With over 39,000 global customers, KnowBe4 is the world’s largest security awareness training company. The company’s mission is to help organizations and their users make smarter security decisions. Through their suite of cloud-based products, KnowBe4 offers training modules and simulated social engineering attacks that help their customers understand and protect against spam, phishing, malware and social engineering.

Prioritizing standardization

Before LaunchDarkly, the team used Flipper—a Ruby-based feature flagging tool—to toggle functionality on and off in their main product. But Flipper did not easily integrate with non-Ruby applications, and the platform team needed a solution that could be used across all of engineering. Within the scope of its current use cases, the team required support for four additional programming languages. The platform team knew that to improve efficiency, they needed all engineering teams to be on the same page around continuous delivery practices.

In addition to compatibility limitations, Flipper lacked the audit functionality that the InfoSec team needed to track release-related errors. Since KnowBe4’s customers look to the organization for best practices around maintaining secure systems, the ability to identify and quickly recover from potential threats was critical. 

Managing feature flags across environments was also cumbersome with Flipper. The team wanted the ability to access flags across all environments within a single application to streamline workflows and better manage dynamic infrastructure.

Deciding to buy rather than build

DJ Spatoulas, Principal Software Engineer for Platform Services at KnowBe4, led the charge for finding a feature management solution that could be used across the organization. In addition to using a third-party platform, his team weighed the decision of building their own feature management solution in-house. 

The platform team quickly recognized that building and maintaining a feature management solution would be too resource intensive. Building functionality like sophisticated targeting rules, UI compatibility, and audit logs—in addition to maintaining their availability SLAs—would distract them from their goals. They decided it was more fruitful to purchase a solution.

The team selected LaunchDarkly as their platform of choice based on its intuitive user interface, sophisticated user targeting, SDKs for all major languages, and trusted architecture to support availability SLAs. 

“To maintain a service of four nines that could do what LaunchDarkly does would take an entire team, and we wanted our teams to move faster” -

- DJ Spatoulas, Principal Software Engineer - Platform Services, KnowBe4

Realizing productivity gains

Now, as a LaunchDarkly customer for about a year, the KnowBe4 team is seeing great success. The platform engineering team has been able to realize its goal of improving engineering productivity, reporting a 23% increase in production output since implementing LaunchDarkly. 

“The integration of LaunchDarkly allowed us to fully adopt continuous deployment in a safe and scalable manner”

- DJ Spatoulas, Principal Software Engineer - Platform Services, KnowBe4

In addition to driving consistent release practices, KnowBe4 has leveraged LaunchDarkly for optimizing cloud migrations and costs. They recently used LaunchDarkly to progressively shift workloads and ensure performance for an application migration. In addition, the team has been able to eliminate six development and staging environments, reducing infrastructure costs and time spent managing multiple environments. 

Not only are engineering and InfoSec teams benefitting from the use of LaunchDarkly, but product owners at KnowBe4 use LaunchDarkly to better control end-user experiences. The team plans to continue to expand usage cross-functionally and leverage LaunchDarkly for new use cases. 

Curious what LaunchDarkly can do for your team? A report from research firm Forrester found we provide a 245% ROI for organizations. Give the report a read here.