Case Study

Cognia Meets Compliance Requirements Through Proactive Troubleshooting, Improves Customer Experience

Executive Summary

Cognia provides recording and analytics services for financial institutions, contact centers and other enterprises. Cognia's solutions help its customers meet regulatory and compliance requirements including PCI DSS and Dodd-Frank. It is also the world's first provider to achieve QSA-validated PCI DSS Level 1 compliance on a global, carrier-grade, cloud telephony and payment services platform. Upon launching its mobile recording solution, Cognia needed full operational visibility into its infrastructure and performance.  Since deploying Splunk Enterprise, the company has seen benefits including:

  • Improved customer experience
  • Higher availability of core applications
  • Better compliance
    • Managing the rapid rollout of Cognia Mobile to quickly identify and resolve issues
    • Required the ability to provide customers with detailed insight into service usage
    • Strict compliance requirements within the industry
Business Impact
    • Ability to easily identify and resolve issues, before they impact customer experience
    • Improved customer service with proactive reporting and issue flagging
    • Proactive troubleshooting and issue resolution, resulting in higher availability of core applications
    • Better compliance with custom tools based on Splunk
Data Sources
    • Application server logs (Tomcat, Catalina)
    • Billing data
    • Handset data
    • Cloudwatch data from AWS
    • CDR logs
    • Amazon RDS
    • Door entry logs
    • Squid proxy logs
    • Telephony switches call logs

Why Splunk

Cognia's mobile recording solution, Cognia Mobile, enables customers to control, capture, analyze and playback voice and SMS through a single interface. Upon its launch, Cognia Mobile was rolled out to several thousand users in two weeks; this scale and rapid rollout required visibility into infrastructure and performance, so that the company could quickly identify and resolve any issues.

Cognia deployed Splunk Enterprise from the outset to manage the launch of Cognia Mobile and ensure everything was running smoothly. Currently, three of Cognia’s teams are using the Splunk platform: the support team for handset diagnostics; the systems and engineering team for monitoring errors, cloudwatch metrics such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) system capacity and code health; and the development team for identifying and fixing bugs.

“Splunk provides a fantastic warning that something's starting to go wrong, that we might not otherwise catch until it was too late.”

Nick Hills, Chief Systems Architect, Cognia

Proactive troubleshooting with real-time insights

Splunk gives Cognia the ability to spot potential issues early and proactively act to rectify them. For example, in order to identify issues that need urgent investigation, the development team generates a daily error report within Splunk that shows any errors that have occurred in the past 24 hours. Thanks to Splunk, Cognia has also been able to take a proactive approach to ghost calls—being billed for a call that didn't happen. By ingesting the call detail record (CDR) logs into Splunk software and correlating this data with billed-for calls, the team can confirm whether or not a call actually took place. There are also Splunk dashboards on display in the office to visualize the location of calls being recorded in real time. This highlights a key differentiator for Cognia, which is its broad geographic coverage. Having real-time data from Splunk Enterprise demonstrating this global reach in a visual way is a valuable marketing tool.

Improved customer experience through full visibility into mobile services

Splunk gives Cognia comprehensive insight into customers' use of its services. For example, when Cognia Mobile was first launched, Cognia received a number of complaints from customers about draining battery life. Thanks to Splunk Enterprise, Cognia could show customers exactly when handsets were plugged in, charging and being used, thereby proving that, in fact, there was no issue with the batteries. Using the Splunk platform, Cognia is now able to proactively provide customers with metrics on phone usage, issuing an early warning when a battery is coming to the end of its life or whenever there is a potential performance issue.

Cognia also produces activity reports for customers to show them how often handsets are being used, when the last call was made and how many calls a handset has made in its lifetime. In addition, Cognia can identify problems on specific handsets and proactively deliver this value-added information to the customer. Because searching in Splunk software is so intuitive and doesn't require designing a schema, it's easy to investigate new areas if customer requirements change.    

Better compliance with custom Splunk-driven tools

Splunk software has become a crucial part of Cognia's infrastructure and service offerings. The platform also plays a key role in ensuring that Cognia remains compliant to industry regulations. The company operates an Information Security Management System which complies with the requirements of ISO/IEC 27001:2005 and is a QSA-validated (Level 1) PCI DSS-compliant Service Provider. Splunk Enterprise gives Cognia the ability to audit internal logs as well as Splunk searches themselves. In addition, Cognia has written several of its own custom tools that rely heavily on Splunk Enterprise. For example, the user interface and metrics for Cognia's intrusion detection system are all done within Splunk software. This enables Cognia to continue to provide the full range of compliant services to its customers.