The advancements in technology certainly made businesses more powerful but it also left many businesses, that don’t invest much in security, vulnerable at the same time. As DevOps bring radical changes to businesses, what was once overlooked comes into focus – security. While DevOps initially allowed businesses to find a balance between their operations and development, the need for bolstered security called for something more effective.

This led to the birth of DevSecOps.

The idea…

DevSecOps stands for basically everything that DevOps is all about with more emphasis on security. It promotes collaboration between development, security and operations through an ecosystem that encourages constant integration of team efforts at every step.

The goal…

The goal of a DevSecOps environment depends on the nature of the business that adopted it, the business’ goals and work culture. Many experts identify DevSecOps as a means to making manual tasks obsolete by building an automated, fully synced enterprise ecosystem.

The catch…

Such an ecosystem can be made possible only if the organization is willing to accept major changes both inside and out – changes to processes, behavior, approach etc. This is where things become complicated. CEOs generally don’t want to invest in a new culture that could potentially slow down the business.

To emphasize this point, let’s take a look at a survey conducted by Threat Stack. The security software company found that 68% of the companies that responded to the survey stated that their CEOs demand DevOps & security teams to avoid anything that can potentially decelerate business.

This is one of the biggest reasons why you don’t see DevSecOps much. Many companies don’t want such a transition at all or might quit the transition once they are halfway through towards DevSecOps.

That said, this blog will be focusing on a few major challenges that must be overcome for vitalizing DevSecOps.

When teams resist changes

At the heart of DevSecOps is an ideal environment where all teams collaborate and coordinate their efforts to bring forth a desired outcome. To achieve this, integration of teams is vital. Various teams of an organization should work in tandem with each other rather than independently.

Easier said than done.

Many organizations investing in DevOps might face the challenge of teams resisting changes. We can’t count everyone to jump on the DevOps bandwagon right away as they will be already accustomed to the existing processes and culture. So people itself can become the biggest challenge for a would-be DevOps organization.

When tools being used can complicate things

Before DevSecOps, the many teams in an organization would be working independently using tools that they feel are appropriate to do their duty. Once the company starts implementing DevSecOps, the teams will be integrated which would raise a lot of questions regarding the team’s common objective, the alignment to company goals, new practices, tools to use etc.

To implement DevSecOps, the right set of tools is the key. Choosing this right set of tools is a challenge in itself. Then comes integrating these tools to enable continuous development, deployment and testing. Syncing tools from various departments together on one single platform can be tedious and will require serious DevOps expertise.

Security for CI/CD

For years, organizations saw security just as an aspect that becomes somewhat important when the development comes to an end. But in a DevSecOps environment, security is as important as development and operations. It’s a part of Continuous Integration and Continuous Development (CI/CD).

What many organizations do is to prepare a DevOps implementation strategy that adapts to their existing security policies. What they should do is to get their security policies to adapt to their DevOps processes. Discarding outdated security methods and policies, and implementing new ones that are aligned with DevOps goals can be a major challenge.

Aiming for perfection

Adopting a DevSecOps culture is a big decision. So when organizations decide to invest in DevSecOps, they expect things to run smoothly right after the implementation is complete. But this is impossible. Things won’t be smooth just after DevSecOps is implemented. It takes some time for a DevSecOps ecosystem to grant benefits. Proper implementation would reduce that time considerably.

Many organizations give up on DevSecOps after wasting time aiming for perfection right off the bat. Similarly, trying to ensure perfect security at all stages of development isn’t practical either. Instead organizations should aim for an optimal level of security that doesn’t negatively impact the DevSecOps environment.

Endnote

DevSecOps implementation is fraught with challenges. At the end of the road to DevSecOps waits a host of benefits that significantly improve operations if organizations can successfully conquer the challenges they may face. Embrace it to get better day by day.

And if you need help leveraging DevSecOps, let the experts of AOT guide you. Drop us a message today.


Back in the day, obtaining the right amount of scalability was a major obstacle for growing businesses; until the advent of the cloud. With cloud came a revolutionary change in the software development industry which accelerated the momentum of many trends including Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

With SaaS, modern businesses can launch their products and services without being concerned about scaling up proportional to their increasing customer base. Furthermore, this business model also allows enterprises to deliver instant, cloud-based solutions designed to solve a wide range of users’ problems.

Some well-known SaaS applications include Netflix, Office 365 and Uber; each designed to solve specific problems. For instance, Netflix addresses users’ boredom by offering a vast library of entertaining videos including movies & TV shows that can be streamed at the finest quality. Uber makes transportation hassle-free for users. Office 365 services as a convenient and reliable assistant that helps improve productivity.

Investing in a SaaS software can be a lucrative decision provided you keep a few things in mind to build the right kind of application. These ‘things you should remember’ applies to almost all popular SaaS applications.

Let’s get to the details.

Pitch should be focused on the purpose; not the price

SaaS business owners generally seem to believe that their pitch should be focused on the price of their product, for a SaaS application with a decent price tag could appeal more to the target market. But that isn’t the case.

SaaS software normally doesn’t cost much to build and maintain compared to conventional eCommerce & brick-and-mortar stores. So you can offer it to customers with a great price tag. Though a decent price tag can influence sales, consumers won’t have a good idea of the problem that the app is designed to solve. So why would they buy it if they are not aware of what the app can do?

On the other hand, if the consumers are made aware of how the SaaS app solves a specific problem that has been bugging a good majority of the target market, they wouldn’t mind paying a bit more for the app. So when marketing a SaaS product, place more emphasis on its purpose than its price.

Create relevant content with value

You wouldn’t find a successful company that doesn’t have a blog on the web. With these blogs, they present their expertise and knowledge to their target audience and potential consumers while giving them good reads on a variety of topics pertaining to the business’ products or services.

IsItWP, a free online resource, recently compiled hundreds of blogging facts and stats and according to them 77% of internet users read blog articles. With blogs being so important today, the content marketing industry is at its all-time peak; set to be worth around $300 billion this year.

So when building your SaaS application, make sure to take note of the technologies used, their benefits, the application’s role on its target market and other content based around your niche. With all of these information combined with even more research, you can create blogs that further enhance the core experience of your SaaS application.

Uber does this impeccably with a blog that features fresh content that offer travel advices, scenic locations from around the country, and even travel stories of famous people. You may be wondering why Uber is speaking about travel. But the company’s blogs reach the right people who are thinking about traveling. And during travels, people may need an Uber. The idea is based on the company’s assumption that people require rides before the board flights and after they land.

And they seem to be right. Uber builds a relationship with their potential customers via their blogs before even a single transaction is done on their app.

Free trials can do wonders

Not many SaaS applications offer free trials. But most successful ones do. With free trials, the SaaS software can present its capabilities to its customers; showing them how it can solve specific issues at zero cost. If the customers like this hands-on experience, they will not think twice to become return customers and invest in a paid subscription.

Furthermore, this is also a strategy that can help with conversions. A timed test run offer can increase sales provided the application has all necessary features functioning properly. A free trial also encourages people to tell others about the software.

Analyze customer data and conduct surveys to improve product

Your efforts shouldn’t end when everyone likes your SaaS application and sales improve. Every successful SaaS application had solid support to back them up. You should certainly have a strategy in place to improve the existing service further to serve customers even better. The best way to innovate like that is to uncover insights from customer data and to conduct customer surveys.

Data from both sources can point out trends that people appreciate and trends that aren’t making an impact. Surveys can help you zero in on the most wanted feature for your SaaS product.

Comparing results from both data analytics and surveys can help you determine whether a majority of the respondents make up a fair percentage of your customer base. Remember also to estimate the percentage of customers that took the survey. For instance, if the survey respondents constitute only 5% of your customer base and the survey concluded that a particular feature is wanted by 95% of the respondents, you may have to rethink about making big changes as you have only taken the opinions of just 5% of your customer base.

If the survey data have information from over 60% of your customer base, the insights you uncover can help you make decisions to accelerate the growth of the app in a positive direction.

Conclusion

When it comes to enterprise technologies, SaaS applications cast a big shadow that will be present for quite a while; empowering enterprises to adapt to dynamic industry, technology and market changes. Hope the tips mentioned in this blog helps you in building a great SaaS application.

If you still need help with developing one, get in touch with the experts at AOT. We would love to help you.

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Amazon Web Services, popularly known as AWS, is one of the biggest cloud services in the world that quickly dominated the cloud services sector with robust, secure and easy-to-use tools for databases, operations and storage. Many big enterprises use and recommend AWS including Unilever, Netflix, Met Office, BMW, Airbnb etc.

In this blog, we will be exploring a few of the most useful cloud tools and services offered by AWS.

Simple Storage Service (S3)

This is one of the most widely used among all AWS services; for storing and securing any amount of data in a number of situations so as to ensure operations of mobile apps and sites, backup and recovery, archival, data inquiry etc. The service is also quite easy to use, and comes with administration tools that enable you to operate data and configure access restrictions to meet requirements.

Lambda

AWS Lambda is a great event-driven AWS service that runs program codes in response to events without the need to operate servers. The pricing model is based on the service’s used time i.e. you need only pay for the used time. Furthermore, if the code isn’t executed by the service, no fee is charged.

What makes AWS Lambda a reliable investment is the fact that it’s capable of running any kind of software or server services without requiring administrative operations. The user simply has to upload program codes, sit back and watch Lambda execute the codes, scaling availability on demand.

Lex

Lex gained a lot of momentum after chatbots became a buzzing trend for businesses. It’s a scalable, secure service that allows users to create, publish and monitor chatbots, with single-click multiplatform deployment being its most interesting feature. With AWS Lex, users’ applications will have conversational interfaces powered by Deep Learning technologies (that which power Amazon Alexa).

The service has a well-designed speech recognition system that enables Lex to process action confirmation requests as well as error-handling requests. By default, AWS Lex supports integration with AWS Lambda.

Simple Notification Service (SNS)

A fully operated Pub/Sub messaging service, SNS can be a great asset for enterprises leveraging the many benefits of AWS. The service is highly secure and can effectively separate microservices, distributed systems and also serverless programs.

With SNS, users can send messages regardless of the operating system at the receiving end. The notably fast service can also be enhanced with users’ own software that can add messages to the service so the service can then forward them to message subscribers.

Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)

Another widely used AWS service, EC2 provides scalable computing assets on the cloud. The obviously secure service simplifies cloud computing and features an easy-to-use web interface. This interface streamlines the setup and technical configurations of computing assets while giving users full control over all instances including root access and almost all features available on other machines. Additionally, EC2 also allows users to choose their desired operating systems and software packages.

Polly

The name may sound silly but Polly is one of AWS’ greatest services – Amazon’s own text-to-speech tool that supports a plethora of languages. The service can be accessed via an API that adds an audio file into your program. For Polly, users need to pay only for the number of symbols that are transcribed into voice. You might think that could amount to a lot. But it doesn’t. A book with close to 400,000 characters can be transcribed at a cost of about $2. Other key benefits include speech storage, live streaming, voice output configurations etc.

Glacier

Glacier is possibly one of the most cost effective object storage class of all AWS services. It’s safe and reliable, and serves to back up data and long-term backup storage. The service cost is about $0.004 a month for storing 1 GB of data making it a great alternative to conventional local storage solutions.

With Glacier, information can be extracted in three ways – Accelerated option that will last up to 5 minutes, Standard option that can last from 3 to 5 hours, Batch option that can last from 5 to 12 hours.

Other major benefits include:

  • Enhanced integration with AWS CloudTrail for running an audit, monitoring and storing storage API call data while supplementing the process with various methods of encryption.
  • A thriving community of Amazon objects storage services comprising thousands of consulting companies, system integrators and independent software vendors.

Athena

Athena is an online serverless query service that can effectively streamline data analyses processes in Simple Storage Service (S3) using standard SQL services. With Athena, you don’t need infrastructure that requires configuration or operation. The service ensures that the data are analyzed the right way. The user need not upload data to Athena as the service directly handles data stored in S3.

Major benefits include:

  • Easy-to-use Athena Console
  • Easy to create standard SQL queries
  • Pay per request
  • Easy integration with AWS Glue for optimized query performance reduction

Internet of Things

AWS IoT is possibly the most trending AWS service that offers software solutions, data services and operations for building a great IoT ecosystem. The service allows users to safely connect devices and gather information. AWS IoT performs activities based on locally received information even without an internet connection. The service offers operating options to supervise, manage, and protect a large set of devices. Combined with data services, users can capitalize on IoT data effectively.

The package includes:

  • AWS IoT
  • Device Software
  • Data services
  • Peripheral operations management
  • Protection, control, and management of devices in the cloud

Simple Queuing Service (SQS)

The SQS, as the name suggests, is a message queuing service that can both isolate and scale distributed systems, microservices, and serverless programs. The service features two types of message queues – Standard queues and FIFO SQS queues.

The Standard queues can be used for maximum throughput and optimal delivery of messages according to the ‘at once’ method. FIFO SQS queues are limited bandwidth queues that ensure that messages are processed strictly in the order they are sent.

Endnote

The world’s most popular (arguably) cloud vendor delivers.

To leverage AWS services for faster enterprise growth, you will need help from experts. And AOT is where you can find that expertise. Just drop us a message and our cloud specialists will get in touch with you.

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Prototyping is a major aspect of any digital solution design process which allows the design and development team to simulate designs, figure out optimal user experiences, test project outflows etc. To do this efficiently, app development companies use prototyping tools, and the current market has a lot of them.

In this blog, we offer you a curated list of a few of the most useful prototyping features that will make life easier for UI/UX designers.

Marvel

Not the comics franchise but a widely-preferred, browser-based prototyping tool that can easily streamline the prototyping process. With the Marvel app, you can upload image files, add gestures, transitions etc.

Key features:

  • Enables users to create beautiful interfaces and wireframes in a matter of minutes without code
  • Facilitates user testing
  • Supports image uploads (JPG, GIF, and PSD)

Flinto

You may not have heard of Flinto before but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth checking out. Flinto comes in two versions – for iOS and web apps. With Flinto, designers can build both simple and complex prototypes without the need for coding.

Key features:

  • Great control over all layers and complexity
  • Drag-and-drop functionality
  • Easier navigation of the prototype using swipes, taps and other gestures

Origami Studio

Origami Studio was developed by Facebook. Designed to make it easier for teams to build and design interactive, visually-engaging products, Origami also allows users to import Photoshop and Sketch into it.

Key features:

  • Custom backgrounds, full-screen view and mobile device simulation
  • Allows stakeholders and team members to post remarks directly on the project or versioning history
  • Easy export of prototype components

Fluid UI

Fluid UI is a simple prototyping tool that makes it notably easier to build high fidelity and low fidelity prototypes and offer large component libraries in addition to facilitating live team collaboration, rich video presentations etc.

Key features:

  • Rapid prototyping
  • Built-in libraries with over 2000 components
  • Upload existing assets

Wireframe.cc

Wireframe.cc is a free platform that can help build the ideal prototype for a business on a clutter-free environment. The highlight is a minimal interface that doesn’t have a crowded toolbar and lots of icons.

Key features:

  • Rapid prototyping with simple wireframes
  • Context-sensitive UI
  • Wireframe annotations

UXPin

UXPin have helped many designers build prototypes that closely resemble the finished product in terms of looks and functionality. Most functional and interactive elements can be tested out on the prototype with UXPin.

Key features:

  • Import existing web page to UXPin to import the prototype itself
  • Interactive text fields, checkboxes and radio buttons

Sketch

Sketch is a popular prototyping tool that’s generally preferred by modern web designers. It includes a great set of plugins that will make prototyping with Sketch another walk in the park.

Key features:

  • Flexibility when it comes to functionality
  • Easier prototyping and sharing
  • Build symbols and reusable assets

Adobe XD

With Adobe XD, designers can draw, reuse and remix vectors to build prototypes, wireframes, screen layouts etc.

Key features:

  • Import from Adobe tools without hassle
  • View designs in real-time on actual devices
  • Integrations with popular Adobe products including Photoshop
  • Make comments when sharing prototypes directly

Conclusion

Prototyping tools are vital factors that influence an app’s chance of success once it hits the market. Without proper prototyping, the app stands a good chance of failing to impress its audience and perform its duties. The tools in this list not only make it easier for developers and designers but also ensure that the app’s quality will not be compromised.

Get in touch AOT’s mobile app development experts to understand how we handle prototyping and app development.


Building a mobile application that will impress users and deliver on its promises is one big challenge. Many developers rest easy after the app is launched on the platform-specific app stores. Unfortunately for them, their troubles do not end there because an app on an app store can fade away very fast if it isn’t being given support from the development team. And by support, we mostly refer to app maintenance.

If an app lacks regular maintenance, quite a number of issues can arise including performance drops, dwindling user base and even frequent crashes. Out of all those issues, an app crash is the most threatening as it can deter new users and force existing users to seek a better alternative. To minimize app crashes or prevent crashes from ever occurring, developers can use a number of tools with crash monitoring and reporting features.

This blog however only features a list of a few of the most widely used crash reporting tools for iOS apps. We will be covering the tools for Android apps in a different blog.

Xcode

When it comes iOS apps crash reporting, Apple’s own Xcode is undoubtedly the most popular and the most widely used. The free tool comes with a number of great features to identify crashes and generate organized reports of crashes with crash locations. Furthermore, Xcode also allows developers to run and test different versions of an app in simulation mode, and even create engaging user interfaces. Using Xcode properly requires experience in good coding skills and iOS app development.

Crashlytics

Crashlytics has a great user base and a quickly growing community; the latter of which is most likely due to the fact that this tool works for both iOS and Android apps. Crashlytics can measure the severity of a crash and can also alert developers when a crash occurs.

The tool makes beta testing easier for developers and testers while also monitoring the progress of each developer and tester using the tool. One of its biggest features is its priority mechanism that prioritizes the top identified issues in the app. Crashlytics can also be easily integrated with other plugins. This tool might be the most easy-to-use and developer-friendly tool in this list.

Firebase

Many iOS developers are reluctant to use Firebase for their iOS projects as it’s powered by Google and therefore more usable for Android projects. There is no need for concern here as Firebase works perfectly fine for iOS apps. Furthermore, it’s feature-rich and free.

With Firebase’s deep analytics, the development team can get detailed reports of crash and other app issues. The tool can also prioritize crashes that should be addressed first. Even if the iOS app doesn’t crash, Firebase can still be useful as a reliable performance monitoring tool that ensures that the app functions how it’s designed to function. Another great feature of Firebase is that the development team can get insights on the different kinds of users using the app and rough observations of their usage behavior.

Conclusion

Managing app crashes is one of the key factors for the app’s success and lifespan. The faster the crashes are fixed and bugs are identified, the better the app’s performance. The tools mentioned in this blog can help any iOS developer figure out most serious app crash issues quickly and resolve them.

Develop high performance iOS apps with AOT’s expertise. Get in touch with our iOS developers to see how we develop apps here at AOT.

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