CASE STUDY: 42 North - Healthcare DevOps

[fa icon="calendar"] May 30, 2017 10:13:00 AM / by Ben Rodrigue

CASE STUDY:  42 North Healthcare & DevOps Engagement

About 42 North:

42 North is a Chicago-based medical technology startup. 42 North manages and deploys innovative, customized pharmaceutical commercialization strategies to help their clients increase patient access and facilitate economic and clinical efficiencies in the prescription fulfillment process.

42North Logo

The Challenge:

42 North provides a service which validates pharmaceutical manufacturer coupons against rebates used at various pharmacies. Their solution mitigates errors, fraud, and other issues caused by using old or invalid rebate codes. This involves ingesting a large quantity of files, processing data and returning batches of reports to customers.

As 42 North deals with Protected Health Information (PHI) data, they are required to follow HIPAA guidelines when managing, storing, and transmitting data.

Following early success, the company has grown its customer base and found that their current on-premises solution was inadequate to meet their forecasted demand. 42 North reached out to Six Nines for assistance in helping them move to a secure, modern cloud infrastructure and implement DevOps principles for efficiency and consistency.

The Solution

Six Nines engaged with 42 North in a detailed discovery process as the first part of their customer Cloud Adoption Framework. The discovery process is designed to gain an understanding of a customer's current platform requirements and dependencies as well as their future growth needs.


In the second phase of the project, Six Nines architected a HIPAA compliant solution utilizing two Availability Zones with multiple subnets each for network isolation, scalability, and availability. Additionally, some HIPAA-required elements were implemented including Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts running a Microsoft Operating System, Amazon VPC Flow Logs for Amazon VPC  and Amazon CloudTrail for API logging. Using AWS CloudFormation templates, Six Nines automated the deployment of the environment.

Six Nines followed security best practices which include preventing direct access to 42 North’s AWS resources by incorporating a bastion host in a public subnet with security group settings designed to allow access only to dedicated 42 North’s locations. Production instances are deployed in a private subnet with a separate security group. The HIPAA instances, on dedicated hosts, were granted internet access via the NAT Gateway for connectivity to updates and 3rd-Party BI solutions.

Six Nines utilized the following AWS services in the final solution:

  • Amazon VPC, Security Groups, Roles & Amazon Identity & Access Management rules
  • NAT Gateway
  • Amazon EC2: Dedicated Hosts
  • Amazon S3
  • Amazon VPC Flow Logs
  • AWS DevOps Services
    • AWS CloudTrail
    • AWS CloudFormation templates
    • AWS CodeCommit


42 North has finalized their production code base, and they are now running workloads on the deployed AWS infrastructure. The customer has noted they are extremely pleased with the current architecture and will be looking to Six Nines in the coming months for additional technical support as they scale.

Benefits Achieved:

  • HIPAA Compliance: The infrastructure was architected from the ground up to meet HIPAA compliance.
  • Performance: The deployed architecture was optimized for running and finishing batch jobs in less than one hour to optimize AWS spend and deliver faster results.
  • Connectivity: Network performance directly to their Business Intelligence solution is all within the AWS network, so latency is minimal compared to submitting large datasets over the Internet.
  • DevOps: AWS CloudFormation templates provide a scripted framework to deploy and scale the environment while reducing or removing the likelihood of human error. AWS CloudTrail enables 42 North to provide proof of the security controls in place to satisfy HIPAA. AWS CodeCommit (Managed Git Repositories) provides a secure infrastructure code store.

About Six Nines

Six Nines helps customers move to the cloud responsibly. Headquartered in Oakland CA, with offices around the world, Six Nines has helped hundreds of customers Architect, Migrate and Maintain their cloud infrastructure. As an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner with over eight years of experience, Six Nines is a leader in the cloud space.

Learn More

To learn more about how Six Nines and AWS can help you deploy your DevOps environment, DevOps on AWS.



Topics: architecture, automation, AWS, best practices, cloud, cloudformation, DevOps, Healthcare, HIPPA, adoption, Technology

Ben Rodrigue

Written by Ben Rodrigue

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