF) is to configure. “The WAF is very intuitive. So that made it easy to implement all the rules.”

Argo Smart Routing improves OVO mobile app performance by 50%

As a payment service, the performance of the OVO mobile app is of paramount importance. OVO uses Cloudflare Argo Smart Routing to optimally route traffic between its app, website, and data centers.

By using Cloudflare, OVO has dramatically decreased page load time and bandwidth requirements. Argo Smart Routing routes traffic through Cloudflare’s overlay network, which monitors the performance of the underlying network and selects the optimal route for traffic. As a result, OVO pages that are loaded with Argo have an average load time of 369 milliseconds, compared to an average of 829 milliseconds for pages not using Argo, an improvement of over 50%. The company also saw an immediate reduction in request latency after enabling Argo, as measured by time to first byte (TTFB) of 28%.

Cloudflare also reduces OVO’s bandwidth requirements by over 55%, resulting in huge cost savings. According to Jay Chin, “That means a lot to us, because we have to pay providers for the connectivity to the Internet. And each time we have a link to the Internet we also have to build in redundant links and VPNs resulting in extra cost..” By limiting the amount of traffic that reaches OVO’s servers, Cloudflare helps the company grow while keeping costs low.

Cloudflare Workers addresses challenges at the network edge

Cloudflare Workers is designed to help organizations develop serverless applications that operate at the network edge. OVO uses Workers for business continuity and to support its digital transformation efforts.

Among others, OVO has deployed Workers to act as a failsafe in the event of a data center outage. If a data center becomes unavailable, Workers will send back an error message to the app, explaining the situation to the user and preventing the app from crashing.

Workers also supports OVO’s digital transformation efforts. The company is in the process of transitioning its infrastructure from on-premise data centers to the cloud. Workers examines incoming requests and depending on the target application, routes traffic to the data center or the cloud as needed.

According to Jay Chin, OVO could not have solved these problems without Workers. “Workers allows us to do things at the edge. We couldn't have this done at our data center, because what if it goes down? And in our migration to the cloud, you don't want to rely on the data center — you want something at the edge.”

Cloudflare Spectrum supported rapid transition to remote work

Like many organizations, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, OVO was forced to rapidly transition from working in the office to working remotely. During this transition, ensuring the availability and security of the corporate VPN was essential.

Jay was concerned that if the corporate VPN was exposed to the Internet, it would be the target of DDoS attacks. He decided to deploy Cloudflare Spectrum to protect the VPN and provide load balancing for the company’s VPN infrastructure. This ensured the availability and reliability of the company’s VPN infrastructure for remote workers in a safe and reliable manner.

OVO continues to grow and expand with Cloudflare

OVO has grown rapidly over the last few years, and Cloudflare has supported it throughout. Jay says that OVO is constantly looking to improve the performance and security of its systems. He says, “We'll do a security review and ask are there more things that we need to add on? Or are there any new Cloudflare products that we need to put in to ensure that we have better security? It's an ongoing process that we have.”

Scaling up, staying secure, and complying with Indonesia’s stringent data protection regulations can be challenging, but Cloudflare provides OVO with the security and support that it needs to do so.

Jay adds, “Our app has been downloaded on over 115 million devices, and for the majority of our users, OVO is their only banking system. We rely on Cloudflare to keep us up, running, and secure so we can protect our customers and keep their lives moving.”

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Key Results
  • Cloudflare blocks nearly 31 million attacks against OVO’s servers each month.

  • Argo Smart Routing reduces page load times by over 50%.

  • Cloudflare reduces OVO’s bandwidth requirements by more than 55%, resulting in huge cost savings.

Our app has been downloaded on over 115 million devices, and for the majority of our users, OVO is their only banking system. We rely on Cloudflare to keep us up, running, and secure so we can protect our customers and keep their lives moving.

Jay Chin
Head of Engineering

A sudden influx of traffic could easily bring us down, but with Cloudflare, we’ve never experienced any downtime from DDoS attacks.

Jay Chin
Head of Engineering