To be, or not to be: Web or Native
25 Oct 2017

When you think about an app, you probably don’t think much of how it runs. This is normal, because really, you just want it to work. However, this is an essential question to ask yourself when deciding to make a mobile app. Why, you ask? Depending on the app, the very functionality can be deterred or even not possible by choosing the wrong platform. Let’s see how:

What is a Native Mobile App?

When we refer to a “native” app, we’re referring to the operating system that the phone or tablet runs on. A native app runs purely off of the native functionality built into the phone, and is specific to the platform that it was designed for (be it iOS™ or Android). You can’t run an iOS™ app on an Android phone, which is the biggest downfalls of a native app. In order to run the same application on another operating system, in theory, a new app has to be built to run off of the other operating system’s functionality. This leaves you with 2 apps being developed for the same purpose.

Pros of Native:

  • Functionality: Native apps have full support of the phone or tablet’s software and hardware functions.
  • Better UX: In general, native apps can more easily be tailored to feel natural to the user of the phone or tablet.

Cons of Native:

  • Expense: Because native apps generally required more time to develop, their prices tend to be higher than web — especially when you’re going cross-platform.
  • Updates: With a cross-platform app, you have to update 2 or more apps. These updates also must be applied by the user.

What is a Web Mobile App?

Whereas native apps are built to run off of the built in device environment, a web-app runs much like this website – by the internet. Web-apps can both be accessed through a web browser (including a desktop or laptop), and through an app downloaded to a users device. Web-apps are incredibly effective, secure programs that require much less time and maintenance. While lacking the ability to effectively access most hardware and software functions of a device, a web-app is ideal for those who look to cross 2 or more platforms.

Pros of Web:

  • Accessibility: Web apps can be accessed through a downloaded app, on a mobile web browser, and on a desktop / laptop browser.
  • Expense: Because this app is only developed once for every platform, the time to make these types of apps can be exuberantly lower.
  • Updates: Even if your user downloads the web app to their device, every update is delivered across every platform instantly without recurrent downloads.

Cons of Web:

  • Native Functions: If your app is centered on the ability to access the phones camera, or sensors in real-time a web app will not be for you.
  • Downtime: Much like a website, if your web app host goes down, your app will not be accessible.

Which should I choose?

Our verdict: It depends. If accessing a devices camera, sensors, microphone, or other proprietary functions is essential to your app, you might want to consider native first. However, if you want a cross-platform application that keeps your costs down, web might be for you. If you’d like to know more about which platform you should use, get in contact with one of our developers. They’ll give you the knowledge for your specific circumstance.

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First Equifax: Next, you?
22 Sep 2017

We’re all familiar with the disaster that occurred at Equifax, with millions of Americans identities being leaked. In fact, there’s a good chance that you might be one of the many affected. The security protocols at Equifax were so sloppy, that they actually directed customers to a phishing website to check if they were affected. There are a few points to be taken from this:

  • Any system can be breached.
  • You must offer concrete security protocols, which start with your developers.
  • Nobody wants their business affected by this.

We’ve established some considerations below to keep in mind when you are preparing to develop your software.

Disclaimer: Whereas this information may be useful to you, it is not intended to be professional advice. Always seek professional advice when dealing with matters such as how to secure your system.

1. Convenience is a risk, don’t store payment information.

The best way to not release a clients credit card or bank information is to never store it. Many companies store their client payment information for the convenience of auto-payments, or quicker payments at their next transaction. This makes sense, because consumers today are expecting a quick experience. The issue lies in the fundamental nature of storing payment details, which comes from encryption.

  • Even when “encrypted” on an “SSL” secured system, details must be able to be de-crypted. As most things can be decrypted with relative ease, this presents a major security flaw.
  • Don’t store payment details, unless absolutely necessary.

2. Sensitive information should be one-way encrypted.

When storing something such as a social security number, a bank pin, or some other information that would be damaging in the wrong hands, it’s best to encrypt one-way. The difference in one-way encryption vs. two-way encryption is explained in the name. One-way encryption, by its design, is not meant to be decrypted. This makes it virtually impossible to use any information when it is discovered. Two-way encryption, which is often used to store sensitive information to be displayed later, by its design is meant to be able to be encrypted.

One-way encryption can be utilized by software when the data requested is entered. If you type in your social security number, which was encrypted with MD5, the new encryption hash that was generated would be the same that is stored. This makes verifying information safe and secure.

  • Use MD5 encryption, a powerful one-way encryption method.
  • Two-way encryption is OK for less sensitive information (i.e. first name, last name).

3. Algorithms can save your business.

Let’s say that it is pertinent that you be able to view a clients social security number when you pull up their account. In this case, it is necessary to use multiple levels of two-way encryption, and algorithms that only your software could possibly understand. As a developer, this takes a good amount of time. As a business, this is time well spent – as your clients depend on it.

  • Software should utilize at least one proprietary algorithm to encrypt the data.
  • Multiple levels of two-way encryption should be employed to further encrypt the data.

Whereas there is always a risk that these algorithms could become understood by hackers, it severely reduces the chance that the data will be decrypted.

4. Secure your server.

Sensitive information shouldn’t be stored on a shared server. In theory, that server is already breached by others who were given access. How well are they securing their systems? If that is a factor in your security plan, your plan is flawed. The best intervention is prevention, which starts with your server. Your engineers should employ modern methods to protect the server that hosts your data. As new threats present every day, it is necessary to make daily security updates to the software that you utilize. There are a few things that you can do to secure such information:

  • If the network is local only, the server should only respond to trusted MAC addresses (physical hardware unique identifier)
  • The biggest virus might be your own software, so keep it up to date.

 

At the end of the day, the best intervention is prevention. Make sure that your clients sensitive information is secured by employing multiple modern, powerful security protocols not only with your software, but also your hardware. If you’d like to learn more about how our developers can properly secure your system, send us a message.

5 Reasons Your Website Must Be Mobile
18 Sep 2017

It’s an undeniable fact of modern technology: if you aren’t mobile, you are losing sales. Whether your website is e-commerce, information only, or a sales platform, failure to recognize the importance of a mobile website — and the objective of mobile — will be bad for your bottom line.

Here are five reasons that you simply must have a mobile website:

1. Most Web-Traffic is mobile.

This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Statistics show that most web traffic is now mobile, meaning that your website is more likely to be viewed by users on their phone or tablet than their computer. What does this mean for your business? It means that statistically, your best shot at gaining a client on the web is through mobile.

2. Mobile users don’t expect the same experience as Desktop users.

Mobile users expect quick, brief content when visiting a mobile website. For businesses that look to benefit from e-commerce, mobile users statistically spend more per purchase. Mobile users report that most mobile purchases are impulse buys, meaning that you have a short time to convey your product to them.

This is essential to understand when designing a website, as it helps you predict how users will behave and interact on your website. By carving a simple path for mobile users, your customers are more likely to purchase from you.

3. Mobile sites get better traffic.

Did you know that major search engines consider how well your website is optimized when deciding who to show in search results? Believe me, Google doesn’t want to provide a link to a horrible, dated website that merely has a mobile option. By doing that, search engines will make themselves look bad. Search engines strive to provide quality links to users who are searching for you. If your website is a mess, and has no or poor mobile optimization, you can expect to be last in line.

4. Increased Conversions, Reduced Bounce Rate.

Studies show that mobile friendly, user optimized websites convert users into clients better than desktop sites can. This makes sense, considering most web traffic coming from mobile. When a user arrives to your website, they expect to receive quick, visually appealing content. Without a mobile friendly and user optimized website, your bounce rate (the percentage of users who go to your website, and do nothing) will be much higher. Conversely, a well designed and optimized website will drive down your bounce rate. Remember, a bounced user isn’t your client – they’re your competitors’.

5. It establishes credibility to your business.

Not only to your clients, but the important people in your industry as well. Whether your business sells B2B, B2C, or strictly e-Commerce, your viewers will see you as a more credible source for information, products, or services if your website is setup to carefully follow this new modern standard.

Websites that fail to become mobile friendly are not only not driving business, they’re hurting it. Today, everything is visual, and your potential clients expect to not have to battle with your website to find the information they seek. Instead of fighting with your website, let our experienced developers build a modern experience for your clients and your business. Want to learn more?