Sun Shines On Cloud Developers

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Short note on why SaaS developers write better code

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Sun Shines On Cloud Developers

  1. 1. Sun shines on Cloud developers<br />Tim Pickard – CMO, Mimecast<br />Traditional software development has never produced good reliable and secure code. There are a number of reasons that support this seemingly outrageous claim. Customers demand new features quickly and reward the vendors who can satisfy their desire with purchase orders and loyalty. Fierce competition means developers are under pressure to stay one step ahead. Promises are made to secure big contracts.<br />This phenomenon is placing unnecessary burdens on developers and resulting in poorly designed software that is rushed through the design and coding stages, not properly tested and shipped with fingers firmly crossed. The resultant cost to the industry is measured in billions of dollars. This takes the form of difficult integration, bug tracking, security breaches, problem solving and endless patching.<br />The cost, however, is not borne in the main by the software developer and here lies the great anomaly of the traditional software industry. In economic terms this is referred to as an externality. A situation where the instigator of a problem does not bear the economic cost of fixing it. Security holes are a good example of this. If a vendor develops and sells insecure software to a market, or issues a new feature that opens a back door into the code the user has to deal with the resulting problems; breach disclosure, damage to brand and reputation, direct financial loss.<br />SaaS shifts the economic burden back to the vendor necessitating higher quality coding, testing and implementation. In a SaaS environment it is the vendor who also deploys and runs the software, is responsible for fixing errors and ensuring proper security is in place. There is therefore a natural economic balancing act at work; poor quality design and coding with insufficient QA may mean shorter time to market; but this is quickly offset by higher demand on customer services when problems begin to appear. It is also true that SaaS vendors (and their customers) place high regard on their reputations as custodians of customer data. Damage in this area is a high price to pay for short time to market.<br /> The economics of cloud based services therefore swing to ensure that poor quality code and processes punish those who create them, not those who consume them. Another nail in the coffin of traditional software delivery. <br />

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