Our 2020 Retrospective

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At the end of each year we like to look back and discuss some of the significant things that happened and this year we did have a few significant events occur.

Firstly we need to discuss the elephant in the room. The pandemic has been a constant presence since very early in the year and it shaped some of our decision making. We added four new nodes this year due to increased customer demand and part of this increased demand was due to the pandemic changing peoples online behaviour.

That is to say as people spent more of their time online the services they use turned to us for protection to a higher degree. We saw record numbers of customers increase their plan sizes, record numbers of new signups and record levels of conversions from free to paid plans.

Our service more than doubled in size this year by user signup and daily usage metrics which is significant for a service in its 4th year. This growth is somewhat bittersweet because the pandemic which has harmed so many is partly why we've grown so rapidly this year.

We had to disable our live chat support for most of this year due in part to the high volume of chats it was generating but also our support staff being less available because of the pandemic. This is a feature we do intend to bring back in 2021.

When we look past these aspects of 2020 we did launch a lot of new features and enhancements to previous features. One of the biggest new features we launched was Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) which we recently updated with enhanced functionality.

This features popularity took us a bit by surprise. We knew customers wanted it as they had mentioned client-based implementations to us often even if they didn't know how to articulate it exactly. Since we launched CORS many thousands of websites have added our service to themselves through this method which again has been a surprise. It is by far the most popular feature we've added since the service started with custom rules being a close second.

This year did also see us add extra information to the API including Continents and Regions. These were added not just to improve the usefulness of the API in your apps but also to assist customers who wanted to make more targeted custom rules within their accounts.

Another popular feature has been burst tokens. We added this to help customers handle those momentary spikes of traffic that can happen from an attack, going viral or launching a new product where purchasing a higher paid plan doesn't quite make sense yet. We've had a lot of feedback about this feature and customers really seem to love the peace of mind it brings them, we've solved what we're calling query anxiety.

One of the more recent developments has been our regional expansion. Adding servers to North America had been on our roadmap for over a year but we always had a lot of concerns about data security. When you use our service you entrust us with your data and we didn't like the idea of that sitting on servers in the United States, specifically EU customer data on US servers. To combat this "issue" we devised an internal data access and permission system that keeps your data accessible only to our regions that you're actually using.

We've always stored customer data at rest in an encrypted container format within our block based database system but all our servers always had the keys to decrypt any of that data. With the advent of our regional nodes this has changed and each region will only have the ability to decrypt specific account data (Stats, CORS, White/Black lists, Custom Rules etc) after the customer tied to that account performs an action that would necessitate accessing their data. These keys also expire regularly to revoke access when it makes sense.

Looking towards the future it is our intention to add nodes in Asia next year which will lower access latency to our API for that region like we did for North America. We also have traditionally done price alterations in January but we're not doing that this time. We feel the pricing we have right now is great and so no price rises are currently necessary.

We know this year has been marred by disappointment due to the pandemic but we will return to normality. It's our sincerest wish that all of you are safe and healthy as we enter into the new year.

Thanks for reading!