Automation Anti-Patterns That You Must Avoid


Regardless of your testing experience or the effectiveness of your automation infrastructure, you should use a robust test design to initiate automation. The lack of strong test design can force testing teams to face a wide range of issues which generate incomplete, inefficient, and difficult-to-maintain tests. In order to make sure the cost efficiency, quality, and delivery are not affected, it is necessary to familiarize with those indicators which represent the performance of tests. To begin with, consider the following automation anti-patterns to improve testing.

Longer Length of Sequence

Often, tests are created with small steps for long sequences, thus their management and maintenance is hard. For instance, while an application which is currently being tested undergoes changes, it is considerably complex to work around these modifications with other tests.

Instead of using a bottom-up approach first, generate a high-level design. In accordance with the respective method, such a design can consist of features like scopes and definitions of test products which are included in the main objective and test objective for different tests. For instance, a product could consist of test cases which test the calculation process of home loan mortgage premiums.

Business-Tests

When testers focus too much on interaction tests, it is possible that they may design weak tests which do not factor major business-level concerns like the interaction of application responses for unusual circumstances.

Testers should emphasize on the use of businesses tests which represent rules, objects, and processes of business alongside the interaction tests. For instance, with a business test, a user can log in, type a few orders, and view the financial information with the help of high-level activities which mask the details of the interaction.

In interaction tests, a user can type name/password combination and assess whether or not the button of submission (submit) is enabled or not—such a test can occur in any business environment type.

Blurred Lines

While it is important to run interaction and business tests, however, keep in mind that they should be run separately. For instance, the rules and lifecycles of business objects along with their processes and calculations must not be combined with interaction test details like confirming the presence of submit button or determining whether or not a login message is displayed after the login process. Such a scenario can make maintenance hard due to the mix. For instance, if the welcome message is generated in a new application version, all the associated tests have to be checked and maintained.

A modular and high-quality test can help testers with the correct vision about how these blurred lines should be avoided to make sure the maintainability and manageability is strong. Test modules are known to carry a well-defined scope with test modules. They prevent checks which are not suitable for their scope and mask comprehensive steps for the UI interactions.

Life Cycle Tests

Most of the global applications work with business objects like products, invoices, orders, and customers. The application lifecycles of such objects are updated, retrieve, create, and delete—known as CRUD. The major issue is that the tests for these lifecycles are hard to find, incomplete, and scattered. Hence, there can be real vulnerabilities in the tests’ scope especially in the case of business objects, particularly when the business objects are ever-changing. For a car rental, while one can try several vans and cars, however, the coverage is lesser for both the buses and motorcycles.

It is easy to design life cycle tests. You can initiate by choosing business objects along with their operations. Such a process can also consist of variations like updating or canceling an order. It is important to remember that life cycle tests are similar to business tests, instead of the interaction tests.

Poorly Developed Tests

Factors like pressure, time, and others can culminate in the creation of shallow test cases which are not good enough to properly test the application. As a result, quality suffers, like missed situations which are not responded. Doing this can also affect the test maintenance, making it more expensive.

More importantly, it is necessary to sync both the testing and test automation for the entire Scrum sprint. These tests and their automation require a greater degree of cooperation which is tougher in case they are still running after the completion of the sprint.

When improved automation architecture and test design are not good enough in keeping up with the velocity, then you can think about the outsourcing of a number of tasks so the testers are able to match the speed.

You have to think in terms of a professional tester—as an individual who has a knack of breaking things. For instance, if different testing methods like error guessing decision tables are used then they can assist to pinpoint those situations which require immediate assistance with the test cases. On a similar note, equivalence partitioning and state-transition diagrams can help to think about different design to test the cases.

Scope

Lack of scope in tests is quite a common problem like when an entry dialog has to be tested by a test or with a group of financial transactions. It is easy to find the tests and also update in case of changes in the application while duplication is also possible.

Duplicate Checks

Testers usually use to assess steps by using an unexpected output for all the steps; this is also encouraged by different management tools. What this indicates is that separate tests can be used for the same check. For instance, the previous test determined whether or not the welcome screen is generated after the login.

Begin with a test design on which the testers focused heavily. You have to ensure that all the modules in the test have well-differentiated and clear scopes. Hence, during the development of such tests, you have to avoid checking after each step. Add checks according to the scope.

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AWS S3 Tips for Performance


Amazon S3 is used by many companies for storage purposes. Due to its use as object storage, it offers flexibility with a slew of data types including small objects to massive datasets. Thus, S3 has carved out its niche as a great service which can store a broad scope of data types via a resilient and available environment. As your objects of S3 have to be accessed and read by other AWS services, applications, and end users, do you believe that they are optimized to offer the best possible performance? Here is how you can optimize your S3. Follow these tips to improve your performance with Amazon S3.

Perform TCP Window Scaling

TCP window scaling facilitates developers to improve the network throughput performance via the modification of the header in the TCP packet that uses a window scale. This helps in sending data with a single segment—more than the traditional 64 KB. It is important to note that such practice is exclusive to S3; it functions along with the protocol level. As a result, by using this protocol you can execute window scaling for your client while establishing a connection with a server.

When a connection is established between a destination and source by the TCP, then the next thing is a 3-way handshake that starts up from the source. This means that with the S3 view, it is possible that the client might be required to upload an object to the S3. However, prior to this, you must create a connection with the S3 servers.

A TCP packet will be sent by the client along with a defined window scale of TCP in the header—such a request is also referred to as SYN request—the first part of the 3-way handshake. When the S3 gets this request, it uses an SYN/ACK message to send a response to the client while using the same window scale factor—this forms the second part of the 3-way handshake—maintaining the relevant window scale factor. The third and final part consists of an ACK message which is sent to the S3 server—it serves as the response’s acknowledgment. A connection is generated after this 3-way handshake ends where the S3 and client can finally exchange data.

In order to send more data, you can widen the window size via a scale factor. This helps in sending voluminous amount s of data via a single segment whereas your speed is also quickened.

Use Selective Acknowledgment

At times while using TCP, it is not uncommon for packets to get lost. To figure out which of the packets went missing is hard within a TCP window. Consequently, at times it is possible to resend all of these packets. However, then the receiver may have received some of the packets so this is an ineffective strategy.

Instead, you can use TCP SACK (selective acknowledgment) for improving performance where the sender receives notifications about which were the failed packets for a window. As a result, the sender can then easily only resend the failed packets.

However, it is necessary that the source client or the sender initiates the SACK when a connection is being established amidst the handshake’s SYN phase. Such an option is also called as SACK-permitted. For using and implementing SACK, you can visit this link.

Setting Up S3 Request Rates

Alongside TCP SACK and TCP Scaling, S3 is quite nicely optimized to address a high request throughput. A year back, in 2018, AWS introduced a new change for these request rates. Before the announcement, it was recommended that the prefixes can be randomized within the bucket to help with performance optimization—there is no more need for it. Now exponential growth of request rate performance can be achieved when more than one prefixes within the bucket are used.

Now, developers are getting a 3,500 PUT/POST/DELETE request for each second while they are also achieving 5,500 GET requests. A single prefix is a reason behind such limitations. However, keep in mind that there is no limit for prefixes which are to be used in an S3 bucket. What this means is that if you use 2 prefixes then you can get 110,000 GET requests and 70,000 PUT/POST/DELETE for each passing second for the same bucket.

There is no hierarchical-based structure in the folders of S3; it follows a flat structure for storage. This means that all you need is a bucket while all the objects are saved in a flat space of the bucket. You can generate folders and store objects in it—without depending on a hierarchical system. The prefixes of the object are responsible to make them unique. For instance, in case you have the following objects in a bucket:

  • Design/Meeting.ppt
  • Objective/Plan.pdf
  • jpg

Here, the ‘Design’ folder serves as a prefix for identifying the object—such a pathname is also referred to as the object key. The ‘Objective’ folder is also an object’s prefix while the ‘Will.jpg’ is without any prefix.

Amazon Cloud Front

One more strategy for optimization is to integrate Amazon CloudFront with Amazon S3. This is a wise strategy when the request of the S3 data is a GET request. CloudFront is a content delivery network which increases the pace of the distribution of dynamic and static content across a global network comprising of edge locations.

Typically, after a user sends a request from S3 in the form of GET request then the S3 service is used to route it while the relevant servers return the content. In case you use CloudFront with S3 then it can also perform caching for those objects which are requested commonly. Hence, the user’s GET request is directed to the nearest edge location that offers low latency for returning the cached object and providing the best performance. It also decreases the AWS costs when the number of GET requests in the buckets is shortened.

 

Best Code Review Practices


How do you run code reviews? Code reviews are vital and enhance the quality of code. They are responsible for the stability and reliability of the code. Moreover, they build and foster relationship among team members. Following are some of the tips for code reviews.

1.   Have a Basic Understanding of What to Search in the Code

To begin with, you should have a basic idea about what you are looking for. Ideally, you should look for major aspects like the following.

  • What structure has the programmer followed?
  • How is the logic building so far?
  • What style has been used?
  • How is the code performing?
  • How are the test results?
  • How readable is the code?
  • Does it look maintainable?
  • Is it ticking up all the boxes for the functionality?

You can also perform static analysis or other automated checks to evaluate the logic and structure of your code. However, some things are best reviewed from a pure manual check like functionality and design.

Moreover, you also have to consider the following questions for the code.

  • Are you able to understand how the code works and what does it do?
  • Is the code following the client requirement?
  • Are all modules and functions running as expected?

2.   Take 60-90 Minutes for a Review

You should avoid spending too much time for reviewing a codebase in a single sitting. This is because after a 60-minute time interval, a code reviewer naturally begins sensing tiredness and does not have the same physical and mental strength to pick out defects from the code. Such state is supported by proofs from other studies as well. It is a common fact that whenever human beings commit themselves to an activity which needs special attention, their performance begins to experience a dip after 60 minutes. By following this time period, a reviewer can at best review around 300 to 600 lines of code.

3.   Assess 400 Lines of Code at Max

According to a code review by Cisco, for best results, developers should conduct a code review which extends from 200 to 400 LOC (lines of code) at a time. After this time period, the capability to identify bugs begins to wither way. Considering an average review stretches up to 1.5 hours, you can get a yield in between 70-90%. This means that if there were 10 faults in the code, then you maybe successful to find at least 9 of them.

4.   Make Sure Authors Annotate Source Code

It is possible that authors of the code can remove almost all of the flaws from the code before a review is required. This can be done if it is mandatory for the developers to re-check their code, thus making reviews end faster while the code quality remains unaffected as well.

Before the review, authors can use annotation in their code. With annotations the reviewer can them go through all the modifications, see what to look first and assess the methods and reasons for all the changes in the code. Thus, these notes are not merely code comments but they serve as a guide to the reviewers.

Since authors have to re-assess and explain their modifications while annotating the code, therefore it can help to show different flaws in the code prior to the beginning of the review. As a result, the review achieves a greater level of efficiency.

5.   Setup Quantifiable Metrics

In the beginning, you have to come up with the goals for the code review and brainstorm how to assess the effectiveness of the code. After certain goals are defined, it can help to reflect better whether or not the peer review is providing the required results.

You can use external metrics like “cut upon the defects from development by 50%” or “decrease support calls by 15%”. Therefore, you can get a better picture of how well your code is performing from an external outlook. Moreover, a quantifiable measurement is wiser rather than having an unclear objective to “resolve more bugs”.

It must be noted that the results of the external metrics are not realized too early. For instance, there will be no changes to the support calls till the release of the new version and users can use the software. Therefore, you should also judge internal process metrics for getting the number of defects, study the points which cause issues, and get an idea about how much time is being spent by your developer on reviewing their code. Some of the internal code review metrics are the following.

  • Inspection rate: It is measured in kLOC (thousands of lines of code) per work hour and represents the time required for reviewing the code.
  • Defect rate: It is measured in number of defects discovered for each hour. It represents the process to discover defects
  • Defect density: It is measured in number of defects for each kLOC. It represents the number of defects which are discovered in a code.

6.   Create Checklists

Checklists are vital for the reviews due to the fact that help the reviewer to keep tasks in mind. They are a good option to evaluate those components which might be forgotten by you. They are not only effective for reviewers but they can also aid the developers.

One of the tough defects to highlight is omission as it is obviously tough to identify a piece of code which was never added. A checklist is one of the best ways to address this issue. With checklist both the reviewers and author can verify that the errors have been resolved, the arguments in the function are tested to run with invalid values, and the required unit tests are generated.

Another good idea is to use a personal checklist. Each developer often repeated the same errors in their code. If the creation of personal checklist is enforced then it can help the reviewers.

 

Tips to Manage Garbage Collection in Java


With each evolution, garbage collectors get new improvements and advancements. However, garbage collections in Java face a common issue: unpredictable and redundant object allocations. Consider the following tips to improve your garbage collection in Java.

1.   Estimate Capacity of the Collections

All types of Java collections including extended and custom implementations take advantage of underlying object-based or primitive arrays. Due to the size immutability of arrays after allocation, when items are added to a collection, a new array can force the old array to get dropped.

Many implementations of collections attempt optimization of the re-allocation process and try to limit it an amortized restriction, whether or not the expected collection size is not given. To get the best results, give the collection its expected size during creation.

For instance, consider the following code.

public static List reverse(List < ? extends T > list) {

List answer = new ArrayList();

for (int x = list.size() – 1; x > = 0; x–) {

answer.add(list.get(x));

}

return answer;

}

In this method, a new array is allocated after which another list’s items fill it via a reverse order. In this code, optimization can be applied to the specific line which performs addition of items in the new list. Whenever an item is added, the list has to ensure that there are enough available slots in the underlying array so it can store the incoming item. If there is a free slot, then it can easily store it. Or else, it has to perform allocation of a new underlying array, move the content of the old array to the newer one, and then perform the addition of the new item. As a result, multiple arrays are allocated which are ultimately collected by the garbage collection.

In order to avoid these redundant and inefficient allocations, you can “inform” the array about the number of items it can store while creating it.

public static List reverse(List < ? extends T > list) {

 

List answer = new ArrayList(list.size());

 

for (int x = list.size() – 1; x > = 0; x–) {

answer.add(list.get(x));

}

return answer;

}

As a result, the first allocation from the constructor of the ArrayList is big enough to store the items of the list.size(), thus there is no need for reallocation of memory in the middle of an iteration.

2.   Compute Streams with a Direct Approach

While data is being processed like it is downloading from the network or read from the file, then it not uncommon to view the following instances.

byte[] fData = readFileToByteArray(new File(“abc.txt”));

As a result, the byte array a JSON object, XML document, or Protocol Buffer message can then be used for parsing. While working with bigger files or files having uncertain size, there are possibilities of exposure to OutOfMemoryErrors if buffer allocation of the complete file is not performed by the Java Virtual Machine.

In case, we assume that the data size can be managed, the above-mentioned pattern can lead on to generate considerable overhead for garbage collection because a huge blob is allocated on the heap for holding the data of the file.

There are better solutions to tackle this. One of them is the use of the relevant InputStream and use the parser directly before converting it into a byte array. Usually, all crucial libraries are known to have API exposure for direct streams parsing. For instance, consider the following code.

FileInputStream fstream =new FileInputStream(fileName);

MyProtoBufMessage message = MyProtoBufMessage.parseFrom(fstream);

3.    Make Use of Immutable Objects

Immutability brings a lot of benefits to the table. Perhaps, its biggest one is on the garbage collection. An object in which you cannot alter the fields after the construction of the project is known as an immutable object. For instance,

public class twoObjects {

private final Object a;

private final Object b;

public twoObjects(Object a, Object b) {

this.a = a;

this.b = b;

}

public Object getA() {

return a;

}

public Object getB() {

return b;

}

}

The instantiation of the above-mentioned class provides an immutable object in which all the fields are set as ‘final’ and cannot be altered.

Immutability means that objects which are referenced via an immutable container are generated prior to the container’s construction. In terms of garbage collection, the container and the reference have the same age.

Therefore, while working with cycles of garbage collections for young generations, the garbage collection can ignore the older generations’ immutable objects as they are unable to reference.

When there are lesser objects for scanning, it requires less memory and also saves up on garbage collection cycles, resulting in improved throughput.

4.   Leverage Specialized Primitive Collections

The standard collection library of Java is generic and convenient. It assists in using semi-static type binding in collections. This can be advantageous if, for instance, you have to use a string set or work with a map for strings lists.

The actual issue emerges when developers have to store a list contains “ints” or a map containing type double values. As it is not possible to use primitives with generic types, another option is the use of boxed type.

Such an approach consumes a lot of space because an Integer is an object having a 12-byte header and a 4-byte int field. In total each Integer item amounts to 16 bytes—four times the size of the similar primitive int data type. There is another issue that the object instances of these integers have to be assessed for garbage collection.

To resolve this issue, you can use the Trove collection library. It provides a few generics over specialized primitive collections that are memory efficient. For instance, rather than using the Map<Integer, Double>, you can use the TIntDoubleMap.

TIntDoubleMap mp = new TIntDoubleHashMap();

mp.put(6, 8.0);

mp.put(-2, 8.555);

The underlying implementation from Trove works with primitive arrays, hence no boxing occurs during the manipulation of collections and objects are not hold in the primitives’ place.

 

 

 

Serverless Predictions for 2019


Are you using a serverless architecture?

As it was seen in 2018, more and more businesses are coming to serverless computing, especially to Kubernetes. Many of them have even started reaping the benefits of their efforts. Still, the serverless era has just started. In 2019, the following trends are going to change how the organizations create and deploy software.

Adoption in the Enterprise Software

In 2018, serverless computing and FaaS (function as a service) began to become popular among organizations. By the end of 2019, these technologies will go onto the next level and are poised to get adopted on a wider scale, especially for the enterprise application sector. As container-based applications—using the cloud-native architecture—are spreading with a rapid pace, it has served as a catalyst for the burgeoning adoption of serverless computing.

Today, software delivery and deployment has evolved to a great extent. The robustness and range of containers increased the cloud-native applications to unprecedented heights for legacy applications and Greenfield. As a result, business scenarios in which earlier there was not much progress for cloud-native modernization—like data in transit, edge devices, and stateful applications—can be converted into cloud-native. While container-based and cloud-native systems are beginning to experience a rise, software developers are using serverless functions for performing a wide range of tasks across various types of applications. Teams will now deliver microservices transition on a large scale—some may use FaaS to decrease the application’s complexity.

Workflows and similar high-end functionalities in FaaS are expected to provide convenience in creating complicated serverless systems via a composable and modular approach.

Kubernetes as the Defacto Standard

There are fewer better infrastructures than Kubernetes for working with serverless computing. By 2018, Kubernetes was widely used with container orchestration with different cloud providers. As a result, it is the leading cloud-native systems’ enabler and is on its way to becoming the defacto operating system. Ubiquity assists Kubernetes to be transformed into the default standard which can be used for powering serverless systems.

Kubernetes helps to easily create and run those applications in serverless architecture which can utilize cluster management, scaling, scheduler, networking, service discovery, and other powerful built-in features of Kubernetes. Serverless runtime needs these features with interoperability and portability for any type of environment.

Due to Kubernetes position as the standard for the serverless infrastructure, organizations can make use of their own multi-cloud environments and data centers for running serverless applications, rather than being restricted with a single cloud service and face excessive cloud expenses. When organizations will take advantage from cost savings, speed, and enhanced serverless functionality with their own data centers while at the same t time in different environments, they can port serverless applications, then the end result is impactful—the serverless adoption in the enterprise gets a massive boost. It not only becomes a strong architecture for the acceleration of new applications’ development, but it is also a worthy pattern which can help to modernize legacy applications and brownfield.

In cloud-native architecture, the increased refinement of Kubernetes deployments means that you can foresee the Kubernetes-based FaaS frameworks to be integrated with chaos engineering and service meshes concepts. To put it simply, if we consider the next Kubernetes as the next Linux, then serverless can be considered as the modern Java Virtual Machine.

Serverless with the Stateful Applications

Stateless applications with short life spans are used mainly by serverless applications. However, you can now also expect a more rapid serverless adoption having stateful scenarios—which are powered by improvements in advancements in both Kubernetes-based storage systems and serverless systems.

These workloads can consist of validation and test of machine learning applications and models which execute high-end credit checks. Workflows are going to be a major serverless consideration which can make sure that all the use cases only are not only executed properly but can also scale according to requirements.

Serverless Tooling Enters a New Age

Lack of tooling has been an issue for FaaS and serverless computing for a long time. This encompasses the operational and developer team ecosystem support and tooling. In 2019, the major FaaS projects are expected to take a more assembly line tooling view while using the enhanced experience of the developer, and smooth pipelining and live-reload.

In 2019, GitOps will achieve newfound recognition as a FaaS development paradigm. Hence, now all the artifacts can use Git for versioning and roll forwards or rollbacks can resolve the common versioning issues.

Cost Is Going to Raise Eyebrows

As the graph of last years suggests more and more enterprises are going to use serverless architectures to power mission-critical and large-scale applications; thus this also stretches the expenses and costs of serverless computing for public clouds. Consequently, cloud-lock is also expected to become a significant concern.

By the end of 2019, organizations will manage cloud expenses and provide portability and interoperability via standardization on those serverless systems that are open source—similar to Kubernetes. They can also make use of the strategies for utilizing the most efficient cloud provider while avoiding reliance on re-coding while at the same time serverless is being run via private clouds. This can have a major effect and help to enhance resource utilization and improve the current infrastructure. The impact will also touch the investment which was put in on-premise data centers for delivering the identical experience of developers and cloud operations—like how it works in the public cloud.

Before the start of 2020, it can be expected that these 2019 predictions will serve as the foundation of adoption of serverless architecture. All the single applications will be modeled in terms of services, triggers will be used for execution, and they run till the service request is satisfied. As a result, the model can simply how to code software along with ensuring that quick speed is also possible while keeping in mind both the expenses and security of the software.

Risks of Cloud APIs


An application programming interface (API) allows developers to establish a connection with services. These services can be cloud services and assist with updating a DB, storing data, pushing data in a queue, moving data, and managing other tasks.

APIs play an important role in cloud computing. Different cloud providers depend on various API types. Consumers debate on portability and vendor lock-in issues. AWS leads the market, holding its position as the de facto standard.

A cloud API is a special category of API which facilitates developers to develop services and applications which are needed for provisioning software, hardware, and platforms. It acts as an interface or gateway which may be indirectly or directly responsible for the cloud infrastructure.

Risk of Insecure APIs

Cloud APIs help to simplify many types of cloud computing processes and automate various complex business functionalities like configuration of a wide range of cloud instances.

However, these APIs need a thorough inspection of cloud customers and cloud providers. If a cloud API has a security loophole then it can create a number of risks pertaining to availability, accountability, integrity, and confidentiality. While the providers of cloud services have to be vigilant around securing their APIs, their mileage can differ. Hence, it is necessary to learn how you can assess the cloud API security. In order to evaluate cloud APIs, this report discusses several areas of concerns like what cyber threats do they exactly represent? How do the risks operate? How is it possible for companies to evaluate and protect these cloud APIs? Some of these areas where the customers have to be vigilant are as follows.

Transport Security

Generally, APIs are provided through a wide range of different channels. Those APIs which hold and store private and sensitive data require a greater level of protection via a secure channel like IPSec or SSL/TLS. Designing the tunnels of IPSec for a customer and CSP (cloud service provider) is often complex and resource-intensive; therefore many eventually select SSL/TLS. As a consequence, a can of worms is opened in the form of multiple potential issues. These issues include the management and production of legitimate certificates from an external or internal CA (certificate authority), problems with end-to-end protection, platform service, and their configuration conundrums, and the integration of software.

Authorization and Authentication

Most of the clouds APIs emphasize on authorization and authentication—hence they are major considerations for a lot of clients. One can ask the cloud service provider questions like the following.

  • How easily can they handle the attributes of two-factor authentication?
  • Are the APIs capable enough to encrypt the combination of usernames and passwords?
  • Is it possible to create and maintain policies for fine-grained authorization?
  • What is the connectivity for internal IMS (identity management systems) and their attributes along with those which are offered by the cloud service providers’ APIs?

Code practices

If your cloud API processes XML or JSON messages or receive user and application input, then it is integral to test them properly so they can be evaluated for routine injection flows, schema validation, input and output encoding, and CSRF (cross-site request forgery) attacks.

Protection of Messages

Apart from making sure that the standard coding practices are used, other cloud APIs factors can include encryption, encoding, integrity validation, and the message structure.

Securing the Cloud APIs

After a company analyzes the concerns which the insecure cloud APIs can cause, they have to think about what practices and solutions they can implement in order to safeguard them. Firstly, you have to assess the cloud service provider’s API security; request them to provide the APIs documentation which can include reports and assessment results of the existing applications that can help to highlight the best audit results and best practices. For instance, take the examples of Dasein Cloud API which offers a comprehensive case study pertaining to the cloud APIs with extensive and open documentation.

Additionally, other than documentation, clients can request their cloud service providers so they can operate vulnerability assignments and penetration tests for the cloud APIs. Sometimes, CSPs seek the service of other third-party providers to proceed with these tests. The final outcome is then shown to the clients with an NDA; this helps the client to assess the current cybersecurity of the APIs.

The APIs of the web services must be secured for the OWASP’s—Open Web Application Security Project—10 common considerations for security loopholes via the application and network controls. Additionally, they should be also protected for QA testing and development practices.

Several cloud service providers provide an authentication and access mechanism via encryptions keys for their customers to benefit from the APIs. It is necessary to safeguard these keys—for both the CSP and customers. There should be clear-cut policies to manage the production, storage, dissemination, and disposal of these encryption keys—they must be stored with the help of a hardware security component or a protected and encrypted file store can be used for them. Do not use the configuration files or similar scripts for key embedding. On a similar note, if keys are embedded directly into the code, then developers will have a tough time with updates.

Search for cloud security providers like Microsoft Azure and Amazon. They offer symmetric keys and authentication codes that run on a hash-based mechanism in order to provide integrity and refrain from spreading shared information between untrusted networks. If a third party intends to work with a cloud service provider’s API then they must abide by these considerations and view API security and protection keys as a major priority.

IoT Challenges and Solutions


Internet of Things still remains a relatively new technology for companies around the world. It is providing businesses with a lucrative opportunity to thrive and prosper in the future of “Things”. However, implementing the internet of things is easier said than done. Their deployments are complex. This means that you not only require the IT team but also need the business units and operations team to implement your IoT solutions. Some of the IoT challenges and solutions are listed below.

Cost

The expenses and costs incurred in migrating from traditional architecture to an IoT are significantly high. Companies should refrain from proceeding with this leap initially via a one-off stream. While there is nothing wrong with the overall vision to adopt IoT, it is difficult for the management to ignore costs.

To handle and mitigate these expenses, there are a number of projects with IoT implementations. They are quite cost-friendly and have defined goals, also called as ‘bite-sized’. Start your adoption slowly by utilizing pilot technologies and spend money via a series of phases. To manage additional costs, give a thought to SaaS (software as a service) to get on-premise and robust installations.

Moreover, evaluate those IoT projects which provide good value for money and go through the business cases documentation.

Security

Sending and receiving data on the Web is always one of the riskiest activities faced by the IT team. A major reason behind this is the latest onslaught of hacking which has engulfed the modern-day world as cybercriminals are attacking governments and businesses left and right. However, in IoT, the issue is more complex; not only have you to facilitate online data communication but also connect a lot of devices— creating more endpoints for the cybercriminals to attack. While assessing the security of your IoT application, consider the following.

Data at Rest

When databases and software store data through the cloud or on-premises architecture, such data is commonly known as “at rest”. To protect this data, companies rely on perimeter-based defense solutions such as firewalls and anti-virus. However, cybercriminals are hard to deter—for them this data offers lucrative opportunities in the form of several crimes like identity theft. Cybersecurity experts recommend that this issue can be resolved with the use of encryption strategies for both the hardware and software in order to ensure that the data is saved from any illegal access.

Data in Use

When an IoT application or a gateway uses data, then its access is often available for different users and devices and thus is referred to as data in use. Security analysts claim that data in use is the toughest to safeguard. When a security solution is designed for this type of data, mainly the security considerations assess the authentication mechanisms and focus on how to secure them so only the authorized user can access them.

Data in Flight

The data which is currently being moved is primarily referred to as data in flight. To protect this data, communication protocols are planned and designed by using the latest and most effective algorithms of cryptography; they allow blocking the cybercriminals from decoding the data in flight. You can use a wide range of internet of things equipment which provides an extensive list of security protocols—many of them are enabled by default. At the minimum, you should ensure that your IoT devices which are linked with the mobile apps or remote gateways utilize HTTPS, TLS, SFTP, DNS security extensions, and similar protocols for encryption.

Technology Infrastructure

Often, clients have IoT equipment which is directly linked to the SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition). This means that they are ultimately responsible for the production of data that can help with analytics and insights. In case there is a lack of power monitoring equipment, the SCADA network can provide the relevant system to connect the newly-added instrumentation.

Secure networks often rely on one-way outbound-only communication. SCADA can facilitate the management of the equipment’s control signals.

You can use two methods for the protection of data for the APM data transmission. First things first, you can link the APM and the SCADA’s historian. The historian is a component which is required for the storage of the instruments’ readings and control actions and it resides in a demilitarized zone where it is required for the access of applications through the Internet. These applications only have access to look into the historian’s stored data.

You should know that SCADA only permits the writes to the DB. To do this, the historian sends the SCADA an outbound signal which is based on an interval. Many EAM (enterprise asset management) systems use the SCADA’s historian data to populate dashboards.

Another handy solution is to adopt a cellular service or any other independent infrastructure. This can help you to power your data communication without any dependence on a SCADA connection. The idea for uploading data—which is cellular in nature—is a wise one in facilities that have issues with the networking infrastructure. In such a setup, users can connect a cellular gateway device with a minimum of at least five devices while a 120-V outlet powers it. Today, pre-configured cellular equipment is offered by different companies, helping businesses to easily connect and deploy their IoT solutions within a few days.

 

Communication Infrastructure

The idea to use a cellular gateway for connecting internet of things equipment is smart. However, users who are close remote areas can struggle with reception. For such cases, you need to invest an enormous amount of money to develop the required infrastructure. LTE-M and LTE-NB may use the existing cellular towers but even then you can get a broader coverage from them.

This means that even while using the 4G-LTE data, if a user is unable to work with a good signal for voice calling, then they have a formidable option in the form on the LTE-M.