Smyte: Combating abuse of user-generated content, messaging, and transactions

About Smyte

Smyte combats abuse using customizable rules and configurable ML models trained by event data and content signals. The platform is configurable via SQRL Rules Engine and adaptable to the technology stack and unique behavior of users.

Industries: Technology
Location: United States

About SADA Systems

SADA Systems is a Google Cloud Premier Partner offering consulting, migration, application development, change management, and cloud managed services.

With Google Kubernetes Engine and Google BigQuery on Google Cloud Platform, Smyte can analyze huge amounts of data, giving customers more power and flexibility to detect fraud while reducing costs.

Google Cloud Results

  • Detecting and foiling more malicious activity for online services in less time
  • Flexibility to grow faster and streamline regulatory compliance
  • Sharing larger datasets with customers to enrich their security models

Identified $1M+ in credit card fraud for a major customer

For online services, fighting spam, scams, online harassment, fraud, and compromised user accounts takes tremendous time and money. The larger the business, the more data scientists, engineers, and reviewers—not to mention infrastructure—are required to identify fraud and abuse before it impacts users and damages an organization’s reputation.

A Silicon Valley innovator called Smyte is proving that detecting and remediating malicious activity doesn’t have to be difficult and expensive. Smyte’s big data service allows any company to quickly identify "bad actors" on their systems and improve abuse management at a fraction of the cost.

“We’re constantly trying to catch attackers, who continually change their behaviors. Google Kubernetes Engine enables our small team to manage a big infrastructure and respond quickly with new security services.”

Pete Hunt, CEO,Smyte

By combining an automatic classification system with powerful search and aggregation capabilities, Smyte significantly decreases the amount of manual review needed while making it easier for customers to zero in on relevant data. Smyte also provides a highly customizable developer platform, allowing customers to build their own solutions on top of the service.

Smyte operates on a massive scale, analyzing data from more than 100 million unique users per month. Within a few hundred milliseconds, Smyte can automatically classify entities such as payments, user-generated content, and account registrations, and provide human-readable reasons why an entity was blocked or flagged for review. Freed from tedious manual review queues, customers can take a more proactive approach to building trust and better safeguarding their users.

To keep its service cost effective, Smyte uses Google Kubernetes Engine—a managed Kubernetes service on Google Cloud Platform—to scale its application quickly without increasing headcount on its operations team. Smyte is now protecting more than 100 million users.

“We’re constantly trying to catch attackers, who continually change their behaviors,” says Pete Hunt, CEO at Smyte. “Google Kubernetes Engine enables our small team to manage a big infrastructure and respond quickly with new security services. We’re staying ahead of the bad guys without employing an army of engineers.”

Powerful management and orchestration

As its service grows, Smyte relies on Google Cloud Platform to provide fast performance, knowledgeable support, and cost efficiencies for its primary production environment. Google expertise in Kubernetes allows the small team of engineers at Smyte to spend less time troubleshooting issues and more time creating new customer services. As a result, its customers can spend more time focusing on their businesses and less time on the mechanics of identifying abuse and malicious activity.

“Google Cloud Platform is the best place to host Kubernetes because Google Kubernetes Engine makes integration and operations so easy,” says Pete. “Google offers a mature, managed orchestration system, with clean and well-documented APIs.”

Google Cloud Customer Engineering and SADA Systems, a Google Cloud Premier Partner, helped Smyte migrate to Google Kubernetes Engine. Because Google Kubernetes Engine is self-healing, Smyte can confidently use Preemptible Virtual Machines on Google Compute Engine, reducing its compute costs by approximately half.

“Google Kubernetes Engine empowers our engineers to be more productive and makes our application less expensive to host and maintain,” says Pete. “We’re safeguarding over 100 million unique users each month with 5 infrastructure engineers—an unheard-of ratio.”

Strong security and compliance

Google Cloud Platform encrypts data at rest and provides Smyte with a firewalled virtual private cloud by default, helping the company offer a trustworthy developer platform. As Smyte’s international customer base expands, Google Cloud Platform will make it easy to meet compliance requirements by providing a variety of regions and zones in which to store data.

“Having our data on Google Cloud Platform will aid in our compliance work,” says Jason Fischl, VP of Engineering at Smyte. “For example, we know that Google is committed to GDPR compliance, which will be helpful as we expand into Europe.”

“Google Cloud Platform provides management and access control tools that are incredibly useful right out of the box. We can share data with customers in a more secure environment and give them the power of Google BigQuery to quickly test their ideas and productionize new features at scale.”

Julian Tempelsman, Co-founder, Smyte

Large-scale analytics

To enable its analysts to store and analyze large amounts of event data to develop new models, Smyte uses Google BigQuery, a serverless data warehouse. Because Google BigQuery separates the concepts of storage and compute in its pricing model, Smyte doesn’t have to worry about the enormous amount of data it stores eroding its bottom line.

“Google BigQuery delivers a cost-effective and fast analytics environment,” says Pete. “We can do exploratory analytics that we would never have the time to build ourselves and make much more informed decisions. Google BigQuery is a huge differentiator that lets us offer cutting-edge services without driving up our staffing and IT costs.”

New features faster

Patterns of abuse and fraud strategies are constantly evolving, and Google Cloud Platform gives Smyte the flexibility and agility it needs to keep up. For example, Smyte’s customers often choose to enrich their own data with datasets that Smyte provides via Google BigQuery to enhance their security models. Some customers have been able to completely remove email verifications from their sign-up flow because they were able to rely on Smyte to know which users were good and bad. By reducing that friction, the customers were able to sign up more users and increase growth.

“Google Cloud Platform provides management and access control tools that are incredibly useful right out of the box,” says Julian Tempelsman, Co-founder of Smyte. “We can share data with customers in a more secure environment and give them the power of Google BigQuery to quickly test their ideas and productionize new features at scale.”

Databases on demand

Smyte stores user, reputation, and payment data in Google Bigtable, a fully managed, highly efficient, and massively scalable NoSQL database service. It stores metadata and manual reviews in Google Cloud SQL, another managed service. Smyte pays only for the amount of storage it uses, and its engineers never have to spend their time tuning databases for scalability or performance. Data in Google Bigtable can be queried using Google BigQuery, giving Smyte flexible and cost-effective analytics options.

“Using managed database services on Google Cloud Platform greatly reduces our management requirements and operating costs,” says Yunjing Xu, Infrastructure Engineer at Smyte. “We’re also using Google Persistent Disk to scale storage on the fly, without interruption.”

Ideal productivity tools

In the competitive market for trust and safety services, Smyte needs to innovate quickly, communicate efficiently, and keep costs as low as possible. When selecting office and collaboration tools, it looked no further than G Suite, including Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Gmail, and Hangouts Meet.

“Using G Suite was the obvious choice for our business. At a very low cost, we can immediately give employees and customers great experiences using familiar tools on familiar devices,” says Pete. “Google Hangouts Meet is our preferred way to engage with customers because it offers such a reliable personal connection with voice and video.”

“We wouldn’t have achieved the success we’ve seen nearly as fast, or offered such a diverse feature set without Google Kubernetes Engine on Google Cloud Platform. Working with the Google Cloud team has been fantastic.”

Pete Hunt, CEO, Smyte

Fighting the good fight

With Google Cloud Platform, Smyte can bring its services to market faster and keep winning scores of high-profile customers. Recent success stories include a major crowdfunding site that detected more than $1 million in credit card fraud over six months, a social network that stood up to cyberbullying, and a payment service that automatically identified a large percentage of bad actors on its systems.

Another customer used Smyte to significantly decrease fraud despite a 20% increase in overall traffic. Every day, Smyte blocks millions of harassing messages and spam accounts, helping to make the Internet a safer place.

“We wouldn’t have achieved the success we’ve seen nearly as fast, or offered such a diverse feature set without Google Kubernetes Engine on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Pete. “Working with the Google Cloud team has been fantastic, and they continue to provide us with valuable business development opportunities.”

About Smyte

Smyte combats abuse using customizable rules and configurable ML models trained by event data and content signals. The platform is configurable via SQRL Rules Engine and adaptable to the technology stack and unique behavior of users.

Industries: Technology
Location: United States

About SADA Systems

SADA Systems is a Google Cloud Premier Partner offering consulting, migration, application development, change management, and cloud managed services.

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12 Months FREE TRIAL

Try Kubernetes Engine, BigQuery, and other Cloud Platform products with $300 in free credit and 12 months.

TRY IT FREE