Plus500 protects millions of online trades with a compliant multicloud solution
This financial trading technology provider integrated Google Cloud with VMware Private Cloud to meet security, performance and customer experience demands.
Rackspace Technology has managed the Plus500 private cloud environment for more than 10 years and helped Plus500 transition to multicloud with Google Cloud Platform. The flexibility and scalability of this environment ensures that its trading platform can facilitate more than three million trades every month — more than one per second. Rackspace Managed Security services help Plus500 navigate compSoluciones Cloud, Cloud Optimization, Multicloud, Public Cloud, Private Cloud, Security, Detect & Respond, Security Operations Plataformas Cloud, Google Cloud, VMware, Security, Armor, Rackspace Security Essentials
Plus500 is a market-leading provider of Contracts for Difference (CFDs), delivering top of the range trading conditions on shares, forex, commodities and indices alongside innovative trading technology. The company is headquartered in Israel and has subsidiaries in the UK, Cyprus, Australia, Singapore and Bulgaria.
“We have to be agile and constantly looking to adapt and enhance what we are doing, which is why a partner like Rackspace Technology has been so invaluable.”
A purely online operation
2020 was a tumultuous year for global financial systems. COVID-19 and changing economic conditions have caused international upheaval in financial trading and volatile stocks.
In the first quarter of the year, volumes of trades experienced a major boost and activity in the stock market skyrocketed. Since then, there’s been increasing unpredictability.
Plus500, an online trading company, is fully immersed in these market fluctuations and had to scale quickly to match consumer needs and behavior.
“Everything Plus500 does is online,” explained Ari Shotland, Chief Technology Officer at Plus500. “I do not just mean the back end, I mean our entire operation — we are an online trading platform, so all of our users need to be able to access our website and app at all times.
“For this reason, reliability has been the most important thing — if we are offline for even five minutes, people can miss trades and lose money, and obviously we are strictly regulated as a result.
“Rackspace Technology® offers us the support and reassurance that we need.”
While the pandemic has accelerated certain requirements, Plus500 has always been forward-thinking in its online-first and cloud-based approach to operations. The company was founded in 2008 in Israel and appointed Rackspace Technology as its managed service provider soon after launch. Rackspace Technology has seen the complexity of Plus500’s technology needs evolve.
The company initially ran on Windows Operating System before launching a web-based version of the platform in 2010, and its first apps for smartphones and tablets in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
“Technology is at the heart of what we do,” said Shotland. “We are always looking to improve our users’ experience and to innovate through technology. Being based online and given how quickly things change in the modern world, we have to be agile and constantly looking to adapt and enhance what we are doing, which is why a partner like Rackspace Technology has been so invaluable.”
Plus500 has 200,000 active customers around the world who trade the equivalent of $1.3 trillion each year.
“Round-the-clock support from Rackspace Technology has allowed us to operate a more sustainable model. Its team is an extension of our own and gives us the confidence to continue to scale internationally.”
A long-term partnership
Since Plus500’s earliest days, Rackspace Technology has supported its evolution to becoming a global trading company with multiple platforms.
“Our requirements were not always straightforward, out-of-the-box solutions,” explained Idan Mashaal, Director of Cybersecurity at Plus500, who has been a central part of operations since 2009. “Our data needs to be treated as a crown jewel. We have been innovative with how we have approached our platform and always challenge conventional thinking about how we build and view our offering, aided by the adaptability of Rackspace Technology.”
“Resilience has always been essential to our solution,” said Mashaal. “We have relied enormously on the support of and collaboration with Rackspace Technology — we never viewed it as an outsourced vendor relationship, we are all working together.“Round-the-clock support from Rackspace Technology has allowed us to operate a more sustainable model. Its team is an extension of our own and gives us the confidence to continue to scale internationally.”
Embracing public and multicloud
As Plus500’s business has become increasingly global, its robust and bespoke VMware private cloud platform has continued to underpin its operations.
However, with expansion and international growth a key business priority, the need for greater scalability became apparent.
Public cloud was the clear solution and over the last couple of years, Rackspace Technology helped integrate Google Cloud Platform to make Plus500 a multicloud operator.
“The addition of Google Cloud is a very important one for us,” said Shotland. “How to scale our system effectively was always at the forefront of our minds, and it was quickly clear that moving to multicloud would be the right thing for Plus500.
“We chose Google Cloud for a variety of reasons. It is primarily a data platform, which is what we needed, and in that regard, it is the best on the market and most suitable for our needs.
“Even away from any expansion plans, public cloud offers us many benefits alongside our private cloud. The private cloud retains our stability and business continuity, while the inclusion of Google Cloud alongside that is about improving our overall performance.
The COVID-19 pandemic also added to Plus500’s operational requirements, as lockdowns around the world drove even more activity online.
“There was immediately an increased load in online trading,” said Shotland. “We had to add hardware, increasing our number of servers, but it already showed how important public cloud will be in this regard too and has accelerated our adoption of it. Its autoscaling is something that will only become more valuable to how we operate.”
“Already, it has increased our processing power and helped us to democratize our data and meet our business requirements — in such a demanding sector in this regard. This benefit cannot be overstated.”
Plus500 has a secure, compliant multicloud solution that facilitate more than three million trades every month for its continually growing active user base.
Keeping everything secure
The cybersecurity requirements of a data heavyand strictly regulated platformlike Plus500’s are considerable andconstantly adapting.
As operations have expanded and grown more complex, the challenges of keeping everything online and operational have also changed.
“We see thousands of attacks every day,” explained Mashaal. “Not all of these are sophisticated, not many of them actually threaten us, but of course, these days there are constantly attempts on our network.”
In response to these threats, Plus500 deploys a suite of defenses with Rackspace Managed Security (RMS) at its core.
“Our security is multi-layered,” said Mashaal. “The Rackspace Technology part of our defenses is the last mile — the traffic it sees has already been scrubbed by firewalls and means that if something triggers and requires action from RMS, it is almost certainly real and malicious.
“RMS is an essential and powerful line of defense — there is no need to bother it with minor issues, it is the serious threats that we cannot otherwise stop that we know we can rely on it for.”
This security integration dates back to 2018 and has continued to evolve since then.
“When GDPR requirements launched, it was a good time for us to be early adopters of RMS,” said Mashaal. “It helps me a lot with compliance and makes it easier and more accurate for our teams to run security.
“We have tailored it to our needs and refined it, reducing the number of false positives the team then hunts for — too many of them and you risk a ‘boy who cried wolf’ scenario of dismissing a real threat as one that looks similar to a previous false one.”
The transition to a multicloud environment has also brought new challenges to the cybersecurity requirements. Plus500 is now in the process of upgrading to the latest version of the RMS Proactive Detection and Response (PDR) offering, with increased security and management capabilities supported by the implementation of Armor and Crowdstrike tooling.
“Multicloud adds a lot of complexities,” said Mashaal. “Our networks are all connected, which means you can go all the way from logging on to Google Cloud right through to our core servers. It’s great, and how multicloud needs to work, but of course it adds to the vulnerability as you lose visibility of that journey and of who is doing what.”
“A key next step for us is working with Rackspace Technology to improve this. This is where Armor, which is part of the new PDR offering, will help as it should catch everything — it enhances our existing security portfolio and will seamlessly run across Google Cloud and our own servers, but limit our vulnerability.”
The end goal is for Rackspace Technology to provide Plus500 with a single pane security offering across all of its operations, both public and private cloud, and make it as easy as possible to have total visibility across all environments.
Alongside these specifics, it is the expertise and the breadth of knowledge Rackspace Technology can bring that is the most valuable to Plus500 in its security operations.
“Some organizations may consider building their own Security Operations Centre (SOC),” explained Mashaal. “If you do it yourselves, you can only build it based on what you see yourselves — you don’t get the shared knowledge of what other companies are seeing, what different kinds of threat there are. That therefore adds to the risk, and you cannot afford that. Cybersecurity is evolving all the time, you have to stay in front of it wherever possible. This is why we use the Rackspace Technology SOC.”
As Plus500 continues to expand globally, it can scale confidently with long-term partner Rackspace Technology managing its multicloud environment and providing strategic direction. Plus500 looks forward to building on the extensive capabilities of Google Cloud Platform and all new developments will be wrapped in Rackspace Technology security and compliance services.
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