Nasadiya Technologies is at the forefront of online self-publishing in India. Its flag service, Pratilipi — Sanskrit for ‘you become what you read’ — connects readers and writers in 12 Indian languages. Pratilipi is about providing access. By removing the barriers of language, device, format, technology, and geography, Pratilipi, and its sister platforms, PratilipiFM, Pratilipi Comics, and IVM Podcasts offer users across India online access to a rapidly growing library of user-generated content in their native tongue.
Showing exponential growth since 2014, Pratilipi has amassed over 25 million readers, 1 million contributing writers, and published nearly 10 million stories. Receiving 500 million unique reads each month, Pratilipi has also formed partnerships with Audible and Flipkart to publish curated content in audio and ebook format. The platform also licenses bestselling contemporary literature to enhance its collection, make popular content available to its readers, and attract new users to the platform.
For the Nasadiya Technologies engineering team, safeguarding the Pratilipi platform presented a series of unique challenges. As India’s largest digital storytelling platform and the country’s foremost publisher of user-generated content, the team’s focus was safeguarding Pratilipi’s creators, their contributions, and their readers.
“Building and maintaining trust with our creators is central to Pratilipi’s ongoing success,” explains Gauri Kanekar, Nasadiya Technologies’ Vice President of Engineering. “That means focusing our efforts on securing the platform against activities that threaten the authenticity and originality of our platform and content.”
Because Pratilipi operates in a country where mobile phone traffic exceeds desktop Internet usage by nearly 300 percent, the platform’s business model focuses on in-app advertisements and multi-tier subscriptions to generate revenue and compensate contributors based on the views their stories attract. As the platform scaled, however, the Nasadiya team encountered malicious bot attacks that compromised the platform’s performance, skewed usage data, and threatened secure payment systems.
“As we grew, we faced a massive influx of unwanted traffic that overwhelmed Pratilipi’s legitimate visitors, affected our customers, and impeded our growth,” says Kanekar. “Unfortunately, our previous CDN provider could not resolve the problems. We needed to find a comprehensive solution that could tackle our issues, help us retain user confidence, and ensure a safe online environment for everyone.”
In its quest for a highly secure solution that aligned with its development and business goals, Nasadiya Technologies turned to Cloudflare to enhance and protect Pratilipi as the platform scaled.
“Operating as a smaller team, we needed a security partner that could free us up to concentrate on our development roadmap and business expansion,” says Kanekar. “Cloudflare gives us precisely that. It supplies the tools we need to ensure the safety and reliability of our online services while allowing us to stay focused on long-term business objectives.
Using Cloudflare Application Security Services, specifically the Cloudflare Firewall (WAF), Rate Limiting, Bot Management, and DDoS Protection, Nasadiya Technologies mitigated the three most significant threats to its operations — DDoS attacks, malicious bots, and plagiarism.
“Out of the box, in its default configuration, Cloudflare takes care of 95% of our issues with untrusted bots,” he says. “The rest we can address by creating new firewall rules and implementing small customizations to meet specific needs.”
Cloudflare Bot Management secures the platform using machine learning, behavioral analysis, and threat fingerprinting to detect and neutralize malicious traffic on the Cloudflare global network. It stops threats before they endanger the integrity of Pratilipi content or payment gateways. The Cloudflare WAF, Rate Limiting and DDoS Management provide additional layers of protection to prevent service disruptions that could negatively affect the user experience.
“Cloudflare provides us maximum value with minimum effort. Implementing the solution was effortless,” says Kanekar. “Clear and comprehensive documentation made it easy to understand and use the system effectively, and the Cloudflare team worked with us to identify gaps in our setup and implement the solution correctly.”
Together with Cloudflare Application Services, the Cloudflare Global Content Delivery Network (CDN), and Argo Smart Routing form the backbone of Nasadiya Technologies' Cloudflare connectivity cloud. Leveraging the 15 Indian data centers and 310 points of presence Cloudflare maintains around the globe to cache Pratilipi content close to its users, Nasadiya Technologies ensures that the platform’s readers and contributors always enjoy a highly performant experience.
“All of our feedback has been positive, both in India and internationally,” says Kanekar. “By substantially improving the delivery speed of our text, image, and audio assets, Cloudflare has allowed us to ensure our global users enjoy a frictionless reading experience as we expand our products into international markets.”
In concrete terms, Kanekar estimates Cloudflare has reduced Pratilipi’s bandwidth consumption by over 50%. In some instances, the connectivity cloud increases the Pratilipi platform's efficiency and improves resource utilization by as much as 90%.
Using Argo Smart Routing, the platform also enjoys significant performance and reliability gains by circumventing Internet traffic jams and bottlenecks. For Nasadiya Technologies, this translates into maximum uptime and the fastest possible connection for all Pratilipi users, whether they are in remote communities or India’s most populous urban centers.
Because mobile devices rather than traditional desktop systems dominate the Indian telecommunications ecosystem, Pratilipi is primarily a mobile platform. In this mobile-first environment, Workers, and the Cloudflare developer platform enable the Nasadiya Technologies team to safely and efficiently develop, deploy, maintain, and scale their iOS and Android applications on the Cloudflare Global Network.
“Cloudflare Workers has been critical to our mobile application development, simplifying our processes and allowing our team members to work independently without issues,” says Kanekar. “Interacting with our APIs, Workers lets us create custom actions to secure and modify our headers, and perform optimizations that enhance performance and the user journey.”
Based on its successes using the developer platform, Nasadiya Technologies is exploring Cloudflare Workers to extend the company’s connectivity cloud to include disaster recovery measures and ensure business continuity in the face of unforeseen disruptions.
The engineering team is also planning to implement the Cloudflare Content Malware Scanning features to add another layer of security to the platform.
“It aligns perfectly with our use cases,” says Kanekar.” We will be adding Content Malware Scanning to our connectivity cloud in the near future.”
Working together, the Nasadiya Technologies engineers have formed a close relationship with their Cloudflare account team. According to Kanekar, Cloudflare has always been a trusted advisor to offer whatever assistance the company requires.
“Cloudflare is remarkably supportive, and we share a similar mindset — as a partner, they consider our success their own,” says Kanekar. “With a single connectivity cloud platform, Cloudflare simplifies security and performance management, providing emerging startups with the time and peace of mind to concentrate on business growth.”
“With a single connectivity cloud platform, Cloudflare simplifies security and performance management, providing emerging startups with the time and peace of mind to concentrate on business growth.”
Vice President of Engineering, Nasadiya Technologies
“By substantially improving the delivery speed of our text, image, and audio assets, Cloudflare has allowed us to ensure our global users enjoy a frictionless reading experience as we expand our products into international markets.”
Vice President of Engineering, Nasadiya Technologies