Isn’t it strange that despite all the talk about data security in healthcare, often there’s little action taken? Imagine finding out about a data breach only after losing valuable information! This was the reality for Professional Finance Company, a healthcare debt collector in Colorado. They experienced a cyberattack that affected nearly 2 million people. Although no misuse of private information was found, the final outcome remains uncertain.
But the risk doesn’t stop at late detection. Data breaches can be expensive, sometimes even forcing businesses to shut down or pay massive fines. If you’re in the medical field dealing with patient information, securing that data isn’t just important—it’s absolutely vital. However, the complexity of data security can lead teams to take shortcuts. In this article, we’re going to discuss how to overcome the challenges of keeping health data safe.
Healthcare data security means protecting patient information. This could be personal details, medical history, or financial facts. The aim is to prevent unauthorized access, modification, or destruction of this data.
Let’s illustrate this with a scenario: a patient is moving to a new city and needs to transfer their medical records to a new doctor. In this situation, data security becomes vital. It ensures that the patient’s information remains safe during the transfer.
But how does this information move around in a healthcare ecosystem? Let’s break it down into steps:
Both doctors must use secure ways to send the patient’s records. It stops others from peeking in.
The new specialist must check who’s sending the records. This ensures it’s coming from the right place.
Only people allowed to see the records should have access. You can do this by setting clear rules on who can see what.
The patient’s details must stay the same during the move. Checks are used to make sure nothing’s been changed.
Once the new doctor gets the records, they must store them safely. This keeps the data risk-proof both while it’s being sent and when it’s arrived.
We’ll kick off with a few statistics to appreciate the value of data-proof strategies in healthcare.
How Often Does Data Get Stolen?
Reports say the number of information thefts each year has tripled. It went from nearly 200 in 2010 to over 700 in 2022. In 2022 alone, more than 52 million people had their health information stolen in these breaches.
What’s the Cost?
According to a 2022 survey, the average cost of a healthcare data breach has hit double digits for the first time. It’s jumped to a record high of $10.1 million. That’s 9.4% more than in 2021 and 41.6% more than in 2020.
While these figures may seem overwhelming, they also highlight the urgent need for improved safety. Recognizing the benefits of data protection can inspire proactive steps towards enhancement. Here’s what a secure strategy can offer you:
Trust is key between patients and doctors. Good data security means patients feel safe sharing their information. This leads to better care.
Secure and up-to-date patient data helps doctors make better decisions. It lets them give personalized care and reduces mistakes.
Medical organizations have to follow data protection rules. For example, Americans have HIPAA, and Europe, the GDPR. These rules need strict data security to keep patient info safe. By keeping data safe, your company can meet the demands and avoid legal problems.
The healthcare sector is a common target for cyberattacks. Good data security helps protect patient info from theft and fraud.
Data breaches can cost a lot of money and harm an organization’s reputation. Prioritizing data security can help protect against these losses.
Techniques for Ensuring Healthcare Data Protection
You might be wondering about the best practices to protect information. Here’s what you should do:
One key aspect is robust access keys. They allow employees to see only the data they need for their job, which helps reduce unauthorized access. Unique passwords that change frequently, combined with multi-factor authentication, also offer additional layers of security.
Encryption plays a role in protecting data, both when it’s stored and during transfer. Using encryption protocols like AES or RSA makes stored data unreadable to unauthorized users. To protect data from being intercepted while being sent, secure communication protocols like HTTPS or SSL/TLS come in handy.
Update Systems and Apply Patches Regularly
Systems upgrades and applying can help fix known security issues and make systems safer. A vulnerability management program can help find and fix security risks.
How frequently do you check your network to identify weaknesses and gaps? Creating action plans allows addressing risks and enhancing data security. A backup and disaster recovery plan safeguards information from loss during system failures or attacks. With regular backups and a well-designed disaster recovery plan, we can restore systems and details quickly after problems occur.
Another key step is setting up intrusion detection systems. Recent stats are concerning. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports 80% of healthcare breaches come from hacking. Unauthorized access makes up another 15%. You can find and stop unauthorized access attempts timely. Meanwhile, auditing access logs helps spot and investigate suspicious activities.
Negligent employees are a big problem. They cause 61% of healthcare data breach threats. Luckily, healthcare groups are improving. They’re getting better at spotting insider breaches. They’re also better at reporting these to the Office for Civil Rights. What kinds of incidents are we talking about? Employee errors, carelessness, spying on medical records, and even data theft by bad insiders. You can provide all-inclusive training about HIPAA and security standards. Technologies that monitor access to medical records also reduce these breaches.
Healthcare Data Security: Obstacles and Mitigation Tips
A report by Singapore-based Cyber Risk Management (CyRiM) highlights healthcare as a sector greatly affected by cybercrimes. Hackers usually target healthcare and finance industries, with 15% and 10% of attacks respectively. In the last two years, the healthcare sector lost $25 billion.
It’s obvious that medical firms face critical data security challenges. Below are a few of them and how to curb them.
Interconnected systems, such as Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), often interface with third-party applications. While this integration enhances functionality, it can also inadvertently create vulnerabilities and expose sensitive information.
Solution: Maintain an inventory of connected devices, conduct vulnerability assessments, and implement network segmentation.
Even in the best of workplaces, disgruntled employees are a reality. This can potentially lead to insider threats, endangering the company’s security and potentially compromising sensitive details.
Solution: Remove previous staff from all your networks and educate current ones about the costly implications of leaking data.
Establishing a robust defense system can be a costly endeavor, often beyond the financial reach of smaller hospitals. Consequently, these institutions may find themselves lacking the necessary resources and expertise to ensure adequate IT security.
Solution: Use managed security services or collaborate with cybersecurity partners. Prioritize security investments based on risk assessments.
With the advancement of technology, cyber attacks are also evolving. Actors continually adopt new strategies to compromise healthcare information, making the digital landscape an ever-changing battlefield.
Solution: Create a proactive cybersecurity program with threat intelligence, penetration testing, and incident response planning. Stay informed about emerging threats and best practices.
The root of the problem lies in the foundation. If you’re developing medical software and don’t prioritize IT security, you could run into major issues. The choice of the vendor matters! How well do they understand healthcare systems? Do they comply with HIPAA rules? These aren’t questions to take lightly. At The APP Solutions, security is our top priority. We leverage AI and machine learning to create the safest networks possible.
Are you tired of unpredictable security? Do you want to nip potential threats in the bud? If so, get in touch with us.
Hospital management systems, otherwise known as practice management systems, are rapidly becoming an essential part of healthcare. These systems are full of computerized databases intended to facilitate communication and store important health and administrative data. GlobeNewswire reports that in 2021, the hospital management solutions market size was USD 30.70 billion, with predictions of it hitting USD 62.17 billion by 2027 – a 12.48% CAGR.
Automation has been a driving force behind the hospital management system adoption surge. Take web and cloud-based solutions, for instance: their cost-efficiency, automated workflow, and ability to deliver updates remotely make them particularly attractive.
Additionally, Real-time Locating Services (RTLS) asset management and patient-tracking solutions have also seen an uptick in use as they can integrate with other healthcare IT solutions, consequently enhancing workflow, decreasing costs, and boosting clinical efficiency.
As the adoption of HMS catches on, vendors are now vying to find the best software for healthcare organizations. Therefore, it’s essential to consider the key elements impacting their choices: what kind of data is processed? Which features should be included? What’s the cost of implementation? How can hospitals utilize these systems? And, most importantly, what advantages do they receive? In this article, The APP Solutions provides the answers, offering a comprehensive look at hospital management systems and their market so you can make an informed decision.
What is a Hospital Management System?
Hospital Management Systems are on-premise or cloud-based solutions designed to manage the various operations of a hospital, including patient admission, appointment scheduling, billing, and medical records. Hospital management software aims to increase efficiency and improve patient care by providing accurate and up-to-date information to providers in real-time. These solutions can be customized to meet the specific needs of a hospital.
Let’s review the facts and figures of HMS to gain an in-depth understanding of the overall market, trends, prospects, catalysts, and existing challenges.
The global hospital management solutions market is expected to see an increase in demand thanks to its ability to manage patient information, schedule appointments, check hospital inventories, and reduce clinical errors.
In 2021, clinical practice management had the biggest chunk of the market.
As far as the delivery mode goes, web and cloud-based solutions accounted for the largest share this year due to their efficiency and automated workflows for providing remote updates.
Integrated solutions had the highest share in 2021, primarily because of their compatibility with electronic medical records, medical billing, practice management, and other related services.
Hospitals were the largest beneficiaries of hospital management solutions this year, the largest network of healthcare centers that adopted these solutions.
In 2021, North America held 39.30% of the HMS market. As a result of the increasing demand for well-organized operations, efficient workflow, and upgraded storage facilities for managing patient information, the demand for HMS has risen in the region.
Hospital management systems are utilized for patient registration and record keeping. Below is a list of the six available varieties.
HMIS offers an efficient approach to booking appointments, saving hospital staff from the need to manually manage schedules and records while helping doctors and practitioners to stay organized and better prepare for all upcoming appointments.
The billing system of HMS eliminates the risk of unexpected expenses, which can affect a patient’s budget and lead to a decrease in revenue for hospitals. This process is automated, removing any chance of human error while providing a comprehensive summary of all medical services and associated charges.
This HMS system provides simple lab control. It covers everything from tracking histories, giving reports, organizing samples, and taking care of billing.
Doctor’s modules entail monitoring all patients who come in for a consultation. Better yet, there’s the ability to set the charges based on the services they require. Moreover, docs can label patients as either new or old, enabling patient data collection and facilitating quicker diagnoses.
Hospital management system software offers patient record management, making the process effortless and successful. With HMIS, patients and hospital staff can input treatment details, allowing doctors and practitioners to view reports 24/7.
In-patient management is made easy with HMS, which takes care of all the requirements in a patient’s stay – from consultations and nursing staff to surgeons and bed availability. The outpatient practice module of hospital management system software is designed to minimize or even eliminate waiting time for patients when seeing a doctor. Doctors can also create pharmacy prescriptions, so the patient is ready!
The traditional inefficiencies in the industry are leading to an array of issues related to affordability, outcomes, quality, and consumer experience. Reportedly, over 100,000 deaths annually are linked to medication miscalculations, and up to 1,500,000 people suffer nonfatal injuries due to medical mistakes. These flaws have been present for some time and present an opportunity for innovation to bring high dividends. By introducing hospital management systems that offer real-time access to patient data, diagnoses, and treatments can be completed quicker and more accurately, thus improving patient outcomes and lowering the risk of medical mistakes. In UK hospitals, for example, patient satisfaction ratings are associated with management scores, while in US hospitals, higher scores mean a greater chance of recommendation.
The US has seen a huge surge in healthcare technology investment over the past five years, with more than 580 deals exceeding $10 million in value – amounting to $83 billion! Most of this is focused on three key areas: patient engagement, data & analytics, and new care models. Luckily, Hospital Management Systems (HMS) can help hospitals to save money by automating processes and streamlining their operations.
Hospital Management Systems make it easier to track the use of valuable resources, such as medical equipment, supplies, and staff. They allow hospitals to pinpoint weak areas, optimize existing resources, and cut back on costs. What’s more, by taking a real-time approach to resource tracking, hospitals can more easily adjust operations and ensure resources are available when and where they’re needed.
Competition is great for hospitals, according to a McKinsey analysis. Those with only a few rivals had better scores than none – and the higher the number of competitors, the higher the averages.
Tech titans are going all out in a trillion-dollar tussle to gain cloud dominance and hold onto their customers’ attention. To do this, they’re shelling out billions on R&D, so they can offer a wide variety of services and applications (such as predictive analytics) that move innovation along.
Take Alcidion Corporation buying ExtraMed in 2021, for instance. This was their way of beefing up their UK presence in dispensing cutting-edge health tech systems.
The marrying of pharmacy providers and health systems with technology companies is a sign that integration is becoming more important. Most notably, patient privacy is a priority – and rightfully so! With that said, healthcare providers and tech firms have the potential to use this innovative wave to gain an edge in the market and simultaneously promote quality healthcare services at an economical price.
The HIPAA Journal reported eleven breaches of over 1 million records and 14 of over 500,000 in 2022. Most of those were due to hacking, including ransomware and extortion attempts. But don’t fret – regulatory changes proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) are here to help. They’re working hard to promote data sharing between organizations so we can finally break down the data silos that have prevented us from having end-to-end care analytics. These changes include interoperability of EHR data and increased transparency for consumers – so we won’t be left in the dark any longer.
The same McKinsey report also revealed that hospital management is still closely linked even in countries where public-sector hospitals are the norm (e.g., France and the UK). However, we must recognize the gray areas that require improved care management as they provide a unique opportunity for newcomers to make their mark.
Consequently, incumbents in the healthcare industry are investing heavily in data, analytics, and patient engagement capabilities. Hospital management systems could be the way forward for those looking to upgrade their ecosystems and break into new zones.
Which hospital Management software is the best? After conducting intensive research, we’ve narrowed it down to 5 top contenders – and the verdict is in. Our review will showcase data from trusted sources such as Capterra, TrustRadius, and GetApp.
Edge is a cutting-edge hospital management program with a wide reach in the United Kingdom. It grants users quicker access to live data and offers a full suite of study management functions from start to finish. Edge also provides collaborative tools to enhance productivity, freeing up valuable time for clinical staff to focus on patients. Plus, you can choose from various flexible pricing plans to match your organization’s size and type.
Edge is ideal for medical and research professionals from all corners of the globe, such as acute hospitals, community hospitals, universities, charities, GP practices, and research networks.
Edge earned the titles of ‘Best Ease of Use Clinical Trial Management Software’ and ‘Best Value Clinical Trial Management Software’ in 2020.
It offers a range of features like appointment scheduling, 21 CFR Part 11 Compliance, patient recruiting, data capture and transfer, data import/export, and patient monitoring.
Smartsheet is a web-based work execution system that gives healthcare organizations the power to follow, oversee, and report on data by enhancing collaboration, guaranteeing secure data, and boosting visibility. Smartsheet allows teams to begin and work together successfully and rapidly, boasting a comfortable spreadsheet layout. Plus, share, store, and access PHI safely while meeting HIPAA regulations.
Smartsheet’s user-friendly online project management application is extensively employed across organizations to track and manage various types of work for teams of all sizes, from large enterprises to small businesses.
Smartsheet is equipped with claims management, inventory management, patient records management, and physician management tools.
Team Desk offers a fully customizable online database where medical institutes can store and track patient records, admission times, patient rooms, personnel, and payment methods. With unlimited records, storage, support, level-priced subscriptions, and a free trial – TeamDesk lets you customize your data and application to reflect all the nitty-gritty details of your workflow.
From small companies to large enterprises and from particular industries to holistic business integration – TeamDesk’s scalability helps customers grow and keep up with changing business models.
Team Desk has nabbed Best Ease of Use and Best Value Database Management Software awards in 2020.
You can access patient records, storage spaces, customer support functionalities, your subdomain, white labeling, a manageable user list, and IP address filtering.
eVisit is a revolutionary patient engagement solution designed to help healthcare providers reach out to patients and deliver virtual care compliant with HIPAA guidelines. Its centralized dashboard allows physicians to keep important patient info safe, set up appointment notifications, take notes during visits, and even share essential documents with customers!
The comprehensive eVisit system works for all medical organizations, from primary care and urgent care clinics to the largest hospital systems in the US.
eVisit comes with appointment handling, waiting room management, patient records, e-prescriptions, and payment processing possibilities.
Explore Experience Care’s NetSolutions software – a top-notch financial management system crafted to aid long-term care facilities in enhancing their profits by monitoring clinical and financial metrics, collecting revenue, heightening quality measures, and increasing clinical outcomes. The software also offers advanced customer assistance in the industry, with clinically-trained support members.
Perfect for Skilled Nursing, Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), Assisted Living, Long-Term Acute Care (LTAC), Multi-level Care Facilities, and Veterans Homes
Honored with Best Value Assisted Living Software (2021)
NetSolutions provides advanced capabilities such as claims management and patient records management.
So how much does hospital management software cost? Well, the price tag varies a lot, depending on the features you need and the size of your organization. Cloud-based or on-premise deployment options can also affect the cost. Entry-level plans start from as little as $4-$20 a month per user – with free entry-level options available for smaller companies. Higher-level plans start at around $199 a month per provider. Most vendors don’t list prices, but they do offer custom quotes. While customized software may not be top of mind, it’s a great way to give your healthcare organization an edge. It gives you much more flexibility and can be tailored to your operations.
A reliable provider and an experienced team: If you’re looking to craft a custom hospital management system, one of the most integral pieces of the puzzle is employing a custom software development company with a substantial background in constructing healthcare solutions
Modules required: This will specify what’s included in the final product, as well as the platforms that will be employed during creation
Deployment approach: Do you want your HMS on the cloud, on-premises, or on the web?
Funds: Carefully consider and devise a budget for development, deployment, and maintenance expenses
Developing Health Management Systems with The APP Solutions
The App Solutions offers a full range of services to assist healthcare organizations in creating and executing health solutions. For instance, we partnered with the LIfeTracker team to create an artificial intelligence-based mobile task manager to manage all aspects of life. This project was featured on Product Hunt and became number one in the Tech category. Here’s why you should choose us: We utilize an extensive selection of technologies to find the most applicable ones to suit your business’s needs. Our transparent cost model lets you know exactly what you are paying for. Moreover, we practice first-class data security and privacy protocols, so you don’t have to stress over HIPAA compliance.
What could be more personal than a doctor’s appointment regarding sensitive information for anyone? Yet, a doctor is one of the few professions required to maintain data privacy. That is why we lock the door when we walk into a specialist’s office.
However, digitalization has reached healthcare over time, and appointments have slowly begun to flow online. COVID-19 added fuel to the fire when face-to-face contact, including in medical facilities, was drastically limited.
Before the pandemic, there was also a range of problems that prevented doctor visits – mismatched patient and doctor gap; low patient mobility; long distances to the hospital; lack of subspecialty doctors or expensive diagnostic and surgical equipment in the nearest county; and expired insurance. These and many others became factors in which visits to the doctor were continually delayed, sometimes with potentially fatal consequences.
Hence, the need lined up to create and rapidly develop web and mobile solutions that would cover the industry’s need for better time management for both the physician and the patient. According to SingleCare, the number of providers offering telemedicine services increased from 19% to 58% during the pandemic. At the same time, according to their data, ¾ of respondents are willing to use telehealth services. Meanwhile, a face-to-face visit would be entirely satisfactory for respondents too.
Achievements in information and communication technology today offer us online visits to the doctor, which are called differently – Telehealth, Telemedicine, and others similar terms… Depending on the context, these terms can be both synonymous and differ in specific nuances. So let’s explore the similarities and contrasts between them.
Telemedicine uses digitalized communication technologies to provide various types of medical and diagnostic services, usually provided by physicians or, simply put, treatment at a distance. A term introduced before anything else in its “class.” It is a remote doctor’s appointment that involves both making diagnoses (enabled by such communication) and tracking progress during a patient’s recovery.
According to Statista, the market is projected to grow significantly by 2030, estimated at nearly $460 billion.
Alternative to an in-person physical examination (prevention, history taking, diagnosis)
Telehealth is a similar term but a broader one. It covers not only medical but also paramedical services (educational, administrative, coaching). That is, it is not only a doctor-patient relationship. The definition also includes nurses, pharmacists, and social workers – all the services they can provide remotely.
For example, programs for professional health-related education of patients, social support, and control over medication adherence. Telehealth also includes so-called asynchronous conferences, when participants do not view data simultaneously and communicate with a “delay.” That is, not in real time, but with saving and forwarding materials. This practice is good, for example, for the consensus of doctors when several experts from different parts of the country have to analyze a patient’s medical history and give their opinion.
Video Conferencing (patient consultation, webinars for medical staff)
mHealth (Mobile Health, e.g., an app that alerts the public to health conditions)
Remote Health Monitoring/ Remote Patient Monitoring (blood pressure, heart rate, weight, blood glucose, and oxygen levels, menstrual cycle)
Thus, the prefix “tele-” does not only refer to video but also any other data in an online format because, from the Greek, “tele” translates as – far away, at a distance.
What is Telecare?
Telecare goes far beyond medicine. Telecare is more about healthy lifestyles in general, that is, how people can control themselves within their non-professional skills. This usually includes consumer-oriented health and fitness apps, sensors and tools that connect users with family members or other caregivers, exercise tracking devices, digital medication reminder systems, and emergency medical alarms for acute deterioration.
There are other, even more, specialized terms, such as teletherapy, telesurgery, telemental health, telescreening, or telemonitoring. Different medical professionals need each of these services in different situations – radiologists, cardiologists, pathologists, dermatologists, nurses, pharmacists, etc.
But they are pretty specific, so we will not focus on them.
The Difference between Telemedicine and Telehealth: Remote Healthcare Services
Simply put, telehealth is a subset of telehealth. Technologies commonly used for telehealth include the internet, video conferencing, stored images, streaming media, and wireless communication. Unlike telemedicine, where only healthcare professionals work, telehealth can also include healthcare workers, educators, pharmacists, and frontline workers.
All of these components are part of the substantial eHealth ecosystem, which includes any other digital data in written/photo/audio form, as well as web and mobile apps or cross-platforms. eHealth refers to the combined use of electronic communication and information technology in the healthcare sector to share, store, and retrieve electronic health data for prevention, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring, and educational and administrative meetings, both locally and at a distance.
For example, an electronic health record (EHR) system with telemedicine functionality. Both telehealth and telemedicine require the provider to use HIPAA-compliant software to protect personal health information. This includes protecting video, photos, and data transmitted through telemedicine platforms.
The APP Solutions Experience: Success Story
The client is the owner of a medical center in Berlin, Germany. After the COVID-19 outbreak, he faced the need to provide patients with a distance communication solution to decrease the number of offline visits while enabling doctors to monitor vital patient health data and streamline communication with a laboratory.
After working with us, the client received a white-label telemedicine platform with advanced features that took us two months.
The white-label platform brings benefits to both types of users.
For example, medical professionals can exchange files with patients via secured live chat, send, and receive laboratory tests in a more streamlined way.
Patients can receive high-quality medical services in the comfort of their homes, schedule appointments with doctors, attend medical meetings online, and get receipts for medication and medical treatment plans with a daily schedule. The app also allows patients to pay for medical services online.
Optimizes the selection of convenient times for both physician and patient
Allows for prompt response, diagnosis, and referral to the hospital if necessary (appointments can be made around the clock)
Reduces the risk of getting infected by other patients in line
Continuously improves the skills of medical professionals
Provides as much privacy as possible (which is essential, for example, when visiting a psychiatrist/psychotherapist), provided that the method of communication you choose has a high degree of healthcare cybersecurity
Difficulty in use by people who are not technologically proficient
Lack of stable Internet for video sessions
Unexpected technical glitches in a particular application or solution
Not every insurance company covers these services
Quite a significant layer of diagnostic procedures cannot be performed online
Whatever the difference between telehealth and telemedicine, there is no denying their importance in healthcare in the face of the pandemic spread, the overall world population aging, and the significant increase in chronic diseases in societies. The billions of dollars invested in the industry also confirms this.
All the more, there are no absolute and official terms for these concepts anyway.
It’s important to monitor your health – both online and offline – by resorting to one method or other in each situation. For instance, you can talk to a psychotherapist via Skype, but you should rush to the hospital at the slightest suspicion of a stroke, not try to call your therapist by video. In any case, either Telehealth or Telemedicine helps streamline time, costs, and the overall win-win situation in the relationship between patients and healthcare providers.
Developing a top-notch teleproduct requires a skilled team to ensure safety, user-friendliness, smooth operation, and mass appeal. As shown above, we have experience in developing telemedicine applications. If you have a thought-out project with a business plan, or even just an idea – send us a message! Our experts will contact you to discuss further steps.
The modern market is a thing full of twists and turns at every corner that requires flexibility and the ability to adapt to the ever-changing state of things. “Agility” is the word that best describes what it takes to be competitive in the modern world.
You simply won’t get anywhere if you aren’t ready to adjust according to the situation and bend it to your benefit. It is true for most industries, but especially so in software development. Cue DevOps.
If you are thinking about developing a web or mobile product, agility is the means to tangible results: speed of the work process, implementation of the new features, team efficiency, optimization of the product, and so on. Basically, being agile becomes a strategic advantage for a company and the product both in the short run and in the long run.
It is even more apparent when it comes to an outsourcing segment where everything lives and dies on how they are able to adapt and go beyond. DevOps approach implementation is one of the means to be more flexible and adaptable thus more competitive.
But let’s begin with definitions.
What is DevOps?
DevOps is a cross-functional approach to the process. DevOps model is a combination of two distinct parts of the software development process – development and operations (AKA infrastructure management).
Basically, it is a result of streamlining the organization in order to make it more flexible, dynamic, and ultimately effective. This streamlining was necessitated due to ever-growing, sprawling organizations that take too many resources and hold down the overall flexibility of the development team.
As such, DevOps is more of a mindset than anything else. It is about tight collaboration, being on the same page and delivering to the common goal — improving every element of the product and acting as fast as possible to the emerging situations and morphing requirements.
In other words, let’s quote Daft Punk: “Work it, make it, do it. Make it harder, better, faster, stronger”. That’s what DevOps is about.
Why is DevOps is needed?
Two words — mobility and flexibility. Customer feedback and testing is a big deal when it comes to making a good product that will outlast the initial splash. Because of that, it makes sense to adapt according to order to keep the product adequate and capable of doing its work. However, it is not exactly the easiest thing to pull off due to long iteration cycles and scaling large team to the cause.
The main task of a DevOps engineer or specialist: make sure the software works both from the developers’ standpoint as well as an infrastructure standpoint.
When you implement a DevOps culture, it enables to implement changes effectively and on time. The result — overall better product that does better business.
Dynamic Iteration Cycle / Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery
The biggest benefit of DevOps from a business point of view is obvious — it is all about the speed of delivery.
Due to significant streamlining and reorganization of the workflow — the very process transforms into more dynamic and efficient. That, in turn, makes iteration shorter and much more responsive while avoiding the danger of breaking things while moving too fast.
A combination of automation and thorough testing drastically charges the pace while lessening the overall workload.
Basically, it means faster moving in shorter steps i.e Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (aka CI/CD). As such, it allows to gradually implement small changes that contribute to the whole.
In addition – shorter iterations mean that even if there are some fails – their scope will be much smaller and that means it would easier to deal with them. The nightmarish notion that everything will break down at once is practically non-existent with this approach.
A Better Environment for Technical Scalability
Scalability is one of the top priorities for any kind of project. If the product is able to take a load and get on with it — it is a sign that it works well. If not — you know what it means. With the rise of cloud computing, it became a big deal.
DevOps implements certain practices to secure better scalability. In essence, scalability is not just what servers and networks are able to carry on — it is also the tools that make it happen.
It is important to configure the system in a flexible manner so that when necessary it will be able to increase the resource consumption and also scale it down when the load is lesser.
The thing with these tools is that they need continuous optimization — changes in server, bandwidth, and storage capacity.
One of the most obvious benefits of implement DevOps principles is a significant streamlining of communications. It is always a good thing when everybody is on the same page and every member of the team is able to contribute to the process.
Since collaboration and communication are at the center of the DevOps approach — implementation of it manages to set a much more creative environment that can positively affect the quality of the product.
For instance, streamlined communication eases getting the team on the same page. It also helps with onboarding new members of the team. It is also helpful in describing the priorities of the current moment.
DevOps automates certain routine elements of the development process and allows developers to focus on other more demanding and important elements.
DevOps Process Means Better Team Scalability
As a direct result of tighter communication — team scalability makes a significant leap forward. Most of the time, people need some time to get acquainted with the project. When the DevOps approach is implemented right, it shortens the time people need for adjustment because everything works like a well-oiled machine.
Because of that, you don’t have to worry about the fact that you face the need to scale your team and it might break the workflow. DevOps makes this process much more efficient and easier.
The development process is riddled with repetitive routine tasks that just need to be done. It takes time and greatly affects the motivation of those who are tasked with such things. While important, these routines often take precious time that could’ve been used for something more important.
DevOps makes it almost a non-issue with the help of automation. Not only it creates a more efficient workflow but it also helps with keeping everything monitored and reported. It is especially important for testers who can’t afford to miss something in the sea of code.
The decrease of manual actions leads to much more time to dedicate to more important things.
Documentation / Code Synchronicity
Writing coherent project documentation is something that some businesses neglect, but at The APP Solutions, we put stress on this part of the project’s lifecycle. But no matter how good your initial technical specification is, it is often an evolving entity, especially for bigger and more complex projects.
No matter how hard you will try to describe everything to a tee — things change when they get done and that should be reflected in the technical documentation. Otherwise, nothing will make sense and ultimately everything might fall apart. Because of that, there is a lot of backtracking and adjusting the code and documentation to one another.
How can the DevOps approach and specialists help? Due to the transparent and highly organized structure of the code — there is lesser dependence on the documentation. Everything can be understood through the code itself. Which makes tech documentation more of solidification of the fact that a herald of things to come.
The Transparency of the Infrastructure
The other big advantage of a DevOps approach is a significant clarification of the code infrastructure.
The code is what makes the product. However, the product is made by humans, many humans, sometimes they err and sometimes the parts they made don’t fit well together (despite the fact the developers are seniors and Quality Assurance people are professionals as well.)
How DevOps make the save? DevOps enables the unification of the code: it cleans the code up, makes it more transparent and easier to operate with. It also solves any emerging issue connected with the legacy elements.
On a side-note — transparency also greatly simplified the onboarding of new members to the fold. When everything is clear as a whistle, it is easier to get involved, which is a strategic advantage in terms of team scalability (see the point above.)
Infrastructure as Code
Infrastructure is what ties together numerous elements of operation — networks, virtual machines, load balancers, and so on into a comprehensive mechanism that ticks like clockwork.
The project’s infrastructure, like the tech specification, evolves with the product and often gets muddied up over time if no specific measures are taken to prevent this. As a result, this might seriously affect the quality of performance and effectiveness of the operation. This is the case not only for cloud storage but also for dedicated infrastructure.
However, manual configuring of infrastructure is time and resource-consuming. DevOps makes it a non-issue by switching from manual interaction to programmatic and implementing several methodologies, such as continuous integration and version control. This drastically decreases the possibility of getting funny bad things in the system and eliminates the element of unpredictability.
Programmatic interaction with the infrastructure is standardized and streamlined to the essentials — there is a set of patterns the system follows. It enables testing as soon as possible which enables adjustments and fixes early on.
Another important element of the Infrastructure as Code approach is Code Review. This gives clarity of the situation and provides a perspective for the team over the infrastructure changes. This is important in keeping everybody on the same page perfectly synchronized.
Simpler Security Maintenance
Last, but far from least benefit that comes from transparency and the organized code is a vast simplification of implementing security measures.
Usually, security is the hardest element to pull off as it is always somewhat detached from the main system. This process starts from assets inventory and goes all the way through access inventory to the implementation of security measures such as system scans.
However, with the structure crispy clean accessible and most of the processes automated — it is not a big deal to keep the thing safe.
According to the statistics, it is clear that DevOps has lived up to all the expectations the developers had. The only thing that hasn’t quite hit the mark is the increase in income but this is expected to change.
DevOps is one of the most exciting practices of the current moment. It is slowly but surely spreading its influence over the software development industry and establish itself as a standard operation.
It is a good thing because order and clarity are amongst the things every project is striving for. That is why DevOps methodology matters and why you should implement its practices in your project.
Everyone’s shifting mobile nowadays, getting things done on the go – communication, purchases, job, etc. Consequently, businesses adapt to this escalating life tempo to stay helpful and in this way highly demanded by more and more users out there.
The first expert we invited for a talk is our Business Analyst Max. And this guy knows for sure what features to include in your mobile app and optimize the overall cost of the venture. At the end of the day, a penny saved is a penny earned.
This is the reason why we’ve craved to hear first-hand information on the importance of an administration panel for mobile applications straight from Max.
The formula of the interviews will look like this:
a range of major disturbing questions on the topic to the expert;
live examples to showcase discussed issues;
helpful advice from the guru on how to manage a particular matter the best way.
So, let’s get started. And the first specialist we decided to get the opinion from is The App Solutions Business Analyst Max Yushchenko.
This is the person who explains in detail and then confirms in figures everything regarding appropriate mobile apps for different business fields, latest and most suitable features to include in your software, all opportunities, threats, and solutions to go profitable within the mobile app and your venture altogether.
Hello, Max. It’s nice to host you today. How do you feel about being a pioneering expert in our new project? After all, you know everything about the benefits of different features within a variety of mobile applications.
Hey, Kate. Probably that is my major task as Business Analyst at The App Solutions – to lead entrepreneurs in their decision-making, define requirements, possible problems of the project and find the best possible solutions for them.
Getting to our topic, here is my first off question – Please explain, what Admin Panel is all about in the context of mobile applications?
Well, originally it’s your management tool as the app’s owner. Depending on the capacity of your admin console, you can execute any control function – from setting up user permissions, keeping track of new sign ups and active users to managing content, checking browse stats, sending notifications, etc.
Are there some mobile apps, which don’t need an admin panel to perform fully?
Of course, they exist. It’s still a minority of mobile apps (usually with simpler functionality), which don’t require any user and content-related operations and perform one or two steady jobs. Calculator, flashlight, or compass are the best examples of such apps.
But what is so vital about the admin panel? What is its’ role in the complete mobile application?
First and foremost, when dealing with any type of content within the mobile app, there is no other way than adding and updating it through the admin panel.
E.g., CMS (Content Management System) is a good case of the admin panel for e-commerce or local business apps like Tripper Guru. This tool is an essential part of the mobile application, which allows different groups of users to add their content and this way interact with each other.
Without this segment most applications simply don’t exist, so you cannot call the admin panel just beneficial – it’s a significant and inevitable part of the entire system.
Thanks a lot, Max. It was as clear as it was brief. And for dessert, we’re expecting a sharp recommendation from you.
For those mobile app projects, which require an admin panel on board, what are the ways to optimize cost for building administration functionality?
That’s a good question, thank you, Kate. And I have a couple of solutions for that.
One of them is using the above mentioned Content Management Systems as the admin panel for your mobile app. Why does it help to reduce the overall cost? Because it’s a pre-made solution and you don’t need to build it from the scratch. It’s a ready-to-go backend platform for your app. Easy and quick.
Of course, it doesn’t work for each and every application type. For some projects, on the contrary, it’s better to build a custom CMS. The choice is only a matter of the functionality required.
The other solution is a highly precise setting of the task to your development team. And it means the explanation of all the details and capacities you want to see in your admin panel. The exact scope of tasks for your developers will result in less time spent in discussions and trials, which reduces your budget for developers’ salaries.
I think these are the two best-aimed ways to correct your budget for an admin panel of the app, at the same time enhancing the quality of the concluding product.
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