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Archive for April, 2014

With the ongoing theme of Application Lifecycle Management at E-SPIN, we thought it would be a good chance to go over ALMComplete. SmartBear’s ALMComplete is software lifecycle management tool that helps IT departments manage all components of software development including managing customer requirements, project deliverables, test management, defects, and support tickets.

almcomplete-logoIt is designed around the idea to be easily accessible as a web-based solution, which enables teams and cross-departmental personnel to keep track of the aforementioned components by utilizing collaboration aids such as:

  • document sharing
  • team calendars
  • dashboards
  • knowledge bases
  • threaded discussions

ALMComplete enables Advanced Test Management. The ability to link manual test cases to original requirements to track when requirements are met. Also allowing for complete tracking and traceability across releases.

Collaboration-2Easy to use drill down dashboards allow for a complete understanding of tasks and progress. Allows to track team productivity, speed, and gauge capabilities to better assign assets to maximize delivery times and productivity.

SmartBear’s ALMComplete is a tool that enables you to manage your Application Lifecycle and get the best results by maximizing an asset’s value while maintaining collaboration between teams easily.

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We’ve touched on the concept of the “S-SDLC” which looks at security as a part of the software development life cycle (SDLC). In this blog we’ll go over four ways you can look to implement security enforcing measures during your SDLC – mainly securing your code.

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  • Enforced through a third party: Hiring security consultants as a third party to analyze your code and coding practices is often the method that produces the best results as third parties tend to not have a bias and look at the situation subjectively. This is of course dependent on the quality of the consultants hired, but overall it is also the most costly approach.
  • In-house Personnel: The next best case would be to utilize your in-house developers, as since they may get the opportunity to analyze their own work there is less of a learning curve if any all. This is a solution that requires effort on the company’s part to ensure appropriate security training is done for their developers so they are able to appropriately sniff out and fix issues, as not all developers may have the appropriate knowledge when it comes to security measures. This solution can be less of a monetary cost than third party consultants, but it does take away a developer’s time that may be better spent working on the actual code.
  • Enforcing SDLC best practices: Implementation of coding best practices and secure practices directly into your business’ SDLC is the tied with third party solutions as the best method yet also the most difficult. They can take years to fine tune properly and as a result have an extremely low adoption rate; under 1% of US companies are Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)Level 5 certified.
  • Performing Binary level analysis: Attacks come in many forms, but most stem from attackers taking advantage of binary level analysis and finding loopholes. Thus it is a good option to perform your own binary level analysis to ensure loopholes and the likes cannot be taken advantage of. It also is a method that should be performed on tools utilized in your business to ensure malware/viruses are not embedded in the files – tools like IDA from HexRays allow for remote analysis ensuring operating environments are kept separate and safe.

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SmartDeploy

SmartDeploy is a Windows application deployment software that functions with both physical and virtual environments. SmartDeploy reduces the risks and improves the reliability of Windows migration and deployment projects—from Windows OS upgrades to immediate break-fix.

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SmartDeploy reduces the technical complexity of deployment and increase IT productivity while increasing corporate security. By helping you work more efficiently, SmartDeploy reduces direct and indirect costs associated with traditional deployment solutions. SmartDeploy makes the most of your environment – from staff and administration to hardware and network resources.

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It allows users to create a single image and deploy it to any target device. SmartDeploy’s design aims to keep the software information and hardware information logically as well as physically separate. This allows for maximum flexibility for deployment and optimization for storage as well as bandwidth considerations.

Utilizing SmartDeploy’s Platform Packages it helps you increase the cross compatibility of images due to the ease of swapping platform packages based on the required hardware, and since Images contain all the software related parts while Platform packages contain all the hardware related items. This also makes it much easier to keep up with the changes in drivers that each specific hardware may need. All of which are provided by SmartDeploy.

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ALM

Application Life-cycle Management’s benefits can be hard to put into perspective for higher ups in the business hierarchy. This is mostly due to the fact the technical benefits of certain decisions that the developers and users come to realize are hard to convey to a strict benefit/detractor explanation for upper management. In that sense in this blog we’ll take a look at some simplistic reasons as to why ALM is an overall benefactor for businesses.

Provides an Enterprise-wide view
Due to the nature of ALM tools being a source of information collecting and collaboration, it enables upper management to get the following in a concise easy to digest manner:

  • Current View of Project in Development and investment involved
  • View all teams across multiple projects that is both consistent and concise
  • Provides information for future investment decisions

Cost and Risk reduction
ALM allows management to track, identify, understand and then mitigate any risks that may crop up during development – through the aforementioned centralized information. This helps reduce any “surprises” during development, and allows for bugs and mistakes to be caught early. All in the end helping reduce overall costs and increase consistency and quality.

ALM tools allow for teams to realize costly mistakes earlier on in the development stages and assist in fixing them. This helps reduce overall time spent on the stages of development while increasing security and consistency.

Improved Resource Utilization
Team members and project managers are more easily managed through a visualization of work flows and current projects. It allows for appropriate allocation of resources based on the task at hand. It allows companies to increase their business’ value without increasing costs.

Keeping Shareholders happy
Probably the biggest incentive for companies; especially large enterprises is the fact that they need to keep their shareholders happy. ALM’s key aspect is that it helps reduce the time spent on each of the stages (Enabling the aforementioned benefits) which leads to reduced delivery time for the end product. It provides a steady source of information to relay to shareholders to keep them in the loop, while allowing for input to be considered and implemented where possible through management tools.

There are many opinions as to what the key benefits of ALM are to a business, but here at E-SPIN we believe that the above benefits are some of the most appealing to the non-technical personnel in a company and their shareholders.

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