The Top 5 Reasons to Build Your Next Application Using Angular
Tech in 2: Shape Up Method
The Shape Up Method, an Agile software development approach, is helping address the risks and unknowns at each stage of product development in a more efficient and developer-centric manner. Principal Project Manager John Nenninger walks us through what makes this process different.NEED HELP? LET'S TALK.
Jonesboro Development Center Spotlight
Jonesboro, Arkansas is the home of Rural Sourcing’s very first development center, established in 2004. We talked to Development Center Director Darrell Runyan to learn more about what it’s like to live, work, and play in “The Natural State.”The importance of giving backCommunity involvement is core to Rural Sourcing’s corporate ethos. There are many community engagement projects that Jonesboro colleagues have been proud to be a part of over the years, including efforts in the business and educational communities, as well as at non-profit organizations. Darrell himself is a frequent speaker at schools where he teaches about what it’s like to work in technology, and is also on Arkansas State University’s curriculum advisory board. Jennifer Rorex, the Human Resources Manager in JBR is a Goodwill Ambassador for the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce and is on the Home Selection Committee for Habitat for Humanity. The entire office has also enjoyed volunteering for the organization. Besides being a community of charitable people, Jonesboro is also a thriving agricultural and industrial center, and is home to large production facilities including Post, Unilever, Nestle, and NicePak.A family-like atmosphereBecause of the Jonesboro center’s longer history, many of the colleagues in JBR have worked together for a very long time. This has created a family-like culture, where everyone knows each other and their families, and they enjoy spending time together at work, and out of the office. Darrell shares, “Colleagues here love to play games together and celebrate holidays, even random ones like ‘National Chocolate Cake Day.’ And even though our NERF guns haven’t been used as much recently, they’re still in the office. If it’s your birthday, watch out for the birthday NERF bullet!”Hometown prideIn Jonesboro, you’re working with a team who truly loves what they’re doing, and brings a lot of passion to the table. Darrell says, “Many of our developers graduated from right here in the Northeast Arkansas area, and not only do they love what they do, but they love where they do it.” To learn more about Jonesboro, take a look at our featured JBR colleague Rosemary.
Integrate AppSec for a True DevSecOps Culture
With developers and security teams pushing themselves for quicker production times, higher velocity and increased cost savings, I’ve found that one way to achieve all of these objectives is by creating a DevSecOps culture in your organization. If you’re currently viewing security as individual, one-off issues or in a reactive fashion, you’re putting your system at serious risk for an attack – with huge cost implications. And while some companies see developers and security as teams who operate best when they’re working separately, many have discovered that integrating AppSec into DevOps will actually improve their performance at every level.Here’s how to get started:Overcome resistance to changeI’ve found that “not wanting to change” is usually the biggest reason organizations are hesitant to integrate DevSecOps. Change takes time and effort. Developers and security must work together, and there tends to be a learning curve on both sides. Developers need to learn how vulnerabilities are introduced into the development process, and the security team needs to understand coding to provide examples (e.g. input sanitization, parameterized SQL inquiries). Be aware of the time this takes, but be assured that it’s worth it.Foster a culture of opennessDevSecOps is a true cultural shift dependent on communication, and you’ll be selling the concept short if you look at it any other way. By having an open flow of communication between your development and security teams, you’re promoting a culture of collaboration and continuous learning which is necessary when integrating functional areas. One helpful tip is to develop use and abuse cases. These provide illustrative models of not only how an application can be appropriately used, but also where ‘bad actors’ can exploit the application.Make security your default settingWith more high-profile security breaches than ever, sustainable security needs to be top of mind. After all, a crucial part of DevSecOps culture is having security integrated within all DevOps practices. Conduct regular scans, risk assessments, and penetration tests, and don’t forget: the majority of successful cyber attacks happen due to human error.Encourage developers to become security-awareOnce developers see how vulnerabilities can be exploited in real time, it’s very easy for them to understand the importance of application security. I've seen this many times when working with developers; once you sit down with them and start performing a penetration test, or demonstrate concepts like cross site scripting, SQL injection, or command injection, they understand the implications and want to produce secure code. Sometimes it just takes a little collaboration with the security team to help accomplish this.Once security is integrated into DevOps you’ll see the time-to-production speed up. Having security as part of the development process reduces the need for additional penetration testing, as well as dynamic and static analyses to ensure the security of the application. With DevSecOps, it’s easier to spot vulnerabilities much earlier, so you can avoid costly delays.Having an integrated team means developers can write secure code from the beginning, and the security team can spend more time on key initiatives like vulnerability management and endpoint security. Achieving a fundamental shift in your DevOps approach can seem overwhelming, but by integrating AppSec, and therefore prioritizing collaboration and openness, you’ll soon be reaping the benefits that accompany a DevSecOps culture.About the Author:Joe Sullivan is a principal consultant at Rural Sourcing in Oklahoma City with over 20 years of experience in information security. He helps develop the company’s security consulting services and the teams that provide them. Over his career, Joe has worked in incident response, penetration testing, systems administration, network architecture, forensics, and is a private investigator specializing in computer crime investigations. Joe also teaches information security classes for the SANS Institute.
Benefits of APIs for SaaS Organizations
APIs are transforming the development world by solving the age-old problem of moving information from one application to another. What started as walking punch cards down the hall or mailing disks to each other has evolved into a suite of modern application programming interfaces. With APIs, you get a seamless transfer of flexible data and a layer of security between multiple applications. They’ve become so convenient in recent years that they’re now the popular choice for enhancing or adding new features to any application or cloud service.Similar to outsourcing data or applications, by leveraging APIs, companies are able to focus on their point of differentiation, and then partner with another organization to take advantage of what they do best. By doing this, you avoid wasting precious time and resources building something that’s already been done. (And by someone who’s better at it!) After working with many clients on their journey to becoming API-centric, I’ve become a huge fan of APIs, and can speak to the many great features they provide organizations. Below are my top three. Quicker Speed to MarketAPIs provide a quicker solution to introducing new features or changing existing behaviors, even in a large enterprise situation. Their purpose is to help a consumer access a new service or software that would otherwise take them months to build in-house, so they’re designed to be quick, well-documented and easy for developers so that they don’t stumble with integration. Greater Security FocusSecurity within an API allows data to travel between applications securely and efficiently by providing a proxy, or wall, between the two applications that can be secured using a tool such as OAuth or APIKeys. The data can also be manipulated in new ways making it easier to consume on the receiving end, such as turning an XML file into JSON. This creates a cleaner code base with less time troubleshooting and more time to focus on the company’s needs. Additional security features include monitoring incoming and outgoing requests, hiding your public IP address, and filtering and redirecting requests. With complex webs of slightly different formats, how do we smoothly incorporate data from a variety of sources, or relay instructions from one application to another? An API takes care of that for you. More FlexibilityImagining every possibility that your users will need from an API is an almost impossible task, however, APIs offer many choices to create a flexible multipurpose platform. Allow your API to accept as many formats as possible and then have the API manipulate that data into a format that can be handled within the system. Simultaneously, you can specify the data to be case-sensitive or allow multiple forms of data input.Much like the SaaS model, APIs have shown us that the best way to do business isn’t necessarily by doing everything in-house. By taking advantage of the technology that APIs provide, your developers can focus their efforts on other projects that are in your wheelhouse, and will move your business forward.About the Author:Bresdin O’Malley is a senior consultant who’s been fighting software-related fires as a full stack developer for over six years. Her other super-powers manifest while gardening on her urban micro-farm, and hiking in the mountains with her dog pack.
5 Cons of Offshoring
When it comes to outsourcing software development, the offshoring business model has grown exponentially as organizations look to reduce costs, streamline processes, and reap the benefits of specialization.While there are benefits to offshoring, many organizations have learned that there are drawbacks, as well. Before you commit to working with an offshore development partner, take a look at 5 cons to offshoring.What's the Difference between Offshoring and Outsourcing?Before diving into the disadvantages of the offshoring model, it’s important to understand the differences between offshoring and outsourcing. In recent years, these two terms have been used interchangeably because some of the aspects of these processes are present in the other.Outsourcing is a practice used by companies to transfer portions of work to outside suppliers rather than completing it internally. The most significant factors for outsourcing usually relate to cutting costs and reducing internal infrastructure Outsourcing is an “umbrella” term, and while the process has been used for years in functions like accounting and legal, it has become wildly popular in software development and support.Offshoring happens when you relocate the work to a different country and is a form of outsourcing. An example of offshoring would be when a company from within the United States works with a company located in India or China for a specific project. So, offshoring is always outsourcing – but not all outsourcing is offshore. Make sense?5 Cons of Offshoring1. Time Zone Differences and ProximityOne of the biggest disadvantages of offshoring is time zone differences. Many offshoring companies operate within a 5-12 hour difference from their client, meaning work schedules may need to be adjusted to accommodate your offshore partner.Furthermore, unless your offshore partner commits to staffing late night shifts that work with your company’s time zone, you may have to wait for responses from the offshore staff. These time differences can also lead to lengthy delays in project deadlines as both companies struggle to accommodate each other. Thinking about visiting your offshoring partner? This could be difficult considering the distance, costs, and time spent traveling to an overseas location. If regularly meeting with your partner and having face time is essential to your company, offshoring may not be the right fit for your business’ needs.\2. Communication and Language IssuesWhen working with a company from a different country, it’s usually safe to assume that most people on your team speak English as a second language. When working with someone who natively speaks another language, this can make communication and collaboration a unique challenge even if they speak English with relative proficiency. So, even though a team can speak English very well, that doesn’t mean that communication will be as smooth as it is when communicating with someone who is a native speaker.3. Cultural and Social DifferencesEven if the language barrier can be overcome or minimized, an overseas team can have cultural and social practices that you’ll have to accommodate.For example, if you contract an agency from India, they can have up to sixteen public holidays a year depending on their regional location. Couple that with the United States’ ten public holidays, and that is twenty-six days a year that rarely coincide. While a handful of team members might tolerate Christmas Day conference calls, it’s more “Bah, Humbug” than “Happy Holidays.” So, you must consider the impact of the fragmented calendar during the project and how it’ll affect your deadline.Work styles will also exhibit social differences. For example, it’s considered acceptable and expected for a North American worker to be assertive and straight-forward. However, this is not always the case in other cultures which view the employer-employee relationship very differently. These cultural variations dilute the valuable input and feedback loops expected in Western business, creating an increased potential for offshoring issues to arise.The discrepancies in cultural and social practices can also lead to misunderstanding of complex business problems. This in turn leads to business and personal misunderstandings, and challenges that wouldn’t be the case when everyone on a team has a similar overall business dynamic.SEE OUR VALUE COMPARED TO OFFSHORE4. Geopolitical UnrestThe unstable political climate in prominent outsourcing countries can cause increasing geopolitical risks for businesses. For example, Ukraine is a popular outsourcing location, but is frequently a victim of political unrest which can flare up without warning. This is true of many developing countries that are generally go-to’s when looking to outsource work.Whether the issue is a government shutdown, military coup, riots over an election, or pressure involving drug cartels – all of these “far away” issues could quickly become much more real when your project or business is directly impacted because of the fallout.5. Displacement of U.S. JobsCritics of offshoring note that the level of unemployment in America increases as more jobs move overseas. For example, if you outsource jobs to India, one of the disadvantages is that there’s less opportunity and open positions for qualified Americans, which can hurt the national economy and livelihood of cities and towns across the country.By choosing a provider in the US, that creates more open positions for qualified local individuals and helps to bolster our economy rather than sending money overseas.An Offshoring Alternative: Onshoring within the United StatesFortunately, there’s no need to look overseas for quality software development outsourcing. A simpler and more effective outsourcing alternative is onshoring.Onshoring offers improved communication and increased productivity between both parties, while still working to reduce costs. It also eliminates the risks of compromised IP and data, geopolitical uncertainty, and contextual misalignment.For example, a company located in Los Angeles or New York City can reduce costs by contracting services from a company located in smaller cities in Middle America, where living costs and prices are much lower.The blend of finding quality talent at an affordable price point is quite advantageous for companies located within the United States. By working with a company located in the same country, both parties will benefit from more convenient time zones, faster and cheaper business travel, and easier collaboration.Rural Sourcing: The Nation's Leading Onshoring PartnerIf you’re looking for an onshore alternative for your organization’s IT solutions, Rural Sourcing can help. As the leader in domestic IT sourcing, Rural Sourcing’s innovative domestic model eliminates the obstacles of data security, IP protection, political concern, time zones, distance, language barriers, and more. We help keep jobs in the United States, and provide high-quality work at a fraction of the price of providers in major metro areas.With development centers strategically located throughout the United States, Rural Sourcing provides world-class solutions for organizations across various industries including pharmaceutical, healthcare, high-tech, insurance, and consumer & retail goods. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our capabilities, and to see how we can help your business outsource responsibly and economically without compromising quality.NEED HELP? LET'S TALK.
The Top 4 Reasons to Build Your Next Application in React
Tech in 2: Scaling Agile
Agile allows small self-managed teams to drive innovation and speed, but for enterprises with larger projects, scaling Agile is critical. Senior Consultant Heidi Jackson from our Albuquerque Development Center discusses how to make that happen.NEED HELP? LET'S TALK.
Augusta Development Center Spotlight
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “Augusta, Georgia?” As host of The Masters, the first major golf tournament of the season, Augusta is used to this upper-crust affiliation. The Garden City is still humble, though, and it’s home to our second center and more than 120 of our colleagues. We talked to Augusta Development Center Director Dr. Tony Robinson to learn all about it.Making an impactOur Augusta Development Center is heavily involved in the local and statewide business communities, through active involvement locally with the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce and Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, and statewide through Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan’s task force: Georgia Innovates/Rural Initiatives. Tony shares, “By serving on this task force, our center gets the chance to help cultivate opportunities for innovators, entrepreneurs, and small businesses throughout the state.” Enjoying their downtimeWondering how our Augusta colleagues have fun? Look no further than the always popular Nerdlympics competition, where colleagues have invented a number of technology-themed games including Planning Putt Putt and Blocker Resolution and Cup Stacking. Tony says, “Whether you’re on a team or just watching the competition, it’s always fun to see the innovative ideas our colleagues come up with!” Plus, the variety of parks and recreation in Augusta, including the Savannah River, and numerous cultural events like Arts in the Heart of Augusta, the Westobou Festival, and the Greek Festival give everyone the chance to get outside and enjoy the great weather you tend to find Georgia.Supporting the communityCommunity engagement is a big part of life at all of our centers, but in Augusta, it’s truly at the heart of everything they do. By working closely with educational partners like Augusta University, USC Aiken, and Augusta Technical College, our colleagues get involved with STEM-related activities like the Augusta University STEAMIFY Competition, where college students have gone on to compete and place in international competitions. Plus, through board leadership and classroom activities, our Augusta colleagues have been involved in technical programming curriculum development, and coaching engagements. To top it all off, the center was recently recognized with a philanthropy award based on the impact of their fundraising efforts for the United Way of the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA).What’s one of Tony’s favorite parts about Augusta? “The diversity of the community and educational opportunities combined with all the great amenities we have, make this city a very special place to live and raise a family.” Learn more about Augusta by reading up on featured colleagues Samaiyah, Nick, and Richard.
Supporting Healthcare Clients During the Pandemic
Rural Sourcing was recently engaged to help our home healthcare client improve the efficiency of their in-home visits. We assembled our Scrum as a Service team and began work within two weeks of the initial project kick-off. The flagship feature of the project was to digitize their paper-based forms. By doing so, our client will be able to reduce the amount of time spent completing patient forms by 15%.Additional benefits from the automation of the ICD-10 coding effort include:Increased accuracy in codingDecreased ramp up and learning time for new healthcare professionalsIncreased job satisfaction from healthcare professionalsAnd perhaps the biggest benefit? By reducing the non-value-added time spent inside a patient’s home, our solution reduces the risk of contamination for some of our client’s most vulnerable patients and the dedicated employees caring for them.INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE? LET'S TALK.
Fort Wayne Development Center Spotlight
Located in the heart of Fort Wayne’s reinvigorated downtown neighborhood, our newest Development Center is full of colleagues who have an “engineer’s mind and a teacher’s heart” as Development Center Director Bill Rose puts it. “I like to describe the culture at our center as being colleague focused and delivery driven. There’s a strong Midwestern work ethic here, and everyone is very passionate about what they do.”Giving backAs Bill says, “Fort Wayne loves Fort Wayne,” which means the business community, and the city as a whole, is very tightknit and supportive. In addition to being involved with the Northwest Indiana Regional Partnership (the local economic development agency), our colleagues get very motivated when it comes to helping with STEM activities. A few events they’ve participated in include the Fort Wayne STEM Fest and the Fort Wayne Mad Ants STEAM Fest. Coming up this fall is a workshop that one of our colleagues will be leading for the area Girl Scouts Council, where they’ll learn about digital game design as part of the Coding for Good camp.Thin Mint taste testFort Wayne Mad Ants STEAM FestSalsa making competitionA competitive spiritThere’s definitely no shortage of fun in Fort Wayne, even when you’re in the office. Some of our colleagues’ favorite activities have included throwing pies in managers’ faces for charity, a virtual background competition, the annual Nerdlympics ceremonies, and, well… just about anything involving food! For those who would rather watch the competition than take part in it, Fort Wayne has minor league baseball, hockey, and basketball teams to enjoy. Plus, starting later this year, one of our colleagues will be playing in the brand new semi-pro soccer team, the Fort Wayne Football Club. As Bill explains, “Our colleagues are creative and supportive, and they never stop caring, exploring, or laughing!”Learn more about Fort Wayne by reading up on our featured colleagues, David and Blake.
Knative: The Latest Addition to the Kubernetes Tool Kit
Function as a Service (FaaS) and containers come together with Knative, one of the most exciting things happening in the Kubernetes ecosystem right now, especially if you’re using microservices. Knative components build on top of Kubernetes, abstracting away details, allowing for more elaborate deployments and enabling developers to focus on what really matters. Serverless offerings from Cloud providers often come with fears of vendor lock in. Knative is open source and you can run it either on your own servers or let Google Cloud or Redhat Openshift manage it on their hardware. If you’re an organization that’s already running on Kubernetes, here are three huge benefits to utilizing Knative.Serverless functionsScale-to-zero serverless functions are one of the more elaborate deployments that can be achieved using Knative, and there are some very good reasons to run them in Kubernetes. The first being that you can operate your serverless workloads in the same domain as you do more traditional microservice or monolithic workloads. This simplifies network architecture and makes automated end to end testing easier and faster. If you're already running on Kubernetes, you can reuse the same CI/CD workflows and SRE tools you're already using.Advanced deployment strategiesBeyond running serverless workloads, Knative allows for advanced deployment strategies like blue/green deployments and custom autoscaling controllers. Knative also works with an optional eventing component that deploys a highly available, cloud native Pub/Sub service.Increased efficiencyThe workspace sees many benefits while running Knative, because you can operate in the Cloud using leaner resources. Running all your workloads in the same domain increases efficiency and security. This means a lower operational cost and higher velocity. Plus, a quicker turnaround through the development process, so the end user gets a refined product more quickly.Running Knative will give your development team the toolset to build modern, container-based applications with the flexibility to run anywhere: on premises, in the cloud, or even in a third-party data center. If you build or deploy into the Cloud, keep your eye on Knative.NEED HELP? LET'S CHAT.About the AuthorThomas Smith is a container evangelist and loves helping craft cloud native solutions. When not building containers, he can be found cycling the Bosque trails of Albuquerque or creating generative music.