Online Auctioneer Bids on Secure Cloud Solutions

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The internet plays a huge role in today’s secondhand and auction markets. For Toronto-based online auctioneer MaxSold, cloud solutions improved infrastructure, eliminated data backup and recovery challenges and halted DoS website attacks.
The internet drives what the company does every day. MaxSold describes itself as a “local antique auction on your computer or smartphone with a chance to buy all things early, vintage and unique.” The company helps sellers turn unwanted antique and vintage collectibles and household items into cash — and buyers to score new treasures from the comfort of their sofas.

To succeed in the competitive online auction world, one thing was certain: MaxSold needed powerful cloud infrastructure services to keep sales flowing efficiently and customers on both sides of the transaction securely connected. Secure cloud computing wasn’t merely a nice option. It was a must.

The company had been operating two domains, MaxSold and YouBidLocal, both hosted by its private data center/network provider on physical hardware. This arrangement created multiple pain points for the auctioneer:

Aging Hardware. The leased server hardware was aging, causing latency and outage issues for the MaxSold and YouBidLocal domains.

Performance. The hardware did not provide adequate memory, CPU and I/O to accommodate MaxSold’s growth. This situation also contributed to the latency issues.

Capacity. The hardware configuration did not allow room for growth. MaxSold was not able to easily expand the drive volumes, and constantly needed to remove pertinent logs and backups from the environment in order to maintain stability.

Security. The network design used a single subnet for both domains which didn’t provide segmentation of front-end web and back-end database services. This design left the domains exposed to SQL injection attacks.

Disaster Recovery. The solution provided point-in-time backups, but lacked a way to store files offsite and to restore backups.

Migrating to Google Cloud Platform 

Enter Onix. After consulting with MaxSold’s leadership about the company’s infrastructure challenges, our engineers recommended moving the auction company’s legacy servers at the data center to a Google Cloud Platform solution to build a secure cloud infrastructure.

While the front and back ends previously communicated through a non-standard port on the database subnet, the new network layout segmented the front-end web applications from back-end database services to protect the latter from web attacks.

Working with Onix, MaxSold also replaced front-end servers running Windows with Linux so that they are less prone to malicious attacks. To address point-in-time backups, they procured VEEAM software — and created a dedicated virtual instance to provide daily backups to a persistent disk.

For reliable disaster recovery, the solution also leveraged GCP snapshot technology to create scheduled captures of virtual machines and replicate them globally across regions.. Ultimately, deploying GCP alleviated the capacity, performance and hardware issues MaxSold had experienced with the leased data center server.

But that’s not all. While addressing the client’s cloud concerns, our team of engineers made another discovery, previously undetected security vulnerabilities. These issues exposed both domains to SQL injection attacks. Our team eliminated these key vulnerabilities to protect the servers from attacks — and configured automated backups for recovery from outages.

This unplanned but necessary fix for secure cloud solutions, along with the strategic infrastructure upgrade to GCP, has kept sellers selling, buyers bidding and MaxSold in business as usual — with confidence.

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