Finder.com.au enjoys the freedom of sandboxed development

Financial products comparison website Finder.com.au tests new tools in an environment safely removed from its core infrastructure.
Written by Drew Turney, Contributor

For insurance, banking, and credit products comparison website Finder.com.au, public cloud became imperative when traffic started snowballing in 2010, according to co-founder Fred Schebesta.

Finder claims that one in 10 credit card applications in Australia goes through its service, and, after first using the cloud in 2010, the rapid increase in business meant flexibility and agility were critical.

Since then, the company has moved from a consumer-grade ISP to enterprise-grade provider Bulletproof, and adopted both platform-as-a-service and software-as-a-service models.

Finder.com.au co-founder Fred Schebesta

Luke Peterson, design and technology manager, and Michael Restuccia, senior developer, spearheaded the project to move applications and workload to the public cloud, and co-founder Fred Schebesta said it gives the company a safe haven for testing new ideas.

"We love the flexibility and 'fudge factor'," he said. "It gives us room to develop applications and solve major site issues without worrying about damaging our infrastructure or changing our regular methods of operation."

After using cloud service providers like SurveyMonkey, Google Analytics, Hitwise, and BoldChat, it's fair to say that the cloud has transformed productivity.

"We've loved using cloud technology," Schebesta said. "In a business that publishes a lot of content, Google Docs was the biggest game changer. It allowed us to collaborate in the same document real time. It also meant we never had to worry about losing files or ever having to do backups."

The power of Google to search across documents and email in Gmail and Google Drive is of particular benefit, a "huge time saver", according to Schebesta.

"It effectively created a database for us to constantly search through for incredibly important information, which was almost unable to be found with previous email setups or with files locally stored on our desktops."

Finder aims to be the number one financial comparison site in Australia.

"That means we're constantly coming up with new ways to help people," Schebesta said. "And using the cloud means we have the freedom to try all of these new ideas while still knowing our core infrastructure is preserved. Worst-case scenario is one piece glitches for an instant, but even then, the problem is isolated and contained."

The secret to a successful transition to the cloud for Finder has been the right provider, one that Schebesta said respected the size of the operation.

"If you're using the cloud, make sure you're partnering with a company that will respect the size of your business and give you the attention you need to be successful," he said.

"Avoid providers that only focus on support for big clients rather than one-to-one support, but ultimately choose a company that shares the same values as yours. Bulletproof has been invaluable."

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