Customer Case Study

Clara

Clara, now SoFi, uses Aviatrix remote user VPN to securely allow employees to access resources and applications in AWS VPCs.


Clara Lending was founded in 2014 to transform the mortgage process for individuals and families. Operating in a 100% cloud environment, the company—acquired in 2018 by SoFi—used Aviatrix software-defined cloud networking to enable non-technical staff to process mortgages faster and more efficiently.

The Challenge

When Clara Lending was founded, average mortgage loans took 100 person-hours to process. The startup’s two founders had specific goals to address this inefficient process: 1) educate buyers, provide transparency, and find the right mortgage product for each person’s needs, and 2) automate, improve, and overhaul the mortgage process from an engineering standpoint.

“We are 100% AWS and have been from the start,” said Aaron Chu, technical operations lead for Clara Lending. Within this entirely public cloud-based environment, however, the network still had a traditional design—one meant for on-premises datacenters, not the public cloud. The main virtual private network (VPC) used for production had 38 subnets on it, with 38 very traditional servers. It was like a datacenter transplanted in the cloud.

“We needed a newer design with networking that supported microservices and containers, suitable for a DevOps world,” said Chu. “We wanted to be able to manage our servers as cattle, not pets.”

The company also needed its non-technical mortgage staff to be able to access the cloud resources they needed without continually relying on the IT staff to help them get onto the right virtual private network (VPN).

“IT staff were spending up to 10% of their time just helping non-technical staff finding and working with the right VPN,” said Chu. IT also struggled with too much time spent building solutions and troubleshooting connections. The inefficiency was hindering Clara Lending’s ability to execute on its business goals.

The Aviatrix Solution

As a young startup, Clara Lending was able to adapt more quickly than larger organizations to new ways of working. “We were willing to change in order to achieve our goals, and we wanted to get our architecture design correct,” said Chu.

In looking for a solution to help with its cloud networking issues, the company encountered Aviatrix.

The Aviatrix remote user VPN solution is purpose-built for public clouds such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). The functionality is part of the Aviatrix Secure Networking Platform that also supports Global Transit, Encrypted Peering and VPC Egress security use cases.

“The new environment provides a central place for users to VPN remotely when they were out of the office, plus privileged access when in the office,” Chu said. “As a result, the user experience became much simpler. Also, security groups could be set up that weren’t assigned to a specific subnet, so it was easier to enforce security policies.”

Results with Aviatrix

The Aviatrix secure cloud networking software enabled Clara Lending to:

  • Process mortgage applications faster. Instead of spending time finding the right VPN to connect to, or contacting the IT staff to help with sign-ons or finding cloud resources, mortgage staff could focus directly on working with the information they needed.
  • Reduce the demand on IT. By handling VPN and VPC connectivity automatically, the Aviatrix software reduced the number of IT tickets and freed up IT staff to handle business-critical issues.
  • Implement defense in depth throughout its cloud environment.
  • Comply more easily with regulatory requirements. The Aviatrix software conforms to many of the VPN-related best practices outlined by regulatory agencies with influence over the mortgage industry—especially security practices such as encryption of data in transit and at rest.
  • Achieve frictionless connectivity. Users could log into a single account, be authenticated, connect with the right VPN, switch between wired and wireless access—all effortlessly and immediately.
About Clara Lending (Now Part of SoFi)

Clara Lending was founded in 2014 to transform the mortgage process for individuals and families. Operating in a 100% cloud environment, the company was acquired in 2018 by SoFi.