Software architecture is the system of organization between different components, such as an interface or an encapsulated area of software, and their relationship to one another. Without it, software components might be incompatible and functions may not perform correctly.
A key element of good software architecture is deciding what is important in the system and then putting effort into keeping those elements functioning correctly. High-quality architecture should not only work properly but also be faster to develop and innovate in the long term.
Architecture best practices
Visualizing how software structures can impact product development is made easier by establishing a set of best practices. There are many different approaches to this task, but the following areas are a good starting point.
An efficient and consistent software structure can mean shorter development times. Applying the same structural blueprint repeatedly can reduce development time, minimize bugs, and improve stability.
Scalability and elasticity
Every software client is different. As a consequence, having a software solution that is scalable and elastic will attract the biggest range of clients. Flexible architecture also enables greater adaptability to technological advances, which will inevitably occur.
Relationship with costs
It is vital to understand the cost of the software’s architecture within the operating expenses. Certain costs are likely to be fixed, but it needs to be established whether architecture optimization can reduce additional third-party subscription costs.
It is a sad fact of life that disaster recovery scenarios are all too common in business. To prepare for this, questions need to be asked about data backups and support for fixing bugs or cyber-attacks, for example. A stable and reliable environment is essential for long-term software sustainability.
Overview of code security
Cyber-attacks are an increasing threat to modern businesses. Former Cisco CEO John Chambers once said, “There are two types of companies: those that have been hacked and those who don’t yet know they have been hacked.”
The most common cyber-attacks can generally be categorized as follows:
- Malware—malicious software that blocks access to the system, installs harmful software, or gains access to information.
- Phishing—fraudulent communications that aims to steal sensitive (often financial) data or install malware.
- Man-in-the-middle attack—attackers that insert themselves into a transaction between two other people to steal information.
- Denial-of-service attack—servers and networks being flooded with traffic so that legitimate requests cannot be fulfilled.
- SQL injection—malicious SQL code that is inserted into a server and forces it to reveal sensitive information.
- Zero-day exploit—this occurs after a network vulnerability is announced but before a patch or solution is implemented.
Attacks such as these will often have sizable financial, legal, and reputational implications for a business. This highlights the importance of ensuring that your software is equipped with secure code to prevent security and data breaches.
Software security depends on aspects such as:
- Obsolete code—hackers look for vulnerabilities in out-of-date code and exploit this to gain access to valuable information.
- Unattended code—code that is no longer required must be properly disposed of from hardware, software, and the web to prevent hackers from accessing it. Simply deleting information or removing a webpage is often not enough.
- Penetration tests—these tests look for weak spots in software that might be vulnerable to attack.
It is clear that inadequate code security presents significant business risks. But what can be done to improve it?
How to improve code security
Code security requires regular, proactive review and hard-wired vigilance to prevent cyber threats. Here are several suggestions for improving code security.
Designate a security officer
Designating a security officer to oversee security issues during the software development process is likely to be a wise investment. A security officer should be aware of common vulnerabilities and trending threats and interested in protecting software from malignant attacks.
Provide software security information
Security information, including system requirements for developing the code, should be issued to team members who are working on software. This information should be easily accessible and frequently updated to reflect any changing security requirements.
Train employees on security practices
As with any critical incident, adequate security training and practice for those who will be dealing with a breach is vital. It will not be much use to have a security procedure in place if employees have not been trained in how to apply it or if it has not been fully tested.
Hold team members accountable
Holding team members accountable for the security of the information in their possession can be an effective way to prevent them from becoming unwitting accomplices or vindictive insiders.
Well-developed software architecture can help your firm make the most out of existing work, create standardized processes, and strengthen code security.
To evaluate your system’s architecture and security, the following questions need to be asked:
- Is the structure scalable to grow with future software offerings?
- How can the current software architecture be optimized to minimize additional work?
- Can the software be connected with other applications? Is it cloud-ready?
- How secure is the code?
- How can code security be improved?
- Where could there be any unattended code?
Answering these questions and taking any actions that are required will ensure that your software architecture is not only fit for purpose but also fit for the future.
About the authorJuan Pablo González
Working as Foreworth’s Chief Technical Officer, Juan Pablo (JP) manages the company’s technical strategy. With nearly 20 years of experience in software development, he ensures the development process at Foreworth is meeting its keys objectives and technical requirements.More info →