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MNRB Reduces Costs and Secures Its Systems with Kong Enterprise

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Reduced Overhead Costs

Significantly lower total cost of ownership through utilizing microservices and API management

Highly Secure Systems

360° protection for all services, no matter where the services are deployed

Faster Time to Market

Accelerated development and increased efficiency among developers


  1. Microservices-based architecture using DMZ firewall in conjunction with Kong Enterprise
  2. Using Kong’s large plugin library (including OAuth2) to increase security posture
  3. Kong Developer Portal to create single source of truth for API consumption


  1. Required a modern technology stack to support expanding global footprint
  2. Needed to offer a consolidated platform including pricing comparison, enable purchases, start services, and file claims quickly
  3. API catalog to ensure the consistency in development of APIs that could be easily viewed and tested by all teams

Company Introduction

MNRB Holdings is an investment holding company principally engaged in the provision of management services for its subsidiaries. MNRB’s branches include investment holding, reinsurance, retakaful and retail takaful (takaful is a shared risk system of reimbursement, organized as an Islamic alternative to conventional insurance). In an increasingly globalized marketplace, MNRB strives to enhance the competitiveness and efficiency of local insurance companies through its active involvement in leading and underwriting their reinsurance needs. By leaning on strong values and an accomplished track record, MNRB has grown in stature as an international player with a strong market presence in Asia and the Middle East.

Growing Globally with an API-first Approach

With a commitment to expanding its domestic footprint while continuing to pursue select markets abroad, the MNRB Digital Innovation Department prioritized modernizing its technology stack. In striving to become an API-first organization, Mohd Khairul Hairi B Mazlan, Head of DevOps at MNRB, and his team sought an API gateway solution that could support their requirements for scaling well-designed APIs in a proficient and cost-effective manner. Kong Enterprise was selected by MNRB to support this initiative, largely due to its ability to provide a consolidated platform that offers pricing comparison from all insurance operators. Mazlan and the team required a middle layer to consolidate all front end facing systems to their back used system using API gateways. Additionally, they needed an API catalog to ensure all their APIs could easily be viewed and tested.

Building outstanding digital experiences for customers

One significant challenge MNRB previously faced was their ability to deliver insurance services quickly to customers. Before implementing Kong, it could take more than 3 days to get verification between systems that a customer had purchased services. This was especially a problem when customers needed to file a claim in the interim, while they were still waiting for that verification. Using Kong Enterprise, they’ve been able to set up these connections to provide instant verification, delivering a much better customer experience. “There are many systems that work together to provide pricing comparisons, quotes, verify the customer’s purchase via email and SMS, and allow them to use the interface to submit a claim. This used to take a matter of days – now, with Kong, it’s instantaneous,” says Mazlan.

MNRB’s achievements in delivering exceptional customer experiences were recognized at the Malaysia Technology Excellence Awards in 2022, winning the Insurtech – Financial Technology award category.

Embracing Microservices and Reducing Overhead Costs

Many forward-thinking enterprises today are increasingly adopting microservices as their architecture of choice. This is for good reason, as this popularized architecture brings numerous advantages to the table, including the ability to easily integrate with modern platforms and tools, while allowing for independent scalability across teams thanks to the loosely-coupled nature of microservices-based architecture.

In light of becoming an API-first organization with Kong, MNRB also looked to begin its transition to microservices. Through leveraging its well-designed APIs, MNRB could now streamline its service-to-service communication and build a more fault-tolerant system. Additionally, with Kong handling the majority of the load balancing for its microservices-based architecture, MNRB could minimize the overhead costs that would have otherwise been allocated to additional servers and hardware load balancers had an API gateway not been present.

The challenge microservices presented for MNRB is that they required services to be externally exposed, which leaves them vulnerable to exploitation. Mazlan and the team needed a way to enable 360 degree protection of all of our services. They did this through a combination of monolithic architecture, which allows for separation of the web and application layers using a firewall, and microservices deployed using docker images. “This was only possible using Kong Enterprise gateways to manage and secure the connections from front end to back-end services,” says Mazlan. “This strategy has led to significant cost savings, while keeping our services secure and protected,” he shared. Kong’s API gateway has made MNRB’s microservices applications more flexible and easier to work with, allowing the team to focus on development and less on technical issues.

Ensuring Operational Resilience for MNRB’s Microservices

While a microservices-based architecture offers many business advantages, it may also introduce a handful of common challenges that are critical for every high-profile organization to address. Perhaps most notably, as the number of microservices increases, the complexity of managing these services will also increase. As a result, this may hinder service visibility and elevate the risk for potential security vulnerabilities if left unchecked.

To provide its internal service network with an advanced security layer, MNRB has opted to use a DMZ firewall. When using this firewall in conjunction with Kong’s API gateway, MNRB elevates the reliability and resilience of its three-tier architecture. Additionally, through Kong’s strong overall security posture and large plugin library (OAuth2, OpenID Connect, and more), MNRB is now equipped with an ideal line of defense for exposing APIs and services to external parties while mitigating risk. As a result, their systems are more secure and at no additional cost to provide full protection, while deploying a minimum number of VMs.

API Catalog – Improving Time To Market

APIs sit at the intersection of people and technology, providing a means for translating machine language into real-world applications. With this in mind, Mazlan prioritized investing in a technology platform that was not only highly performant, but also possessed an inherent ease-of-use factor that would enhance his team’s development experience – enabling them to reach their goals faster and in a repeatable manner.

Through its streamlined developer onboarding, intuitive content management for documentation, and role-based access control, Kong became the technology platform of choice for MNRB’s API-led program. Kong’s Developer Portal enabled the MNRB team to create an online brochure that now serves as its single source of truth for API consumption. With this comprehensive platform for locating, accessing and consuming services, the MNRB team has been able to accelerate its overall API development time, and more specifically has improved the time to delivery for its various products. “Delivering new products to all five of our main platforms is so much faster now – all we have to do is create the new API and deploy it to our API gateway so it can be consumed by our various front-end systems,” says Mazlan.

“Kong’s end-to-end API management platform provides us with the ability to digitally transform our business.”
– Mohd Khairul Hairi B Mazlan, Head of DevOps at MNRB

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