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SoftwareOne case study

Art for all with a modernized AWS Cloud

A group of people walking through an art gallery.

Making art available to all. Discover how charity Art Fund turned to SoftwareOne to optimize its AWS environment to keep its website secure and available.

Art gives meaning to life and helps us understand our world. It is why UK charity Art Fund is dedicated to helping museums make art and culture available to everyone. To do this, it depends on a public facing website that is secure, reliable and highly available. Running on AWS, Art Fund worked with SoftwareOne to improve the security and operability of its estate.

  • 87%

    Security Hub score achieved

  • 32%

    improvement in application performance

  • 4x

    faster deployments

Art Fund
AWS Cloud
Cloud Services for AWS (AWS modernization, Landing Zone deployment, Cloud Operations Managed Service)
United Kingdom

Creating a better web experience

If you’ve ever visited a museum or gallery in the UK and admired the array of art on display, you may wonder how the cost of the art is covered, particularly as many of the museums are free. That’s where Art Fund comes in.

It is a membership-based British charity that lobbies on behalf of and raises funds for the acquisition of artworks for the nation to enjoy in many museums and galleries. It also provides training and development for museum staff and makes affordable access to museums possible for everyone through the sale of its Art Pass.

The organization relies on grants, donations and Arts Pass income to raise the funds needed to fulfil its mission. The Art Fund website acts as its shop front, with payments and donations coming through this. It needs to be secure, reliable and highly available. If the site goes down, it has a direct impact on the charity’s ability to raise funds to support museums and galleries. What’s more, people donating to a charity want to feel confident that monies donated are securely received. An offline or unsecure website doesn’t achieve this.

The charity was running on AWS, however, it wanted to modernize the environment, by using industry best practice standards and improving security, availability and operability. But with limited AWS experience or in house technical expertise, it needed a managed service partner to assist them with this modernization project and the management of the infrastructure.

A blurry image of people walking through an art gallery.

A Well-Architected Face-Lift

Art Fund turned to SoftwareOne because of its tested approach in transforming customer environments using the AWS Well-Architected Framework (WAF) and its productized Landing Zone.

The SoftwareOne team deployed a AWS Landing Zone, which automatically creates and configures the AWS account structure against the WAF and has 100% compliance with the Center for Internet Security (CIS) AWS Foundations and AWS Foundational Security Best Practices.

Initially Art Fund was using a single account for all its workloads and did not have any segregation of environments, which reduces security. In addition, all the infrastructure was manually deployed without proper automation and changes to the workloads could have taken several weeks.

Art Fund’s workloads were then migrated into the new account structure accomplishing account segregation of the environments. Workloads were moved to Infrastructure as Code (IaC) with Terraform managing the state of the applications which enabled immutability and security of the workloads. With the account vending machine, which is part of the Landing Zone, the customer can now provision new accounts and workloads based on predefined configuration within days. This prepares Art Fund’s business for rapid growth without compromising on quality or security.

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Next, SoftwareOne analyzed the operational excellence and reliability of the workloads. The autoscaling configuration and deployment processes were modernized to achieve higher availability and reduced deployment time. Additionally, the use of Cloudflare was revised and a decision was made to migrate the functionality to the AWS native services – Amazon Route 53 (R53), Amazon CloudFront to improve performance and availability, while bringing everything in the same space for ease of management.

As a final project step, Art Fund’s environments were onboarded to SoftwareOne’s Cloud Operations Managed Service. Automations were deployed to ensure proper backup, patching, and monitoring of the workloads. Using the availability monitoring, SoftwareOne can monitor the customer URL endpoints, track latency and availability of the application as well as detect issues with the infrastructure. With the environment modernized and the maintenance automated, Art Fund can now focus on its core business and leave the AWS management to SoftwareOne.

Our website is the face of our organization. It is imperative that it is secure, easy to use and performs well to create a good user experience. We needed to optimize the setup of our AWS infrastructure but lacked the expertise to do this. SoftwareOne managed the AWS modernization process for us smoothly and continues to provide us with invaluable support and value for money. We look forward to evolving our cloud journey with them as we take on even more ambitious projects to achieve our mission of making art more accessible to everyone.
– Peter McAndrew, LiveOps Manager, Art Fund


Secure and reliable

When people donate money to crowdfund a new art installation, or bequeath large sums of inheritance, they want to know that their money is going to be managed wisely and put to good use. The experience on the Art Fund website must be seamless and secure, to inspire confidence and ensure projects can get underway. Working with SoftwareOne to implement the AWS Well-Architected Framework has achieved this. The optimized environment has:

  • improved website performance by 32%, decreasing website load times from 2500 MS to 1700 MS (on average).
  • reduced risk with industry standard security and compliance. Improved workload and accounts security. SoftwareOne increased Art Fund’s Security Hub score by 87%.
  • increased speed of software deployment four-fold, with lead times being reduced from 4-8 weeks to 1-2 weeks.
  • freed up time for the Art Fund team to focus on core projects rather than managing and maintaining the website infrastructure.

Looking ahead, Art Fund will look to SoftwareOne for guidance as it evolves its use of AWS. Keeping costs down is a priority for any charity. SoftwareOne will be working with Art Fund to explore containerization to improve cost efficiency and sustainability of the Art Fund workloads. SoftwareOne looks forward to being with them every step of their modernization journey.

A blurry image of a computer screen with numbers on it.

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