Case study: Trust ID platform
Secure AWS infrastructure (as code) development

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The Trust ID platform is a secure identity verification platform, dealing with highly sensitive personal documents over the Internet. A highly secure infrastructure was required to host and protect the software and its data, both in transit and at rest. The infrastructure passed a strict security audit and penetration test, allowing work with the nuclear sector.

Services delivered

Technologies used

  • AWS
  • Terraform
  • Ansible + Packer
  • Docker

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Our favourite elements of the infrastructure project


Secure AWS infrastructure

  • Audit logging - full trail of access, keeping track of exactly who accessed data and systems, or made changes to them
  • Strict access control - principle of least privileged used to give minimal access to all parties to reduce the potential damage from a compromised account or bad actor
  • Highly secure - access from the outside world was extremely limited and regulated, reducing the changes of a remote attacker getting in - and limited what they could do in the event they did
  • Monitoring and alerting - allowing the team to instantly become aware of intrusion, performance issues, service outage, etc.


  • Industry best practice - software development best practices (version control, documentation, etc.) can be applied to infrastructure with this approach
  • Fully documented - the entirety of the infrastructure is documented as code, making the infrastructure immediately reproducible
  • Changes can easily be audited - as all changes are documented, they can be reviewed by other parties before being applied
  • Secure - even those working on the infrastructure implementation do not need to access to production systems and data

Consultancy and technical evaluations

  • Technical evaluation - we audited the pre-existing software, identifying security issues before the external audit, saving on costs and the risk of missing the deadline
  • Helped manage team of external contractors - to ensure the project was delivered on time and within budget, including investigating contractor performance concerns
  • Acted as CTO (Chief Technical Officer) - with a retainer in place to guarantee availability, we were always available to provide advice and consultancy when needed
  • Produced technical guidelines - covering work processes, coding standards, testing, etc. to help standardise work quality from all parties involved

Behind-the-scenes and other top features

Not all heroes wear capes. These behind-the-scenes features don't have images, but form an important part of the project.

  • Full architecture specification - ensuring the security criteria would be met before investing in implementation
  • Infrastructure running cost estimation - allowing cost benefit evaluation
  • Secure encrypted data back-ups
  • Multi-server auto-scaled architecture across multiple availability zones, to reduce risk of service outage
  • Separate environments for production, staging (demo) and development

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– Ben Pollard, Director, Cyber Security Specialists

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Project outline: building the secure infrastructure

The client had their pre-existing identify verification software hosted on AWS. The software dealt with highly sensitive personal documents, submitted via the web and a mobile app. In order to secure a large contract in the nuclear industry, the platform needed to pass a thorough security audit and penetration test to gain certification.

An initial security audit was undertaken, which highlighted a large number of issues with the existing infrastructure. The client's existing team, which included employees and external contractors, did not have the capability to deliver a secure infrastructure to the required standard.

The client also did not have a technical lead, making managing a disjoint technical team very challenging. This situation made it very easy for contractors to take advantage, as they had to be taken at their word, with their work going unchecked.

The back-end software was quite large and complex, being made up of a number of services and microservices - a lot of moving parts. As is commonly seen in start-up environments, documentation and code quality suffered.

Our involvement

We became a core part of both the management and development teams, acting in the capacity of CTO/head of technical as well as in a hands-on capacity. Initially, we performed technical evaluations on the existing infrastructure and software, to take stock of the situation. From there, we put together a detailed specification for a new infrastructure that would meet the security, as well as performance, requirements. We found multiple issues with the software and worked closely with the developers to rectify them. Various modifications to the software were required for it to be compatible with a modern infrastructure.

In parallel to the infrastructure design and development, we were providing consultancy to the non-technical management. Not only the new infrastructure was required, but there was also an ongoing software development effort. This involved helping to manage the various parts of the development team, to ensure the project was delivered on time and in budget.

Once the specification was signed off, we built a greenfield AWS infrastructure using best practices, securing it to high standards.

The result

With our new infrastructure and our involvement in improving the software, we successfully passed the strict security audit and penetration test, allowing the client to achieve its certification. Performance bottlenecks were also improved with the new infrastructure, improving the usability of the software.

Now that the infrastructure is in place, it is largely self-sustaining and requires little maintenance. Monitoring and alerts are in place to let the client's team of performance problems, security breaches and service outage.

After the delivery of the project, the ongoing consultancy retainer was kept in place to help the company manage and grow its internal development team.

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