The Handelsblatt Media Group (HMG) is the leading media house for business and financial information in Germany. The Düsseldorf-based media group was founded in 1946 and stands for well-founded, independent quality journalism. With its decision-maker media properties including Handelsblatt and WirtschaftsWoche, HMG reaches more than two million readers. HMG also serves large businesses through a variety of subsidiaries, offering marketing expertise, a corporate content agency, and more.
As a marquee media property, HMG regularly faces concerted online attacks from hostile actors — and before moving to Cloudflare, they were causing major issues. Over a span of several weeks, HMG was overwhelmed multiple times by online attacks that incapacitated its origin server, rendering the site inaccessible.
Trust is paramount for news organizations, and erratic website reliability can quickly erode that trust. With no signs of the attacks abating, it was time for HMG to act.
HMG’s Digital Products & Development team evaluated a variety of cloud platforms as it looked for something that could not just mitigate these hostile attacks, but would also provide benefits to performance, reliability, operational efficiency — and cost. It quickly decided that Cloudflare was the clear choice.
After a swift migration — with zero downtime — from a legacy cloud vendor, HMG enabled Cloudflare’s web application firewall (WAF) and DDoS protection to thwart hostile actors, and its reliability issues immediately ceased. Informed by the collective intelligence of approximately 25 million properties on Cloudflare’s network, Cloudflare’s firewall is continuously and automatically updated against the latest threats, using insights from attacks on any one property to better protect them all.
Now, the HMG team can focus on other priorities, like accelerating performance and finding ways to unlock more productivity from its team.
Indeed, the more it explored Cloudflare’s platform, the more opportunities HMG saw to improve everything from its security and performance to its operational efficiency.
Powering A Digital Transformation
HMG is in the midst of fundamentally changing the way it approaches its digital strategy — which entails overhauling its infrastructure, and adapting its culture to thrive as it works to become a pioneer in digital publishing innovation.
One of the biggest wins for HMG has been Cloudflare’s deep API support, which enables HMG to programmatically configure a wide array of Cloudflare products and features. The ability to define its infrastructure with code has empowered HMG to reduce dependencies, better leverage automation, and transition to a continuous deployment process that markedly accelerates its development pipeline.
Another major benefit stems from Cloudflare’s position in the network stack, which allows it to work in tandem with — and manage policies across — any combination of on-premise and cloud infrastructure (in addition to SaaS apps). HMG still operates largely from on-premise servers, but it is in the process of embracing the public cloud — and it uses Cloudflare as an independent intermediary layer to tactically manage multiple clouds simultaneously.
Just the Beginning
HMG has even bigger ambitions as part of its digital transformation, and Cloudflare will continue to play a leading role. Cloudflare’s Argo Smart Routing has contributed to a dramatic acceleration in the site’s performance, dynamically routing visitor traffic around Internet congestion. And the HMG team is currently experimenting with Cloudflare Workers, the bleeding-edge serverless platform, to enable deeper personalization.
• Cloudflare's robust security protection mitigates online threats against HMG, eliminating associated downtime.
• Cloudflare’s deep API support enables HMG to programmatically configure a wide array of Cloudflare products and features.
• The ability to define its infrastructure with code has drastically accelerated HMG's development pipeline.
“Cloudflare serves as our independent, unified point of control — giving us the strategic flexibility to choose the right cloud solution for the job, and the ability to easily make changes down the line.”
Dr. Isabel Wolters
Chief Technology Officer, Handelsblatt Media Group