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Software Development Life Cycle: Everything About SDLC

Software Development Life Cycle is the process that produces software with the lowest cost and highest quality in the shortest span of time. SDLC is a process that consists of a detailed plan describing all the details regarding how to develop, maintain, and replace/alter specific software. It is the methodology used to improve the quality of software and also improving the overall development process.

Software

We can say, SDLC or the Software Development Life Cycle is a process that produces software with the highest quality and lowest cost in the shortest time. SDLC includes a detailed plan for how to develop, alter, maintain, and replace a software system

SDLC tries to improve the quality of software development and tries to shorten the production time, it also works on minimizing the cost of software development. SDLC achieves all these goals by creating a plan that removes all the pitfalls under software development projects.

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Stages Of Software Development Programme

Following are the Stages of SDLC they ensure that the process is working in a smooth, efficient, and productive way:

1. Identify. The first step under the software development program is to identify the current problem. To ask a question “What don’t we want?” “What don’t we want?” This stage of SDLC means getting input from all stakeholders like customers, employees, programmers, etc.

2. Plan/Requirement. The next step under SDLC is to plan, it involves asking “What do we want?”. At this stage, the team defines the requirements of new software and also analyze the cost required for it.

It also details the risks involved and provides sub-plans for softening those risks. At this stage, a Software Requirement Specification document is created. Planning related to quality assurance and risks associated is also done at the initial stages. Various technical approaches are studied and followed to implement the project successfully.

Minimum risk is taken into consideration. The next step is to clearly define the product requirements. Later approval is taken from a customer or through market analysis. All this is generally done by using the SRS (Software Requirement Specification) document which holds all the requirements of the project and is designed and developed during the project life cycle.

3. Design. The next step under the Software Development Life Cycle is designing and answering “How will we get what we want?” This phase of SDLC includes changing the software specifications into a framework called Data Specification. Feedback and suggestions from all the stakeholders are then received.

It’s important to have a plan for collecting and incorporating stakeholder input into this document. Any loopholes at this stage will result in collapsing of the whole project. Generally, more than one design approach for the product architecture is offered and recorded in a DDS – Design Document Specification.

4.Build/Development. Now we will build what we have decided, answer to “Let’s create what we want.” All the actual coding is done at this stage of SDLC for building software. This is the least complicated step if all the previous steps have been followed with attention. Developers are required to follow the coding guidelines defined by their companies

Tools like compilers, interpreters, debuggers, etc. are used to generate the code. High-level programming languages such as C, Java, PHP, C++, Pascal are also used for coding. The programming language is chosen on the basis of the type of software being developed

5. Test. The next step under the Software Development Life Cycle is to Test “Did we get what we want?” At this stage, we test for defects and deficiencies. Later after detecting we try to fix all the issues until the product meets the actual specifications.

6. Deploy. “Let’s start using what we got.” This step involves feedback from mobile users, who are the end users. Depending on their feedback changes and adjustments are made. Often, this part of the SDLC process happens in a limited way at first. Depending on feedback from end users, more adjustments can be made. Software tested is released in the relevant market. Sometimes as per the requirements the product can be released in some specific market before final launch.

7. Maintain. Phases of Software Development life cycle includes another step that is to Maintain or like “Let’s get this closer to what we want.” It’s not so easy for the plan to turn out to be perfect when it runs in reality. Further, as real life conditions are different, we need to advance and update the software. After the product is released in the market, its maintenance is done for the existing customer base.

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SDLC MODELS

Now let’s discuss different software development life cycle Models. These are also known as Software Development Process Models. Each model follows unique steps in the process of software development.

Following are some major SDLC models which are followed in the Industry:

  • Waterfall Model
  • Iterative Model
  • Spiral Model
  • V-Model
  • Big Bang Model

1.Waterfall Model

Waterfall Model was the first SDLC Model used in Software Engineering which confirms the success of the project. In this Model whole framework of software development is divided into different phases. The result of one phase acts as the input of the next phase sequentially.

The following illustration is a representation of the different phases of the Waterfall Model:

Requirement Gathering and analysis

System Design

Implementation

Integration and Testing

Deployment of system

Maintenance

Waterfall Model – Application

Every Software developed is unique and it requires the most appropriate SDLC approach based on different external and internal factors. Some examples where the use of Waterfall model is most suitable are −

  • Well documented clear and fixed requirements.
  • Stable product definition.
  • Stage Technology
  • No ambiguous requirements.
  • Adequate resources.
  • Short Project.

2.Iterative Model

This model begins with the most simple implementation of a subset of the requirements of the software and later enhances all the evolving versions until the full system is implemented. Design Modifications are made at each iteration, and simultaneously new functional capabilities are added. This method tries to develop a system through repeated cycles in small time.

Iterative Model Application

This model is most often used in the following situations −

  • Clearly defined and understood requirements.
  • Some functionalities or requested enhancements may evolve with time.
  • Time available to the market constraint.
  • Development team aware of new opportunities.
  • Some high-risk features and goals which may change in the near future.

3.Spiral Model

This model tries to combine the idea of systematic aspects of iterative development. This model is the combination of the iterative development process and the sequential linear development model. This model puts a very high emphasis on risk analysis.

Spiral Model Design

Identification, Design, Construct or Build, Evaluation and Risk Analysis.

Spiral Model Application

  • Budget Constraints and risk involved.
  • Medium to High-Risk projects.
  • Potential changes to economic factors.
  • Uncertainty in the customer requirements.
  • Complex requirements.

4.V-Model

The V-model is an SDLC model where the processing of all the steps happens in a sequential manner typically in V-shape. This model is also known as the Verification and Validation model.

This model is actually the extension of the waterfall model. Each phase in the development cycle is directly associated with the testing phase. This model is highly disciplined and the next phases start only after the previous stage gets completed.

V- Model Application

This model is somewhat the same as the waterfall model. The waterfall model too is a sequential type. In order to get successful results, the requirements of the project should be clearly discussed as it would be very expensive to restart the project from very initial phases.

Most suitable scenarios to use the V-Model application are where:

  • Requirements are well defined, clearly documented and fixed.
  • Stable product definition.
  • Not so Dynamic technology.
  • No ambiguous or undefined requirements.
  • Short Project.

5.The Big Bang Model

Here in this model, we do not follow any specific process. The development process starts with the required funds and efforts as inputs, and the output is software developed, which may or may not be as per the requirements of the customers. Very little planning is required for this software development model as it does not follow any specific procedure and process. Usually, this model is followed for small projects where the development teams are very small.

Big Bang Model Design and Application

The Big Bang Model includes focusing all the resources in coding and software development, where little or no planning is required. The requirements are implemented as they appear. Any changes done will not affect the whole project. This model is good for small, academic or practice projects. It is also good for projects where one or two developers are working together. It is also ideal to use in the situation where the release date is not confirmed.

Every iteration involves cross-functional teams working simultaneously on various areas like −

  • Planning
  • Requirements Analysis
  • Design
  • Coding
  • Unit Testing and
  • Acceptance Testing.

Benefits Of SDLC

The highest level of management control and documentation can be achieved by doing SDLC correctly. It helps developers to understand what they should build and why. All the associated parties get involved and agree upon common goals and can get a clear plan for achieving that goal. It also helps all the parties involved in understanding all the costs and resources required.

Helping to Solve the Java Expert Shortage

The high demand for expert Java developers for enterprise software development projects has led to a highly competitive marketplace with rates that are continually creeping upward. It’s a basic supply and demand problem that we sought to address for our clients using a method almost unheard of today amongst our competitors – investing in people. While other providers look to hire skill sets, we look to hire people with the right attitude, cultural fit, and potential knowing that the right training program can deliver the level and kind of skills our clients expect.

Java

Members of our enterprise advisory team, who are actively working as developers themselves and have real-world experience, are responsible for the training program. They developed and regularly update the training curriculum, teach classes, and provide individual trainee attention. This intensive program has been designed to nurture our next generation of technical specialists and arm them with in-depth knowledge. We believe in taking a hands-on approach to guiding and supporting staff in writing superior, tight code using the latest technologies.

The Java training program primarily focuses on developing and mentoring novices who have a basic knowledge of Java; however, all new staff goes through it to ensure consistent results for clients. New staff members are assigned to a Java mentor to help guide them through their studies and answer questions as they are taught on and exposed to live projects. At the end of the training period, new staff members are assigned to a team for further mentoring. They are then placed on software projects for clients equipped with superior skills to deliver quality results consistent with QAT Global standards.

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Since our enterprise advisory team manages the training materials, we can easily adapt our training to fit the client’s architecture and standards or customize them to maximize classroom time as needed.

The result is that new team members are equipped with the technical know-how, hands-on experience, and functional expertise that would typically take them several years to acquire, including:

Enterprise Development methodology:

We expose novice Java developers to real-world enterprise-grade development principles and technologies. We first equip them with know-how and quickly move them into the live projects along with experienced developers and then guide them as they learn the ropes on the job.

Writing Online Transactions:

We teach trainee developers to write heavy-duty online transactions using current technologies.

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Database experience:

Trainees learn to write complex queries, stored procedures, triggers, and packages in large database environments. These exercises provide them with end to end exposure to the enterprise software development environment.

Integration is essential:

getting applications to talk to each other and building applications on top of existing products. We teach modern integration methodologies.

Mobile enablement:

Most applications today are incomplete without a mobile interface. Trainees learn application development on mobile frameworks with OS-agnostic deployment on phones and mobile devices.

Functional / Domain knowledge:

We have several years of experience in various functional domains. We transfer practical and technical expertise in fields like Energy, Logistics, Finance, and Government to our staff.

Job Costing: What is it and What do you Need to Know?

Job costing is defined as “the accumulation of the costs of materials, labor, and overhead for a specific job. This approach is an excellent tool for tracing specific costs to individual jobs and examining them to see if the costs can be reduced in later jobs.”

Most businesses do not produce just one product or offer one service. Rather, the different product and service offerings within a given company combine to affect the overall financial situation of the business. While solid revenue streams and quarterly profit statements are important indicators of financial health for a business, discovering the success or failure of individual elements within the company can give a more detailed and comprehensive view of where the company is excelling and what aspects of the business need to be adjusted.

Job Costing

Traditionally, job costing has been related to the manufacturing industry where companies can use this accounting apparatus to accumulate and evaluate costs at smaller unit levels. For example, a construction company that makes pre-fab houses might use job costing software to determine the profitability of each different part of the building or home that is being constructed in the warehouse. This detailed cost-effectiveness analysis would allow the pre-fab construction firm to find how to further cut costs for each element of the final product. This, of course, positively impacts in the overall profitability of the homes being constructed.

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Benefits of Job Costing Software for Businesses

According to one recent report, 40 percent of small businesses are profitable, 30 percent break even, while another 30 percent are continually losing money. For businesses that are just breaking even or losing money, job costing software can allow managers, accountants, and other key players in a company to specifically calculate the profit earned on individual jobs and tasks within the company. For a small business that financially broken even last year, discerning which elements of the company need to be remodeled or removed is often guesswork.

A detailed set of reports provided by job costing software, however, would remove the speculation associated with how to improve the financial viability of a business venture.
For example, a small company developing different computer software might find that one of their products is generating 150 percent profit margins while another is actually losing money. This data can help managers and business owners better ascertain which specific tasks and jobs should continue to be pursued as the company moves forward.

Another advantage of integrating job costing software into your accounting or finance department is that this software is easily integrated with other digital solutions for your business. Many job costing software programs are easily combined with traditional payroll software options such as QuickBooks.

Furthermore, job costing can also be merged with time and attendance tracking software. For businesses in the service industry, this merger of software products can give thorough data relating to which members of your workforce actively participate in jobs and business tasks that are most profitable. With this information, managers and HR personnel can devise workforce policies that stimulate increased productivity and profitability, while also making decisions on the optimum number of employees needed for business tasks.

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Key Features 

There are dozens of different job costing options on the market today. The best software for your business will obviously depend on the industry you work in and the specific needs for your company. In general, however, the best job costing software products should include some of the following features:

  • Purchase order processing: This feature will give you immediate allocation of orders to jobs for up to date projected cost figures.
  • Integration with payroll and other software products: Thesystem allows managers to record direct labor and expense costs for a complete digitalization of the workplace.
  • Customizable Analysis: Every business is different and this feature will allow managers and business owners to categorize individual jobs by project manager, type of work or other criteria.
  • Interactive and Easy to Use Data Reports: Lastly, the best job costing solution should also deliver succinct financial summary reports that will make it easy to discover where profit is being earned and where losses are accumulating.

Job costing software is yet another tool associated with the digitalization of the workplace. When used correctly, this software option can increase the long-term profitability of any business.

What are the Different types of Virtual Assistant Services?

Virtual Assistant is an administrative service for startup and large enterprises to expand the business. Before you hire somebody, you have to know what kind of services you need from them. Depending on the nature of your profession, there are different types of VA’s who can help you keep up with the organizational demands.

Virtual

Here some of the different types of virtual assistant that can be classified according to the various specialty they belong:

What Is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant is commonly self-employed and offers professional administrative assistant, creative assistant and technical assistant to the client remotely from a home office. Virtual assistant generally provides services to entrepreneur and online business from a remote location.

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Types of Virtual Assistant Service

There are mainly 8 types of virtual assistant services

  • Social Media Virtual Assistant

  • Real estate virtual assistant

  • Virtual research assistant

  • Virtual administrative assistant

  • E-Commerce virtual assistant

  • Data entry virtual assistant

  • Virtual bookkeeping assistant

  • Virtual marketing assistant

Virtual Administrative Assistant

Commonly known as General Virtual Assistants. These VA’s are like your office managers. The only variance is that they are employed in their homes plus they can’t make a snack or coffee for you. Most busy business holders cannot keep up with all the difficulties in their industry, therefore, it is greatest to delegate the task. They can aid you to manage your communications and calendars, make information and presentations, lists, and many others, thus enable your emphasis on the core responsibilities of your business.

Social Media Marketing

Marketing your industry is very significant to increase customers. Hiring a social media expert is a great method to promote your business online. It is significant for companies nowadays to keep up with the newest trends for their goods and services to be visible and be identified. By contracting the services of social media dealers, they can support you broadcast your business though saving you from classy advertising payments. These experts can succeed in the company’s Facebook pages, Twitter, Pinterest LinkedIn, and other social media websites in the online world.

Blog Management

You may consider that there’s nothing much to do when you’re blogging. Your impartial type your thoughts away, and then you hit publish, right? That may be the case when you’re blogging as a hobby.

But when blogging develops a business, there are quite a few touching parts to keep track of behindhand the scenes. A good blog administrator starts by hitting together an editorial calendar. That way, your customer doesn’t have to struggle for a post idea at the last minute.

Customer Service

This task is a mainly crucial one to outsource to a VA, especially if allocating with customs is eating up a good chunk of the time a solopreneur could use to generate products or facilities or even manipulate for their business.
Gina covers this topic in-depth on our blog. Be sufficient it to say, here are a lot of details why outsourcing customer service makes a lot of sense, together with from a specialized as well as an individual point of view.

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Real Estate Virtual Assistant

These are management assistants who offer services and support to real estate professionals. Most Filipino online employees offer these types of services to the US, Australia, UK and New Zealand. Real estate professionals delegate most of the managerial tasks to their VA’s so that they can effort on selling more properties. Sideways from doing administrative works, they can also be the share of the sales support crew – apart from doing the searching, lead generation, database management to term a few. These real estate assistants are an agent’s and cost-effective method because they can now give more attention to their patrons and the home team’s requirements.

Lead Generation

If your customer’s business is sales-intensive, they will need somebody to take over the very inefficient task of making potential leads. If your client is in real estate, for instance, it would be an excess of their time to make useless leads that have no tactics of severe their services anytime soon. As a lead group virtual assistant, you have to be planned about how you do it and who contact.

Virtual Bookkeepers

These are the economic virtual assistants who help you achieve the cash flow of your business. By hiring an experienced and trusted expert, you don’t have to pressure about payroll processing and other financial areas of your business. Before commending accounting tasks to them, create sure they have the right skills and accepting – this is to avoid imprecisions. This is the common types of virtual assistant services for all business.

Basic Website Maintenance

You don’t have to be a programmer or a skilled at building websites to call by hand a WordPress virtual assistant. Websites usually start all nice and glossy, with little content and streamlined pages. As the website maintenance over time, so does the disorder. When your client’s website develops clunky, slow and unintuitive to use, that’s when you can stage in.

Product Launch

This type of virtual assistants focusses on online business that launch new product or new ideas. They also understand sales funnels and do all for a positive launch. They develop their idea and that is to deliver you with all-around and outstanding service while applying team strength and best skills.

E-Commerce Virtual Assistant

e-Commerce virtual assistant is very effective for all businesses With the development of industries has enhanced the capacity of e-commerce businessmen as well. Now, they want to be more hostile in their hard work to enlarge their contestants.

Setting Up Sales Funnels

Sales funnels are the best way to turn book worm into subscribers, convert subscribers into paying customs and turn one-time purchasers into recurring customers and fans. Funnels are complex to set up, but once done properly, they’ll carry in a lot of business for your client.

Conclusion

Hiring a trained and well skilled virtual assistant is one of the cleverest changes you can do for your business. By exploiting their potentials, they can certainly contribute towards increasing your business.

How to Run an Agile Retrospective Meeting?

Agile Retrospective is a formality held at the end of individually Sprint where team members together analyze how things pass away in order to expand the process for the following Sprint.

Agile

Agile Retrospective

An Agile retrospective is a conference that’s conducted after an iteration in Agile software development (ASD). Through the retrospective, the team imitates on what occurred in the iteration and finds actions for development going forward.

Agile Retrospective Steps

Set Stage: Involves set up of the meeting by the organizer (PM., scrum master, etc.) and transfers a meeting request to all the essential team members and leaders.

Gather Data: Once the meeting begins, collect all the thoughts, opinions, anxieties that the team associates might have. This can be complete via many agile retrospective meeting like Start, Stop, and Continue, Paint Me image, etc.

Close: Thank the team for their time and their contribution. Make sure that the conference discussion and act points are documented and distributed to the team members for easy reference.

Generate Insights: After the information is gathered, expressive analytics have to be recognized and designs have to be formed. The idea is to find tendencies and resolve them. If the team followers are unfortunate about the long regular stand-ups then we have to figure out what is producing this. It could be dissimilar discussions, the lateness of the team followers, the improbable time set up that does not put up the number of updates, etc.

Create Actions: Once the fundamental issues are recognized, create action ideas to resolve them. Action ideas should be allocated to a responsible person who will be in charge of resolution by the definite due date.

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Agile Retrospective Meeting Principles

> Sprint Planning meeting

> Daily Stand-up

> Sprint Review

> Sprint Retrospective

Running the Play

Project sets can run this at the end of the particular sprint, or go somewhat extensive. Check-in with the full-time holder to see if there are any exact items, they’d like you to cover. Service teams can check in with a superintendent or executive

Why Should You Run A Sprint Retrospective?

If you’re working some sort of agile method, prospects are the sprint retrospective is earlier part of your repetitive. Ironically, routine strength is an issue that some manufacture teams face. Often, groups can fall into their rhythm, and vital formalities like the sprint retrospective meeting can become so run-of-the-mill that groups aren’t using them to their planned advantage.

Start, Stop and Continue

One of the most up-front ways to run a Retrospective is the Start, Stop, Continue exercise. All you essential is a graphic board with “Start,” “Stop,” and “Continue” posts and a load of sticky records. In each development, people write their notes about the Agile as they tell the following types:

Start: Movements we should start taking

Stop: Activities we should stop or remove

Continue: Activities we should keep liability and formalize

Incorporate Novelty

Another method is to incorporate games & other changing strategies into your sprint retrospectives. Pick one that creates the maximum sense for your team or project period, and be definite to run through it at smallest once beforehand so you’re familiar. These can be entertaining, active, and creative but only when the implementer is ready! One of my choices is the LEGO Retrospective.

Make It Action-Oriented

Most just, but perhaps most prominently, make sure you’re assigning anything actionable to somebody on the team. They don’t all want to fall on the project manager. They shouldn’t. The conversation can be as productive and helpful as possible, but the ripples will not be felt except the change is applied across the team. Keep a list visible for everyone to see, and create sure that prospects and limits are set.

Change Things

A specific retro can feel excessive to air out feelings, to derive up with some effects your team can try, to talk about things that aren’t working. But don’t disremember the purpose of retro: to mindfully repeat on the process. That means that you want to do the action items you wrote down. Nothing executes team morale fairly similar consuming the same old cache come up again and do not anything to fix it.

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Vote

After enough ideas have been made, have team associates vote for the most significant item or items. It’s frequently clear when it’s period to do this because the thoughts have died down and new ideas are not pending very quickly.

The Next Retrospective

In the next retrospective, I propose the ScrumMaster carry the list of ideas produced at the earlier retrospective–both the ideas selected to be worked on and those not. These can help jump-start conversation for the afterward retrospective. I tend to write them on a huge sheet of paper and tape it to the wall deprived of any fanfare or argument. The items are just there if the team wants them or wants to refer to them. I then simplify a new start, stop, continue the discussion.

Amplify the Good

Retrospectives are integrally destined for finding ways to develop your work. Safe spaces stand-in open discussion, which is great, but open discussion of the wrong nature can lead to finger-pointing, which assesses people instead of the work. If bogged down in what persons did or didn’t do, your retro will quickly become somewhat your team dreads.

Create Clear Actions

This point rates to attitude alone since uncertain movements are perhaps the major sticking point in retrospective meeting. Whenever someone criticizes, they don’t see the value in these meetings, their prevention can almost always be traced back to miscommunication.

Don’t Jump to A Decision

Specialists say smart decisions result from two types of reasoning processes: instinctive and rational. It’s important to follow the instinct to a point. If the result doesn’t get the team excited, they probably won’t create it effectively. But like root cause analysis, decision-making should be scientific and entrenched in facts and that’s where practical plans can help.

Conclusion

There are several other Retrospective plans and activities you can use to expand these meetings. If your team starts to drop into a channel using one format, change to another or alter structures of your existing format. Small changes like beating all cards on the panel at once vs. going all over the place the room one at a period can be enough to re-spark commitment. Keep things interesting, and don’t be terrified to try new preparations just since they don’t have the same features as your old one.

How to Find System Integration Services

Selecting a system integration services provider is an important decision, as you will want to work with a company that can deliver the highest quality work possible. System integration refers to the process of unifying digital components into a single system, updating outdated legacy systems and transferring systems to the cloud.

System

System integration providers offer services such as consulting, designing, engineering, managing, installing, training and maintaining these services for your business. The right system integration consultant can create code in a variety of programming and scripting languages. However, the system integration process is tricky, so it’s wise to be careful when choosing a company to work with. Here’s how you can get started.

Be Picky About Your Selection Criteria

You will want to research the system integration space and learn how successful a company’s previous projects have been. A systems integration services provider with range can go a long way, as your pick should have a good track record in your particular field. The company should also offer a wide range of options so the process will be tailored to your unique business.

The company you pick should have a staff that is experienced enough to handle the many moving parts your project will require. You may want to consider which system integration providers have helped other companies in your industry. After you learn who is leading the charge in your particular niche, you’ll want to find a system integration services provider that can match your vision.

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Create a Set List of Expectations

The next step is to define your objectives in a clear, focused manner. Create a list of what exactly you’re hoping to achieve and compare your goals with the products and services offered by the system integration services providers you’re considering. After creating your business plan and examining the available options, you’ll be able to identify a shortlist that fits your needs.

After comparing various companies, ask them for references and examples of projects they have completed. Make sure the potential system integration services providers have the equipment and manpower in-house to complete your project within your desired time frame.

Compare and Contrast System Integration Services

Be wary of companies that over-promise. If a provider says that handling your integration project will be simple and easy, make sure it actually is. They should be able to explain why it’s simple, walking you through how they will help you reach your goals.

It is important that they understand your requirements and how much it will cost. When you do find providers who are familiar with your requirements, compare prices and make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Spending a little extra is worth it if your provider will provide better work.

Also, see if the integrator considers how the initiative will impact other areas of your business. These could include new components that would improve the efficiency of your operations, automating tasks and suggesting new ways of connecting your brand with clients. A company that takes a comprehensive approach is preferable to one that uses a set template to carry out their work.

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Ask Key Questions

Your system integration services provider needs to offer you an integration process that matches your systems and goals. As such, you’ll want to ask yourself a lot of questions throughout the process of choosing an integrator, including:

  • Is your integrator asking questions about your project? This could be a good sign, as it indicates they are interested in creating a customized systems integration plan rather than simply following a template.
  • What is the company’s culture like and how does it line up with your business’ culture? There should be a sense of mutual respect and collaboration from top to bottom.
  • What are the team members’ backgrounds? It’s best to work with a well-rounded team. This may mean working with an integration team made up from members with a variety of different backgrounds, although you’ll still want to be sure they have experience in your industry.
  • How has the company dealt with unforeseen challenges in the past? It’s a good sign if your integrator has experience with a wide range of technologies since they will likely have more creative solutions to any challenges that arise.
  • How can the integrator assist me moving forward? Look at how your system integration services provider will aid you in the long-term with upgrades and routine maintenance checks.

Once you ask yourself all these questions and research your system integration services provider, you should have a good idea of where you’d like to go with your project. The goal is to find a team with a professionally diverse background coupled with the equipment, manpower and technical expertise to handle your system integration.

5 Signs to Replace Your Security Technology

Security Numerous “look ahead” articles of CIO priorities for 2020 downplayed the importance of cybersecurity or gave it lip service as an ‘ongoing concern.’ In numerous such lists, cybersecurity either didn’t appear or was only a subset of other concerns, like cloud computing or AI. And faced with so many competing demands, this is especially true in the SMB space, where there isn’t the staff to address every need simultaneously.

Security
Cyber security is an exercise in constant vigilance, and, like it or not, there are going to come times when something happens that shows you it is time to consider replacing your security technology. Whether you are looking for a reason to replace your existing security technology, or avoiding one, this list of five key signs will help you either reinforce or re-evaluate your decision.

Growing Pains

The first sign is actually a nice problem to have. In this case, you need to consider replacing your security technology because your business has outgrown what you have used in the past.

As you have expanded and staffed up to meet growing demand for your products or services, you’ve added more users, more computers and devices, and more systems to your network. While this is a good sign that your bottom line is healthy,  your organization now has a greater surface area for cyber-attack (aka, attack surface), introducing new vulnerabilities, due to both technology and human error.

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Use It or Lose It

If your security management tool was a physical toolbox sitting on a shelf, would it have a thick layer of dust on top? Be honest. If the answer is yes, and you haven’t logged into your security management tool in a while, you should take this as another sign that it’s time to re-evaluate your security technology.

And what if you have logged in recently? Ask yourself, do you have the time and expertise to extract the necessary value from the tool? Again, the back burner isn’t a place for your cybersecurity program. If you aren’t actively detecting, containing, and disrupting threats with your tool, what value does it provide?

Technological Evolution

Technology is changing all the time. You must adapt your security solutions with it.

If your security management tools are at least two years old, it’s time for an upgrade. If your systems infrastructure has changed recently—think more cloud computing or more work from home and remote workforce options—then it’s time for a security solution that takes those realities into account.

Regulatory Change

CMMC. NYDFS. CCPA. GDPR… in recent years we have seen an unprecedented development of far-reaching regulations in privacy, industry standards, and even cybersecurity. And regulators recognize that specific capabilities are required in order to keep things private and secure.

At any time, your industry or your geography may introduce new regulations that have security and compliance implications for your business. Is your security solution able to adapt and accommodate these new requirements? If not, a new solution is in order.

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Leaky Roof

And saving the best (Worst? Most obvious?) for last, if you are the victim of a cyberattack, then it is clearly time to reconsider your security technology.

Have you done a full assessment of how you were breached? You can find some suggested steps here. But the biggest thing that you can and should do is reconsider how you are protecting your business so that something like this doesn’t happen again.

How IntelliGO Can Be Your Upgrade

For an SMB like yours, we suggest the IntelliGO Managed Detection and Response service (MDR) as your most up to date, affordable choice for comprehensive cybersecurity protection.

By partnering with a trusted ally like IntelliGO for your primary cybersecurity functions, you gain our qualified talent as an extension of your team. Working together, we’ll decrease your exposure, harden your systems, remediate vulnerabilities, and mitigate compliance risks. Our proprietary technology and dedicated Threat Hunters help bolster your defences, detecting suspicious behaviour and responding to attacks in real-time.

Google Tag Manager vs Custom Click Tracker

Google Modern SaaS services are akin to Swiss Army knives – they can do anything. At the same time, clients only use the features of a SaaS service that they need. With time, continuous development of these services becomes very hard, as there get to be too many features to support.

Google 1

The need arises to define which features should be prioritized for further development. The logical way to prioritize features is to invest in the most popular, and the popularity of each feature can be determined by user behavior tracking.

Google Tag Manager as a User Activity Tracking System

Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a free tool for managing marketing activities and tracking various metrics for web-oriented products. The main features of Google Tag Manager include

1) the ability to aggregate all tags (types of data that will be tracked) in a single place;

2) the ability to implement GTM by adding only a single script to a webpage;

3)  the ability to change tracking settings without changing page code or involving developers.

How to use Google Tag Manager with SaaS:

1) Register the product that needs to be tracked on the GTM website.

2) Customize tags on the GTM website.

3) Receive scripts that need to be integrated into the tracked product in order to complete setup.

When you implement GTM into your SaaS product, your Google Analytics account will start receiving data on user actions. Google Analytics provides extensive tools to further organize and visualize this data.

Using Google Tag Manager to Track User Activity within SaaS Services

Configuring tracking of SaaS-specific data

Setting up analytics for SaaS involves using Google Tag Manager to configure what data will be transferred, which is done by adding some properties to the DataLayer object.

DataLayer is a regular JavaScript object that’s located on the page and contains properties that will be sent to the Google server with each tracked event.

The retailerId and userId variables contain the ID of a user who performed an action on the website as well as the ID of the tenant this user is associated with. When the trigger fires, the Google Analytics server receives the whole DataLayer object, which allows it to analyze the data for each tenant separately.

You can read more about the DataLayer object here and here.

Any trigger types (page opens, clicks, DOM events, form operations) can interact with the DataLayer object. For example, when the PageView trigger is activated, the DataLayer object is filled with values and sent to the Google Analytics server as soon as the page has opened.

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Exporting data from Google Analytics

Sometimes data you collect needs to be stored on dedicated servers. The Google Analytics service allows you to download aggregated data using the Core Reporting API.

The Core Reporting API provides access to data from the majority of reports available in Google Analytics and allows you to

1) Create special summaries of Google Analytics data;

2) Automate operations with complex reports;

3) Use Google Analytics data for other business applications.

To export data you need to perform the following actions:

1) In Google Analytics settings, enable the API

2) Perform a query for Google Analytics data (see how to set query parameters and how to run queries)

To interact with existing software, Google provides a set of client libraries for various platforms including Java, JavaScript, .Net, Objective-C, and Python. You can read more about client libraries for the Core Reporting API on Google’s website.

Disadvantages of Google Tag Manager

1) Data is stored on Google’s servers and thus can be viewed and used by Google.

2) This solution is fairly pricey at $150,000 per year (the free version doesn’t guarantee that more than 10 million pageviews will be processed, while the SaaS version can process a much larger number of pageviews).

3) All tracking code is located on the client side, meaning

a. tracking will not work if a user has JavaScript disabled;

b. server-side tracking, when the server receiving the request also tracks it, is impossible (server-side tracking doesn’t depend on JavaScript and has lower traffic requirements);

c. each tracked action sends data to Google’s servers, creating additional traffic.

4) Security vulnerabilities – Data on users and their relations to specific tenants of the SaaS service is usually stored in an encrypted format (for example, inside a cookie). The service itself is responsible for decrypting this data, and the decryption happens on the server side. With GTM, since data is sent to a third-party service (Google Analytics), you need to store the data in an unencrypted format to allow filtering by users and tenants.

5) GTM is designed to improve marketing metrics such as number of pageviews from third-party websites, time spent on each page, etc. Such metrics are usually irrelevant for SaaS services, as these services usually have different goals. The most important thing for SaaS services is to provide the best user experience. Therefore, a lot of GTM capabilities aren’t useful for SaaS services.

Related:- Why Do Businesses Need Custom Mobile Application Development?

Custom User Activity Tracking System

The main advantage of developing a custom user activity tracking system is that you can account for all necessary cases at an early design stage. For example, you can implement server-side tracking, which is more secure than Google Tag Manager as it doesn’t require you to send unencrypted user and tenant data to third-party servers.

dvantages and Disadvantages of a Custom Solution

Google Tag Manager has a number of disadvantages that can be solved with a custom click tracker. A custom click tracker offers the following advantages:

1) Data is stored only on the server of the tracking service and is available only to personnel who develop and maintain the service.

2) There’s no need to store user or tenant data in an unencrypted form. Cookie encryption is performed on the server, as is tracking. This solution is more secure than GTM.

3) Only necessary tracking features are implemented, designed specifically to fit the SaaS service being monitored.

4) You can use server-side tracking (JavaScript is not required on the target endpoint), which means lower traffic requirements overall.

5) Nothing prevents JavaScript from being employed in instances where server-side tracking cannot be used (for example, as part of the SaaS service implemented on specific hardware or some legacy technology).

The cost of setting up Google Tag Manager and integrating it in a SaaS service is lower than the cost of developing a new solution from scratch. However, after Google Tag Manager is implemented you still need to pay a subscription fee of $150,000 a year.

At the same time, implementing a custom tracking solution includes paying for development and data storage, the requirements for which are constantly increasing. However, there will most likely be no need to increase server capacity, since you need only one lightweight server to receive data and write it to the database. The technologies used to implement a custom tracker are free, and the necessary software and operating system are already employed by the used. The price of development can also be reduced if you have an in-house development team available or are using an experienced subcontractor.

Top 5 Web Hosting Companies of 2020

Top Web hosting companies “web hosting services providers” are the link between your business website and web visitors of potential and current companies as they provide allocated spaces on their servers to host your website files and data making it accessible for anyone who types your website domain name into his browser.

Top

Web hosting is a bundle of integrated services and solutions provided by web hosting companies to facilitate the creation and management of your business website and to make it always available for visits of potential customers with optimal website loading speed including:

  • Offering the domain name for your business website
  • Allocated regular or virtual spaces on their servers or a dedicated server
  • FTP Accounts to upload, access and edit your website files and databases
  • Site builder tools and compatibility with “Content Management Systems” Like WordPress or Joomla
  • Dedicate and easy to use control panel to manage your website efficiently
  • Limited or unlimited bandwidth and storage plans for your website data transmitting and storage
  • Limited or unlimited databases and email accounts connected to your website domain
  • Security guarantees and shields including SSL certificate and DDoS Cloudflare protection
  • Daily or automatically data backups for your business website
  • Professional customer support solutions and troubleshooting services

Each trouble or issue your website may face including more downtime “Not available for any types of visits”, slow loading speed, security concerns or hacking activities, emailing problems or shrinking storage will lead to financial and other business loses unless you avoided these types of issues and concern by choosing a professional affordable web hosting provider from the best web hosting companies available in the market.

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Types of web hosting companies’ services

Before searching for the best web hosting companies for offering web hosting solutions for your website, you should learn about all the types of web hosting services to choose the suitable type for your business needs, website nature, size of your website files, expected visits volume and available budget.

The main types of web hosting services are:

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting services and plans are offered by all web hosting companies and the favorite choices for small businesses, startups, and personal websites or blog owners as they are the cheapest hosting solutions.

Your website will share the same server with other websites and the server is fully controlled and managed by your web hosting provider.

Your website loading speed, bandwidth, other resources and security level is affected by other activities occur on the shared server like increasing visits volume for any website uploaded on the shared server or maintenance or hacking activities.

Virtual Private Server “VPS”

Virtual private server “VPS” is an upgraded type of shared hosting services as you share the same server with other clients but there’s an allocated virtual space for your website preventing sharing allocated resources or tools with other websites or being affected by other activities not related to your website.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting solutions are a differential option provided by many web hosting companies enabling your website to be connected and hosted on many servers “cluster of servers”.

Your website will run efficiently even when there’re problems with one of the servers and providing more security against any site attacks as your website hosted on a virtual network and you’re only charged for the used resources and tools.

Dedicated Hosting

Dedicated hosting is a premium solution for large businesses, brands and enterprises to dedicate a whole server for your website with high fees in exchange of many competitive advantages including higher performance with increasing visits, higher security level, more bandwidth & storage for websites files & content “high-quality images & videos” and better loading speed.

You’ll be responsible for the server maintenance for dedicated hosting solutions but you can avoid that through choosing “Managed Hosting” solutions with less control over the server.

Reseller Hosting

Reseller web hosting is a type of transferrable allocated web hosting solutions provided by web hosting companies enabling clients to become a web hosting provider reselling web hosting plans and controlling their clients’ accounts through a dedicated specific control panel “cPanel” suitable for a professional web design & development company.

WordPress Hosting

This type of web hosting solution is limited to WordPress websites optimized to achieve higher loading speed, more uptime and more security than many shared hosting solutions in addition to dedicated expert support but less customizable with many unpermitted and non-altered plugins.

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5 Best Web Hosting Companies

Considering the mentioned factors to evaluate and choose the best option of web hosting companies and based on a detailed search in addition to personal experience with our website and the websites of our clients, we reached a conclusion about the top 5 web hosting companies to deal with which are:

#1. SiteGround

SiteGround is the first name to remember when we talk about tailored cost-effective web hosting services and solutions for small & midsize websites, e-commerce platforms, CMS platforms including and enterprise websites through shared, cloud, dedicated and WordPress hosting solutions.

#2. Bluehost

Over 2 million websites all over the world agree with us to consider Bluehost as one of the best web hosting companies as they depend on Bluehost web hosting solutions continuously for many reasons including:

  • Best uptime “99.99%” and fast average loading speed “0.406 seconds”
  • Affordable initial cost for the basic plan $3.95/month with many included feature “Free Domain name for the first year – Free SSL Certificate – 1-click install for CMS like WordPress & Joomla – Easy to use admin panel & control panel – 50 GB storage and unlimited bandwidth for data transmitting” with 30 day “Money Back” guarantee

Diversified types of affordable upgraded plans with unlimited storage and unlimited websites & domains

#3. HostGator

HostGator Another efficient choice of the best web hosting companies for many reasons including:

  • Acceptable uptime “99.98%” and fast average loading speed “0.432 seconds”
  • Free Site Migration, Free SSL Certificate, Free Domain name for the first year
  • Multiple hosting options including VPS, dedicated and WordPress hosting
  • Unlimited bandwidth and unlimited storage space
  • Fast efficient 24/7 customer support through live chat
  • Low initial cost $2.75/month but with a high renewal cost after the first 6 months
  • HostGator is one of the dependable web hosting companies if you have no problem with the high renewal cost.

#4. A2 Hosting

It’s logical to mention A2 Hosting as one of the best web hosting companies as they offer many competitive advantages for their clients including but not limited to:

  • The fastest average loading speed “0.336 seconds” with acceptable uptime “99.92%”
  • Many hosting options available including shared, VPS, dedicated, reseller and WordPress hosting
  • Low initial cost for shared hosting $2.94/month and affordable renewal cost with permanent “Money Back” guarantee
  • Free, Easy and Supported Site Migration & Free SSL Certificate
  • Unlimited bandwidth and storage space & Free automated backups
  • Compatible and optimized setting and security for different CMSs and E-commerce platforms
  • 24/7 Customer Support through Calls, Live Chat, Emails and Real Customer Review about A2 Hosting solutions efficiency & professional customer support

Fastest loading speed, affordable initial and renewal cost and anytime “money back” guarantee making A2 Hosting a wise trustworthy choice of many web hosting companies available.

#5. Namecheap

Over 1.5 million websites for small, midsize businesses and enterprises have full confidence in Namecheap as the favorite choice of web hosting companies for many reasons related to their needs and goals:

  • Free Domain name and Free Supported Site Migration
  • All types of web hosting solutions available including shared, VPS, dedicated, reseller, private email and WordPress hosting
  • Cheap initial cost starts with $1.44/month for shared hosting with 30 Days “Money Back” guarantee
  • Cost-effective web hosting solutions even for the basic cheapest plan with “Free SSL Certificate for the first – up to 3 websites hosting – unmetered bandwidth – 20 GB storage – 50 FTP accounts –  50 MySQL databases – Easy to use cPanel – 2 Backups per week – Acceptable uptime & average loading speed – 24/7 Customer support”
  • Positive reviews from existing customers about how professional and efficient their web hosting services and solutions are

Namecheap web hosting plan is your choice for a long-term professional cost-effective investment.

5 Awe­some Apps a New Mac User Must Install

Apps If you just got yourself one of those amazing new MacBooks and are new to the Apple ecosystem, you might be wandering what are the must-have apps you have to download to get yourself started.

Apps

Well, here you have a list of a few native Mac apps that we find essential if you want to stay safe, productive and connected.

1. ULYSSES

If all the writing you do on a daily basis consists of simple notes, then the Notes application might be enough for you. But if you want something far more capable and elegant without having to upgrade to something like Pages, then Ulysses is a great choice. The greatest virtue of this writing app is its flexibility. It is just as perfect for writing a 100 page essay as it is for keeping a few notes organized. And the app is available on iPhone and iPad as well, where it is amazingly fully-featured and look fantastic.

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2. CLOUDMAGIC

This one is more of an acquired taste, but if you like apps with minimal interfaces and are looking for alternatives to OS X’s Mail app, then CloudMagic fits the bill. It is the desktop version of the great iPhone and iPad app and supports the most popular Mail and Gmail shortcuts. So if you are a fan of those you are also covered. It is not as flexible as other email apps though, offering a single view option and little to no customizability, so that’s something to consider before taking the jump.

3. REEDER

While for most people news readers are a thing of the past, the truth is that if you have a ton of sites and news outlets you follow, there is no better way to sort and manage all their news items than with a news reader. And of all the ones available out there for Mac, Reeder for Mac is by far the most feature-complete and easy to use. It also doesn’t hurt that it is also the best-looking of the bunch either.

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4. WHATSAPP

Just recently, Facebook (owner of WhatsApp) released a native Mac version for the most used messaging app out there and it is great. For years, millions of users have been enjoying WhatsApp on their mobile devices and have clamored for a native desktop app. And the new Mac desktop app provides the full messaging experience.

5. 1PASSWORD

We have previously gone through how great 1Password can be on your iPhone and iPad, but having it on the Mac makes it a snap to add and manage many items at once.

One of the great aspects of the native Mac version of 1 Password is that it offers a menu bar icon that gives you easy access to it, so you can interact with the app just to add an item or open the full application to sort and manage all your passwords.

There you have them. With these applications, you are sure to be set on the right track with your new Mac. But if you are wondering what other apps are great for your specific needs.

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