Scio Interviews: Cybersecurity expert warns where the real risks lie in the software businesses

Scio Interviews: Cybersecurity expert warns where the real risks lie in the software businesses

Curated by: Sergio A. Martínez

What is cybersecurity about? With the advent of digital networks, businesses and individuals have become increasingly reliant on the Internet infrastructure to communicate and store all kinds of important information, making it easier and more convenient than ever to stay “connected” to the world. However, this increased dependence has also made us more vulnerable to a specific risk that has become a major concern for businesses and government agencies alike: cyberattacks, which necessitates effective measures to counter them. But what exactly is cybersecurity? And what is its role in protecting our digital data and infrastructure?

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First, let’s talk about definitions. In its simplest form, cybersecurity is protecting electronic information from unauthorized access or theft in a specific environment, consisting of every component of a digital network: hardware, storage, ROM, RAM, Firmware, Input/Output devices, connections, etc. Everything that can take place in these points is the concern of cybersecurity, where implementing measures of control and defense are of critical importance for any organization relying on these networks, which are most of them.

However, what is the actual difference between the popular image of cybersecurity stemming from pop culture, and the reality of it? What exactly is the goal of real cybersecurity, and what is the approach that this discipline takes to secure and protect an infrastructure that grows in importance every day? And what are the challenges when it comes to protecting information and access on a system that humans have to interact with daily? To answer these questions, we talked to Dennis Hackney, an OT Cybersecurity Practitioner for a wide range of industries, and who has worked in the field for more than 20 years, to get a close overview of cybersecurity and the actual goals and applications of this area of technology, along with some insights that might tell us the direction where cybersecurity is headed towards.

A challenge of size and numbers

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We all know that cybersecurity is something to be aware of. Just turn on the news and you’ll see stories about the latest data breach or cyberattack. And it’s not just large businesses that are at risk — individuals are increasingly vulnerable to cyber criminals, as more and more of our lives are happening in online spaces. But what most people don’t realize is that cybersecurity is not just about protecting computers from viruses or keeping passwords safe; it’s taking a proactive approach and working to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities before they can cause damage. 

As Dennis tells us, cybersecurity is a kind of social behavior applied to a digital space. For most people, it’s possible to read a real-life situation more easily to know if there’s a risk involved (for example, learning how to cross a street, or if it is acceptable to accept a gift from a stranger) and act accordingly to that. But in digital environments, whose complexity and invisibility are so much bigger than we can instinctively understand, it’s very easy to miss if a problem is occurring, or if we should be aware of a risk. And depending on the level of computer literacy of the people involved in that situation, it can be challenging to know what to do if a problem arises. “Think of it like going to the doctor for severe pain. You wouldn’t operate on yourself, would you?”, explains Dennis. “If you have certain symptoms and suspect there’s something wrong with you, the best idea is to see a qualified expert  to diagnose the problem. 

And the most effective way to do so is with awareness of the operational technology (OT) involved in any system or network. While information technology (IT) specializes in the communication and data that travels through a network, OT, on the other hand, “is a category of hardware and software that monitors and controls how physical devices perform”. And having a complete view of these devices is critical to secure the networks and their users from unwanted intrusions, so the biggest problem here is numbers, and the scale of the measures necessary that comes with it. Can you know the number of devices interacting with a network in any given organization? Or could you be sure that authenticated users will not bring unwanted connections to this system? And if that happens, how can you be sure that any device connected to the network is being used by a validated person? As this article from CyberArk explains:

The connectedness of OT environments, IT-OT convergence and the proliferation of cyber-physical systems have expanded OT owners’ attack surface. Considering the importance of industrial process continuity, value of trade secrets, and public safety-related impacts of a critical infrastructure (CI) compromise, it comes as no surprise that both organized crime and state-sponsored actors view industrial organizations and CI as lucrative targets for financial gain, espionage, or cyberwarfare operations. Correspondingly, cyber-attacks on this sector have intensified.” 

According to what Dennis tells us, one important aspect of cybersecurity is access and identity control, which results in a “Zero Trust Architecture” (ZTA) where the identities of everyone connecting to a network must be verified thoroughly, with enforced policies that diminish the risk of anonymity among users and devices with access to a system. A holistic view of the network where the administrators can see every single user/device connected is a must. In that sense, frameworks like D3FEND might hold an answer.

Knowledge is essential to estimate operational applicability, identify strengths and weaknesses, and develop enterprise solutions comprising multiple capabilities. To address this recurring need in the near-term, we created D3FEND, a framework in which we encode a countermeasure knowledge base, but more specifically, a knowledge graph. The graph contains semantically rigorous types and relations that define both the key concepts in the cybersecurity countermeasure domain and the relations necessary to link those concepts to each other.

In other words, the single most important element when securing a system is knowledge, and how to manage it to address any risk or invulnerability within a network. What D3FEND offers is a new way of thinking about security, helping organizations to proactively identify and understand potential threats, and then design effective mitigation strategies. This framework is based on the principles of in-depth defense, and it provides a comprehensive approach to security that can be tailored to the needs of any organization.

 “Like ATT&CK, D3FEND is designed to help create a standard vocabulary by defining the specific functions of countermeasures. By doing this, the matrix can help organizations understand countermeasures in detail, which supports both high-level executives comparing the cost vs. risk of a new security tool, and the security architect looking to build or test a strategic toolset”, according to CSO.

Security in an ideal world

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However, while the D3FEND framework can help organizations protect their assets and reduce their risk exposure, it’s not an end-all-be-all for cybersecurity. By adopting tools like the D3FEND framework, organizations can ensure that they are better prepared to defend themselves against the ever-changing threat landscape, but without networks with zero-percent invisibility when it comes to OT, the fight has to continue. An ideal network where every single device is visible and authenticated by an administrator would be the pinnacle of efficiency. No more lost devices or unauthorized access. But is such a thing even possible?

As we keep expanding our technological footprint, cybersecurity is not a means of defense but a proactive approach. Sure, a system or network where every single device can be controlled and taken into account in such a way that no unauthorized user might get in sounds great, but it brings challenges beyond our capabilities. Such a network would be incredibly difficult to manage, especially if it included devices not under the administrator’s control. For these reasons, it is unlikely that a digital network where every single device is visible and authenticated by an administrator would be feasible. 

And that’s without going into the question of whether or not such a network is desirable in the first place. For many people, the appeal of a digital network lies in its ability to provide anonymity and privacy. If every device on a network is subject to authentication and monitoring, then that takes away much of the freedom that users enjoy, a major concern for many people in the age of the Internet. So, while a digital network where every single device is visible and authenticated by an administrator is possible, it might not be something that everyone wants. Hitting the right balance is key here, finding solutions that respect the users, but also gives the degree of control necessary to ensure no intrusions are possible.

What we can guarantee, though, is that waiting until something goes wrong is not an effective strategy. Too often, users adopt a passive attitude towards cybersecurity, assuming that their network is secure as long as they don’t see any evidence of an intrusion, a dangerous way to think about network security, and always there will be new threats emerging, impossible to know when or how they will strike. 

So, the only way to truly protect a network is to be proactive about cybersecurity, stay up-to-date on the latest threats, and take steps to keep ahead of the curve to defend against them. It may seem like extra work at the moment, but it’s the only way to ensure that the information flowing through a network remains safe and secure, helping to thwart threats before they have a chance to do damage. And if they do manage to get in, you’ll be better prepared to deal with the consequences. 

Because one thing is clear: cybersecurity must be constantly evolving to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of the digital world.

The Key Takeaways

  • More than the popular image of “passwords and antivirus”, cybersecurity is about social behavior, knowledge, and proactivity in the face of threats.
  •  A key element of this knowledge is having a complete view of a network, and measures to validate and control who has access to them.
  • The practicality of this is up for debate. So, the answer to cybersecurity concerns is to remain proactive, aware of potential risks, and have a clear plan of action (like a D3FEND framework) in case of risk is critical.
  • As our digital networks grow, keeping ahead of the curve in terms of security will make this proactivity more significant than ever.

Scio is an established Nearshore software development company based in Mexico that specializes in providing high-quality, cost-effective technologies for pioneering tech companies. We have been building and mentoring teams of engineers since 2003 and our experience gives us access not only to the knowledge but also the expertise needed when tackling any project. Get started today by contacting us about your project needs – We have teams available to help you achieve your business goals. Get in contact today!

Tech and AI: Trends to watch out for in the coming year of 2023

Tech and AI: Trends to watch out for in the coming year of 2023

Curated by: Sergio A. Martínez

Without question, the wide strides that AI technology has made in the last few years have brought it from a niche novelty to a serious force in the tech sector, enabling the development of tools that will change the way we use and create software, art, and writing, as well as bringing a level of efficiency that could change the industry as we know it. Truly, 2023 seems to be the year where AI will leave a profound mark, and being aware of what to expect will be important for an industry where change can happen overnight.

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We’ll see a lot more AI-enabled devices in our homes and workplaces, as well as a continued increase in the use of AI for things like facial recognition and target marketing. We may also see some interesting new applications of AI, such as using it to create more realistic virtual worlds or to help automate complex financial transactions. Of course, there will also be plenty of challenges to overcome, such as ensuring that AI systems can operate safely and ethically. But I remain optimistic about the future of AI, and I think it has the potential to truly transform our world for the better.

The AI of today and tomorrow

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AI is still in its early developmental stages, which means that a limited number of tools are available for implementing AI. However, some of the most important tools currently available include natural language processing, which is used to analyze and interpret human language, which is essential for developing intelligent assistants and chatbots, predictive analytics to make predictions about future events, trends, and behaviors, and machine learning, used to create algorithms that can learn and improve from experience. These three tools are essential for developing AI applications and will become even more important as AI technology advances. With these rapid developments, AI will become one of the most important tools in various fields, and the trends for 2023 will include…

1) A wider democratization of this tech

AI is no longer the exclusive domain of scientists and engineers. Today, anyone with an internet connection can access powerful AI tools and resources. This has leveled the playing field, allowing people from all walks of life to create and experiment with AI. This increased accessibility has already had a transformative effect on the world, and it is only going to become more pronounced in 2023 and forward. As AI continues to evolve, it will become an increasingly important part of our lives, changing the way we live, work, and interact with the world around us, with a level of quality expectation that will certainly affect the products and services offered by almost every type of business.

2) The rise of prompt engineering

The topic of prompt engineering is one we have touched on before, doing an overview of how this field will become a career in demand in coming years thanks to the increasing popularity of AI tools for general consumption. For those not in the know, prompt engineering is a “Natural Language Processing” area, where you design the final output of an AI system by carefully constructing the instructions for its generative engine. With an application in everything, from art to coding, prompt engineers will become a very in-demand position for organizations heavily investing in AI toolsets, so 2023 will bring a very interesting change in the job landscape.

3) No-code platforms and other generative tools

Speaking of which, generative tools are here to stay. With applications like Dall-E opening to the general public, generative tools are becoming a unique way of approaching problem-solving, allowing their users to explore and experiment with different possible solutions. This approach is well-suited to the rapidly changing field of artificial intelligence, where new challenges and opportunities are constantly emerging. Additionally, generative tools can help to automate the process of creating training data sets, which is essential for machine learning. As AI generative tools become more sophisticated, they are likely to play an increasingly important role in the advancement of artificial intelligence in 2023.

4) Ethical AI

Artificial intelligence is often lauded as a transformative technology that has the potential to revolutionize industries and change the way we live. However, AI also raises significant ethical concerns, which need to be addressed to ensure this technology is as useful and safe as possible. One of the most pressing issues is the lack of diversity in the field of AI, which creates a risk of bias being built into algorithms, as we have seen before, for example, with Application Tracking Systems within the HR field, which tend to be easily gamed, proving inaccurate (or worse) when selecting the appropriate candidate for an open position.

Another major concern is data privacy. After all, AI systems are becoming increasingly adept at gathering and analyzing data. In some cases, they may even be able to eavesdrop on our conversations or track our movements. As a result, there is a real risk that our personal information could be leaked or mishandled.

Finally, there is the issue of transparency. Due to the complex nature of AI algorithms, many experts fear that the opaque nature of AI could be exploited for nefarious purposes, such as mass surveillance or even control of public opinion. Furthermore, the rapid pace of development in AI is outstripping our ability to understand and regulate it, and as a result, there is a real risk that AI could be abused in ways that we cannot even imagine. For these reasons, 2023 will be an essential year to demand greater transparency from those who are developing and deploying AI technology. Only then can we hope to prevent its misuse.

5) Leaps in autonomous systems

In a world that is becoming increasingly reliant on technology, it is no surprise that autonomous AI systems are gaining in popularity. These systems can perform tasks that would normally require human involvement, such as monitoring inventory levels or providing customer service, and even historically riskier fields, like transport and industrial applications are becoming more reliable and cheap enough that 2023 will likely see mass adoption of these tools in everyday tasks. The clear advantage they have by operating around the clock without needing breaks, and their lack of susceptibility to emotions or fatigue is a huge advantage over traditional systems, helping to improve efficiency and productivity in a variety of industries. As more businesses begin to recognize the benefits of these autonomous systems, their popularity will likely continue to grow in the coming year.

Final notes

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With all this said, 2023 is shaping up to be the “Year of AI”. The sheer amount of data that will be generated by businesses and individuals will continue to grow exponentially, allowing for better training of AI algorithms, and making them more accurate and efficient. And the cost of computing power and storage will continue to decline, making it more accessible to businesses and organizations of all sizes, with breakthroughs in AI technology enabling humans and machines to work together more seamlessly than ever before. And as long as AI’s ethical concerns will be addressed more seriously, this technology will be increasingly ubiquitous in daily life, both inside and outside of work. All of these factors together make 2023 the year that AI will come into its own and begin to transform the world as we know it. Are you ready to embrace it?

The Key Takeaways

  • The rapid evolution of AI technologies has made them a viable tool in plenty of industries, and 2023 can be a landmark year in its adoption.
  • Although still in the early stages of development, disciplines like natural language processing, machine learning, and predictive analytics have pushed AI into mainstream usage.
  • Specifically, AI will increase the popularity of prompt engineering, generative tools, and autonomous systems.
  • This democratization of this tech, while bringing innovation at an unprecedented pace, also has ethical concerns that the industry needs to solve to guarantee a safe implementation of AI in daily life.

Scio is an established Nearshore software development company based in Mexico that specializes in providing high-quality, cost-effective technologies for pioneering tech companies. We have been building and mentoring teams of engineers since 2003 and our experience gives us access not only to the knowledge but also the expertise needed when tackling any project. Get started today by contacting us about your project needs – We have teams available to help you achieve your business goals. Get in contact today!

Do you want to be a great software developer? Embrace a Growth Mindset

Do you want to be a great software developer? Embrace a Growth Mindset

Curated by: Sergio A. Martínez

What makes one a great software developer? When you work in a field where there is no “right” way to do things, this can be a pretty important question. Some say that the best developers are those who can find creative solutions to difficult problems, willing to experiment and take risks, always learning from their mistakes. Others say that a great developer has a strong understanding of the latest technologies and trends, enabling them to think outside the box and come up with new and innovative ideas. And yet others say that a good developer is simply one who writes good, stable code with discipline and consistency.

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Of course, all of these are very good qualities for a software developer to have, but here at Scio, we think that there’s something else involved, a “secret ingredient” of sorts that every developer can have if they put in the necessary effort and that we encourage as often as we can: a growth mindset.

What is a growth mindset? Simply put, it’s the belief that intelligence and ability can be developed through hard work and practice. It means having the ability to constantly learn new things, adapt to new situations and be open to feedback with a willingness to experiment. It’s never getting too comfortable with your skills because the industry is always changing. We believe that the best developers are always learning, always growing, and always looking for ways to improve.

The research of Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck has shown that people with a growth mindset are more likely to persevere in the face of setbacks, take on challenging tasks, and embrace failure as an opportunity to learn. With this, you can see why any great developer would know that having a growth mindset is critical for success. Your skills can be developed through hard work, determination, and persistence, and this mindset allows you to approach challenges with a positive attitude and the belief that you can overcome them. It also gives you the chance to learn from your mistakes and view “failure” as an opportunity to evolve. Without a growth mindset, it is easy to become discouraged when faced with difficult problems or to give up when encountering setbacks. Getting yourself into this headspace will leave you better equipped to continue growing as a developer.

Developing a growth mindset

The rise of the industry-specific Cloud: Here’s everything you need to know

As we said, a growth mindset believes that intelligence and talent are skills that can be developed, rather than static traits that you’re born with. The latter is known as a “fixed mindset”, which maintains that ability is static or predetermined, and there’s little you can do to change that. In other words, it’s thinking in terms of “natural talents” instead of “acquired skills” that can dissuade a lot of people from learning and improving an aspect of themselves, leaving them stuck in place. 

The idea of “natural talent” is very powerful. It’s often used to describe someone good at something seemingly without any effort, a sort of “Life’s Lottery Winner” that either you are, or you aren’t. However, this is far from the truth; what we call “talent” is simply the result of hard work, practice, and dedication, so anyone can become good at anything if they are willing to put in the time and effort. The belief that some people are born with inherent abilities, while others are not, is nothing more than a harmful myth, discouraging people from trying new things and pursuing their goals, because they believe that they will never be as good as those with “natural talent”, no matter what. In reality, everyone has the same potential for greatness, but it’s up to each individual to get into this mindset.

But how to shed this worldview and embrace the idea that you can always learn and become better? How can you develop a growth mindset to become the developer you always wanted to be? Well, the most important thing you should know is that having a growth mindset is not always an innate attitude for most people, so it requires effort to get one. We all have a specific aspect of our personality somewhere that we believe impossible to change, that is just “part of who we are”, making us likely to give up in the face of adversity, stick to familiar tasks, and see failure as a reflection of our lack of ability, which is rarely the case. Recognizing the presence of this “fixed mindset” is the first step to start improving.

With that in mind, you should start by practicing self-advocacy. This is the ability to communicate your wants and needs to others, which requires an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Doing so makes it easier to identify areas of opportunity where you can improve a skill or learn something new. In software development, for example, you need a lot more than just writing good code; you need to communicate with the client and your team effectively, understanding their needs and challenges, and in a Nearshore company like Scio, often in a different language than your native one. All of these skills require time and commitment to master, so to get started…

  1. Make a list of all the skills you use daily, both hard and soft (tools, frameworks, platforms, and programming languages, for example, as well as stuff like planning, communicating with others, giving feedback, etc.)
  2.  Make a note of which ones you feel completely confident about, and which ones require more effort on your part. 
  3. Try to see what’s the difference between these skills: maybe it’s the amount of practice you put into it, or maybe you feel more interested in doing one rather than the other. Maybe you never had the chance to use that skill before.
  4. Apply self-advocacy to find the help you need to bring these skills up. Sign up for a course, ask a more experienced friend, or make the time to improve.

By understanding what you’re good at and what you need to work on, you can set yourself up for success”, says Luis Aburto, CEO and Co-Founder of Scio. “If you’re aware of your weaknesses, you can take steps to improve them. And if you know your strengths, you can use them to your advantage. Which is an essential quality if you want to grow and evolve as a developer. By taking the time to understand what makes you tick, you can set yourself up for success both now and in the future.

However, even after doing all of this, we understand that this growth doesn’t happen instantaneously; it requires a continued effort and the support of everyone in your environment to reach your maximum potential as a developer. This is why choosing to collaborate with an organization that takes growth seriously is just as important as recognizing your need to improve your skill set. After all, what good comes out of knowing your areas of opportunity if you don’t have the chance to act on them?

Growing together

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However, a true growth mindset goes beyond simply believing that you can get better by just expanding your knowledge or your technical toolset. It involves taking the initiative to explore new skills and going through learning experiences outside of your “comfort zone”. In a previous blog, we talked about how actual “comfort zones” are less about getting stuck on a single place, without feeling the need to go beyond it, and more about expanding your areas of expertise, getting comfortable in areas of software development that are just as important as technical knowledge, but demand a very different kind of effort. Soft skills like  communication, negotiation, problem solving, teamwork or strategic thinking that will help you become a well-rounded developer. Going into places you have never gone before is how a person truly grows.

That’s why it’s so important to work with people that help you improve all your skills, or with an organization that provides opportunities for skill development outside of what you thought possible before, commiting to create a strong team capable of taking on any challenge. Companies like Scio, for example, know the value not only in offering workshops, courses, and programs like Sensei-Creati, but also in letting developers “stretch their legs”, so to speak, with assignments and responsibilities that might help them develop a new skill, like letting a Senior take the Lead in a project, or allowing people that not normally interact with the client to have a more “first hand” experience” to practice communication and planning. Actions like these allow taking something you are not “skilled at” and practice it to perfection on a daily basis, even if it’s outside of your normal interests. That’s how we participate in the creation of well-rounded developers capable of joining any team and overcoming any challenge.

So, to get back to our point, a growth mindset is essential for any software developer that wants to be excellent at their craft. With this mindset, you will never stop learning and expanding your skillset, always looking for new challenges to conquer and ways to improve yourself. If you can adopt a growth mindset and let go of preconceived notions about what you are and aren’t good at, you will set yourself up for success as a great software developer. And We will always be in need of those.

The Key Takeaways

  • A good software developer knows that the key to greatness is always improving your skills and learning new things.
  • To achieve this, you need to get into a “growth mindset” where improving is a continuing process that never stops.
  • To get this mindset, myths like “natural talent” or that there are things about yourself that cannot be changed need to be left behind.
  • However, doing this by yourself can be difficult, which is why you, as a developer, should choose to collaborate with a company or organization that sees the value in growing and learning at every step.

Scio is an established Nearshore software development company based in Mexico that specializes in providing high-quality, cost-effective technologies for pioneering tech companies. We have been building and mentoring teams of engineers since 2003 and our experience gives us access not only to the knowledge but also the expertise needed when tackling any project. Get started today by contacting us about your project needs – We have teams available to help you achieve your business goals. Get in contact today!

The rise of the industry-specific Cloud: Here’s everything you need to know

The rise of the industry-specific Cloud: Here’s everything you need to know

Curated by: Sergio A. Martínez

At some point in the past, software companies had to rely on complex and often expensive hardware infrastructure to operate and deliver their products to customers. This, of course, made it difficult for new companies to enter the market, while limiting the ability of existing companies to scale up their operations, essentially acting as a barrier that stifled innovation. Cloud computing changed all of that. By allowing companies to manage their products and operations remotely, cloud technology leveled the playing field, introducing the concept of “As-a-service” that had a profound impact on the technology sector, and is likely to keep shaping the market in the years to come.

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However, what’s next for cloud computing? Now that this technology has become a linchpin for many companies, businesses, and industries, the evolution of the cloud is starting to take shape, and 2023 is likely to be a year when the adoption of these platforms and tools will take their biggest step yet. 

And the main reason is that a new era of possibility is dawning; while cloud computing is allowing businesses to scale their operations quickly and efficiently, without having to invest in expensive new hardware or software, offering new ongoing business models, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Emerging trends like the Metaverse, cloud gaming, and AR, among many others, have specific needs and challenges that demand a different angle. 

That’s why industry-specific cloud solutions will be such a game changer for businesses, but what will this future look like? What is the future of cloud computing, and what can we expect to see in the coming 2023?

The sky is the limit

The rise of the industry-specific Cloud: Here’s everything you need to know

Microsoft, for example, is already pushing the envelope of what this technology can do, experimenting with the possibilities of cloud computing with applications like the most recent entry in their Flight Simulator series. This entry on the 40-year-old franchise implemented Microsoft’s Azure technology, among others, to render a real-time map of the whole Earth, enabling players to visit pretty much any place on the planet with a precision and fidelity unheard of before, even duplicating the real-life weather conditions and air traffic of every place you want to visit. Realistically, handling this amount of information would be impossible for a user to do locally, which demonstrates the capabilities of cloud computing when applied to a specific end. As explained in the Game Developer article we liked above:

It’s a complex process with many moving parts, and what’s more fascinating about this technical feat is that Microsoft and development lead Asobo Studio in France were relying on cloud infrastructure that did not fully exist when work on the game began in 2016. […] At the start of development, there were three main challenges: storing, processing, and streaming the world of Flight Simulator. Storage wasn’t so much of an issue–there’s plenty of room in the cloud–but the efficiency of processing and streaming would depend on future expansion of Azure datacenters.” 

This push in the implementation of cloud technology was not only a literal game-changer but also a first step into showing how an industry-specific application of cloud computing can bring all kinds of advantages for companies and organizations looking to implement these tools into their operations. From easy examples like healthcare organizations taking advantage of cloud-based patient records and telemedicine solutions, retailers using the cloud to manage inventory and customer data, or manufacturers connecting disparate machines and systems into a single whole, there are also obvious advantages like implementing certifications, processes, practices, and regulations that not only can vary a lot from one industry to the next but also have not shared functionality whatsoever.

Vertical software is far from a new idea and bringing this kind of specialization to the cloud is actually a sign of the maturity of SaaS. It’s now powerful enough that services can be customized and interconnected to deliver not just the generic workflows that every business uses, but the very specific requirements of different industries”, says this analysis by TechRepublic. “An industry cloud has a common data model, cross-cloud connectors and APIs, plus workflows, components, standards and certifications for that industry that are used to create different modules that customers can choose.

In a world where generic off-the-shelf software solutions are the norm, it can be easy to forget that every business is unique. One size does not always fit all, and that’s why industry-specific cloud-computing customization will become increasingly popular in the coming years, with businesses seeking out software that is tailored to their specific needs. And theoretically, industry-specific customization services can provide a higher level of security and compliance with industry regulations. As businesses become more aware of the benefits of industry-specific clouds, demand for these services will continue to grow.

The risk of the intangible

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However, this doesn’t mean that this transition will be easy, or that it will not bring concern and challenges when it comes to reliability and cybersecurity. Anytime you outsource something as important as your company’s data storage, you’re exposing yourself to a certain amount of risk. And when you move your operations into a purely cloud-based environment, those risks can increase exponentially. Here are just a few of the potential dangers any organization needs to be aware of:

  • First and foremost, cloud computing involves placing a lot of trust in the hands of a third-party provider. If their infrastructure suffers any disruption, or if they experience any kind of security breach, your business could be seriously impacted, especially if an industry-specific standard makes it difficult to migrate operations elsewhere.
  • A business might also lose a certain degree of control over its data. When it’s stored on their own premises, the organization can physically secure it and restrict access to it as they see fit, but in the cloud, relying on the security measures of your provider is obligatory.
  • Finally, you need to be aware of the possibility of data loss. Even with the most reliable providers, there’s always the chance that data could be corrupted or lost due to hardware failure or human error.

 

And this is without mentioning how an effective cloud implementation would require clear standards and guidelines to be properly used; after all, if an industry vertical standard exists, developing a solution that is not compatible with such could limit the appeal of the solution to potential users within that industry. Furthermore, if an industry-specific solution is not well adopted, the sunk costs associated with development and deployment may never be recovered. And that’s without mentioning that, by definition, an industry-specific solution is less likely to be adopted by a broad base of users, which could limit its long-term viability. However, the competitive and operational advantages of an industry-specific cloud computing solution could be enough to offset this.

For now, the future seems bright. The technology sector has become diverse enough that the development of industry-specific cloud computing solutions will become a necessity going forward. And as businesses increasingly move their operations and data to the cloud, they will require tailored solutions for their specific needs. As the cloud computing market matures, it is clear that the development of industry-specific solutions will be the key to success for the technology sector.

The Key Takeaways

  • One of the biggest technological steps of the last two decades was the development of cloud infrastructure and computing.
  • Not only has this technology changed how we deploy products and ushered in the age of “As-as-Service” options, but also helped the tech sector to break away from local constraints.
  • However, the diversification of applications, solutions, and technological needs means that a “one-size-fits-all” approach might not be enough.
  • That’s why 2023 will bring a new paradigm of industry-specific cloud computing technology, closing on the needs of individual sectors.
  • Although these platforms present a challenge (in standards and security), the advantages outweigh the risks, and soon will see a big jump in these kinds of cloud computing applications.

Scio is an established Nearshore software development company based in Mexico that specializes in providing high-quality, cost-effective technologies for pioneering tech companies. We have been building and mentoring teams of engineers since 2003 and our experience gives us access not only to the knowledge but also the expertise needed when tackling any project. Get started today by contacting us about your project needs – We have teams available to help you achieve your business goals. Get in contact today!

Thinking of software development budgets for 2023? Here are three approaches you should know about.

Thinking of software development budgets for 2023? Here are three approaches you should know about.

Curated by: Sergio A. Martínez

If you’re serious about succeeding with your software development projects in 2023, you need to start budgeting for them now. It’s no use waiting until the last minute and hoping that everything will work out – it rarely does. Not only will you have a clearer idea of what you need to spend, but you’ll also be able to start making savings where possible, which may be an important concern going into the next year.

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After all, 2023 is shaping up to be a challenging year for the software industry, with several factors coming together to create a perfect storm of sorts. First, the overall economic picture is uncertain, with slowing growth in developed markets and an ongoing trade war making it difficult for companies to plan for the future. In addition, new emerging technologies, like AI and cloud streaming, are threatening to disrupt traditional business models, and the political environment is becoming increasingly challenging to navigate. As a result, 2023 is likely to be a year where companies will need to be agile and adaptable to survive and thrive.

With all that in mind, it’s never too early to start planning for success, and budgeting properly for your development expenses today will be a critical element of that. However, budgeting for your development expenses now can be easier said than done. When it comes to producing software, there are a lot of moving parts, which makes budgeting a bit of a challenge. For one thing, you have to account for the cost of the software itself, as well as the cost of any licenses or subscriptions that may be required, then there’s the cost of hardware, which can vary depending on the needs of the project, and don’t forget about the cost of training and support. Add it all up, and it’s no wonder budgeting a software development project can be so complicated. Of course, there are ways to simplify the process, but at the end of the day, it’s still important to have a clear understanding of all the costs involved. Otherwise, you might find yourself in over your head – and that’s never a good place to be.

Designing a software budget in 2023

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Let’s talk about numbers first. According to this article from The Harvest Blog: “Your project team members won’t have the necessary resources they need if you can’t secure the right funding. And if you don’t have a set plan from the start, you run the risk of joining the 57% of companies who say they don’t typically complete their projects within the established budget.” And with the challenges that 2023 will bring to the industry, reaching these goals will be critical.

So, if you’re serious about achieving your development goals, budgeting is a step that you can’t afford to avoid. By starting to budget for your development expenses now, you’ll be in a much better position to succeed. And you may already have a couple of traditional approaches to doing so, like the “Envelope System”, which involves assigning specific amounts of money to different spending categories (like licensing fees, cloud-based storage, subscriptions of all kinds, etc.), or the “Zero-based budget” that requires you to account for every single penny you spend. Nevertheless, when it comes to software development, these might not be enough. 

The traditional approach to budgeting assumes that all projects can be planned and executed linearly, with predictable costs and results. But software development can be anything but predictable; it’s an iterative process, where changes and improvements are constantly being made based on feedback. This means that software development teams need to be able to adapt their plans on the fly, which can make it difficult to stay within a fixed budget. In addition, the rapid pace of change in the technology industry means that teams often have to scrap their plans and start from scratch if they want to stay ahead of the competition.

Whichever approach you decide to use, the important thing is that you start budgeting for your development expenses now; 2023 is around the corner, and with it comes a new year of projects and innovations to look for. As always, software organizations of all kinds will be looking to stay within their budget while delivering quality products, with some basic tips that can help you to do so:

  • Use an agile development methodology. This will allow you to break the project down into smaller pieces and deliver them incrementally, which can help to control costs.
  • Make use of open-source software. Many high-quality open-source options can save you money on licenses and support fees.
  • Take advantage of cloud computing. Cloud-based solutions can be a cost-effective option for hosting and running your software.

But beyond these common-sense suggestions, the correct approach of an organization to budget for a software development project depends on a variety of unique challenges and goals. So, we’d like to present some budgeting techniques that can ensure that your software project stays on track, making a positive outcome more likely for any software enterprise. For example…

  • Bottom-up estimating: This is a great way to avoid any surprises when it comes time for your team’s final budget. Essentially, it’s about working closely with the team and examining each step of the project to the most minute detail, to ensure that you have all the important information laid out to create an accurate roadmap. This process helps ensure no hurdles come up later down the road, which ultimately saves money by having fewer unexpected costs associated with these “known problems” during development. 

  • Top-down estimating: Top-down estimating is a more efficient way to budget for large projects. By looking at the scope as an entire entity, you can identify which tasks will take up most of your time or resources without having any uncertainty between them. This allows us to estimate costs with greater accuracy than the “bottom-up” technique, allowing an organization to know exactly what work needs to be done first. The key difference between “Top-down” and “Bottom-Up” estimating lies in how much detail goes into each stage: With the top-down method, all elements must be defined upfront. However, some flexibility when deciding upon specific costs should remain.

  • Analogous estimating: A great way to get an idea about how much your project will cost when you don’t have enough data for the upcoming task. This technique only works because it relies on previous projects as references, so keeping its accuracy depends largely upon what information there was available from those jobs. That’s why reports, notes, feedback, and the information collected in project management systems can be so valuable to implement, allowing tracking of internal costs and reviewing past work while informing future scope decisions all at once, making sure every penny counts.

Final words

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It’s no secret that software projects can be costly. All too often, companies find themselves over budget and behind schedule, scrambling to contain the costs of their project. However, with a few strategies like the ones we just mentioned, costs can be kept under control. However, there’s no better strategy to plan your software development budget than managing expectations about the outcomes, clearly communicating the scope of the project and what will be delivered at each stage. 

This will help your organization to avoid scope creep and ensure that everyone is on the same page from the start. By following these simple strategies, companies can ensure that their software projects stay on budget coming 2023.

The Key Takeaways

  • The software industry, alongside the rest of the technology sector, will have a challenging 2023, for a variety of reasons.
  • One of the crucial elements of any company’s success is budgeting projects and operations sensibly, ensuring that an organization can meet all the goals it needs.
  • However, software development can be somewhat finicky when it comes to planning, so traditional approaches to budgeting might not cut it out; rather, a holistic view of the whole process can be the right way to plan any expense.
  • It’s important to keep in mind past approaches in order to understand where the biggest challenges might come when budgeting for the new year.

Scio is an established Nearshore software development company based in Mexico that specializes in providing high-quality, cost-effective technologies for pioneering tech companies. We have been building and mentoring teams of engineers since 2003 and our experience gives us access not only to the knowledge but also the expertise needed when tackling any project. Get started today by contacting us about your project needs – We have teams available to help you achieve your business goals. Get in contact today!