Month: June 2020

DevelopmentInsights

Culture Shock: Improving Company Culture Through Technology

Corporate culture matters. Shared values and beliefs backed by strong business strategy help staff feel valued and connected, boosting engagement and productivity. Implemented effectively, cultural conventions can ensure employees are certain in their response to any given situation and are confident they’ll be rewarded for demonstrating key organizational values

However, there’s a challenge. Small business owners and entrepreneurs must keep in mind, legacy solutions and software deliver digital disconnects, in turn forging fragmented cultural frameworks that frustrate staff and C-suites alike. Improving corporate culture demands a kind of system shock — an effective implementation of new technology services that cultivate communication, collaboration, and connection at scale.

Shock Value

Culture is often viewed as an organizational opportunity — the chance for small businesses to act in concert based on shared understanding — but also offers practical potential.

Consider teamwork and morale. When employees trust one another, their earnest efforts will be met with appreciation from upper management. They’re more efficient and effective. Projects are completed more quickly and with fewer interpersonal issues, and personnel is more likely to stay engaged. 

This cultural creation is often undercut by cumbersome legacy technologies. From proprietary tools that limit connectivity to outdated solutions that complicate communication, tech-savvy staff members need ways to interact and innovate on demand.

Here, strategy is key. Simply tossing technology at the problem can have the opposite effect intended if workers are suddenly faced with fragmented functions and digital distractions. For culture shock to be positive, permanent, and productive, it’s critical for companies to adopt a two-factor approach that articulates key values and delivers actionable results.

Talk the Talk

To build corporate culture that lasts, businesses must streamline staff communication. This starts with multiplatform collaboration tools that make it easy for employees to connect and create wherever, whenever, and however, they want. By removing common collaboration barriers, it’s possible to facilitate effective interactions and reduce potential frictions, in turn improving project outcomes. Over time, this boosts morale and motivation — employees are confident they easily tackle big projects and that their contributions will be recognized.

Walk the Walk

Talk isn’t cheap — the right collaboration and communication tools demand strategic investment to drive ROI — and it’s not enough in isolation.

For effective cultural transitions, corporate leaders must walk the walk. This starts with transparency: Delivering consistent messaging about what’s expected, what’s appreciated, and what’s next on the cultural horizon. Automated messaging tools help shorten the distance between intention and action by allowing C-suite members to quickly draft and distribute companywide corporate mandates.

There’s also a need for operational insight that doesn’t come from inside the organization. From security assessments to software adoptions and service analytics, third-party expertise can help identify potential issues, suggest specific solutions, and show staff you’re committed to completed cultural transformation.

Cultural Relevance

Corporate culture matters — great culture cultivates trust, enhances communication, and improves staff commitment. Yet existing technology processes often frustrate the development of effective office culture, forcing staff to fight complexity rather than facilitating operations.

System shock can help short-circuit company culture challenges by empowering employee collaboration, facilitating C-suite connections, and delivering transformative strategy solutions. Be sure to review the accompanying infographic for more ways of strengthening company culture via technology.

Sources

https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/understandinganddevelopingorganizationalculture.aspx

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/05/23/digital-disappointment-your-employees-top-five-it-frustrations/#e9c412d60d62


Courtesy Of Halock Security Labs
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What You Need For Your Next Online Business Meeting

With more of the world working from home than ever before, chances are you will attend or run an online business meeting. And since the majority of businesses usually use face to face meetings, it takes an adjustment to run a meeting online while remaining effective. 

That is why it’s essential to learn what you need for your next online business meeting because virtual meetings require equipment and software you might not currently have. So, in case you have to run your business in the virtual world, even if it’s temporary, follow this guide to set up your tech.

Meeting Software

The central part of any online business meeting is your meeting software, and there are several programs to choose from. Zoom is a popular software choice for businesses to meet with their staff because it’s free and easy to use. That said, Zoom isn’t the only meeting software you can choose for your business meetings.

Here are some other software choices you could download and use:

  • Cisco Webex Meetings
  • Join.me
  • GoToMeeting
  • BlueJeans
  • UberConference
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Google Meet

Be sure the software you pick has the capabilities you need, like screen sharing, whiteboarding, or dedicated sub-rooms for breakout sessions. Each conference software has different amenities, so choose one that works for you and your business.

Also, be sure that your team can easily download the software because each participant will need the software to join your meeting.

Proper Lighting

Using your computer’s camera or your front-facing phone camera is probably your best choice if you don’t want to invest in a third-party camera.

The problem is, you still have to worry about proper lighting because if your lighting is in the wrong place, your staff will have a hard time concentrating on your words. So, you want to gather three LED daylight bulbs and place one directly in front of you, one at 45 degrees to your right, and one 45 degrees to your left.

Be sure these lights are slightly above you, so the lighting isn’t too harsh, and they will give you sufficient lighting for your meeting without distracting shadows.

Up to Date Microphone

More important than lighting is your staff’s ability to hear what you’re saying, and for that, you need a proper microphone. You might have a sufficient microphone inside your computer already, and the best way to tell if your audience can hear you is to test it before your meeting.

If you don’t like the sound coming through your microphone, you want to invest in a standalone microphone. These products have noise-canceling features that block out surrounding sounds so that your staff can hear you better. 

For example, noise-canceling features could block out a residential air conditioning repair Santa Rosa residents might need during a business meeting to stay cool. In fact, that feature would be helpful in any house across the world because sometimes there are loud noises during your meeting and you don’t want the disruption.

The Blue Yeti microphone is a popular model for podcasters and would work perfectly for any online business meeting you conduct.

Bring Your Teams Together

Businesses need to adjust to current times and that means conducting business meetings online. The truth is, it doesn’t take a whole lot of preparation to have business meetings with your staff because you already have most of the equipment you need. 

When you don’t or if it’s not good enough, ordering tech gadgets to enhance your current equipment is a smart investment in your business. Doing so will allow you to conduct business anywhere and in any climate so you can carry on regardless of the state of the world.

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Choosing The Right Data Catalog – 14 Tips For Businesses

When you are selecting a data catalog, this decision is similar (and equally complicated) to the purchase of any other tangible or intangible element. It is obvious that any data catalog would help you understand and analyze previous data sets. However, the ease of getting to the final outcome (the quality) of the data catalog marks the difference.

In the following article, we will discuss how you can utilize various key markers to evaluate the quality of the data catalog. Let’s move forward and explore more about data catalogs.

What Is the Function of a Data Catalog? 

The original purpose of a data catalog is to help a data analyst understand data. With better visibility into the past and existing information sets, the usefulness of this data improves. As a result, the quality of the findings also improve. Simply put, a data catalog is your one-stop solution for data curation and governance. 

Today, data catalogs are being utilized not only for handling data inventory of organizations but also for enhancing analysis outcomes, quality, and handling data assets. In fact, compliance teams necessarily check cataloging to maintain critical guidelines of GDPR and other regulations. Traditionally, data cataloging was restricted to analyzing and understanding data. But now, it has moved towards a community-centric and extensive organizational collaboration approach, which has made cataloging essential for data management.

14 Tips to Choose The Best Data Catalog

When you are selecting a data catalog, it is necessary to ensure that this catalog meets the requirements and fits the culture of your organization. To help you achieve this, we have discussed 14 tips below. Read on.

Data Set Cataloging

The first thing that you should expect your data catalog to do is to support data discovery, including new dataset discovery and the initial making of the catalog. With the help of machine learning, your data catalog should fetch metadata, perform automated tagging, and achieve semantic inference. This is imperative to acquire optimum value from cataloging automation. It can reduce manual efforts and errors. 

Data Set Search

The data catalog should include the ability to search – something which is the basic requirement. Your team should be able to search with keywords, facets, and other related business terms. An NLP-powered catalog can make this task easier for non-tech teams or users. 

Note: The search option should always have a mask to secure datasets that a certain user is not authorized to view or access. 

Operation Cataloging

Any data catalog should have the ability to offer preparation of operations to users. These operations should be integrated into datasets for data blending, formatting, and improvement. This means that the catalog should support multiple operational associations with – data operations to data and many-to-many. 

For instance, one of the mandatory operations would be to secure PII or personally identifiable information of users.

Data Set Recommendation

Recommendations are great for finding data quickly. This is why having a data catalog with recommendations can help you improve the connection between dataset, workflow, and data preparation. This recommendation engine should be equipped to automatically detect dataset relationships and overlapping features of datasets. 

Evaluation of Data Set

Finding datasets is the first leg of the bigger picture. This means that the data catalog should also allow the data analyst to see profiles of data, preview data, find ratings, understand customer reviews, evaluate the quality of information, and check annotation by the curator. 

Access to Data

After checking the data evaluation, data access should be analyzed. There exist multiple types of datasets, which could be connected to the catalog. For instance, tagged files, RDBMS, flat files, graph databases, document stores, text documents, geospatial data, etc. Along with access to these datasets, protections should be placed to ensure compliance and security. 

Catalog of Metadata

Always ensure that the metadata collected in your data catalog is rich in quality.

  • What type of data is sourced related to datasets?
  • What knowledge do we have of processes and data lineage?
  • Does the data contain details of SMEs, curators, etc.?

Asking these questions will give you a clear idea about the quality of metadata cataloging. Once these details are cataloged, it is necessary to ensure the right usage of metadata. 

  • Who is using it?
  • What are the use cases of this usage?
  • What is the frequency of use?

This can help you move towards intelligent recommendations.

Valuation of Data

One of the widely accepted facts about data catalogs is data valuation. The catalog should offer value for data datasets. This means that the information you receive should be able to create some value for the business, and the catalog itself should contribute to the estimation of value. 

Data Security

Proper security governance is necessary to ensure authorization and authentication. Allowing users to securely access data which they are authorized to see and authenticating access to the catalog for complete data security remain a top function of the process of cataloging.

Here, consider the levels of security constraints: row or record level, or field or column level. 

Data Lineage or Tracing

The data catalog should offer transparency to the user to check data lineage. This means the ability to check the source of data, how it was generated, and where it is coming from. It is not uncommon to have breaks in lineage, such as when the dataset is extracted from ETL tools. When your catalog is able to fill these gaps, you can derive the source of the dataset to understand a dataset fully. 

Data Compliance

One of the amazing features that we get with the right data catalog is the ability to maintain compliance. It, in fact, should maintain compliance according to the changing regulations. Hence, when you are selecting a data catalog, look for a catalog powered by machine learning, which will automatically determine metadata and profile assets. This will also contain pre-written procedures for access restrictions and masking. 

Data Quality

When your catalog doesn’t offer quality data, your reports and other models are of no use. For this reason, quality data helps you achieve business-ready datasets. So, the catalog should be integrated to achieve quality data from disparate sources to seamlessly improve the output in the form of reports. 

It is necessary to understand that your catalog will not perform the cleansing, but it can offer you discrepancy and deficiency points, which are likely to create a bottleneck in the quality. You can use this to make amends.

Data Interoperability

Data interoperability simply means the ability to integrate with various tools. This indicates the manner in which your data catalog will integrate with your visualization tools and data preparation software. 

Data Catalog Deployment

Once you have considered all the above factors, check the technical infrastructure support that you need. Whether your culture supports cloud, hybrid, and on-premise deployments, or if you want web-based or server-based implementations. After analyzing all these deployment requirements, run a final check with the data catalog vendor to move in the right direction.

Conclusion 

There are multiple factors that help in deciding the right data catalog. Only after considering all the above requirements, you would be able to arrive at the right point, from where you can evaluate your budget and finalize a data catalog.  Before you make that decision, don’t forget to take note of the consulting offered, along with the future plans of the vendor for transformation. Once you are satisfied with all these factors, you would be able to select the right data catalog.

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Essential Services for Silicon Valley Startups

Running a startup is not easy – especially if you don’t have a proper plan in place. Just like any other business, running a startup comes will numerous challenges.

Most entrepreneurs take up those challenges and create opportunities out of them. They try to make each day as productive as possible.

Nonetheless, the truth of the matter is that you can’t have enough time to complete all the responsibilities of your business. That’s where outsourcing comes in handy.

There are several companies that specialize in offering different types of services designed to support startups and other businesses. The good thing about outsourcing is that you get time to concentrate or focus on other important matters.

Below are some of the essential services for Silicon Valley startups:

1. Credit card processing

Every business today – no matter how small or big needs to process card payments. This can be a hectic job particularly if you have many customers. It can eat up a great deal of your time to ensure that everything is done correctly.

However, you can save yourself from all that trouble by outsourcing your credit processing to an expert. Most companies charge a small fee of about 1 to 3%, per transaction – which is reasonable compared to the amount of work they do.

Getting paid on time on time is a bid deal for most businesses. As long as you are able to keep the end of your bargain, then accepting credit cards can rapidly drive the growth of your business.

2. Reliable printing services

Printing is another essential service that is key to the operation of many small businesses and startups. Although most of the operations have gone digital, there are some business aspects that still need documents to be printed out.

This can be time-consuming for a company that has limited resources and employees. The best option is to find reliable printing services in San Francisco or San Jose.

There are many companies that specialize in bulk printing services at fair prices. The most important thing is to know your budget and how to negotiate.

3. Website design services

Most customers expect your business to have a website – even if the business has nothing to do with the internet. Besides, having a website gives an impression of seriousness and commitment to serve customers in a better way.

That’s why you need to create not just a website, but a website that will command respect from customers and competitors.

There are many website design companies that can create a website that speaks to the strengths of your business. Get a list of them and identify one that offers quality services at reasonable prices.

4. Marketing consultancy

Marketing is critical for any business. As such, it needs a lot of planning and strategizing to be able to promote a business effectively. Most businesses find it hard to do marketing for themselves because of the time it requires.

This is the reason why outsourcing can be a great solution for such businesses. Marketing consultancy firms specialize in different kinds of marketing and branding. All you need is to identify a company that understands your business.

5. Accounting

Gone are the days when companies had to struggle with reconciling their accounts to ensure everything is in order. Today, companies are realizing the importance of outsourcing accounting services instead of hiring internal staff to do that.

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Understanding the Difference Between Popular Platforms for Business

Over the years, modern marketing techniques have evolved to provide businesses with a more efficient and effective approach to build and promote their brands. Since modern marketing relies on data, the use of platforms such as Customer Data Platform (CDP) and Data Management Platforms (DMP) are on the rise.

Unfortunately, many businesses and marketers aren’t familiar with these platforms yet. Here is a brief guide to help you understand the differences between popular platforms.

Customer Data Platform

In the past 12 months, the CDP landscape has exploded, with over 100 sellers claiming to provide customer data platforms. However, to find the right solution for your business, you need to know what a DP is and what it does.

So what is CDP and how does it help small businesses?

A CDP is a form of technology used to understand your company’s client base and scale personalized experiences on various service, sales, and marketing channels. First, it collects data from first-party and 3rd party data sources, real-time interactions, and customer identities.

Second, it stitches this data together and removes any duplicates to create a single, persistent history of every client. CDP also empowers small businesses and marketers using a user-friendly interface to segment audiences, analyze customers, and project future actions.

Lastly, it allows businesses to automate the orchestration of one-on-one personalized marketing campaigns on several commerce, customer experience, and marketing channels.

The main difference between CDPs and other platforms, such as the customer relationship management platform (CRM), is that it can ingest huge volumes of data by connecting to all types and sources of customer data. Hence, your small business can form a much more comprehensive view to understand your audience better and act accordingly.

Data Management Platform (DMP)

Most people confuse CDPs with DMPs. But, DMPs plan and manage advertisements on third-party websites and enable retargeting using site cookies. A DMP focuses more on anonymous categories and customers, while CDPs focuses on creating single profiles for each customer.

A CDP also creates a persistent client profile and stores the data to create a single record, which can’t be accomplished by DMPs.

Customer Relation Management Platform (CRM)

A CRM is a service and sales tool that logs direct interaction with clients. This includes:

• Price quote

• Customer complaint

• Customer questions

It also updates client information such as phone, email, and name. Although both CDP and CRM collect consumer data, a CRM can only track a client’s intentional interactions with your business via manual entry. Additionally, CDPs can track both online and offline data, while CRMs can only track online data.

Digital Event Distribution Platform DED

IT organizations use DED for the transmission of data from one technology to another. For example, when new content is created, you can use DED to trigger the content from your content management system to another management system.

The main difference between DEDs and CDPs is that DEDs have a little marketing feel. Therefore, a marketer has to rely on the IT department, which makes the process of ideation to execution slow. In contrast, CDP makes customer data quickly accessible and actionable, increasing internal marketing processes.

Multichannel Marketing Hub Platform (MMH)

MMH, also known as marketing clouds, is used in the management and delivery of marketing campaigns through push, text, social, and email channels.

So, in conclusion, what makes CDP different from other systems? CDP is a packaged system that creates a unified, persistent client database and can ingest all types of data sources while being marketer-centric.

DevelopmentInsightsSaaSSEO

Free VPN vs. Paid VPN – Which Should You Choose?

If you are seeking to find a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to secure your online activities and protect your data, you are not alone; many other people have intensified their interest in VPNs. We have gone through different VPN reviews websites like VPN Watch, and now we’ll guide you through what to look for in a VPN and explain the key differences between free and paid VPN services.

What Does a VPN Do?

When you decide to find a VPN service, there are a few important reasons behind that, such as:

  • You are a frequent traveler who wants to use public Wi-Fi.
  • You want to surf the internet anonymously by masking your IP address.
  • You are just afraid that someone might try to steal your information on public Wi-Fi.
  • You are afraid that someone is watching your browsing history and activity.

A VPN creates a secure connection to a network over the internet through an encrypted tunnel that hides your IP address. This allows secure and private sending and receiving of data over public or shared networks on various devices, giving you enhanced anonymity and privacy when browsing.

A VPN hides a lot of information, which, if made public, can put your privacy at risk, such as:

  • Your IP address.
  • Your browsing history.
  • Your device details.
  • Your location.
  • Your internet activities.

Choosing the best VPN for you can be a tough endeavor, but it is one that you must conduct if you want to protect your online identity and data. You can choose either a free or paid VPN.

Free VPNs vs. Paid VPNs

The best VPNs keep your identity completely anonymous online, protect your data, shield you from cyber threats, and give you access to geo-restricted websites. Isn’t the thought of getting all that for free amazing?

However, can free be entirely free?

Paid VPN providers make profits from subscription fees. How free VPN providers make money should be a big question for you because, somehow, they have to generate revenue from your usage of their service.

Why Should You Choose a Free VPN?

The first reason for choosing a free VPN is that it is free – you won’t have to pay anything to use it. Furthermore, like any VPN, a free VPN will give you anonymity while browsing the web.

What Risks Are Associated with Using a Free VPN?

Some free VPNs compromise your data security and privacy to make money. How do they do that?

  • They track your online activities and browser history, then sell your data to third parties, such as advertisers.
  • They are inviting malware to your device. That malware harvests your data to facilitate phishing scams and other data breaches.
  • Weak security: free VPNs have next to zero security because of their weak and fickle online security features. This leaves you vulnerable to hackers, cybercriminals, and governmental spying.
  • They interrupt your browsing with ads and continuous pop-ups. This is annoying and may lead you to malicious sites that are dangerous to browse.
  • They redirect your internet traffic without your permission. Browser hijacking is also one of their revenue making streams.
  • You will face significant speed drops. Free VPNs significantly slow down your internet connection.

When Can You Use a Free VPN?

Despite these numerous flaws, some safe free VPNs still work well when used occasionally. For instance, if you are about to travel and want to access a geo-blocked site from home, or if you want a little privacy and protection while using shared public Wi-Fi, you can use a limited free VPN service.

Paid VPNs

The fact is no free VPN will offer you a complete high-quality and safe service without limitations. To get full usage of a VPN, you should opt for a paid option.

Are Paid VPNs Worth the Money?

Definitely, paid VPNs are worth it. With paid VPNs, you get:

  • genuine protection for your private online data,
  • secure protocols with top-notch network security,
  • a premium VPN service that keeps you anonymous and your internet traffic private,
  • access to content that is otherwise geo-restricted, such as streaming services or games, 
  • no bandwidth caps or slow connection speeds,
  • a no-log policy,
  • built-in malware protection and ad blockers to keep you safer,
  • access to more server locations and better server selection,
  • better customer support services.
  • additional security options like double vpn

Bottom Line

To be brief, we strongly advise against using a free VPN service. No free VPN is reliable or trustworthy enough to offer you the level of digital protection that can keep your data safe online.

However, you also need to know that all VPN providers can track your online traffic, activity, and browsing data. The question is why or whether they do so. Paid VPN service providers say they don’t. You cannot know, and you have to take their word on that.

We believe that the information in this article can help you make the right decision. If you have any other issues regarding VPN selection, you can alert us through the comments section.

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Tips for Keeping More of Your Money

To say you work hard for your money is an understatement. So, why do you just toss it away? By reducing frivolous spending, extended credit, and taking preventative measures you can keep more of your money. 

The Art of Shopping

There are those who spend money and then there are those who know how to spend money. The latter group of people has an art when it comes to shopping. They use only reliable sources that give them the best prices and the most for their money. Using online sites people can receive things like Amazon Rebate, wherein savvy shoppers get rewards for the purchases they spend. If you’re going to spend money, get something back for doing it. Retail superstores aren’t the only ones that offer perks to their customers who remain loyal. Gas companies, grocery stores, airlines, and many credit cards do the same. 

Abolish Bad Habits

Smoking and consuming alcohol aren’t just bad for you, they are expensive habits. A pack of cigarettes can range from $6.00 up to $15.00 depending on where you live. With the average smoker going through at least one pack a day, you’re talking about over $2,000.00 dollars a year. Just think of what you can buy with that amount of money. Make an effort to quit today.

Dining Out

Dining out with family and friends a few times a month is fine. You share a few laughs and enjoy a good meal. However, dining out multiple times a week will cause your bank account to take a downward spiral with not much to show for it. Instead, if you want to enjoy time with extended family and good friends, take turns hosting at your home. The atmosphere is better and you can relax like you’re at home, because, well, you are. 

Second-Hand Items

There’s too much focus on buying brand new. While it’s nice to be the first person to use it, in the end, the cost takes away from the excitement. Taking on monthly payments for many years after the purchase isn’t fun. In fact, it ends up costing you more due to the added interest fees. Instead, search out estate and yard sales. You’d be surprised at the things people are willing to part with for just a few dollars. A dresser in a furniture store can cost several hundred dollars. At a yard sale, you can pick one up sometimes for $20.00 or $30.00. If it needs a refinish or a coat of paint, your investment can be up to four times less than buying new. 

Waiting for the Off-Season

As each season comes to an end, retailers discount their remaining merchandise to sell as much as they can to make room for new merchandise. This is where you can seize the moment and buy quality goods for a fraction of the original price. Clothing, outdoor furniture, and holiday decorations are just a few of the items you can find. 

Shopping for a Vehicle

It’s time to invest in a new vehicle. After making many repairs in a single month, you decide to start shopping around. If you put your sights on a used vehicle recently off a two-year lease or a new car still on the lot when the new year models arrive, you can save thousands. Not only will your monthly payments be affordable, but if you live in a state that charges excise tax, that will be less as well. If you’re worried about a warranty, most dealers extend the warranty on these types of vehicles. 
You work hard each day to make your money. With a focus on getting more for each dollar you spend, you’ll learn to spend it wisely.

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Different Approaches for Test Automation for Microservices

Most companies that use DevOps are turning to Microservices for their code development. Microservices are small-sized parts of an application that are focused on completing one task. They are a subpart of a module. These services are independent of each other. Hence they can be tested separately by QA testing companies without worrying about dependencies. Microservices can also be deployed independently. 

All of those are neat benefits. But not everything is great when it comes to microservices. In fact, one of the downsides is that they are hard to test since each has its own codebase, dependencies management, and database schema. Even for local testing, you have to make sure that you’re using the latest code stack., all data migrations are up to date, and that you’re using the correct code branch. 

Since this can be pretty challenging, here are a few ways through which microservices testing can be automated.

1. Full-stack inbox testing

In this, you create the testing environment on a local system. Then you carry out the quality testing on that local system, by testing each instance one by one. The machine is called a vagrant box, as Vagrant is used to creating that environment. 

Benefits

  • Building your virtual machine will take minutes  
  • Pre-built Vagrant provisioners
  • Anyone can test over the internet by downloading the same machine on their laptop. 
  • QA becomes easier. 

Problems:

  • Spinning the machine locally can have unexpected errors. 
  • This system doesn’t scale. 
  • Trying to replicate a cloud infrastructure environment on a local system doesn’t test the same way. 

2. End to end testing 

End-to-end testing is the Quality Assurance for all the parts of the system i,e, services, integration, interface, and network. This type of testing tests the whole user journey, from start to finish. You can also use the 80/20 rule – that is, not simulating all the parts of a real test, just pieces of it.

Benefits

  • It validates all layers of the service, such as the data layer, integration layer, presentation layer, and business layer.
  • It reduces time and costs by decreasing errors. 

Problems:

  • Many companies don’t believe End-to-End testing is useful for microservices as they are not full applications. Hence there won’t be a workflow that tests all aspects of service. 
  • Testing gets complex every time you introduce a new microservice into the architecture. 

3. Unit testing 

Unit testing is done by writing test cases for a particular unit/part of the code. A unit can be one method or a whole module. The basic idea is to divide the repository into smaller components and to test them individually. 

Ideally, unit testing should be done by minimizing external dependencies. Doing so will ensure quality even if the external environment around the unit changes.

Benefits

  • You can use different development languages or frameworks for unit testing.

Problems:

  • Testers may write wrong tests
  • Debugging unit tests often wastes time instead of saving it.

 4. Documentation first testing

Also called the API First approach. In it, you create the API along with its documentation before anything else. The API documentation is made open-source.

Developers APIs are considered “High-level citizens.” Doing so creates a contract for how to make changes to them.  If anyone wants to change API or create their own based on them, they’ll have to review the document to make sure that the new API upholds the standards mentioned in the Original API. 

Benefits

  • Increases Speed to market 
  • It reduces costs. Well suited for cloud development.
  • Many teams can work parallelly based on API definitions in the documentation. 

Problems

  • Setting up the initial API can be challenging.
  • Testing all parameters in API Request combinations can take long
  • Schema updating of the API may cause downtime because of new parameters. 

5. Stubbed Testing

Used for top-down integrating quality testing. In it, you use small codes called stubs for testing. They behave and handle data like microservices but they are just dummies – small, isolated parts of your application.

Software testing companies use stub tests when they need to do QA after taking input from the user. The system can just mimic user behavior.

Benefits:

  • Can test the primary module without the smaller modules (top-down approach)
  • Reproduce complex modules easily
  • Can test without the required response. 
  • Saves time

Problems:

  • Shallower than other methods. 
  • Static methods cannot be stubbed
  • Pointer method signatures not supported.

You can use different tools software testing companies use to test microservices, such as: 

  1. Goreplay: Open-source, a networking tool that monitors live traffic. 
  2. VCR: a unit testing tool that records HTTP interactions for your test suite. 
  3. Apiary: a documentation tool. It can write, mock, and spin an API in 30 minutes. 
  4. Wilma: Service virtualization tool. Combines Service stubs and HTTPS proxy
  5. Wiremock: HTTP based API simulator. Creates an actual HTTP server and mimics web service. 

Conclusion

Microservices testing can be difficult but is an unavoidable part of development. You can change your strategy as per requirement and situation. There is uncertainty in this type of testing, but if you apply tried and tested theories like Stubbed testing, documentation testing, etc., you won’t face any problems. 

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The 7 Best Careers for Digital Nomads

Jetting off to a different country — or maybe several — for a long time, maybe even permanently, is a dream for many. Unfortunately, it’s not always the most practical of aspirations. After all, you need to earn a living, one that will fund your desired lifestyle.

But today, many people have found a way to earn a living while still making their way around the globe. These so-called digital nomads rely on their business savvy and WIFI connections to perform their work. And you can, too! While not every job is conducive to this lifestyle — after all, it’s hard to perform surgery on the go — there are still many that are, from software development for a company like BairesDev to writing for a variety of publications.

Here are some of the best ones that a lot of people are already working on while traveling around the world.

1. Software or web developer

Programming is an occupation that you can easily carry with you wherever you go, whether you’re building apps, websites, games, or other products. Given that it’s a skill that’s in high demand, many businesses will be eager to accommodate your desire to work remotely, as long as you demonstrate that you’re a skilled coder who will benefit their organization. Often, you don’t even need an internet connection, which makes the profession even more adaptable.

2. Writer/editor

While there are many writers and editors who work in full-time roles at publications and organizations, there’s also an increasingly large subset who freelance. This makes it easy to travel while you write — and you may even find that some employers will let their full-time staff work remotely as well. You have many options if you pursue writing as a career, from blogging to copywriting to journalism.

3. Digital marketer

Not all types of marketing are conducive to the digital nomadic lifestyle, but those that deal exclusively in the online realm tend to be more so than, say, print advertising. For example, an SEO specialist is often able to develop strategies for boosting rankings and analyze businesses’ materials from anywhere in the world. Likewise, a social media manager often needs little more than an internet connection to post content and evaluate analytics. Consultants like Cavendish Wood provide all sorts of digital assistance in the form of marketers or consultants that could really open your eyes to processes and ways of working and in turn help your business grow and develop.

4. Virtual assistant

The job of a virtual assistant is steadily gaining popularity as many business leaders are realizing that much of the help they need can be provided remotely. In this role, you’ll perform many of the jobs a regular assistant would — scheduling appointments, entering data, responding to requests, and performing other administrative tasks — all from the comfort of your own home or wherever you’re currently residing. 

In many cases, you’ll be expected to make phone calls, so you should discuss whether it’s possible to use Skype or a similar platform with your employer.

5. Graphic designer

As long as you have the artistic flair and essential design tools like Adobe Suite, it’s not too difficult to imagine life as a graphic designer on the road. There are plenty of times when you won’t even need a WIFI connection, like when you’re sketching out ideas or even creating them on your laptop, whether you’re working on a logo or an advertisement. 

6. Online language teacher

If you have a passion for travel, envisioning life as a language teacher isn’t a huge stretch. Fortunately, you don’t even need to teach languages in person anymore. The demand for English teachers around the world is high, as is that for instructors of other languages. You can teach through an established company like Teach Away or market your services as an independent tutor.

Keep in mind that the requirements vary for different platforms, so it’s important to look into them before you decide to go this route. At the very least, you’ll likely need a bachelor’s degree.

7. Consultant

If you’re well-established and have a great deal of experience and plenty of skills in your industry, consider becoming a consultant. This career path has a lot of advantages over traditional, 9-to-5 positions, including more flexibility and often higher earning potential. Businesses in many industries need consultants to advise them on their strategies, from marketing to finance. 

Because you’re not a salaried employee, you won’t be expected to go into an office, and the meetings you do need to attend can often be conducted over Skype or another video or phone platform.

There are plenty of options when it comes to living life as a digital nomad, no matter what your strengths. While it’s not suited to every career, increasingly, many organizations are allowing their employees to work remotely — even when they’re traveling the globe. If you believe your job is adaptable to this lifestyle, discuss it with your employer. It’s a good idea to support your case by explaining how it will benefit both of you. 

Or, consider whether freelancing or consulting might be a good fit for you. Not only are there plenty of jobs for the digital nomad, but there are so many different ways of working!

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The Biggest Mistakes You Can Make When Outsourcing Software Development

When a business needs to create, customize, or manage software solutions for their business, they simply don’t have the time, know-how, or manpower to do so in most cases. Thus, many organizations have made the smart decision to partner with a third-party outsourcing provider for all of their software development needs.

Outsourcing software development has a number of significant advantages for companies of all sizes and specialties. The practice reduces costs by not keeping team members as in-house, full-time employees. As they are part of an external team, the hiring company must only pay a flat monthly or hourly rate or pay for the entire project (depending on the contract). Companies are able to scale the number of people on their teams up or down as well, helping to ensure maximum efficiency and use of resources. 

Outsourcing companies, such as BairesDev, give organizations access to niche skill sets and a wide variety of talent that they may not have been able to access otherwise. (Learn more about BairesDev here: https://www.bairesdev.com/software-development-services/software-outsourcing/) These teams keep costs down while operating at maximum efficiency to help companies stay focused on their core business tasks and still accomplishing their software goals. 

The Most Common Software Development Outsourcing Mistakes

Working with an outsourcing company for software development projects is very beneficial for all kinds of businesses. However, the partnership can go awry when the hiring company makes mistakes. This doesn’t just lead to failed projects, but to loss of time, loss of money, and an indefinitely postponed launch of the final product.

It’s very important that companies understand what it takes to have a good partnership with a third-party outsourcing provider. Not only that, but they should be aware of the common pitfalls and how they can prevent them from happening.

Here are just a few examples of the most common outsourcing problems and how to prevent them:

  1. Choosing an outsourcing company based on the lowest cost. – Most outsourcing companies do exist to help cut down on the cost of developing software. The price of hiring talented developers at an offshore or nearshore development company can be a fraction of what it would cost to hire a developer to work in-house.
    However, saving a few extra dollars overall to hire a more inexperienced development team at the lowest cost could have dire consequences. Obviously cost is a deciding factor in making any business decision, but it should not be the only one. Take experience levels, technology offerings, project examples, communication abilities, and the company as a whole into account in all decision making.
  2. Not making communication a top priority. – Communication makes or breaks an outsourcing project. When working with an outsourced team, communication becomes more important than ever. Before a project begins and an outside team is even hired, companies must take the time to fully establish the project goals, the intended functionality, the necessary requirements, and any other important information that the development team should know. After selecting an outsourcing provider, leaders need to decide on the required communication methods and frequency of communication. Thanks to programs such as Slack and Skype, instant communication between teams all over the world is possible. Regular meetings (via phone or video chat) should occur to help ensure that all team members are on the same page and kept updated on progress throughout the duration of the project. 
  3. Setting unreasonable timelines. – While outsourcing companies are able to expedite timelines thanks to the experience and skill sets of their talent, they aren’t magicians. Timelines must still account for any bugs, issues, or additional development requirements that may not have initially come up. If the hiring company sets a due date that is simply unattainable, the project will fail, not be up to necessary standards, or important items could be overlooked. Instead, companies should work with the development team to decide on a fair time frame that works for both the devs and the end-users.
  4. Not having any kind of in-house tech know-how. – Some companies enter outsourcing contracts without having any kind of in-house technology understanding on their end. While outsourcing companies offer their team leaders, it doesn’t mean that they will be able to fully align their work without being able to discuss the logistics with the in-house team. These in-house employees don’t have to be experts, but just having a tech resource available is helpful and will prevent possible communication issues.
  5. Underestimating the importance of quality assurance and testing. – Again, developers are not magicians. While they are experts in their respective field(s), outsourced development projects are bound to have bugs and errors. This is why quality assurance processes and testing are so important throughout the entire Software Development Life Cycle. Some hiring companies believe that they are hiring experts so they should not have to also hire testers and QA professionals. This is simply not the case. 

Software development outsourcing companies are great resources for companies who need to complete development projects but simply don’t have the time, money, or know-how to do it in house. As long as best practices are put into place from the very beginning of the relationship with an outsourcing company, these costly mistakes are avoidable for joint success.