Software Trends That Drive the Need for ICEMicro

belgium 1601918 640Software development is a rapidly-changing field that's moving faster than ever. Historically, software has been built in a "Waterfall" way, meaning that software products are defined, developed, tested, released and maintained in sequential order. The Waterfall days have essentially ended because the pace of technology innovation and business continue to accelerate, so developers have less time than ever to get a product or product upgrade to market.

Each of us experiences such software changes in our everyday lives. For example, if you watch Netflix, you know its appearance and behavior continues to change with time.The same is true for your smartphone and the apps on it.

At the same time, the environment in which software runs has become more complex. Decades ago, there were few operating systems and not many PC manufacturers. Now, all kinds of companies are building laptops, tablets, phones, and other everyday products that have computing capabilities. Those devices run on a myriad of networks and communicate with each other across those networks. As consumers, we don't care about all the technical details that make up the environment in which the software we use runs, we just want to do what we want, when we want to do it.

The faster product cycles and higher environmental complexity have forced software teams to adopt new ways of working. The new work styles ensure that better quality products can be delivered faster. 

Becoming Agile Is the First Step

For the last couple of decades, increasing numbers of software teams have become "Agile." Essentially, Agile methodologies enable software teams to deliver better quality software faster.  To do that, they break down what used to be huge software programs into much smaller parts. While it might seem counterintuitive, Agile teams can actually accomplish more in less time than Waterfall teams.

The reason Agile methods enable faster delivery of better quality software is because small pieces have smaller setbacks and larger pieces have larger setbacks. For example, companies have spent a year or two building software products that cost millions of dollars only to discover that it doesn’t align with a market requirement or the software quality is poor.

By doing small things rapidly, Agile teams can "fail fast" and fix their mistakes as they go. Agile teams also benefit from a constant customer feedback loop which allows them to manage their time and budgets more effectively.

Another characteristic of Agile teams is that they're cross-functional. Rather than doing their specific jobs and not really communicating with other functions (which is typical of Waterfall practices), they're working together to set priorities and remove inefficiencies from their processes.

Next Comes DevOps

"DevOps" combines software development and operations. The trend started to gain momentum just over a decade ago because there are often disconnects between how a developer thinks the software he's building will operate in the real world and how that software actually works in the real-world. 

Developers and operations teams don't naturally come together, however. They have to agree to cooperatively embrace DevOps. Historically, the two groups have had a contentious relationship because developers want access to "production" systems so they understand how their software will behave in the real world.  However, operations does not want to give developers access to production systems because the business runs on them. One simple misconfiguration could cause all or part of a business to be "down."

To solve this problem, some vendors built software tools that allow developers to emulate production systems, but real and fictional environments tend to differ. The cloud helps to resolve the differences because actual and test systems can be configured more identically. (Basically, a "cloud" is a massive compute and storage environment that businesses can rent on a usage basis. Slowly, but surely, businesses across industries are moving to the cloud because they're finding it very difficult if not impossible to continue building and maintaining their own information technology (IT) infrastrucures in today's fast-changing business world.)

Clouds are increasingly important to software development, because more things are running in clouds, such as mobile phone applications, Facebook, Google, and Amazon.

Now We're at Continuous Delivery

Continuous delivery is a software development method that builds upon Agile and DevOps, and works faster than either Agile or DevOps can do on their own. It's necessary, because software delivery cycles are continuing to shrink. Why are they continuing to shrink? For several reasons, but the two biggest factors are customer expectations and disruptive companies that have always operated online or in the cloud ("digital natives"). 

The most progressive software companies are now doing continuous delivery, if not continuous deployment, which moves at an even faster pace. These companies aren't delivering software once a year, once a quarter or even once a month.They're releasing software weekly, daily, or several times per day!

How often a company releases software really depends on its business model and its customers' expectations. However, they are all under pressure to deliver software faster.

Why Speed Kills Security

When it takes software a year or two to go from concept to product delivery, there's plenty of time for quality and security related testing.As software cycles diminish, there is less time for quality and security checks.  As recent new stories reflect, shortcuts and oversights can be devastating. For example, the Equifax breach was the result of failing to update ("patch") certain open source software in a timely manner. The patch had been available for the six months leading up to the breach.  Had Equifax installed the patch, that particular hacking incident wouldn't have occurred when it did or perhaps at all.

Hackers expect software developers to make mistakes and take shortcuts. They also expect to find holes in software testing. and they are betting on the fact that even security experts don't understand all the vulnerabilities. Given the amount of software that powers our modern world and the increasing speed at which that software is being developed, security breaches are bound to happen. Unfortunately, security breaches are becoming increasingly common and increasingly severe.

Why The Time is Ripe for ICEMicro

We developed ICEMicro so software developers can secure the products they're building without spending any extra time, which makes it ideal for Agile and DevOps teams whether they're doing Continuous Delivery or not. If they want their software or device to communicate with any other piece of software or device securely, ICEMicro is the answer.

With ICEMicro, developers can start securing their applications in as little as five minutes. They don't have to configure anything or know anything about security for ICEMicro to work.  They can simply wrap their application up in an ICEMicro container which is like placing personal items in a portable storage container that's under lock and key.

However, unlike storage containers, ICEMicro containers are able to communicate with each other securely via an encrypted link.

Given the pervasive nature of software today, companies and individuals are constantly at risk. Although it's not apparent to most people, software runs almost everything you can think of from manufacturing floors to airplanes, cars, TVs and childrens' toys. All of the software developers, and the organizations for which they work, are responsible for the quality of the software they're building. Security is a critical part of quality, and it's becoming more important all the time.

ICEMicro gives software developers a way to secure whatever software they're building so when that software communicates with a copy of itself or other types of software, including the software resident in various types of devices, the data is kept safe.

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