In recent years, there has not been a single central payment system that has not announced the use or implementation of blockchain in its services. Western Union, Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, SWIFT, and significant commercial and central banks, are all showing great interest in the new distributive registry technology and moving from theory and testing to the practice of blockchain transfers.
Blockchain in payment systems
Blockchain is a new way to create databases. The peculiarity is that, besides storing information about the transaction itself, the database is a source of “truth.” Where “true” means the belief that the information on the network is accurate and not included in the block without the consent of other users.
This is achieved by recording information on the blockchain in relative “layers” (blocks) and storing them all in the system. Old “layers” cannot be deleted or changed, and the database itself is not stored on the server but in the form of multiple copies on network participant devices (nodes). In this case, information entered in one instance is automatically duplicated in all other models.
Blockchain’s defining feature of the distributive system of financial operations (transactions) is storing the information array not on one server but on many computers connected to a single network. The moment when a new user joins the ecosystem, the blockchain automatically expands its sphere of influence. As a result, the virtual architecture is complicated to hack – almost impossible. On the other hand, various financial and credit institutions are constantly suffering from permanent attacks. Moreover, quite often, hackers achieve their goals. This is precisely the main problem of the banking sector. The use of blockchain in the financial industry can eliminate this problem.
As a continuous chain of information blocks consisting of transaction data, the blockchain conducts all financial transactions anonymously, excluding a series of intermediaries in the fund’s traffic. The Bitcoin electronic payment system and many other tokens successfully operate based on this technology.
Customer identification and KYC
Confirming the client’s identity is one of the main functions of any financial and credit institution. In world practice, this process is called “know your customer” (KYC), which in the Russian version sounds like “know your customer.” This event is often hampered by the presence of disparate information, which, moreover, is stored in organizations separate from the bank. In addition to this unfortunate fact for bankers, providing the necessary data is unrealistic and cannot satisfy all interested parties. The use of the blockchain will allow the procedure described above to be significantly simplified; along with this characteristic, the identification process will acquire some plasticity.
In other words, all the necessary information about each client is in the general list in a unified form. Each bank has access to the register since all financial institutions store it simultaneously. However, making any adjustments to the list will not be possible. Such a policy will make life easier for both banks and customers:
- Decisions on loans will be made almost at lightning speed.
- The full range of banking services will be provided no less quickly.
- Prompt processing of all financial transactions will become possible.
There is a real possibility of exempting the client from verifying his identity. A person entered a financial institution using blockchain technology, and bank employees already know all the ins and outs of it – that is, a credit history.
Payments and international transfers
The lion’s share of transactions of any commercial, financial institution falls on internal and external transfers of money amounts of clients of a particular bank. The integration of innovative technology will make it possible to modify the parameters and quality of banking services, particularly transfers, which, after the introduction of the blockchain, will a priori reach a new level.
The design of bank transfers is based on the addresses of at least two financial institutions, and often with the addition of intermediaries – intermediate accounts. To put it mildly, all this slows down the financial transaction and significantly raises its cost. Foreign banks have been trying to solve this problem for quite a long time. As a result, the “painful” search revealed a compelling product – transactions based on B2B (business to business).
This technology, based on the identical blockchain, greatly accelerates cross-border transfers. Clones of this technology are being actively introduced into global payment systems and banks. In the well-known structure of international transfers, SWIFT is actively testing its prototype, which will significantly increase the transparency of transactions and allow you to track financial transactions at various stages. No less well-known company VISA stated that it is conducting similar developments. The project being developed by the company is referred to as “Visa B2B Connect”. Ultimately, the mechanism for transferring funds between users of this structure will receive the characteristic “instantly.”
Blockchain in mortgage lending
The mortgage lending market is a vivid example of how blockchain can be used in the banking sector. Financial institutions can tokenize assets (securities), and the bank will be able to lend to many borrowers. Then, consolidate all loans into one security – for example, mortgage-backed securities (MSB). Subsequently, it can be sold through over-the-counter platforms. However, the value models of the secondary market for MBS are currently overwhelmingly weak due to a lack of transparency. The integration of blockchain technology will radically change the sluggish situation.
For example, a bank fixes all loans of this type in the blockchain structure, dividing the entire flow of funds into smart (intelligent) contracts and creating MBS checked online. Let’s assume that the verifiers can see how the initial payments were made in clever agreements and how the subsequent payments are made. Such an approach would significantly reduce the time it takes to assess credit risks based on delinquent contributions and underlie the phenomenon of mortgages.
Mortgage installments could also be posted through innovative technology and recorded online and fully automatically. It would also reduce the time for evaluating and marketing the PBS. In addition, thanks to blockchain technology, securities can be sold in any corner of the planet where there is the Internet.
Cryptocurrency and commercial financial institutions
While talking about the blockchain, you still, albeit unwittingly, touch on the topic of cyber money. In addition, virtual currency is closely related to both blockchain technology and banking structure. The appearance of the Bitcoin EPS (electronic payment system) with an internal BTC coin, the issue of which is not controlled by any state institution, forced financial specialists to recall the “prehistoric” times when any private bank could issue its currency. An obvious question arises in specific layers since this fact took place in the history of civilization, why not revive this practice again.
Advantages of blockchain for payments
The financial blockchain covers several security issues. First, it eliminates the possibility of hackers attacking the database and stealing information to demand ransoms from banks or take money from their users. Because the data is distributed across multiple nodes, there is no specific server or another place to attack.
Encryption technology also makes it easier to identify users and detect hackers.
The blockchain uses cryptographic encryption protocols, so the data in many distributed ledgers is securely protected. For example, blockchain messengers often use end-to-end encryption: only the addressee and the sender can read the message. Also, “blockchains” do not have a single server that can be hacked and get all the data.
Most blockchains allow anonymous registration. For example, online bitcoin wallets are not tied to a passport, phone number, or owner’s name. This excludes the possibility that the user’s identity will be established and his data and financial transactions will be made public.
Transactions and other banking activities today require much time to manage, approve, and register; some actions are still performed manually. Fintech blockchain quickly solves this problem by providing instant authentication and verification, which helps to streamline processes and reduce paperwork.
The ability to automate processes and quickly process transactions allows you to reduce costs and staff. Blockchain makes it possible to eliminate complex workflow because any operation can be traced. The technology guarantees the data’s immutability, and the human factor is excluded. There are already projects on the blockchain in the field of issuing loans, customer identification, and corporate financing.
The transfer of data within the blockchain is instantaneous. Therefore, it gained popularity in finance: cryptocurrencies within one ecosystem can be transferred to any of its users in a second. Thus, the blockchain finds severe applications where information transfer speed and reliability are essential.
Information about each transaction is visible and quickly tracked if verification is needed. Blockchain banking leaves no room for money laundering, fraud, and other fake transactions.
Blockchain-based intelligent contracts perform some actions (such as transferring money) after certain conditions are met. This significantly reduces bureaucracy, provides trust between partners, speeds up processes, and reduces the need for third-party intermediaries.
Blockchain information is distributed throughout the network. There are no “master” and “secondary” computers in the ecosystem, which is the blockchain system’s key advantage. It cannot be harmed by disabling several devices. The blockchain will cease to exist only if all computers supporting it are disconnected from the network. Since there is no “master” computer, gaining control of the system is complex. Therefore, large blockchains are independent: they are not controlled by the state, banks, or even development companies.
Data volume and storage
Powerful servers are not needed to create and maintain a blockchain; it is enough to make a network of ordinary computers. At the same time, the data will not suffer from the actions of intruders: there is no central storage of information that can be disabled. The data in the blockchain cannot be corrected or changed, so any information added to it will be stored in its original form. But the amount of storage occupied by the blockchain is more significant than that of a standard database. Containing similar information, so as the ecosystem grows, the blockchain should attract new participants.
Blockchain disadvantages and limitations for payments
As it turned out, blockchain is not a universal technology for banks. R3, from the very beginning, emphasized the need to process vast amounts of data without the intervention of third parties while maintaining process transparency. Therefore, in 2017, the consortium abandoned blockchain development. The developers said that the technology is not intended for processing large data sets, is poorly compatible with banking standards, and its implementation does not fit into their vision.
Technically, the blockchain requires a considerable amount of data storage capacity because each node must store a copy of the state of the entire chain. And according to forecasts, more than 20 billion devices will be connected worldwide by 2022: for the blockchain, this is an incredible amount of data.
Blockchain has problems with regulators, as well as scalability and security. Although it is tough to hack the blockchain network (over the ten years of the existence of bitcoin, no one has succeeded), in small networks, there is the possibility of a “51% attack”.
In addition, there have been significant advances in quantum computing in recent years. It is possible that over time, the most powerful quantum computers can crack the codes used to confirm transactions. The solution could be to upgrade the protocols to new ones resistant to quantum computing.
So far, everything is moving towards official permission to use the blockchain and cryptocurrencies, but only with the maximum degree of control from the authorities – customer identification and anti-money laundering. Over time, banks will probably expand their horizons and offer deposits in cryptocurrencies and other services.
In the coming years, public and private blockchain networks implemented within a company or group of companies will likely develop emerging business models based on the interaction between private and public blockchains.
Introduction – what is a web design, and why is it needed?
Web design is one of the stages of website development. Sites are created for e-commerce (online stores), services, or informational blogs. Still, everything related to the appearance and visual component of the area falls under the concept of “web design.”
Creating a ready-made site layout involves working on configuration and visualization. The structure is the arrangement of various design elements on the network (pictures, buttons, texts, forms, etc.), and visualization is the detailed study of the system with the addition of colors. Professionals working in the field of web design are called web designers.
Modern Web design has long gone beyond the usual aesthetics and visual beauty. The area of responsibility of this area also includes the convenience and functionality of sites. This is not a whim of designers but the current market trends. Users are focused on user-friendly interfaces, so web designers must adapt to these requests and create aesthetically pleasing sites with a clear and thoughtful structure.
In addition to web design, there is another direction called UX UI design or interface design. Web Design focuses exclusively on websites and web applications, while UX UI design focuses on all interfaces in general (websites, web and mobile applications, services, etc.). Those who are engaged in UX UI design are called interface designers.
Twelve CSS tricks for web design
CSS (which stands for Cascading Style Sheets) is a language used to describe how HTML elements should be displayed. It is one of the first technologies explored by future front-end and web developers. Knowing the basics of CSS is just a must-have.
And although it seems that CSS is only needed to describe the colors of elements, their positioning, and the like, it can also be used to create animations that “animate” our applications and sites. Few of us have probably paid enough attention to CSS and studied this language intensely. Therefore, some practical advice on using CSS will be helpful to many. In our article, we have collected 12 such valuable tricks.
Vertical alignment with flex
The Flexible Box Layout Model (or just Flexbox) has gained much popularity since its inception. And this is not surprising because this approach dramatically facilitates the positioning and alignment of elements. Applying flex (the flexbox property) made vertical alignment quick and easy.
Blend Modes (Blends)
You can do many cool things with CSS, like applying layer blend modes. There are two properties for using blend modes: mix-blend-mode (defines the blending of elements that are next to each other) and background-blend-mode (depicts the blending of background images).
Parallax is a prevalent thing in modern web design. The effect is based on the fact that the scrolling speed of the background image is different from the scrolling speed of the content.
Shape outside (giving the element a non-rectangular shape)
Another great feature that is available in CSS but little used is the shape-outside property.
Trimming a string
Cropping an image with clip-path
Sometimes a designer gets too creative, and you must find ways to fit the image into a given geometric shape, such as a triangle. To do this, you can use the clip-path property.
Full height and width
If we want our app or site to fit the viewport size, the vh and vw units come to the rescue. Vh means 100% viewport height, and vw means 100% viewport width.
If you work with images, you can achieve exciting effects. CSS allows for a wide range of filters so developers can work with graphics without resorting to Photoshop.
Animations on the site grab the user’s attention, which is why they are so often used in web design.
Another kind of animation that can be done with CSS is rotation—this is a great way to spice up a loader element, logo, or gallery image.
If you have ever done graphic design, you should know how valuable masks can be. But they can be used in a graphical editor and in CSS.
Zoom on hover
When creating image galleries, highlighting the images that the cursor is hovering over often becomes necessary. Great idea to add a zoom effect.
Ten key web design trends for 2022
Applying a dark interface to page design
The process of popularizing this design began in 2019. At first, dark themes were used only in some applications. Today, developers use this look for websites as well. The leading brands that actively offer dark themes are Apple, Facebook, Telegram, YouTube, and many others.
The use of the dark theme is controlled manually using the settings. Some options allow you to set a timer for switching. In this case, the user is no longer involved in this.
Dark mode encourages users to quickly scan the site’s content and focus on critical aspects of the page: charts, graphs, and stocks. The dark shade of the background with the right color palette and typography of the rest of the elements evokes an emotional response, pushing users to target actions and increasing audience loyalty.
Even though this design option is no longer so new, it will still be used in 2022.
Use unique fonts to highlight headings or essential information
Fonts have always been used not only to convey text but also to create a beautiful appearance. Web designers and graphic designers create unique options they will actively use in the future. With their help, you can get several advantages:
- creating a unique look;
- the ability to highlight important information;
- creating an aesthetically pleasing design;
- attracting the user’s attention to the content.
Nowadays are popular options with serifs or curls, making the design more authentic. Often used for highlighting is lettering. It consists of different heights of letters in one word, as well as the presence of additional elements for decoration.
Another point that is associated with fonts is adaptation. The site should adapt its size by adjusting it to the screen size of the device.
Microsoft will add new default fonts to Microsoft Office in 2022. The company considers the Calibri font obsolete and ordered five original fonts from third-party designers, which users can test on social networks within six months.
The following fonts will be added to Microsoft Office 365 office applications:
Representatives of the company believe that the type of font used when writing resumes and emails for newsletters affects the user’s first impression. Calibri and the new fonts will be available in the office programs menu.
Memphis style design
One of the defining aesthetics of the 1980s, Memphis design is sometimes considered a flashy style that combines many chaotic patterns and shapes. At one time, Memphis-inspired design, at once more colorful, accessible, and adventurous than design had ever been, was a rejection of minimalism and the supposedly sophisticated taste of art historians.
At a time when minimalist approaches have resulted in a plethora of interfaces that, while intuitive, are overwhelmingly the same, this stance sounds particularly sincere. Therefore, it is not surprising that many web designers turn to the Memphis style to get an explosion of bright personalities that no visitor will forget.
Application of animated images in 3D
Sometimes, things are easier to show than to attach an extensive product description in text format. In this case, 3D animation can be successfully applied. In 2022, 3D effects will become more voluminous, with a desire for futuristic elements.
3D animation will not leave anyone indifferent due to its breathtaking realism. Designing in this format mimics depth’s effect in images, illustrations, and typography. Next year, 3D images will be combined with photos and 2D designs to create realistic drawings. Users will be able to explore objects from all angles.
Web design loves to create a sense of magic – or at least the illusion that content is neatly organized by an invisible hand floating freely in the digital space. The reality, of course, is that websites are built on a strict grid and contain code. This is the reality that designers strive to show in 2022, revealing the essence of layouts with simple borders and frames.
A visible grid has the apparent advantage of distinguishing one section from another. This makes the page easier to browse, allowing more content to be displayed without making the page feel crowded. These simple borders give sites a subtle retro vibe that pairs well with other recurring circa-nineties trends.
Using flaws as unique features
Imperfections no longer look unattractive. On the contrary, they are actively used to draw the user’s attention to one or another component of the page. Beautifully complemented by asymmetry or strikethrough, the image will create an enticing headline or make the overall design more authentic.
It will look good on various sites. For example:
- online magazines or newspapers;
- websites selling clothes and cosmetics;
- information pages on interior decor;
- beauty or fashion industry blogs.
The design will use such a unique technique as an uncentered balance. He will be able to revive the target audience, focus their attention on the site’s most essential elements, and facilitate the perception of visual information. Asymmetry will allow you to use the free space of the site more efficiently and profitably and separate the navigation menu from the rest of the content. The asymmetric design will help express the main message and emotions of the web resource and create a sense of dynamism. This technique is perfect for creating advertising sites where a critical component is an emotional motive.
Thanks to this, sites will be able to attract a large number of visitors since the unusual always attracts attention and creates directed consumer interest. Recognition of a voice command is carried out using voice verification.
Over the years, we’ve seen websites take animation displays to technologically innovative heights. While they have been more commonly used in the first screen and page transitions in the past, we expect more designers to turn to large-scale animation interactions in 2022.
These interactions go beyond scrolling (which can be relatively passive) to encourage more conscious interaction with the page, such as clicking, swiping, and dragging.
The key to this trend is to create a bit of a mystery—for example, the tiny black cube following the cursor on LEQB or the missing navigation on Chiara Luzzana—and the visitor is encouraged to use some form of interaction to find out how the page works. This creates a new experience that makes site users feel like explorers actively clicking on the page to uncover its secrets.
Applying the most minimalistic web design options
Minimalism in the site design implies a large area of free space without unnecessary elements. With the help of well-placed accents, you can control the user’s gaze and lead him to targeted actions. The main goal of the minimalist style in design is to achieve a combination of functionality, convenience, aesthetics, and atmosphere.
Since users spend a lot of time online, getting information quickly and easily becomes essential. Various decorative elements become distracting and annoying factors that cause a decrease in visitor traffic. To avoid this, in 2022, web designers should focus on minimalistic page models.
This is also because smartphones, tablets, or smart watches cannot display the full range of design solutions. This leads to the emergence of an adaptive approach in web design.
Working with layering, shadows, or floating details
Elements with a floating base complemented by soft shades create an illusory 3D image. This method allows you to add more profound and exciting points. They are designed to interest the client and draw his attention to important issues.
Compared to classic 3D, this hike is more simplified. It allows the user to feel the illusion of vast space and get positive emotions from working with the service. It also provides an opportunity to increase the level of interest in the brand and make the product more recognizable.
This tool is still a suitable replacement for pure 3D effects and 3D animations. In 2022, it can be found in the first half of the year, but then there is a very high chance of it being completely excluded from the lists of trends.
Using gradients and highlights
The fashion for color gradients and schemes was pioneered by Instagram back in 2016. Their logo has become iconic and has made a breakthrough in the web design industry. Since then, this approach has not lost its relevance, which allows designers to continue working with color transitions.
The difference in application mainly concerns the color scheme. Thanks to the use of the most minimalistic trends, color gradients appear before us in two formats:
- the most opposite colors on the color circle.
The first method is distinguished by using one color with a smooth transition to white or the lightest shade. This method is suitable for highlighting headings or essential blocks. The second option allows you to divide the page into two fields containing opposite or compared objects.
Also, acid or very bright colors have ceased to be used for this type of design. Most often, preference is given to pastel colors or bright but blurry shades.
Web design is mainly aimed at increasing the functionality of working with sites. This is due to the trends of the time, in which visitors do not have the opportunity to spend hours at a computer or gadget to understand the interface of a particular portal.
Technology development allows applying more sophisticated tools and options for creating sites. Maintaining traffic, ranking, and page performance are essential to keep up with the times.
In 2022, web designers will be more careful in design, as all trends are reduced to the maximum functionality. By following and using web design trends in 2022 to promote and create a site, they will be able to create high-quality projects with flexible design and reliable management.
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The supply chain in logistics only seems simple at first glance: what could be easier than getting something from point A to point B? There may be dozens of other points between A and B, each connected to a new company, people, and documents. The complexity of today’s supply chains leads to delays, losses, damages, and opportunities for fraud. Not surprisingly, this industry needs a technological transformation involving intrintroducingive digital technologies like blockchain.
What is blockchain technology in supply chain management?
Blockchain technology is mainly related to cryptocurrencies. However, its principles can be helpful in various industries, including supply chain management.
In general, a blockchain is a decentralized network (chain) of blocks that allows transactions to be made, recorded, and secured between multiple parties involved without the need for an intermediary such as a bank. Each new block is linked to the previous one, so it is impossible to change one block without changing the entire chain without the approval of everyone in the network. Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, litecoin, and Ethereum are the main currency for transactions.
In supply chain management, instead of crypto coins, supply chain blockchains “tokenize” data associated with transactions, creating unique and easily verifiable tokens for purchase orders, inventory, invoices, etc.
Each participant in the chain has a unique digital signature. It is used to “sign” the tokens that move along the chain. Each transaction step is captured in transfers between participants, providing a built-in checkmark that cannot be falsified as everyone gets their copy of the chain.
What are the benefits of blockchain in supply chain management?
The use of blockchain in supply chain management can increase the security, transparency, and reliability of the supply chain and can also help automate processes while reducing costs and risks.
This allows members to record prices, dates, locations, quality, certifications, and other important information for more productive supply chain management. Blockchain technology can improve supply chain traceability, reduce counterfeit and gray market losses, increase transparency and efficiency, and improve overall supply chain management.
Thus, blockchain in supply chain management can provide traceability, transparency, and traceability benefits.
Security and transparency
Since the information in each blockchain node cannot be lost, changed, or erased if someone wants it, it becomes a reliable way to store data. Unlike storing data on servers, a blockchain-enabled database is hack-resistant because all information is open and stored on multiple machines.
All shippers and carriers, as well as other participants in the supply chain, see the details of each shipment: its route, speed, documents, and any changes made (when, why, and by whom). This increases trust between different companies that have to work together within the same supply chain. Combining blockchain with IoT technologies also eliminates or at least reduces the possibility of smuggling prohibited or dangerous items. Here’s how it works: A truck or ship’s intelligent sensors can weigh and analyze the cargo and send the information to the network.
Reliability of information
The transparency blockchain brings to the global trading industry goes beyond documentation and administrative procedures. It also displays information about the products and their origins to ensure dealers and customers that the products are not spoofed on the way to the shelves or made using illegal child labor. A blockchain-based system can confirm the exclusivity and natural origin of luxury items most likely to be counterfeited.
Proof of proper production becomes even more critical regarding medicines or food. Blockchain makes it easy to determine who is responsible for tainted food or a disease outbreak. Imagine a large retailer importing eggs and chicken from multiple households. Suddenly, consumers report that they contracted salmonellosis after eating eggs purchased from this vendor. Instead of destroying the entire stock, you can find the exact suppliers of contaminated products and eliminate their last addition.
Another way the logistics industry can take advantage of the easily accessible, trusted information provided by blockchain technology is by seeing the history of a vehicle and its performance. For example, when a company needs to buy used trucks, it can get a record of all breakdowns, repairs, and accidents on a particular vehicle.
Smart contracts are one of the most revolutionary effects blockchain has on the supply chain industry. These are sets of actions that are performed after specific requirements are met. For example, a program could send money to a carrier as soon as the shipment arrives at its final destination. Such a solution helps eliminate the need for third-party companies such as banks to speed up and automate processes that typically take longer and can cause human error.
Long and tedious attempts to smooth out conflict situations are a severe problem for most players in the logistics industry. Many companies spend millions of dollars to resolve payment conflicts instead of investing in business development. In most disputes, companies need outside help to reach an agreement. With blockchain, supply chain management can save time and resources by facilitating dispute resolution.
The introduction of blockchain into the supply chain also makes it easy to find suitable routes and empty spaces in vehicles. According to the American Institute for Transportation Research, 20% of trucks are open for all distances. This means a loss in industry revenue, which can be avoided through better communication and automation of obtaining information about truck loading.
Examples of using blockchain in other industries
Finance and international payments
The use of blockchain technology for cross-border transfers is one of the most illustrative examples of the application of this technology. The active development, implementation, and successful use of payment networks and protocols such as Stellar, Ripple, and IBM Blockchain World Wire shows how well blockchain fits into the financial industry.
Blockchain platforms allow international transactions to be carried out almost instantly and with low commissions due to the absence of the need for participants to contact any intermediaries, such as banks.
Banks and other financial institutions can also increase the efficiency of their internal work by moving to decentralized systems within the bank between its various divisions and independent counterparties, as this will help speed up payments and increase trust between participants. In addition, blockchain systems of this kind can be used not only for external or internal transactions but also as part of a reliable workflow.
Billing and payment automation
Blockchain-based solutions allow the implementation of intelligent contacts with various scenarios that will enable you to automate the issuance and payment of invoices when specified conditions occur.
IBM has developed a web. The trade blockchain platform allows you to:
- create trade orders
- manage all stages of the trading process,
- establish the terms of calculation and payment,
- manage banking products.
The platform is fully automated, which significantly speeds up the entire process from order to payment.
Blockchain technology has opened up a vast niche of cryptocurrency exchanges – digital platforms for buying, selling, exchanging, and storing cryptocurrencies. Compared to traditional businesses, crypto exchanges feature lower entry levels, high transaction processing speed, and relatively low fees. The most popular crypto exchanges include Binance, Coinbase, OKEx, Huobi, and others.
Blockchain technology also made it possible to develop investment platforms that allow users to invest in cryptocurrencies and various tokenized assets. Using cryptocurrencies or bank cards, users can replenish the wallet of the RoobeeWallet platform and purchase tokenized assets, which will also be stored on this wallet.
Blockchain features such as ensuring the immutability of information, making it possible to trace data changes and their safety, make this technology suitable for storing, managing, and exchanging patients’ electronic medical records.
The Advice platform uses the Stellar protocol and artificial intelligence to collect patient medical data and analyze it to determine the most effective service delivery methods.
Also, blockchain solutions can be used to store and analyze research data. IBM is working on the MiPasa project, which helps fight the COVID-19 coronavirus. The answer is designed to collect medical, scientific, and research data from various sources, synchronize them and identify shortcomings and differences to create a single knowledge base for all participants.
The production and distribution of counterfeit medicines are one of the biggest public health problems. Introducing blockchain solutions in the supply chain will significantly reduce the risks associated with drug fraud.
Chinese courier company SF Express was using blockchain technology to track the delivery of medicines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their solution was able to track, verify and log every transaction in the logistics process, as well as determine the priority level of each order. By combining blockchain technology and Big Data, the company created a traceable logistics network that could prioritize the delivery of goods and minimize the risk of fraud or illegal products entering the supply chain.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Intelligent medical devices are constantly helping doctors by collecting data on the condition of patients in real-time: information about the heartbeat, oxygen levels, body temperature, and other indicators. They are used in sports medicine, the study of internal organs, remote monitoring of patients’ health, etc. Storing such critical data in the blockchain will increase their safety and reliability. Blockchain solutions will also create a single transparent database that participants can access.
The Tackle device helps track women’s fertility. Data about the patient’s condition during the examination is transmitted to the mobile application and recorded on the blockchain provided by Ubirch, which specializes in blockchain solutions for IoT devices.
Blockchain technology has great potential to improve the efficiency of electricity service providers.
LO3 Energy has developed the Pando platform, a marketplace for energy suppliers. The solution allows users flexible trading: suppliers can independently form a marketplace, allowing consumers to purchase energy from local renewable sources. The platform will enable suppliers to analyze the market through reports on sales, buyers, trade dynamics, and others.
Consumers can access an application that allows them to track the statistics of their energy consumption.
Encouragement of energy saving
Blockchain technology and tokens created on its basis help the development of various loyalty programs, the purpose of which may be to increase energy savings.
One such program is the EnergiMine project. The company trades energy on behalf of large European enterprises and uses blockchain to decentralize energy markets and create the EnergiToken platform that encourages energy conservation. Through various energy-saving actions, such as choosing greener transportation or purchasing energy-saving devices, users can earn rewards in ETK tokens, which they can then use to, for example, pay electricity bills, buy energy-efficient appliances, or pay for public transport.
Thanks to the blockchain, platforms are being created that predict the outcome of sports competitions and any event: natural disasters, state elections, and auctions. The participant makes a bet and purchases intra-platform coins or shares. He gets a win or a loss, depending on the event’s outcome.
The leader in forecasting is Gnosis. It is a decentralized and open-source prediction platform. The site is distinguished by honesty and transparency, fraudulent actions with manipulating results, decreased bet amounts, and other excluded problems.
Another critical project is Augur. This is a well-known Ethereum-based platform with its REP token. Each visitor to the forum can create a forecasting market (predictions) and not only take part in it but also profit from other users.
Distribution of multimedia files
The legal distribution of multimedia files, the fight against piracy, and copyright protection are closely related. Blockchain system allows you to solve problems:
- Increasing payment methods for listening to or viewing media files.
- Reducing the risk of illegally downloading and copying documents.
- Transparent system for recording data about the target audience.
The PledgeMusic platform introduced a project to eliminate the problem of copyright infringement, payment, and audience verification. Authors upload their files, and metadata is stored in the block—users wishing to download content view the materials through the registry. Payment for listening or viewing is carried out in real-time.
iTunes is a blockchain startup that offers a platform for sharing data between users. The problem of piracy is excluded: platform participants exchange works of their composition. Payment is made in bitcoins.
The use and value of any technological innovation in any industry will grow in line with the growth in the number of companies using it. The more players in the logistics market implement blockchain technology, the closer the industry becomes to a transparent and reliable ecosystem. Blockchain technology has several characteristics that can be useful for almost any industry.
A bit of history
Over the past few years, there has been active talk about the fact that the modern form of the Internet is outdated. There are more and more rumors about the third generation of the Internet. Increasingly, you can hear that the era of Web 3.0 is coming. What is it, and what changes does Web 3.0 bring with it? Let’s try to cover it in this article.
To understand what Web 3.0 is, it seems logical to start by talking about what Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 are.
The period from 1991 to 2004 is called the period of the Internet Web 1.0. But this name appeared only after the concept of Web 2.0 arose, and before that, the Internet was called the World Wide Web.
What was Web 1.0
It is also called the Read Only Internet (“read-only”).
In the 1990s, most of the Internet was “read-only.” The average consumer could search and read information using a browser such as Netscape or Internet Explorer.
This early commercial Internet, or Web 1.0, was to present content and products to consumers, as in a catalog.
It was a collection of static sites with much information and no interactive content. The site owners created, stored, and published the report.
Users read news and articles; in a word, they consume the information offered but cannot interact with it and create it. There was no authorization, no logins, and no editing options.
The advent of Web 2.0 – social network (“read-write”)
In September 2005, Tim O’Reilly’s article “What is Web 2.0” was published, where for the first time, there was talk of a new Internet Web 2.0 as opposed to the old Web 1.0.
The second iteration of the Internet, or Web 2.0, gave birth to the ability to read, write, and publish. Blogger and LiveJournal ushered in an era of platforms where consumers could upload content (including video and audio), sell products, and build communities. Social networking sites soon followed, with Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube becoming the dominant players. Thus, Web 2.0 brought us more interesting interfaces and opened the way to interactive content.
A significant difference between Web 2.0 and its predecessor, Web 1.0, was the emergence of social networks, thanks to which web admins, site developers, and users could create content. It became possible to create, and publish posts, photos, and videos, write comments, quickly find an audience, make valuable contacts, and much more.
Web 2.0 problems
However, in addition to the benefits that users received with the advent of Web 2.0, the problems and disadvantages of such an Internet gradually began to appear:
- All content that a user publishes on a particular server (posts, photos, videos, etc.) ultimately belongs to the author and the server’s owner. The owner can do anything with the content, including removing or blocking it at any time, because it does not comply or no longer complies with the company’s editorial policy.
- In exchange for the opportunity to use Web 2.0 resources, users began to create accounts on websites, leaving their data there. This data began to be massively accumulated on the servers of various IT giants.
Users’ personal information:
- Phone numbers
- Bank card numbers
- Search queries
Everything that users say or do ends up in the hands of companies that make a lot of money selling this data to various advertising agencies.
- Various hacks
- Transfer of confidential information to third parties
- Use of user data for personal gain
Many people believe that the use of various services is free. Owner companies say this without hesitation.
But this is not true. Users pay not with their usual currency but with their data and the content they publish.
Consolidated market share in this era was distributed among a few large tech giants who now wield tremendous power.
At some point, it became apparent that Web 2.0 needed an upgrade and that the Internet required to become more private and human.
And so, in 2014, Gavin Wood, co-founder of Ethereum and founder of Polkadot, in his article, outlined Web 3.0 as a decentralized network that will be built based on the blockchain.
Indeed, the fundamental difference between Web 3.0 and Web 2.0 is decentralization at all levels.
Web 3.0 – Semantic Web (Read-Write-Execute)
Since 2020, it has become apparent that the “Web 3.0” locomotive has begun its movement and cannot be stopped.
Web 3.0 tools such as:
- Blockchain technologies. Blockchain is a ledger of decentralized data that can be exchanged securely. Blockchain technology allows a collective group of selected participants to exchange data.
- Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are tokens stored on a blockchain with a cryptographic hash that makes the token unique.
- Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is a new Web 3.0 use case that uses a decentralized blockchain as the basis for providing financial services outside of the traditional centralized banking infrastructure.
- Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are Web 3.0 applications creating a new world of currency that seeks to be separate from the historical world of fiat currency.
- Decentralized application. Decentralized applications (dApps) are blockchain-based applications that use smart contracts to provide services in a programmatic manner registered in an immutable ledger.
- Cross-chain bridges. There are many blockchains in the Web 3.0 world, and providing some degree of interoperability between them is the realm of blockchain bridging.
- DAOs have the potential to become Web 3.0 service providers, providing some structure and governance in a decentralized approach.
- The Metaverse (derived from the Greek prefix μετά- – “between, after, though,” and the word “universe”) is a permanent virtual space in which people can interact with each other and with digital objects through their avatars, using virtual technologies—reality (Wikipedia).
There are already:
- Decentralized organizations
- Decentralized applications
- Decentralized services that store and process data
In 2021, over a hundred million dollars were invested by various companies in Web 3.0. More than 34 thousand developers have joined his projects.
At the heart of the development of the new Internet are:
- Artificial intelligence
- Machine learning
- Semantic Web
The ultimate goal of the Semantic Web is to create more knowledgeable, connected, and accessible websites.
Intelligent home systems using cellular networks and the Internet of Things (IoT) are examples of how Web 3.0 is currently driving innovation. When creating Web 3.0, artificial intelligence (AI), the semantic web, and universal characteristics will be considered.
Web 3.0 is still being developed and defined, so no canonical, generally accepted definition exists. However, Web 3.0 will emphasize decentralized applications and extensively use blockchain-based technologies. Web 3.0 will also use machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to help empower more innovative and responsive applications.
Another aspect of the emerging definition of Web 3.0 is the semantic web concept. Among those who advocated the integration of semantic technology into the Web was the Web’s creator, Tim Berners-Lee.
It has taken over ten years to move from the original Web, Web 1.0, to Web 2.0, and it is expected to take the same amount of time, if not longer, to implement and change the Web with Web 3.0 fully.
What is next for Web 3.0?
The Internet, which no longer belongs to large corporations but is the property of users
It will be a distributed database stored on particular nodes (nodes) and the users’ devices. At the same time, everyone can own and manage nodes.
Users are the primary content owners.
No one else can block or delete any site, service, or content because a copy will be stored by thousands of users on thousands of devices.
Internet without restrictions
Users will no longer be blocked on some basis, for example, civil, when citizens of a particular country are prohibited from services of any servers. And also, with Web 3.0, each user will have the opportunity to publish absolutely any content, including introducing various innovations that are often not allowed in Web 2.0 by dominant forces due to fear of competition.
The DAO will take over the role of moderation.
Decentralized autonomous organizations do not have a governing body or board of directors. There are users with the right to vote. It is the DAO that, by voting, will decide on issues of editorial policy and determine the tariff scale, rewards, punishments, etc.
Anonymity and confidentiality
Users will have complete control over their data, which will be encrypted, and information will only be transferred with permission (in the form of a signature in the wallet, like Ethereum). IT giants will no longer be able to receive and dispose of user data uncontrollably. Thanks to the updated Identity, the user can surf the pages, download something, buy or sell something, and no one can trace his real Identity.
Few people are pleased when they go on the Internet, and various kinds of advertising begin to fall on you, as if from a cornucopia. In Web 3.0, the information will be adapted to a specific user, which means that the user will be offered only those advertisements that correspond to his interests and needs, and only after his permission. The modern Brave browser, for example, blocks website ads by default. And if the user agrees to view it, he receives BAT tokens, which can then be exchanged for real money.
Web 3.0 applications will be able to adapt to each user individually
They will work on smartphones, cars, TVs, and sensors. Web 3.0 will go far beyond the Internet and completely penetrate our natural world.
Tokenization of all data and content
All user data and content will be unique and have proven ownership. Imagine that even in blockchain games, it is the user who owns their game items on their wallets, not the creator of the game, and can move them to any other games or even sell them on any marketplace.
Web 3.0 will revolutionize the financial system, how companies work and how people interact.
This is the transfer of power into the hands of people, not banks and centralized platforms. Users will be able to transfer their assets anywhere in the world without intermediaries, and with the consent of third-party organizations, they will receive more financial freedom. If Web 2.0 earns mainly large corporations at the expense of users, then Web 3.0 provides excellent opportunities for users to make money, opening up alternatives to traditional financial services.
It is unclear whether Web 3.0 will be a separate blockchain or several blockchains and how they interact. But there are already companies dealing with this issue, for example, Polkadot and Cosmos.
In a sense, Web 3.0 is a return to its original Web, where “publishing something does not require permission from a central authority.” There is no central control node, which means there is no single point of failure and “automatic destruction”!
Web 4.0 – Mobile Internet
Augmented reality and big data will undoubtedly play a significant role in the next stage of web technology development. This is supposed to be an era in which every person will have a digital alter ego and talk more and more through new interfaces such as intelligent machines. There is also a somewhat dystopian vision of the Internet in the future, with more control over information that will affect the digital world and the reality around us.
Mobile Internet is already under development, and there is no clear understanding of what this will entail. Platform 4.0 is often referred to as the symbiotic network. The symbiotic web fantasy is the contact between humans and computers in symbiosis.
The next step is not a different but an alternative version of what we already have. We wanted to match its mobile environment. Mobile Internet connects all systems in the physical and virtual worlds in real-time.
The Web would be analogous to the human brain, implying a vast network of brilliant communications. Although there is no exact information about Web 4.0 and its technologies, it is clear that the Internet is moving towards using artificial intelligence to become an intelligent network.
The Web is a mobile world in which people, natural structures, and abstract objects coexist harmoniously, creating meaning. Weber and Rech link Web 4.0 to the theory of virtual reality, arguing that the development of this technology will enrich the physical world with digital knowledge and media content.
Web 5.0 – intellectual/emotional (symbiotic) web
In short, the Internet of Things (IoT) means that everything in your life means everything around you can talk to each other about you, in front of you, behind your back, and without care or empathy. With a focus on selling, buying, and influencing you.
It would be fun to wake up to a kitten-shaped robot, but Web 5.0 has gone beyond that.
The advent of intelligent devices that predict your needs based on your habits without including many clues portends what is to come with the smart grid. Symbiotic web programs can interpret evidence at a more complex level, both emotionally and intellectually.
This is the Internet – in full coexistence with everyday life, working without thinking and interacting seamlessly with what we do.
Using digital realities, computers can be turned into assistant robots. The Internet of Things will be able to connect all household appliances to the Internet. Thanks to the implantation of chips in the human brain, it is assumed that brilliant interaction can occur between machines and people. Web 4.0 advertising and misinformation will tell us that only you can “see it” and make it happen.
Why talk to your partner when you can think about him? People can connect to the Internet, their homes, their cars, their children, their careers, and so on, using their thoughts and feelings. There will be no need for joysticks or game consoles. Just relax and mentally immerse yourself in the video game.
We are at the beginning of the birth of something significant and extensive. Now is the time to get involved in the Web 3.0 decentralization process and understand this to transition into the Web 5.0 future smoothly.
If a company stores accounting information, customer base, employee profiles, or corporate secrets, then it is essential that these data do not fall into the wrong hands; that is, they are protected. Information security deals with data protection.
What is information security?
Information security is a variety of measures to protect information from unauthorized persons. In the pre-digital era, people locked essential documents in safes, hired security guards, and encrypted their messages on paper to protect data.
Information security protects systems from penetration and attacks. This includes not only hacking: these are DDoS attacks, resulting from which the site server can “lie down,” data leakage, and much more. There are a lot more attackers than you think. And no one wants their service to fail and the data to be available to everyone. This is what information security is for.
Companies have another reason: they are legally responsible for leaking confidential user data. So for them, security measures are also a way to avoid legal problems and loss of customer confidence.
Without information security measures, anyone could gain access to confidential information or hack into any site or system. Computer space would become virtually unusable.
What is information security responsible for?
It is responsible for three things: confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information. The concept of information security they are called the principles of information security.
- Confidentiality means that only those with the right to access the information have access. For example, only you know your email password, and only you can read your emails. Confidentiality will be violated if someone knows the password or gains access to the mailbox.
- Integrity means that the information is stored entirely and is not changed without the owner’s knowledge. For example, letters are stored in your email. If an attacker deletes some or changes the text of individual letters, then this will violate the integrity.
- Accessibility means that whoever has the right to access information can get it. For example, you can access your email at any time. If hackers attack the servers, the mail will be inaccessible, breaking the availability.
Three principles of information security
Information security is responsible for three things: availability, confidentiality, and data integrity. Now we will tell you what this means.
This means that information can be accessed by those with the right to do so. For example, a user can log into their account and see everything. The customer can go to the catalog and look at the products. An employee can access the internal database for his access level. And if an attack is made on the system and it stops working, availability sometimes drops to a complete failure.
The second principle is confidentiality. It means that the information must be protected from people who do not have the right to view it. That is, a stranger will not be able to enter the same user account. Without registration, you can not comment on something on the site; without a personal statement – you pay for the order. A person who does not work for a company cannot access its internal network and look at confidential data there. If the system is hacked, confidentiality is violated.
Integrity means that the information in question is intact, exists in its entirety, and is not changed without the knowledge of its owners. An outsider cannot edit a comment – only the author or sometimes a moderator. The information in the database changes only at the request of those with access. And your account will not receive letters written on your behalf without your knowledge. When a system is hacked, the integrity can again be violated: information can be modified, damaged, or erased.
What data is protected by the information security
Personal data is information that is associated with some people. This is the full name, phone number, residence address, email, and more. According to Russian laws, this data must be protected from unauthorized access. Therefore, companies ask permission to process personal data if you register on websites or order some services. They are required to do so. And then – to store this information so that strangers do not get access to it.
You have probably heard stories about the violation of the confidentiality of this data. For example, scammers can call bank customers, obtaining their numbers from merged databases. Here is an example of what insufficient information security can lead to.
Another category of information is those that constitute a secret: state, commercial, professional and official.
State secrets include information that is important for the country’s security and are classified as strictly as possible. A trade secret is a data critical to a company’s regular operation: if disclosed, the organization may lose money or a competitive advantage. At the same time, the company does not have the right to classify some information: the names of the owners, working conditions, etc.
Separately, there are professional and official secrets. A professional secret is, for example, a medical one: the patient’s medical history should not be disclosed to strangers or data on his condition. And also – a lawyer, a notary, and some others. And an official secret is some information that belongs to certain services, for example, tax.
All this information must be protected: its leakage or damage can cause serious problems.
Information that is known to everyone still needs to be accessible and consistent. Therefore, it should also be protected. Otherwise, anyone can change the price of goods in an online store and expose buyers to this. Or “drop” the site so that no one can enter it.
What threats does information security protect against?
Security threats are divided into two categories: internal and external.
These are threats that come from within the system. Most often, we are talking about data leakage or data damage. For example, someone bribed an employee, and he stole data that is a trade secret. The second option – an authorized user turned out to be an attacker.
Another internal threat is the risk of a stale error, resulting in confidential information being in the public domain or damaged. For example, a part of the database turned out to be in the public domain, or the user inadvertently damaged the files. This has already happened in history. And such cases mustn’t arise: the client could not disrupt the system even by accident, and the information remained protected.
This includes threats that come from outside, and they can be much more diverse. This is, for example, an attempt to hack the system through a found vulnerability: an attacker penetrates the network to steal or damage information. Or a DDoS attack, when many requests from different addresses come to a web address, the server fails, and the site stops working.
This also includes the activities of computer viruses: they can seriously harm the system’s operation. The actions of such malicious programs can be very diverse: from sending spam on behalf of a hacked address to completely blocking the system and damaging files.
Other external security threats include force majeure and accidents. For example, a data warehouse was damaged due to an accident or fire. Such risks also need to be foreseen.
Data protection trends for 2022
Widespread use of multi-factor authentication
In 2022, more companies will be using multi-factor authentication as additional protection against data leaks and malicious attacks. Such authentication involves using two or more different factors to allow users to access secure data, forcing people to use more than one device to prove their identity. An example in action is a one-time passcode sent to two or more devices.
New modifications of encryption software
In 2021, ransomware attacks, on average, cost the world more than the moderate damage from all types of data breaches, reaching $4.44 million. Ransomware is one of the most common data security threats in any organization, and this threat continues to evolve as a top information security trend in 2022. Ransomware attacks steal data from companies and organizations, inflicting severe financial blows on them and forcing them to bear the additional cost of recovering from these attacks.
New solutions for remote work
To ensure the continuity of business operations, many companies have rushed and had to relax several security measures (or even abandon some of them altogether), creating new levels of vulnerabilities and risks.
But remote work is not going anywhere after the pandemic. Organizations will need to assess their current security infrastructure for unaddressed weaknesses during the sudden move to remote work and start thinking about a long-term security strategy.
A leap in the development of artificial intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are becoming more sophisticated and powerful, and companies will continue to improve these technologies in 2022 as part of their security infrastructure. AI is increasingly being used to create automated security systems that replace humans, allowing vast amounts of risk data to be analyzed much faster. This benefits large companies dealing with enormous amounts of data and small or medium-sized companies whose security teams may be under-resourced.
Criminal networks are taking advantage of AI to automate and improve their attacks. However, organizations should take advantage of AI: those companies that suffered a data breach but fully deployed AI technology saved an average of $3.58 million in 10M 2021.
Increasing attacks on cloud services
While cloud services offer many benefits, such as scalability, efficiency, and lower costs, they are still a prime target for attackers. Organizations should assess the security implications associated with the cloud and identify any vulnerabilities in their current infrastructure. For example, misconfigured cloud infrastructure settings were the leading cause of data breaches in 2020, with an average loss of $4.41 million. In addition, cloud migration increased the average data breach cost by $267,469.
Tightening data privacy requirements
With high-profile cyber-attacks exposing millions of personal information records, concerns about data privacy, governance, and security have skyrocketed. In 2022, the importance of data privacy issues will increase dramatically, becoming not just one of the components of security but a separate area. Regulatory compliance requirements will continue to tighten in 2022, and organizations will need to focus on their data privacy efforts in the future.
Data privacy impacts virtually every aspect of an organization’s operations, from the development and implementation of corporate strategy to security compliance and human resource management. Companies should consider introducing a dedicated data protection officer, securing and destroying records, implementing role-based access control, encryption in transit, and network segmentation to enhance their data privacy.
The need for information security specialists
Finding well-trained cybersecurity professionals has been challenging in all industries, but the ongoing shift to remote work creates a greater need for such professionals. Organizations will need to seek out well-trained security professionals and experts to help improve the security of their corporate networks.
While it may take some time to adequately staff your organization with the required security experts, implementing enterprise-wide training can provide a buffer for attacks in the interim. Learning must be continuous, and companies must continuously measure its effectiveness.
Phishing attacks are even more problematic due to the widespread use of remote work, and attackers target people connecting to their corporate network from home because they are the easiest targets. To combat this, companies should review their user identity and security management strategy to ensure that only authorized users (such as their employees) have the appropriate level of access to only the resources they need at the right time. Organizations must carefully evaluate their current infrastructure to align it with this goal and implement it company-wide.
Development of insider threats
In late 2021 and 2022, companies will pay more attention to the risk of insider threats and data theft from their employees. Although it is sometimes hard to believe, the data does not lie – 95% of all data leakage incidents occurred due to human error or intentional or accidental breach of information security. Insider threats need to be taken seriously and viewed as a real risk by security leaders. Challenging questions about whether organizations have the proper tools to detect and stop them will need to be asked.
Increased need for Chief Security Officers (CSOs)
While the need for increased security across industries is well known, only 11% of companies report high confidence in managing or responding to cyber attacks. Security risk management is still evolving, so while this data isn’t surprising, these questions should become necessary for companies. One of the more common barriers is the lack of alignment between security operations and business strategy.
To combat this, CSOs need to become more vigilant in identifying risks in the context of business objectives and be able to explain why they matter to company leaders. By pinpointing these risks and articulating how they plan to mitigate them (and at what cost), CSOs can create a shared understanding of security issues among company management that can significantly strengthen information security initiatives across the board.
The problem of data security is highly relevant to both ordinary users and companies. The qualifications of cybercriminals are constantly growing. The number of privacy thefts will increase, and to minimize the risks, users and corporations must not only use existing security methods but also continuously implement advanced protection technologies.
Introduction – a little history
For the first time, outstaffing in its form began to be used in America and other developed countries in the 60s of the twentieth century. This service was most widespread only in the 90s, which happened due to the introduction of new laws relating to personnel management. Following the new requirements, American small and medium-sized businesses were forced to devote a lot of time to paperwork, which was unprofitable.
Other sources suggest that outstaffing originated in Japan. And this version also has the right to exist since objective data confirm it: in the Land of the Rising Sun, only a third of the total number of employees work in the state; the rest work outside it (at the same time, they are socially protected, they are accrued seniority, and so on).
The active introduction of these personnel laws began in the early 1980s and continued until the 2000s. Companies were faced with a choice: to spend a lot of time and resources to comply with all the new requirements and norms or to look for other solutions to the current problem. This led to the emergence of outstaffing as a recent personnel phenomenon.
Outstaffing – what is it in simple words?
Outstaffing is the re-registration of employees to the staff of another company, as a result of which the workers continue to work at the old workplace and perform their previous functions. Still, the role and responsibilities of the employer are officially transferred to a third-party outstaffing company.
In other words, being a high management technology, outstaffing is a form of relationship between the employer and his employees, in which the employer transfers, formally registering, his employees to the staff of another outstaffing company, concluding an outstaffing agreement with it. At the same time, employees continue to work in the territory of the former employer and perform all of their former functions as before.
However, the official employer on paper is now an outstaffing company that has registered employees with its company under an employment contract. Currently, it performs all the functions of an employer: maintains personnel records of employees, monitors workers’ documents, calculates taxes, pays wages, interacts with government agencies, etc.
The meaning of outstaffing is simple: a company (usually a large one) wants to focus on its core business and not be distracted by various HR issues and agrees with an intermediary organization that provides it with staff. The latter is legally their employer and resolves all matters related to the selection, salary, and registration of subordinates. She also maintains all documentation (accounting and personnel).
At the same time, employees entirely work in the customer’s company but are on the staff of the provider company. Outstaffing is mainly used by companies with at least 100 employees (such giants as Mail.ru, Yandex, and MTS also work with Rubrain). The service is also popular among Western startups who want to quickly get the specific experts they need for development, which are difficult to find in any other way. Most often, for the state, there are deduced:
- IT specialists.
The intermediary takes on the functions of paying wages, paying taxes, and enforcing labor laws (hiring, sick leave, dismissal, and so on). At the same time, employees are engaged in projects for the customer company during all their working hours. The staff is also under the direct control of its managers, which is one of the main differences between such a service and outsourcing.
People work in precisely the same way as full-time employees. They perform their usual duties, often even in the office of the client company. But without unnecessary legal complications and the risk of costs. If the employee does not fit, the outstaffer changes him for free, so there is no need to fire anyone.
When is outstaffing appropriate?
It would be advisable to apply the removal of employees from the state in situations where the legality of the employee’s employment and the impossibility of expanding the company’s staff come into conflict. Such problems may arise as a result of factors such as:
- The need to save the salary fund, tax spending, thoughtful provision of social packages;
- the employer cannot take full responsibility for the financial, accounting, and documentary services of their personnel;
- the desire to reduce the burden on office work and accounting;
- labor migrants are the main labor force, but there is no way to track the documentary side of their official registration;
- it is necessary to relieve oneself of responsibility to one’s personnel and inspection state bodies;
- unwillingness to staff registration of seasonal workers or those undergoing a probationary period;
- the desire to employ a specialist from another region without opening a particular representative office (branch);
- the need to increase the number of employees, but the impossibility of staff growth due to the limits of the simplified tax regime (STS).
Types of outstaffing
All outstaffing contracts are bound by validity periods. They can be:
- It is necessary, first of all, to reduce the number of people in the state. Legally, people get a job in another company; in fact, they remain in the same place. Or a company is looking for a rare specialist for a permanent position but finds him only through outstaffing employees and agrees.
- They are needed in companies with significant seasonal load changes and changing market conditions. The contract is temporary, usually for 1-3 months.
- They are needed to complete one specific project or task. After the project is closed, the specialists return to the outstaffing organization and are assigned other company tasks. The contract specifies the conditions for completion (documented final product or the moment of its launch)
Pros of outstaffing
Outstaffing allows you to save resources on staff search – the outstaffing company will do it instead of you. This service will also allow you, as a business owner, to extend the probationary period for new employees, which makes it possible to check their professional qualities in more detail.
Are you familiar with the situation when the labor inspectorate finds any violations? If you have experienced similar problems, then you probably know that the responsibility lies with the employee and the management. But even minor violations lead to significant fines imposed on the legal entity.
Using this service, you get absolute protection during inspections by regulatory authorities because you do not have employees who have fallen under the outstaffing procedure. Even communication with controlling assessments becomes the responsibility of the contracting company. You will no longer be bothered by various checks and can fully devote yourself to the main processes that bring you profit.
You ultimately get rid of obligations under labor relations with the personnel. If a conflict situation or a labor dispute with an employee arises, the outstaffing company deals with its solution. All risks associated with employees and proceedings for work-related injuries and accidents, including death, are shifted to the outstaffer as a legally registered employer.
Does your company employ foreign employees, and do you spend a lot of time on proceedings with the migration service? We will help you solve all these issues!
The outstaffing company takes care of all the problems with the migration service and the official registration of foreign citizens by the law. Your skilled workers from abroad will be able to work in the same place, and you, as a business owner, will forever get rid of communication with migration service inspectors.
Do you still maintain a large HR staff, and the accounting department often does not have time to cope with many personnel? We have a solution for you.
Reducing the number of employees in the state by order of magnitude will lessen the burden on your accounting department. After all, the outstaffing company assumes the following obligations:
- Selection, registration, accounting, and dismissal of employees.
- Calculation and payment of wages.
- Registration of benefits, travel and sick leave, and vacation planning.
You can also reduce the personnel department staff or transfer the entire department to the team of the outstaffing company.
Outstaffing will allow you to maintain the status of a small business and minimize taxes while increasing the number of employed employees several times. After all, the more employees officially registered in your company, the more taxes you do not need. In addition, with a formally small staff and low personnel costs, you will increase financial performance per worker, thereby increasing investor interest in your company.
Cons of outstaffing
Despite all its advantages, outstaffing still has some risks. Luckily, there aren’t many of them.
The most critical issue that needs to be resolved immediately after the outstaffing procedure is communication and coherence of interaction between the customer company and the provider. And suppose a communication system is not established between the management of the customer company and the outstaffer. In that case, the staff may not promptly receive instructions and recommendations on work. This can cause some delays, and as you know, time is money.
Another risk associated with employees outside the company’s staff is the negligent attitude of employees to the tasks performed. In addition, the division into full-time and outstaffing employees can negatively affect the quality of the work performed. Out-of-staff workers may lose motivation due to the lack of benefits and indulgences that permanent staff have.
Why do companies use outstaffing?
To begin with, let’s pay attention to what services are often taken out for outstaffing:
- Administrative Staff
- Finance specialist middle level
- IT specialist
Although, in general, outstaffing applies to any field of work, both physical and mental tasks.
And they turn to this method on the following grounds:
- Hiring new employees for some positions necessarily implies the passage of a probationary period to prove the declared level of professionalism in work. Not every leader wants to deal with this.
- When a firm plans to expand, it may need employees in other regions or countries before opening branches. A convenient solution is to use outstaffing.
- One of the main reasons is it’s profitable. The entrepreneur saves on wages (although not always), workplace arrangements, tax calculations, and other points.
- Outstaffing is used as an opportunity to reduce staff without losing the best professional team.
- If outstaffing is not regulated by the state, entrepreneurs avoid many difficulties with inspection services regarding the organization of personnel work.
How do outstaffing services affect the competitiveness of companies?
By transferring employees’ salaries under an outstaffing agreement as part of the remuneration for agency services, production costs are reduced, and the tax base is reduced.
The investment attractiveness of the business increases as the share of profits in terms of the number of own personnel of the company-consumer of outstaffing services grows.
The costs for the work of the personnel service are reduced because the employees of the outstaffing company are engaged in the selection, registration, and maintenance of personnel records management.
The ability to legally use the simplified taxation system with the disposal of the state exceeding the limits dictated by the tax laws.
Freelancers do not need time to adapt and learn because we are talking about the same people in the same workplaces.
If your company is tasked with increasing business profitability, reducing personnel costs, and increasing productivity, use professional outstaffing services. When choosing a provider, pay attention to the company’s experience in the market and the work experience of specific specialists assigned to the project for your organization; read the reviews of those who have already used outstaffing.
For companies ordering outstaffing services, this form of cooperation can be an effective solution to increase the attractiveness of companies to various investors. This is due to a significant reduction in costs associated with staff training, hiring, accounting, and paperwork.
Thanks to such savings, it is possible to significantly reduce costs, significantly improving the company’s financial performance. This will make it more likely to attract investments, allowing the company to stimulate its development and further growth.
Advantages and disadvantages of outstaffing for an employee
Pros for the employee
Official employment with all the issues accompanying this concept is assessed as a definite plus.
The service provider, by concluding an employment contract, legally becomes an employer that provides:
- labor and social guarantees;
- stable salary payment;
- payment of taxes and contributions to funds;
- order in the documentation (including tracking permits and migration documents).
Cons of outstaffing for an employee
- A bad outstaffer can develop a variety of schemes to get rich at employees’ expense: non-payment of taxes, withholding salaries for allegedly violated clauses of the contract, and so on.
- “Leased” employees are often deprived of certain benefits the former employer provides for established positions. Many people note the impossibility of career growth and a small salary.
- Frequent job changes and the need to get used to new conditions and changing functionality. In general, the lack of the notorious “confidence in the future” leads to a loss of motivation.
Outstaffing has become an excellent form of management that helps cope with difficulties during a crisis. Outstaffing helps reduce the company’s expenses and optimize its income, affecting the favorable formation of corporate relationships.
Cloud technologies are in most areas of human activity, and even people far from the IT world are familiar with several services using this architecture. However, the penetration of cloud technologies into our lives does not end with the storage of information in Google or the use of the store.
Business, industry, medicine – these and other vital areas also use cloud-based solutions. In our article, we will tell you what this tool consists of; we will deal with the types of these technologies and consider their benefits and applications in detail.
The concept of cloud technologies
The essence of cloud technologies is that with their help, it is possible to provide extensive ubiquitous access to any configuration of computing resources. This refers to servers, networks, applications, storage, etc. All this can be easily and quickly taken into use or released. Management is simple, and direct contact with the provider is not required.
Simply put, cloud technologies are technologies that allow users to access computer resources online.
A simple example can explain the work of cloud technologies: not so long ago, computers everywhere had Microsoft Outlook (an email client) designed to read email.
Now its location is a remote server. You can use the program from any device; you need to pre-authorize it in the browser (outlook.live.com/owa/). Of course, cloud technologies are used widely and in various areas, but only a single generalized example is given here.
What does Cloud Native mean?
Cloud Native applications use modern infrastructure components to facilitate rapid, scalable deployment. A “cloud” system is created using several independent attributes. It will have a high level of automation and dependency separation resulting in excellent resistance to change through code releases and environment updates.
Most commentators associate cloud technologies not only with technical qualities but also with the methods of work and thinking of the implementing organization. Cloud-enabled organizations will actively use the cloud for their entire stack, seeing it as a differentiating feature of their offering. This is in contrast to vendors who know the cloud simply as the data center where their services run.
There is no one way to use cloud technologies. The terminology is flexible and based on qualitative characteristics. Native cloud systems are typically based on microservices deployed with a container orchestrator, using auto-deployment flows to move code through a pipeline. The actual implementation remains with each organization.
This model allows you to quickly introduce new changes without losing control. Developers commit the changes, save them to a repository, and let their CI pipeline deploy the latest production release. Automation reduces the risk of errors and gives developers more room to focus on writing new code.
As a result, faster development cycles increase productivity by delivering more features to users in less time. This promotes customer satisfaction and engagement by creating an image of an ever-evolving codebase where bugs are fixed as soon as they are discovered.
However, the cloud environment doesn’t quite “let the machine do all the work.” Another critical principle is observability, the notion that systems should display their internal state to be easily accessible to operational teams.
Effective monitoring, tracking, and logging allow you to see when problems occur. The observed system displays the information needed to solve problems. You use the reflective power of your infrastructure to uncover the lifecycle of requests, from your network to individual services and back.
An essential characteristic of cloud systems is strong decoupling. This goes hand in hand with the microservices model. Services should be autonomous without hard dependency on each other. This increases resilience and makes it easier to replace parts of your stack in the future.
Each functional block becomes its microservice that interacts with others through well-defined APIs. This allows you to separate individual parts of your system, helping developers focus on their specific area and enabling you to enforce tighter security measures around critical services in a production environment. Your authentication service can benefit from more isolation than your general-purpose web containers.
Separating services makes them more scalable, so your system is better able to respond to changes in user demand. If media coverage causes a surge in user registrations, you can quickly add more instances of your registration service backend to handle the additional traffic. The usual approach with a monolithic application in a virtual machine or server without an OS cannot be adapted in this way.
What other features do cloud-native applications have?
Designed using best-in-class languages and environments
With a granular approach to microservice development, each cloud application service is developed using the language and environment best suited to its functionality. Services use various languages, runtimes, and frameworks.
Focused around APIs for interaction and collaboration
Cloud services use lightweight APIs based on protocols such as REST, gRPC, or NATS. REST is the lowest common denominator to provide APIs via Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). To improve performance, gRPC is commonly used for internal communication between services. NATS has publish-subscribe features that enable asynchronous communication within an application.
An architecture with a clear separation of stateless and stateful services
Persistent and reliable services follow a different pattern of higher availability and resiliency. Stateless services exist independently of stateful services.
Independent of the server and operating system
Cloud applications are not tied to a specific operating system or individual computer. They operate at a higher level of abstraction. The only exception is when the microservice needs particular capabilities, including solid-state drives (SSDs) and graphics processing units (GPUs).
Cloud applications can be highly automated.
They fit well with the concept of infrastructure as code. A certain level of automation is also required to manage these large and complex applications.
Pros cloud-native technologies
Cloud as a competitive advantage
Cloud-native is when the cloud is used not to save IT resources but as a business development tool. In the age of software, successful companies can quickly develop and deliver applications to customer requests.
Focus on stability
When outdated IT infrastructure goes down, services can suffer. In the cloud environment, developers pay special attention to the architecture to ensure it is resilient. Clouds help design systems that stay online regardless of failures in any environment.
Public cloud providers offer impressive features at a reasonable price. But many companies are not ready to stop at one infrastructure. With a cloud-enabled platform, businesses can develop applications that work equally well in the public and private clouds. Development teams launch applications and services that are more profitable for companies without being tied to one cloud provider.
Optimization of IT processes for business needs
By automating IT operations, business units can become small, goal-driven teams that respond to current business priorities. The risks of failures due to human errors are reduced, routine tasks requiring the administrator’s attention are automated, and employees can concentrate on the process. Automatic patches and real-time updates at all levels of the stack reduce downtime, eliminating the need for specialists in processes that require manual intervention.
Cloud applications allow you to quickly create and bring products to market and test hypotheses. At the same time, implementing an idea can take several days and even hours instead of several months.
Benefits of developing native cloud solutions
General benefits of moving to native cloud solutions:
- On-demand computing and storage provisioning
- Reusable modular software components, services, and APIs
- DevOps Friendly – Microservice architectures are great for setting up continuous integration and continuous integration/ongoing deployment processes, among other things
- Cross-platform portability with the ability to move between public and private clouds or between on-premises and hybrid clouds
- Flexible, scalable, and extensible software application architectures can evolve with the business.
Business Benefits of cloud-native technologies
Moving to the cloud often significantly impacts the organization as a whole. Improved scalability can lower costs, increase uptime, and keep infrastructure ahead of users. All this results in a more competitive platform, flexible enough to respond to market changes.
Legacy systems may not have established deployment procedures, instead relying on periodically rolling out the latest production environment changes. This makes it impossible to respond quickly to customer concerns. In the cloud system, you can respond to tickets as they come in. The code is usually shipped immediately after the merge, allowing you to make improvements in minutes, not days.
Cloud systems can also be more attractive to developers, making it easier to hire the best people. Using technologies such as Docker and Kubernetes in production demonstrates a commitment to modern workflows that make day-to-day development less demanding. The ability to access highly skilled engineers usually results in better products being built in less time, creating a self-sustaining cycle that triggers growth in the organization.
Cloud Native and DevOps
Native cloud systems are often the result of good DevOps practice. While DevOps describes the interaction between development and operations teams, cloud environments focus on the outcome of this interaction and its impact on the business.
The DevOps cycle maintains a tight process between planning, building, testing, release, and monitoring. This speeds up development by clearly defining the sequence of events in the lifecycle of a new feature. Adhering to DevOps principles increases the likelihood of a system becoming an effective cloud citizen.
The two tend to emerge from each other. If you consciously practice one of the terms, you are probably already enjoying the benefits of the other. Cloud systems are automatically deployed at a regular frequency; using DevOps tools like CI/CD pipelines is a logical way to implement fast development flows.
Cons cloud-native technologies
Don’t move everything to the cloud.
Businesses and IT professionals must jointly prioritize legacy and new challenges, assessing each case’s technical feasibility, strategic importance, and ROI of migrating to the cloud.
Don’t experiment too much with the tools.
Developers need to agree on how and on what they write. When using the cloud, developers will likely need more discipline to follow the 12 Application Development Principles and standardize their platform and development services. So you want to use new technologies and templates for each new application. But advanced teams deliberately limit their choice to focus on developing innovative software rather than reinventing basic things anew.
It is better to buy rather than develop.
Many companies are considering building their cloud platform by combining open-source automation software and container technologies. But it soon turns out that this requires more components than expected since not all of them can work together. This delays the start of work on the applications themselves. Another factor is added – the need to support the working platform. When using a ready-made cloud platform, you can immediately focus on building applications without thinking about process organization and infrastructure.
What about “Cloud-enabled?”
A cloud-enabled system will operate using the cloud infrastructure but cannot be wholly separated and modular. If you have a legacy monolith, it’s usually relatively easy to package it as a Docker container and run it in the cloud. This offers some immediate benefits, including the prospect of automated deployment and a degree of scalability.
However, the application layer is still a monolith. It will take a period of refactoring to split the stack into separate microservices that can scale separately. A containerized monolith cannot provide the same level of resiliency as a system designed and built for the cloud.
Using the cloud in the system is the first step towards becoming a “citizen” of the natural cloud. It may be followed by a “cloud” approach, where the application primarily runs in the cloud with a high degree of separation of services. There may still be some binding relationships between components or feedback to the legacy infrastructure. After they are eliminated, the architecture can be called “native to the cloud.”
A native cloud system is a system that leverages everything the cloud has to offer to accelerate development, automate deployment, and improve resiliency and visibility. This results from organizational investment in modern tools and methods to enable teams to release code faster and add value to the business.
Moving to the cloud doesn’t happen overnight. Depending on the size of your system, it may be appropriate to choose a “cloud-enabled” or “cloud-based” approach first. Gradually evolving your architecture allows you to pick the low-hanging fruit and monitor the impact of individual changes, giving you an idea of whether your efforts are paying off.
Mobile application security is a difficult task, especially in large teams. The clever work of architects is essential here, which will provide security mechanisms for each of the “bricks” of the project, thereby providing multi-level product protection.
What does app security include?
These are all measures, including those that precede the development stage:
- Correct setting of the development and deployment cycle. This includes choosing a relevant development approach (Agile/Waterfall), applying DevOps best practices, and using trusted server hardware.
- The team should have one or more specialists responsible for information security.
- The generated security threat model – metrics that need to be constantly monitored, especially with each update or change in external factors. It should be understood that threat models will be different for different applications.
- We are using technical means of code security analysis.
- I am using a secure development environment.
What are the technical means of code security analysis?
The central layer of analyzers includes:
- Static are source code analyzers based on the Static Analysis Engine (SAST). Verification occurs without running the program itself at the intermediate stages of development or the assembly stage. SAST solutions include Synopsys, AppScan, Checkmarks, Veracode, Appercut, Application Inspector, and Micro Focus.
- Dynamic – applied to the finished code and focused mainly on web applications. They work based on dynamic security testing (DAST) by submitting a URL to an automatic scanner.
- It is integrated into CI (Continuous Integration) – scans static and dynamic code.
- Pentester tools.
How to create a secure development environment?
It is worth remembering that you can only ensure the security of an application comprehensively, so pay attention to each of the stages:
- Segment the network and organize the management of network passages.
- Set permissions for each role.
- Store passwords in a hashed form using a so-called salt.
- Organize secure remote access.
- Manage updates.
- Monitor and document.
- Anonymize important data when working with the database in test mode.
How about the security of mobile applications?
Secure mobile app development involves three steps.
- Firstly, it is essential to consider in advance what leads to vulnerabilities, and even during development, to provide for all preventive measures. So, to prevent data leakage, it is necessary to use cryptographic algorithms and multi-factor authentication, generate unpredictable session identifiers and store authorization tokens in the most secure parts of the operating system. The security of information transfer is carried out by confirming the reliability of communication sources, the correct versions of SSL, and negotiation checks. Access rights to hidden sections of the application should be given only to a narrow circle of specialists responsible for them.
- Next, you need to test the application for such vulnerabilities. Mostly white-box and black-box methods are used. White box method (SAST Statistical Security Testing) involves verification by a developer who has access to the code. The black box method analyzes only the user experience without evaluating the code. You can test manually or with the help of special services.
- And lastly, before actually working out the identified vulnerabilities, prioritize. First of all, fix the errors that prevent the application from working. Then there are critical bugs: system freezes or temporary crashes. Then look for errors that do not affect the work, for example, design flaws. At the very end, fix minor bugs.
What should a developer pay attention to protect the application from hacking?
It is better to take care of the security of the service at the earliest stages of its development.
One of the main steps to securing an application is limiting functionality on a per-user, need-to-know basis. This principle originated in the military environment but is also helpful in development: by observing it, you do not allow the user to receive more information than he needs.
No less important are the processes of code review and independent security analysis. Second, you can involve your security team, contact specialized companies, or add the application to the bug bounty program so that hundreds of researchers worldwide are constantly looking for bugs for you.
It is also essential to study the vulnerabilities of other people’s code that you contribute to the project: look at the issue on GitHub and check the product in the vulnerability database.
At the final stages of development, it will not be superfluous to protect the code from reading and disassembly. Here, too, there are time-tested techniques: from simple obfuscation to the use of assembler inserts and advanced debugger protection. Generally, it’s good practice to “clean up” code before sending it to production. After all, the user will not be helped by comments explaining how this or that call or function works. But for an attacker, this is a great help when analyzing a product. In addition, you should avoid prescribing various confidential data within the code itself. For example, it is not recommended to embed links with authorization data on the server for automated testing.
Mobile App Security Trends
Application of XDR solutions to improve the accuracy and productivity of protection systems
Advanced detection and response (XDR, X Detection, and Response, where X means that these tools respond to signals from any source) are emerging that automatically collect and correlate data received from several security systems. This allows you to detect threats and respond to incidents more effectively. For example, XDR tools can “understand” that malware injection attempts via email, endpoint, and network are one complex attack.
Process automation to eliminate repetitive tasks
The scarcity of trained security professionals and the availability of automation in security tools has led to an increase in automated processes that “self-sufficiently” solve problems based on predefined rules and patterns. These automated tools are much faster, more accurate than humans, and easy to scale. Security & Risk Management (SRM) leaders should invest in automation projects that help eliminate repetitive, time-consuming tasks so that employees can focus on more important security issues.
AI experts are indispensable.
The use of artificial intelligence, and especially machine learning, leads to further automation of processes and expands the range of options for human decision-making in the field of security and digital business.
However, these technologies require security expertise to address three key challenges: protecting AI-powered digital business systems, using AI in products and services to enhance security, and preventing malicious AI from being used.
Security chiefs are responsible for all aspects of security
The number of incidents, threats, and identified vulnerabilities outside traditional corporate IT systems has increased significantly in recent years. New threats have emerged, such as ransomware attacks on business processes, building management systems, GPS systems, “physical” systems, and IoT systems.
This prompted leading companies to reconsider their approaches to security issues, considering the digital world’s impact on the physical world since it is impossible to cope with all these threats by dealing only with information security issues. It is necessary to deploy information security management systems that use information from all data stores and integrate IT security, physical system security, supply chain security, product management security, etc., within one centralized model under a single control.
Ensuring privacy becomes a discipline in its own right.
Ensuring confidentiality is no longer just part of the legal or auditing realm. It is an increasingly effective separate discipline that affects all aspects of the activities of enterprises. This means that it must be implemented throughout the organization. In particular, it is integrated into corporate strategy management, linked to the work of the security service, production units, human resources, legal departments, etc.
New digital trust teams focus on integrating all communication channels
Consumers interact with companies through various channels (from social media to retail), which are constantly growing. How secure the consumer feels during each contact is extremely important for his perception of the brand.
Now, as a rule, each channel has its security service. However, to control all points of contact with the client, enterprises are increasingly moving to form cross-functional teams that must handle all interactions with the consumer and provide a standard level of security for each channel.
Protecting remote workers from potential attacks
The pandemic has spurred many trends, including the transition to remote work. Organizations face increasing attack surface and variety with so many employees working from home. Security is the top priority in this situation, but if companies want to maintain productivity, service degradation must also be prevented. Another problem is the lack of face-to-face communication. In today’s environment, employers may never meet their employees in person. As a result, more organizations are moving to zero-trust models that prioritize security, protect against social media attacks, and mitigate the potential threats associated with remoting.
Transition from local protection to the cloud
Cloud security services are becoming more and more popular. Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) technology allows enterprises to better protect mobile workers and cloud applications by routing traffic through cloud-based security solutions than in the “classic” incoming traffic processing in their own data center.
Cloud computing hasn’t yet reached the security maturity of on-premises systems, but excuses for being “new” are no longer accepted. Cloud computing is more than one year old, and profound experience in dealing with attacks has been accumulated in this area. Many organizations are looking to increase control over permissions in their cloud systems. At the same time, additional intra-industry and inter-industry coordination of efforts to optimize safety standards can be expected in the near future. Going to the cloud brings enormous benefits to companies in terms of scale and agility and forces them to take on the responsibility of protecting their cloud environments.
Build cloud application protections throughout their lifecycle
Often, the same security solution is used for a user server device and when transferring an application to the cloud using the “lift-and-shift” method (software replication to the cloud without redesigning it to take into account the features of the cloud architecture). But products designed from the ground up for the cloud require different security practices, which Gartner calls the Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP).
Cloud solutions are often upgraded, so the means of protection must constantly change. Products responsible for the cloud security posture management process are abbreviated as CSPM (Cloud Security Posture Management).
Maintain readiness to prevent attacks on global supply chains
One of the consequences of the pandemic has been the continued disruption of global supply chains. This trend will continue throughout 2023. Meanwhile, attackers are looking for new approaches to information and communication platforms used to manage physical supply chains around the world, while their level of vulnerability is constantly increasing. Distributed denial-of-service attacks and ransomware are expected to increase in 2022, and organizations looking to limit the power of hackers will need to maintain a high level of preparedness.
“Zero trust” instead of virtual networks
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted many of the problems with traditional VPNs, and the concept of Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), which allows enterprises to control remote access to applications, has become increasingly popular. In doing so, the applications are “hidden” from the rest of the internet since the application only communicates with the ZTNA service provider and can only be accessed through the cloud service of the ZTNA provider. The full-scale deployment of ZTNA will be hampered by the fact that the enterprise, when working with ZTNA, must determine in advance which users and applications need to provide this kind of access.
To understand how to ensure the application’s security, you should study the most dangerous vulnerabilities, consider them at the development and testing stages, eliminate them if they are identified, and document all the problems found to avoid them in the future. Do not forget about analyzers and the security of the development environment itself.
Software teams work on the principle of self-organization, and the skill sets of different team members may overlap. This is partly achieved through code review. By doing code reviews, developers become familiar with the code base and learn new technologies and techniques that help develop their skills.
What is a code review, and why is it necessary?
Code review is a systematic review of software source code to find bugs and evaluate quality. Code review consists of the following steps:
- Determining the most efficient ways to complete a task;
- Search for logical errors;
- Search for the most common vulnerabilities;
- Malware detection is a special kind of code review to look for suspicious code snippets or any malware integrated into the software.
When a developer completes a task, another developer analyzes the resulting code, considering the following questions.
- Are there obvious logical errors in the code?
- Is the code entirely usable for all the use cases described in the code requirements?
- Do the new automated tests cover the added code sufficiently? Do existing computerized tests need to be rewritten to accommodate code changes?
- Does the code meet the requirements of the existing design guidelines?
Code reviews should be part of the team’s existing workflow. For example, if it’s customary for a team to create task branches, code reviews should begin after all code has been written, automated tests have been run, and passed, but before the code is merged into the upstream branch. Then the person checking the code will be able to pay attention to those sections of the code that did not fall into the field of view of automation, and errors in the code will not fall into the main development branch.
There are several reasons why code review is considered a necessary part of development.
The first reason is risk reduction. Let’s say you have software written by a freelancer or agency, but you’re not sure about the quality of the work because even good developers can miss something. So double-checking is always a good idea.
What’s more, by working together to learn code, each team member can come up with more innovative solutions that will improve the project’s overall performance.
The main thing to remember about code review is that it should be done before your new development team takes on the codebase or project. A code review before launching a project allows your team to review it and determine the quality of the code and whether improvements are needed.
There are no hard and fast rules about who should conduct the review in a code study. The ideal scenario is when the analysis is carried out by a more experienced colleague, a team leader, or a lead project developer. In reality, this does not always work out: often, the middle checks the middle.
Tasks of the code reviewers
Code review is a stage of code development. Most often, it is carried out by other developers from the same team. This is how more experienced coders control the quality of the work of juniors or interns. A reviewer on individual components can show you how to simplify and clarify the code. For example, he will offer to take a function that has already been written for another fragment. Code review is especially important for large teams.
In large-scale projects, the code is very voluminous, and each developer knows only their fragment. People often don’t know what’s happening in other components and modules. This is not a very stable situation because the code’s author may go on vacation or stop maintaining his fragment for various reasons. The code review stage adds a second person who understands the code and can work with it.
Code reviews are an excellent way to agree within a team on how to write code. For example, obfuscated code is challenging to maintain and scale. The code review stage helps share knowledge, find new solutions, and improve the development process.
Unlike testing, it is more important for a code review to understand the logic of a solution than to find errors. And also – to convey the essence of the problem to the developer. This will require the ability to accurately formulate the situation and report it without unnecessary emotions.
The code reviewer moves from the general to the specific. First, he needs to understand what problem the author of the code was solving. To do this, the inspector looks at the terms of reference and clarifies the details with the developer. Next, you must evaluate the code’s architecture and see if it is written correctly. This is the most valuable stage of the code review; it helps to avoid blunders and saves time for the testing team.
When the reviewer has figured out the problem and the logic of the solution, he looks at the functions, unique algorithms, and their effectiveness. Checks if it is possible to replace them with other methods and if it would be better for the whole product.
After verification, the reviewer leaves comments for the developer. His task at this stage is to explain why it is essential to correct the error. Also, the reviewer can suggest a solution or provide links to materials with which the developer will quickly put the code in order.
To check the code, you need to understand it. It’s good that the reviewer has already solved such problems, written similar code, and was familiar with the technology stack that the team uses. Then the reviewer will be able to give the developer valuable comments.
Code Review Guide
Divide code reviews into time slots
Don’t try to analyze the whole project at once. Experts advise not to look at more than 400 lines of code at once. Moreover, a one-time check should take no more than an hour. Humans cannot efficiently process this information, especially over a long period. When you exceed this mark, the ability to detect errors is noticeably reduced, so you may miss some critical mistakes.
Seek help from teammates
One head it’s good, but two are better. You may be surprised how much the quality of the review will improve if you share this process with someone else. Collaborative code review improves the software and increases the team’s competence level by sharing knowledge through discussion.
Before proceeding with the review, the team should set clear goals, such as “halving the defect rate.” The purpose of “finding more bugs” is too abstract to be achieved. During the review, record metrics such as the speed of the evaluation, the number of bugs found per hour, and the average number of bugs per line of code. Constant monitoring of the review results will show you an accurate picture of internal processes.
Keep a positive attitude.
Code review can sometimes hurt relationships within a team. Nobody likes to be criticized, so it’s essential to maintain a friendly atmosphere unless you want your co-workers to lose motivation. Instead of taking each bug negatively, consider that these are new opportunities to improve the quality of the code.
Remember that feedback must be balanced. Its goal is not to offend a person but to highlight areas for improvement reasonably (for example, using code examples and links to patterns).
Also, don’t focus only on mistakes; praise them if you see an exciting solution or a non-standard approach. So again, show a colleague that you have one goal, and relieve stress.
Seven Reasons Why Reviewing Code Builds Better Skills & Teams
Code review is helpful for any team, no matter what development methodology they follow and helps distribute work among employees. No team member is the only expert on a particular code base. Simply put, code reviews are a tool for sharing knowledge about the code base among all team members.
Code review promotes knowledge sharing.
At the heart of all software, teams are unprecedented freedom of action since all team members can take work from the backlog and perform it. As a result, teams storm new work with great enthusiasm because the tasks are independent of each other. Generalists can work both on the client side and the server side.
During code review, developers come across new ideas and technologies, and as a result, the quality of their code increases.
Thanks to code checks, the accuracy of estimating the complexity of work is improved.
Recall the section on complexity estimation. The whole team is involved in this procedure, and when all participants equally well know the product, it is possible to assess the volume and complexity of the work more accurately. When the need arises to add new features to existing code, its first developer can share their knowledge and assess the complexity. In addition, all code reviewers receive information about the difficulties, known issues, and features associated with the code base fragment of interest. Therefore, the reviewer has the same knowledge of this code as the original developer. This gives the team a wealth of evidence-based input to make a more accurate and reliable final estimate of complexity.
Code review allows you to take breaks at work.
No one wants to be the only person who can answer all questions about a piece of code. Also, no one is tempted to deal with a critical part of code someone else wrote, especially during an emergency in the production environment. Code reviews promote knowledge sharing across the team, so anyone can pick up the baton and move on. But the main benefit lies elsewhere: if more than one developer is involved in critical tasks, all participants in the process can take breaks from work. If you feel you’re being held hostage by source control, checking your code is a great way to find freedom. So you can go on a long-awaited vacation or devote time to another product component.
Code reviews enable the training of new specialists.
Another distinguishing feature is that when new members join the team, more experienced people become mentors. During code reviews, they discuss the code base. Often, knowledge is hidden in the code and unknown to the team. During the check, they are found. Beginners bring their fresh eyes and notice ugly, overlooked, due to lack of time fragments of the code base that need to be revisited. As you can see, through code review, new helpful information is framed by existing knowledge.
At the same time, code review should not be reduced to the supervision of junior employees by senior employees. Any member of the team can check the code of any other member. Knowledge should have no boundaries! Yes, code review can be helpful for beginners, but it should not be used only as a mentoring tool.
Distributing the load
When the author is going to appoint reviewers, he chooses from a wide range of team members. Any two specialists can check the code. Thanks to this, the process is decentralized, all work does not depend on one person, and the team has a wide selection of specialists who can participate in code review.
Checking before merge
Mandatory review of the code before it is merged into the upstream branch ensures that unverified code does not enter the production environment. This means that controversial architectural decisions made at 2:00 a.m. and mistakes that an intern makes in using a design pattern will be caught before they can have long-term (and unfortunate) consequences for the application.
Use social pressure to your advantage.
When developers know that a teammate will review their code, they put in extra effort to make sure the code passes all tests and is written as well as possible so that the reviewer does not run into difficulties. With this awareness, the process of writing code becomes more streamlined and, as a result, runs faster.
Don’t wait for code review if an outsider’s perspective is needed early in the development cycle. Early feedback followed by frequent comments improves the quality of the code, so feel free to ask for help at any point in time. This will not only enhance your results but also develop peer review skills.
Code review should be an essential process in any development company as it helps to maintain high-quality coding standards. Working together on a code review brings the team together and provides an opportunity to share knowledge and experience within the company. So if you’re starting a startup or outsourcing a project to another team, always do code reviews to ensure your software is of the best quality.
Introduction – to recall the main characteristics of outstaffing
- A person/team of people on the web production staff, but their hours are entirely bought out by the customer company. Most often, it is full-time work on one project. Less often – part-time, in this case, there can be two projects.
- The customer usually chooses one developer or a whole team, conducts an interview, or even more than one. This also includes test tasks and even live coding. In general, all circles of hard selection.
- The customer’s manager is responsible for backlog formation and task setting. Developers communicate with him directly. The client’s project management system records all commits, reports, and actions.
- The function of the contractor is to supplement, strengthen or completely replace the customer’s team. Usually, the need for only one specific feature is closed (for example, frontend development on React.js).
- The contractor’s manager is responsible for general accounting and HR support.
- The payment format is a retainer (when the client pays a fixed amount per month for the developer/team) or time and material (hours worked multiplied by the rate, ideally with payment for downtime due to the client’s fault).
Difficulties of outstaffing
In this case, you hire employees based on their skills and many other factors such as nationality, cultural affiliation, religious affiliation, social standards, and stereotypes.
If you are hiring a team of outsourcers, you may rightly be wondering if the final product will be suitable for the target audience. The concern that different nationalities often behave and perceive things differently has, in many cases, discouraged outsourcing initiatives.
In the case of outstaffing, you will have to deal with foreign developers and their cultural characteristics for a long time. In this case, information plays a key role. You must know and consider the specifics of your team’s national thinking, traditions, and cultural values to achieve mutual understanding and high productivity.
The only way not to miss the chances of a profitable relationship due to insufficient knowledge of the interlocutor’s culture is to learn the best about his nation. This practice will be an excellent start to a long-term partnership and demonstrate your respect for your partner.
Okay, national identity can be identified with the naked eye, but how to determine cultural identity? Everyone, whether it is a conscious decision or the result of an extended stay in a particular environment, classifies himself as a different culture. Whether it happens naturally or under the influence of circumstances, each person becomes a part of a specific culture. And it is much more challenging to identify this affiliation because there is no clear criterion, such as geographical location. But once you find a suitable characteristic, it will become much more manageable.
Revealing cultural affiliation is quite simple, thanks to the resources available in our time: social networks, films, and books – all this allows you to reveal all the subtleties and trends of modern subcultures.
Still, people value their interests and are happy to tell you about them if you show interest.
Why should it even matter? It’s simple: religion is one factor that makes up a person’s worldview. It can influence decision-making. Faith is the crucial factor here. This is not just a belief in the existence of higher powers – it is a set of principles and rules reflected in every decision made.
The world is diverse not only in ethnic, cultural, and religious terms. Social standards also differ. They say: “The well-fed do not understand the hungry” – it turns out that if the difference in the middle of living is too significant, then there is no way in the world to reach a mutual understanding.
To some extent, outsourcing helps reduce the gap in this regard. Complex projects are suitable for training more qualified specialists who will later share their knowledge and expand the circle of IT enthusiasts. At the same time, outstaffing teams do not face such a difference in the quality of the working environment and wages, as they work under the same conditions as the in-house team.
One of the biggest fears for outsourcers is dealing with a team that is so culturally and physically distant that it becomes almost impossible to communicate with them.
It is essential to strike a balance to work competently with outsourcers and outstaffers. You will not be able to get a competitive product with the lowest possible investment. On the other hand, you won’t be able to plug any cultural rift with money.
Overcoming national and cultural stereotypes is crucial in building trust between internal and external teams, managers, and outstaffers.
Any manager with foreign experience can spend hours telling funny stories about how business is done in different countries.
Stereotypes appear in the form of hypertrophied images. Their goal is to facilitate thinking, systematize the world and create an overall picture where you are a little better than others. However, business requires equality, neutrality, and respect. Therefore, we get rid of stereotypes and work with start-ups and enterprises from all over the world. Cultural and ethnic differences are not an obstacle to achieving common goals.
Three common mistakes when using outstaffing
Outstaffing of highly qualified personnel
In the case of outstaffing, qualified employees are transferred to another employer (they are enrolled in the staff of the provider company), which, until the expiration of the outstaffing contract, will deal with their registration and support, payment of sickness benefits and vacation pay. Naturally, in such a case, skilled workers will be concerned about their new position. The prospect of moving to another company’s staff can provoke a helpful team’s dismissal. Even if a qualified employee agrees to outstaffing, he may have problems with motivation and loyalty: it is not very pleasant to realize that the employer is trying to solve his problems at your expense and is ready to put you in an ambiguous position for his benefit. Naturally, an employee who comes to work with such thoughts is unlikely to work with complete dedication and fight for his company’s interests as for his own.
Outstaffing of a small number of employees
HR managers do not always know how to use outstaffing to reduce costs properly. It is not uncommon for a Customer to take out only a few employees to maintain a simplified taxation system and stop there. This is not a very smart tactic for two reasons.
- Firstly, a customer who does not leave a reserve in his state to recruit new employees will be forced to conclude a new outstaffing agreement every time he recruits new full-time employees. And this, in turn, can distract the personnel department from more critical projects and, in addition, reduces the financial efficiency of outstaffing;
- Secondly, many provider companies have a variety of tax benefits, so outstaffing employees allow the customer to reduce tax costs. The more staff outsourced, the greater the savings.
Therefore, by outsourcing many employees, you not only optimize personnel management and retain the right to use a simplified taxation system but can also significantly reduce company costs.
Transfer of employees to an affiliated company
Employees of large companies can face this tricky aspect of outstaffing. The relationship of interdependence (affiliation) between the customer and the provider company can give the tax inspectorate grounds for initiating legal proceedings to qualify outstaffing as an attempt to evade tax payments.
Suppose an HR manager or HR director working in a large company with many divisions and inadvertently initiating outstaffing misses the fact that an interdependent relationship has been established between his company and the provider company. In that case, this can lead to severe problems. Therefore, we recommend that employees of large companies always pay attention to this point when ordering outstaffing services.
How to Avoid Mishaps in Outstaffing
A detailed description of the goal and the project
When looking for an outstaffing team for your project, don’t be lazy to explain the details. A situation when a contractor receives a laconic request in the form of «Need frontend development on React» — perhaps a good start to an acquaintance, but it happens that all the introductions from the client end on this.
Approach “money in the morning” (CV, test assignment, technical interview) and “chairs in the evening” (detailed description of the project, deadlines, details of the technological stack) does not allow the contractor to understand your requirements and select suitable candidates. A developer who understands what he has to deal with will be able to refresh his memory on the necessary topics before the start of the project, study the documentation, and onboarding will be faster and more efficient.
If your contractor is not interested in qualitatively removing the requirements at the start, you may become overwhelmed by dozens of irrelevant CVs. Or, even worse, you choose the developer you liked, and you get rejected — because there is a significant demand for specialists, and you choose not only you but also you.
Choice of the team
Customers often approach interviewing candidates responsibly — perhaps, even more thoroughly than recruiting employees. But overly inflated requirements lead to the customer hardly missing a single candidate out of 20 suitable CVs. How can we not allow it?
The interview must be adequate for the project tasks. If the team passes a critical few developers at the next stage of your funnel, maybe it’s not the developers? Try to clarify the entry requirements to get more relevant CVs, or slightly loosen the nuts and bolts on the team — this way, you will increase conversion and save your resources on selecting candidates with qualifications sufficient for the project (if the task is still to hire, and not to create visibility of work).
If you were not doing the first joint project with the contractor and went through fire and water together, don’t be afraid to listen to his opinion. Maybe the developer’s excitement did not allow him to open up in interviews. The contractor knows the qualities and abilities of his employees better than you do after a few hours of interviews. Therefore, if a candidate has not formally passed your team but a contractor persistently asks to give him a chance, do not refuse it.
Another recommendation – be sure to give feedback after the interview. This will allow you to complement your requirements, and subsequent candidates are more likely to work out, as the contractor will know what is especially important to you.
The motivation of the outstaffing employees
Outstaff employees are usually even more motivated than the in-house team, as they are determined to achieve a specific result in a relatively short distance – for example, completing a project in 3-4 months.
But if you leave your employees the most exciting tasks and connect outstaffers only when everything is on fire or broken, a decrease in motivation and even burnout can happen. How to avoid this?
Keep the promises you made to the developers – treat them in this matter like your employees. Everything you say in an interview should not be at odds with reality. For example, if you need to work with large volumes of legacy code from three years ago, do not hesitate to say so – they also work with such tasks, but a person must understand what awaits him.
Don’t be afraid to give outstaffers more freedom and serious-level tasks. Keep a balance between refactoring and developing features that will allow the developer to become better. Working “on the table” also does not motivate anyone – if you worked on a part that did not go into production, it offends and demotivates – even if the work was paid.
Do not encourage overwork, even if the employee takes the initiative and is passionate about the project. Better a long and stable job with flat performance than bursts of productivity interspersed with dips in performance and motivation.
Communication, clear expectations, and trust in outstaffers
Outstaffing implies that the client takes responsibility for loading the developer who sits in someone else’s office, even in another city. At the same time, every working hour is paid. A natural desire to have complete control over the process and to spend funds rationally.
Here is the standard work procedure for the outstaff: a team performs tasks on a backlog formed by a customer. A developer tracks the time spent on each task. Reporting is submitted at the end of the month; payment is made after approval. Its size depends on the labor cost; the customer can see how many hours were spent on which task and compare it with the history of the commit (portion) code.
On very long projects, the rates of specialists can grow as wages rise. Therefore, outstaffing should be treated as an HR process, not as a purchase of goods. The chain here is straightforward: you will not index the rate – the supplier will not be able to increase his employee’s salary – the employee will quit, and you will lose him. Therefore, if you plan to work over a very long distance, pay attention to whether this clause is spelled out in the contract.
Another aspect of trust is data confidentiality. It feels like it’s always easier to save privacy within a command. But with the right approach to the organization of the outstaffing process, the same results can be achieved without any problem.
Distribute to the outstaffer all the control mechanisms adopted in the command. Bureaucratize the process of transfer of confidential data, its storage, and disposal. Use specialized software for secure employee connection (for example, Citrix).
In large organizations, where data privacy is paramount (for example, in banks), a security service and proprietary software usually allow remote connection. As a rule, this does not cause any critical complications, and the contractor has no reason not to meet and ignore your safety regulations.
Conclusion – what’s the use of outstaffing for a web production and the client
Outstaff culture is still being developed; customers and contractors build rules for practical work. But the demand for this service is growing at an incredible speed — so we need to form cultural interactions as quickly as possible.
The advantages of outstaffing for web production:
- Long and well-predictable load of developers. It can be calculated; it is easy to manage.
- The team gets versatile experience.
- One cannot get stuck with an incorrect fixed price estimate because the work is not according to such a model.
Here are the benefits for the client:
- The ability to quickly build up IT expertise. Focus on the product goal, not the HR routine.
- Deep integration of a specialist into your team.
- Rapid scaling of the team in both directions: strengthen if necessary, stop cooperation at the end of the project – and no one will be fired.