Is Your Boss Spying on You? By Isaac Kohen

geralt / Pixabay

Understanding the Real Purpose of Employee Monitoring Software

Technology is an intricate and inextricable part of the modern workforce. It enables fresh opportunities, invites in new markets, and encourages innovation. In 2018 and for the foreseeable future, it remains the conduit for building compelling companies.

Of course, that reality has all kinds of caveats. While it’s essential for companies to capitalize on the many possibilities presented by the digital age, they need to reduce the risks that accompany this digital ethos. More specifically, data privacy and security have become dangerous minefields that companies must navigate with skill and precision.

The cost of failure in this regard is cascading, including extensive up-front costs to repair the damage of a data breach and the continual burden of reputational harm that may never fully be repaired.

With malicious and unsanctioned data exfiltration from the workplace serving as one of the most potent causes of a data loss event, companies are pursuing many options for facilitating a tech-centered business approach that enhances rather than compromises their company’s growth potential.

As a result, employee monitoring software is making a big comeback. For IT administrators, it is a unique weapon in the battle over data security.

While some balk at its reemergence, fearful of privacy violations or skeptical of the notion of accountability, in reality, the practicality of employee monitoring software is much more optimistic.

Seeing Is Not Spying

Despite the fears projected by some, employee monitoring software is not a tool for bosses to spy on their employees. Some may also insinuate that employee monitoring software is a big brother-like overreach that is creepy and ineffective.

In reality, with modern employee monitoring software, 1984 is not making an appearance in 2018.

Perhaps most obviously, to assume that employee monitoring is a weapon for spying on employees is to misunderstand the expansiveness of the digital age. In nearly every way, using monitoring software as a tool for spying on employees is not effective, not useful, and not comprehensive. Virtually everyone has a smartphone that serves as a veritable workaround that allows them to text, scroll, and tweet outside of the purview of any employer.

This powerful software isn’t about tracking employees’ Facebook feeds or logging every cat meme that they view.

Naturally, that begs the question: if employee monitoring software isn’t for spying on employees, what purpose does it serve?

The Real Purpose of Employee Monitoring Software

Employee monitoring software pursues several objectives related to data security and efficiency. Comprehensive monitoring software can:

Ensure Compliance

After years of a lawless, wild west digital environment, governments are increasingly enacting laws and regulations to protect user data. Major legislative actions like Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation places significant ownness on companies to secure the information that they collect from customers. Other measures like HIPAA guidelines that moderate data in the healthcare industry or California’s forthcoming privacy law, place significant responsibility on companies to protect their customers’ data.

Ensuring compliance requires a holistic approach to data management that includes guarding against external threats and preventing internal data misuse. Employee monitoring software allows companies to reign activities that can compromise user data and preserve regulatory compliance and improve data security at the same time.

Stop Malicious Exfiltration Attempts

A recent study by Gartner captures the scope of the data loss landscape. Among the survey’s many discoveries, Gartner found that some employees are misusing company data to generate a second income and others are intentionally stealing information on their way out the door. In addition, as a Cisco study reveals, 70% of data loss events are caused by unauthorized software, and nearly half are linked to file transfers by remote workers.

The capabilities of modern software allow companies to take action if an employee accesses data at unusual times or from different locations, both red flags when guarding against data exfiltration. Furthermore, companies can prevent employees from accessing unauthorized data sets or from transmitting that data through cloud storage or other means of offloading information.

In the battle against data theft, it’s a valuable weapon that IT personnel should have at their disposal.

Achieve Process Optimization

As anyone who has ever escaped the burden of a complicated task by scrolling through his or her favorite social media feed understands, what technology gives, it takes away as well. Distraction and misprioritization are rampant in the digital age.

Interestingly, employees hate this as much as employers. According to The Economist, “Distraction also appears to reduce reported happiness, and that effect may be magnified if it means that fewer tasks are completed to the workers’ satisfaction—or if the source of the distraction is another distressing news alert.”

Moreover, employees want boundaries. They want tools to help them combat this constant distraction that destroys productivity. Employee monitoring software can be that tool, identifying pain points while equipping employers and employees to make needed changes.

The result is good for everyone. A study by educational platform Udemy found that, when distractions were reduced, more than half of employees were happier, more motivated, and more confident in their work and themselves.

The Bottom Line

Obviously, employee monitoring software serves many legitimate purposes within a modern organization, and none of them involve spying on employees.

Rather, it is a useful tool for combating data loss while maximizing efficiency, and to overlook these capabilities is to misinterpret our current technological moment.

Especially when coupled with clear expectations and growth mindset, employee monitoring software protects the employer and the employee with the possibility for significant gains for both parties, and to dismiss its efficacy is ignorant and short-sighted.

Technology is a critical component of the modern work environment, and it’s more valuable when transparency and integrity are an integral part of its adoption.

This article was originally published on IT Security Central and reprinted with permission.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2zUKj64

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Is Your Boss Spying on You? By Isaac Kohen

geralt / Pixabay

Understanding the Real Purpose of Employee Monitoring Software

Technology is an intricate and inextricable part of the modern workforce. It enables fresh opportunities, invites in new markets, and encourages innovation. In 2018 and for the foreseeable future, it remains the conduit for building compelling companies.

Of course, that reality has all kinds of caveats. While it’s essential for companies to capitalize on the many possibilities presented by the digital age, they need to reduce the risks that accompany this digital ethos. More specifically, data privacy and security have become dangerous minefields that companies must navigate with skill and precision.

The cost of failure in this regard is cascading, including extensive up-front costs to repair the damage of a data breach and the continual burden of reputational harm that may never fully be repaired.

With malicious and unsanctioned data exfiltration from the workplace serving as one of the most potent causes of a data loss event, companies are pursuing many options for facilitating a tech-centered business approach that enhances rather than compromises their company’s growth potential.

As a result, employee monitoring software is making a big comeback. For IT administrators, it is a unique weapon in the battle over data security.

While some balk at its reemergence, fearful of privacy violations or skeptical of the notion of accountability, in reality, the practicality of employee monitoring software is much more optimistic.

Seeing Is Not Spying

Despite the fears projected by some, employee monitoring software is not a tool for bosses to spy on their employees. Some may also insinuate that employee monitoring software is a big brother-like overreach that is creepy and ineffective.

In reality, with modern employee monitoring software, 1984 is not making an appearance in 2018.

Perhaps most obviously, to assume that employee monitoring is a weapon for spying on employees is to misunderstand the expansiveness of the digital age. In nearly every way, using monitoring software as a tool for spying on employees is not effective, not useful, and not comprehensive. Virtually everyone has a smartphone that serves as a veritable workaround that allows them to text, scroll, and tweet outside of the purview of any employer.

This powerful software isn’t about tracking employees’ Facebook feeds or logging every cat meme that they view.

Naturally, that begs the question: if employee monitoring software isn’t for spying on employees, what purpose does it serve?

The Real Purpose of Employee Monitoring Software

Employee monitoring software pursues several objectives related to data security and efficiency. Comprehensive monitoring software can:

Ensure Compliance

After years of a lawless, wild west digital environment, governments are increasingly enacting laws and regulations to protect user data. Major legislative actions like Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation places significant ownness on companies to secure the information that they collect from customers. Other measures like HIPAA guidelines that moderate data in the healthcare industry or California’s forthcoming privacy law, place significant responsibility on companies to protect their customers’ data.

Ensuring compliance requires a holistic approach to data management that includes guarding against external threats and preventing internal data misuse. Employee monitoring software allows companies to reign activities that can compromise user data and preserve regulatory compliance and improve data security at the same time.

Stop Malicious Exfiltration Attempts

A recent study by Gartner captures the scope of the data loss landscape. Among the survey’s many discoveries, Gartner found that some employees are misusing company data to generate a second income and others are intentionally stealing information on their way out the door. In addition, as a Cisco study reveals, 70% of data loss events are caused by unauthorized software, and nearly half are linked to file transfers by remote workers.

The capabilities of modern software allow companies to take action if an employee accesses data at unusual times or from different locations, both red flags when guarding against data exfiltration. Furthermore, companies can prevent employees from accessing unauthorized data sets or from transmitting that data through cloud storage or other means of offloading information.

In the battle against data theft, it’s a valuable weapon that IT personnel should have at their disposal.

Achieve Process Optimization

As anyone who has ever escaped the burden of a complicated task by scrolling through his or her favorite social media feed understands, what technology gives, it takes away as well. Distraction and misprioritization are rampant in the digital age.

Interestingly, employees hate this as much as employers. According to The Economist, “Distraction also appears to reduce reported happiness, and that effect may be magnified if it means that fewer tasks are completed to the workers’ satisfaction—or if the source of the distraction is another distressing news alert.”

Moreover, employees want boundaries. They want tools to help them combat this constant distraction that destroys productivity. Employee monitoring software can be that tool, identifying pain points while equipping employers and employees to make needed changes.

The result is good for everyone. A study by educational platform Udemy found that, when distractions were reduced, more than half of employees were happier, more motivated, and more confident in their work and themselves.

The Bottom Line

Obviously, employee monitoring software serves many legitimate purposes within a modern organization, and none of them involve spying on employees.

Rather, it is a useful tool for combating data loss while maximizing efficiency, and to overlook these capabilities is to misinterpret our current technological moment.

Especially when coupled with clear expectations and growth mindset, employee monitoring software protects the employer and the employee with the possibility for significant gains for both parties, and to dismiss its efficacy is ignorant and short-sighted.

Technology is a critical component of the modern work environment, and it’s more valuable when transparency and integrity are an integral part of its adoption.

This article was originally published on IT Security Central and reprinted with permission.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2zUKj64

10 Tips for Protecting Your Company’s Data Against Insider Threats in 2019 By Isaac Kohen

Perhaps because of their incredible scope or their shocking prevalence, data breaches are creating a lot of buzz right now. It seems that a new event happens every week, and even though companies rightly fear an attack from an external source, internal threats pose a hidden risk, accounting for a substantial number of data breaches.

While we hear about major incidents in the media, the truth is that no business is immune from the danger of insider threats. Fortunately, companies are quickly recognizing this new dynamic.

According to a recent report by CA Technologies, 90% of organizations feel vulnerable to insider attacks. Indeed, the financial impact, the loss of core IPs, and the damage to brand reputation are cascading problems that can shake the very foundation of any SME.

However, since insiders, including employees, suppliers, and partners, are already in the organization’s trusted network, standard cybersecurity measures usually designed to defend against outside attacks aren’t adequate to protect the organization from these accidental or malicious “enemies within.”

Therefore, organizations need to look into user activity and behavior monitoring and adopt a user-behavior driven data loss prevention strategy to effectively defend against insider threats. Here are ten tips to develop an insider threat prevention strategy:

1. Implement a risk assessment methodology

When it comes to data security, operating without a plan is most certainly planning to fail. In today’s digital environment where data breaches and leaks are uncomfortably common, every organization needs a holistic approach to data security.

In other words, the only way to effectively protect data is to analyze and evaluate every aspect of a company’s data landscape and to adopt a methodology for continually assessing the risk protection strategies already in place. This includes identifying vulnerable assets and weak access points, while also observing risk trends and mitigating opportunities to fail.

While implementing a risk assessment methodology requires an all-in approach from the entire organization, implementing the right technology, like comprehensive employee monitoring software, can be the natural next step to identify and prevent a devastating data loss event.

2. Monitor employee activity, and respond to suspicious behavior

Advances in machine learning and other ancillary technologies allow companies to establish user profiles so that abnormal behavior can be identified and investigated.

For example, frequent late shifts, printing more documents than normal, or copying substantial amounts of data from external drives can be an indication of possible malicious behavior.

Of course, other, more subtle activity can be a red flag as well. Powerful employee monitoring software equipped with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and context analysis capabilities can detect when employees research topics related to hacking, an uptick in complaints or angry sentiments expressed through internet chats, or a sudden decline of work-related activities. These signals can all serve as a precursor to the intention to steal data.

While these behaviors may not necessarily indicate a data breach, they could mean everything for early detection, and they are worthy of response and investigation.

3. Collect and save data for forensic examination

When a data loss event does occur, companies need to understand what happened so that they can improve their practices and seal the security holes.

In short, there is both an educational and a deterrence component to data security, and both require digital forensics.

Therefore, recording sessions when employees access sensitive information, maintaining logs of data access, and sustaining digital activity trails can equip IT admins with the investigative capabilities necessary to evaluate the threat and to fortify protocols to prevent it from happening again.

4. Minimize the threat by limiting access to safe resources

The internet is an expansive ecosystem with a myriad of websites and apps that, taken together, represent both an opportunity and a threat to organizations striving to protect their data.

To limit their exposure, companies should determine and implement a whitelist and a blacklist for websites or apps that are useful or even dangerous. Moreover, for the inevitable gray area between white and black lists, IT admins should be notified when unknown apps are being accessed so that they can evaluate the use and take action if necessary.

5. Classify sensitive data and implement perimeter rules

Not all data is created equally, and some data is more sensitive than others. More importantly, not all employees need to have access to all the organization’s data. Classify sensitive data as such, and limit access to employees who actually need that information.

In a very real way, employees should be on a need-to-know basis, and today’s software can ensure that they only have access to what they need to see. Perhaps more importantly, sensitive data can be protected with additional security measures like tagging and fingerprinting that can, among other features, stop users from sharing secure data.

6. Automate security policies to take proactive action

Whether they act maliciously or accidentally, employees can quickly compromise their company’s data. Fortunately, by deploying the right software, any organization can automate policies that proactively prevent this from happening.

For instance, it’s possible to prevent employees from opening PDFs from unknown email senders and to block the upload of company files to personal storage sites like Dropbox or Google Drive.

As a best practice protocol, companies should implement privileged user monitoring to maintain extra vigilance and scrutiny for administrators and other privileged users, ensuring that they don’t create new system rules, open backdoor accounts, increase their system privileges, access sensitive personal information, or edit configuration or system files.

7. Implement third-party vendor monitoring

Maintaining a modern IT infrastructure frequently involves providing third-party vendors with network access, which can compromise user data. According to a 2018 study by the Ponemon Institute, more than half of companies that experienced a data breach attribute the cause to a third-party vendor.

The ability to access system preferences allows external vendors to steal company data as well as damage IT infrastructure, but monitoring third-party vendors can protect against inappropriate data use or theft. In addition, companies can suspend a vendor’s credentials, so that they cannot access the network unless they are actively working on a project.

Collaborating with third-party vendors may be a veritable necessity of the digital age, but that doesn’t mean that sensitive data needs to be compromised in the process.

8. Establish compliance and security standards

In today’s regulatory environment, data loss isn’t just an existential threat, it’s a practical problem with legal and financial consequences. The implementation of Europe’s comprehensive GDPR legislation, the medical sector’s HIPAA guidelines, and other forthcoming regulations significantly raise the stakes for data protection.

Identifying and examining their protocols can yield helpful strategies for preventing data loss, while simultaneously ensuring that companies remain compliant with their increasingly stringent demands.

9. Integrate DLP and SIEMs for better coverage

When examining a company’s network infrastructure, it’s critical to attain as much security coverage as possible. Therefore, choose a solution that provides a unified insider detection and data loss prevention feature set.

A responsive, real-time DLP framework that seamlessly integrates with SIEMs provides centralized insight into data management protocols and offers real-time alert management for complete security coverage.

10. Train & educate employees, contractors, and suppliers

Ultimately, data protection is a priority that requires consistent training and retraining to be effective. Although it may look different for each company, outlining the boundaries with a comprehensive Acceptable Use Policy is a natural next step.

Best practice guides, business etiquette initiatives, and onboarding training can reinforce and reproduce company values. When combined with instructive technology that provides on-time warning messages and behavior-shaping monitoring tools, companies can create a dynamic learning environment that educates their workforce on the practice and priority of data security.

In today’s data landscape it’s more important than ever for companies to protect against the insider threats lurking within their companies. To be sure, this starts with hiring the right people who support and adopt the organization’s data security mindset. However, implementing the right policies and integrating the right technologies can make all the difference. Comprehensive employee monitoring software is the place to start, providing valuable metrics and instituting guidelines to protect against internal threats.

This article originally appeared on IT Security Central and was reprinted with permission.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2zWINjE

Cybersecurity Tools That Every Business Should Consider in 2019 By Vikash Kumar

Businesses ignoring cyber security has become a thing of the past. With the sudden increase in cyber-attacks and data breaches, cybersecurity remains at the front of many business leaders’ minds.

Starting a business is more like scratching an idea to a fully functioning and profitable entity is not easy. In addition to this, you have clients and their personal information to take care of. Right from your customer’s value and treasure of their lives, you as business hold the keys to many of the things and it is now your responsibility to protect their confidential and private information. But what seems to be more complicated is its execution! According to several reports, business owners are twice as concerned about data breaches and cyber-attacks as they were last year. This gave rise to a plethora of cybersecurity tools, consultants, software and hardware.

Cybersecurity Tools to take into account

PKI Services– Getting SSL for your website is another interesting option to take into account. SSL/TLS certificates (displayed as “https”) has the potential to encrypt data which is being sent between the customer’s computer and the SMB’s web server. PKI is an advanced version as it resolves many security concerns in a single go such as:

  • Allows multi-factor authentication and access control-
  • Encrypt email communications
  • Digitally sign and protect code
  • Authenticate the sender’s identity
  • Create compliant, Trusted Digital Signatures
  • Build identity and trust into IoT ecosystems

PKI-Services

Image Source: Tevora

Penetration testing– Another interesting way to test the security system of your business. Here cybersecurity professionals will use the same techniques utilized by criminal hackers to check for potential vulnerabilities and areas of weakness. It’s more kind of a mock test which incorporates everything from password cracking and code injection to phishing to simulate the kind of attack a business might face in future

Penetration Testing

Image source: process.st

Firewall– One of the most common defense tools is Firewall. As the name suggests, its duty is to block any unauthorized access to your system. It features firewall monitors network traffic that aids you in deciding on if these should be able to pass freely onto your network or computing device or not. Well, this doesn’t mean the tool doesn’t have any limitations. With the field of hacking and cybercrime becoming sophisticated, hackers are found brushing up their skills to break the wall without much hassle. In fact, despite these limitations, when it comes to detecting the large majority of sophisticated malicious attacks firewall tends to be very effective in your business.firewall

Image Source: Howtogeek

Strong Antivirus Software– It’s easy to count the ways that tech did you wrong, especially when it came to information security. While on the other hand, plenty of good deeds offered by tech cannot be ignored such as antivirus software. Although many of you have this misconception, that firewall and antivirus are synonyms, but actually, they are not. Having a strong firewall and up-to-date antivirus software in place is very crucial to combat advanced hacking especially in 2019.

Antivirus software in general alert you to virus, malware infections, scanning emails, malicious attachments, web links and what not! It may also interest you to know that advanced programs do perform useful measures such as quarantining potential threats and removing them.

Train your employees– Social-engineering attacks are one of the common yet preventable attacks triggered by phishing attempts, improper web use or incoming phone calls. Staff training isn’t a tool, but it is worth considering. There are many training tools to consider to educate staff about the best cybersecurity practices. Employees especially the non-techie ones aren’t always ready to combat a cyber attack or know when they are being baited into one. In order to safeguard your empire, training sessions or simulations on spotting suspicious links or scam can make a huge difference. Failing to do so can leave you in such a position where your company becomes an easy target for hackers. Time to wake up and reward your business with long-term security and protection.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2EjfXgH

Cybersecurity Tools That Every Business Should Consider in 2019 By Vikash Kumar

Businesses ignoring cyber security has become a thing of the past. With the sudden increase in cyber-attacks and data breaches, cybersecurity remains at the front of many business leaders’ minds.

Starting a business is more like scratching an idea to a fully functioning and profitable entity is not easy. In addition to this, you have clients and their personal information to take care of. Right from your customer’s value and treasure of their lives, you as business hold the keys to many of the things and it is now your responsibility to protect their confidential and private information. But what seems to be more complicated is its execution! According to several reports, business owners are twice as concerned about data breaches and cyber-attacks as they were last year. This gave rise to a plethora of cybersecurity tools, consultants, software and hardware.

Cybersecurity Tools to take into account

PKI Services– Getting SSL for your website is another interesting option to take into account. SSL/TLS certificates (displayed as “https”) has the potential to encrypt data which is being sent between the customer’s computer and the SMB’s web server. PKI is an advanced version as it resolves many security concerns in a single go such as:

  • Allows multi-factor authentication and access control-
  • Encrypt email communications
  • Digitally sign and protect code
  • Authenticate the sender’s identity
  • Create compliant, Trusted Digital Signatures
  • Build identity and trust into IoT ecosystems

PKI-Services

Image Source: Tevora

Penetration testing– Another interesting way to test the security system of your business. Here cybersecurity professionals will use the same techniques utilized by criminal hackers to check for potential vulnerabilities and areas of weakness. It’s more kind of a mock test which incorporates everything from password cracking and code injection to phishing to simulate the kind of attack a business might face in future

Penetration Testing

Image source: process.st

Firewall– One of the most common defense tools is Firewall. As the name suggests, its duty is to block any unauthorized access to your system. It features firewall monitors network traffic that aids you in deciding on if these should be able to pass freely onto your network or computing device or not. Well, this doesn’t mean the tool doesn’t have any limitations. With the field of hacking and cybercrime becoming sophisticated, hackers are found brushing up their skills to break the wall without much hassle. In fact, despite these limitations, when it comes to detecting the large majority of sophisticated malicious attacks firewall tends to be very effective in your business.firewall

Image Source: Howtogeek

Strong Antivirus Software– It’s easy to count the ways that tech did you wrong, especially when it came to information security. While on the other hand, plenty of good deeds offered by tech cannot be ignored such as antivirus software. Although many of you have this misconception, that firewall and antivirus are synonyms, but actually, they are not. Having a strong firewall and up-to-date antivirus software in place is very crucial to combat advanced hacking especially in 2019.

Antivirus software in general alert you to virus, malware infections, scanning emails, malicious attachments, web links and what not! It may also interest you to know that advanced programs do perform useful measures such as quarantining potential threats and removing them.

Train your employees– Social-engineering attacks are one of the common yet preventable attacks triggered by phishing attempts, improper web use or incoming phone calls. Staff training isn’t a tool, but it is worth considering. There are many training tools to consider to educate staff about the best cybersecurity practices. Employees especially the non-techie ones aren’t always ready to combat a cyber attack or know when they are being baited into one. In order to safeguard your empire, training sessions or simulations on spotting suspicious links or scam can make a huge difference. Failing to do so can leave you in such a position where your company becomes an easy target for hackers. Time to wake up and reward your business with long-term security and protection.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2EjfXgH

7 Tips to Become a Great Java Developer in 2019 By Jagdish Bhatt

Boskampi / Pixabay

To become a great Java developer, knowing the programming language is not enough. You must be excellent in Java programming and coding to make a good application.

This year, in 2019, just don’t sit around with the same level of Java programming skills, rather hone your Java skills to become the best Java Programmer.

Since Java is one of the hottest programming languages, remember that you are not alone in the competition. According to a report, there are around 9 million of enthusiastic Java developers in the world, who have good insight on technology, and they are also willing to learn new developments in Java, such as Java 8, JDK 10, and JVM internals.

For a Java app development company to overlook all of them and hire you as their new Java software developer, who will help them make a robust Java application needs some difference in skills, efficiency, and perspective on your part.

So, if you are seeking to know how to get better at Java, then you have reached the right place. Here, we will share you 7 impressive tips to become a great Java Developer in 2019, focusing on new updates in Java such as Cloud Native Java, Kotlin, Code and Design Patterns.

But before we go ahead, here are some interesting facts that state why Java programmers are in such a high demand.

Facts: Why Companies Hire Java Developers For their Critical Software Projects

Here’s a list of interesting facts that make Java so popular and increase the demand of Java Developers.

  • Java is now managed by Oracle, a thriving American multinational computer technology corporation. Means there is a lot of scope for Java in terms of growth as a platform and its core APIs. Java’s latest major release is the Platform Standard Edition 8.
  • Java is ranked #2 in popularity after C. The language ranked first in the rankings of software developers as the best choice of programming languages.
  • About 3 billion mobile phones, 125 million TV sets and each Blu-Ray player are working in Java.
  • Google’s Android operating system also uses Java APIs.
  • Since this open source code programming language is used both in software and web development, it is no surprise that 95% of enterprises use Java for programming. That is more than C and other languages put together.

These facts highlight why Java is so important for enterprises, regardless of size. And if you want to get hired as Java Developer, you must possess extraordinary Java Development skills.

Here is a list of 7 useful tips for Java mobile app and web developers. These tips are equally useful for companies looking to hire Java Developer, as it will give them a glimpse of what skills they should be seeking in a good Java Programmer.

List of 7 Useful Tips to Become a Great Developer in 2019

Java is used to build a comprehensive range of applications and platforms for a myriad of devices, including Smartphones, Computers, Laptops, Gaming Consoles, Car Navigation Systems, Lottery Terminals, Blu-ray Players, and more. Here is the list of Java tips that will help you to give an idea of how you can improve on your Java development skills to build applications for these devices.

Learn Java 8

There are many Java Developers in the market with the 7 to 8 years’ experience, and still not comfortable to write a code using Java 8 features such as Lambda Expressions, Java Stream API, used for bulk data operations on collections, and various Default Methods.

If you get a strong command over Java 8 features, you can overpass so many Java Developers out there, with little or no knowledge of Java 8.

Java 8 was first launched on 18th March 2014, and now Oracle has decided to end the ongoing support plans for Java Standard Edition 8. Businesses need to get a commercial license to receive Java Updates after Jan 2019. Although, public updates for Java SE 8 will be available for individual, personal use through at least the end of 2020, which is the good news for Freelance Java Developers.

Key Features of Java 8 to Learn

  • Default and Static Method in Interfaces: Using Default and Static keyword, Java Developers can create interfaces with method implementation.
  • forEach() method in Iterable interface: In Java 8, a new forEach method in java.lang.Iterable interface has been introduced, which enables developers to focus on business logic while writing code. forEach method takes java.util.function.Consumer object as argument, that allows keeping business logic separately at a different location, so that it can be reused later.
  • Functional Interfaces and Lambda Expressions: Functional interfaces are a new concept introduced in Java 8. An interface with exactly one abstract method becomes Functional Interface. @FunctionalInterface annotation is a facility to avoid accidental addition of abstract methods in the functional interfaces.
  • Java Stream API:A new java.util.stream in Java 8 has been added to perform filter/map/reduce like operations with the collection. The new Stream API will enable developers to manage sequential as well as parallel execution.

Become a Pro at Java APIs and Libraries

Java is one of the most mature programming languages in the world, with 2nd largest StackOverflow community. The community plays an integral role in creating a Java ecosystem.

Java APIs and Libraries form a major part of this ecosystem. Knowing about key APIs and Libraries, including Java Development Kit and Third-party Libraries is one of the key traits of a great Java developer.

Java SE documentation contains detailed, developer-targeted descriptions and references on Java API, including workarounds and working code examples.

It is not expected from a Java application developer to learn all the APIs and know about every element in the library. Only that the developer, whether a Freelance Java Developer or one working for Java Development Company, must be aware of crucial APIs and Libraries.

Among thousands of Java Libraries, here are the top 10 well-documented libraries that are open source and free for use.

Top 10 Java Libraries

  • Java Standard Libraries: Contains a vast set of collections and data structures, and elements required for Java application development project
  • JHipster: Used for generating, develop and deploy Spring Boot + Angular Web applications and Spring microservices
  • Maven: Used for managing project dependencies, configurations and build configuration and documentation
  • Apache Commons: Product-focused libraries with components allowing advanced mathematics and statistics operations and computations
  • Guava: Google Core Libraries for Java, used for extending the basic Java collections functionalities
  • google-gson: Useful for converting Java Objects to JSON and vice versa
  • Hibernate-ORM: Used for persisting of data in relational databases
  • Mockito: Used for creating mocks and write tests easier with simpler and cleaner code
  • Junit: Used for conducting repeatable tests on your code
  • Log4j and Slf4j: Simple logging frameworks

When it comes to Java APIs, the core Java API contains Android (Google), SE (OpenJDK and Oracle), MicroEJ (IS2T), whereas optional APIs are defined by organizations such as Alljoyn, OSGi, Eclipse, JCP, E-S-R, etc.

Here, you don’t have to learn all the libraries, instead, focus on maximum 2 or 3, but also gain the knowledge of all these libraries and how they can help you in a particular project.

Explore Spring Framework (Spring Boot)

This Java platform is important for every Java Application Developer.

It enables the developers to build applications from plain old Java objects” (POJOs) and also useful for Java SE programming model.

These days, most of the Java Development Companies use Spring framework such as Spring Boot, Spring MVC, and Spring Cloud for developing a web application, microservices, and REST APIs.

You will find that a great Java Developer is familiar with all the Spring platform advantages such as: making a Java method execute in a database transaction, making a local Java method a remote procedure, and making a local Java method a management operation.

Enhance Your Unit Testing Skills

You will find advanced unit testing skills in every professional Java programmer. It is this skill that distinguishes good Java programmer from average Java programmer.

A professional Java developer always writes unit tests for their code, which helps in validating code results in the state testing or behavior testing.

If you are seeking a good Java Application Developer, please make sure that the developer has the familiarity with a wide range of tools for unit testing, automation testing, performance testing, and integration testing.

Professional Java developers, who already have experience with Java, it is time for you to improve your skills on software unit tests to verify the logic of a piece of a software program.

Beginners can start with Junit, the latest version of which is JUnit 5, which is easy but powerful.

Focus on JVM Internals

Even if you are a beginner in Java Application Development you must have some working knowledge Java Virtual Machine (JVM), which is a crucial element of JRE (Java Runtime Environment).

If you understand JVM, means you understand Java better.

Learning JVM will help you solve complex problems during programming.

For becoming a great Java Developer, learn how JVM works, JVM system threads, how JVM executes JAVA bytecode, and the order of execution. Some other key aspects that you must be aware of to hone your Java skills in 2019 are JVM stack restrictions and common mistakes that most of the Java Developers make.

Improve Your Working Knowledge of Design Patterns

If you are an experienced object-oriented software developer, you must be aware of the importance of Design Patterns in Software Development.

Design pattern shows the relation between classes and object. A systematic naming of the objects and classes helps in addressing the recurring problem in the object-oriented systems.

Every great Java Developer knows and incorporates design patterns in their code to make the application flexible and changeable.

There are two goals of learning design pattern:

  • Identify and understand the problem in the application and associate it with some pattern.
  • Reuse of old interface or make the existing design more usable for future purposes.

Whether you are a freelance Java developer or working as a regular employer, you must have an in-depth understanding of design patterns.

Learn JVM Languages

The way learning new languages helps you in personal and professional life, exactly the same way, learning programming languages other than Java help in Java application development.

Kotlin is a statically typed programming language that runs on the Java virtual machine and also can be compiled to JavaScript source code or use the LLVM compiler infrastructure.

Java enthusiasts must learn JVM languages, such as Scala, Groovy, and Kotlin to become a Polyglot developer.

By learning new programming languages, you can compare the advantages and disadvantages better, which will further enable you to write better code. Besides, it will also help into Android development.

Final Thoughts

If you want to become a pro at Java and value learning new Java programming and coding skills, then explore the new features Java 8, while also learn new programming languages to enhance your skill. Of course, it is not possible to learn everything at once, so start picking one and gradually move to next. The best would be to focus on Java 8 features, as for any application development process, you need good, working experience of Java 8.

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10,000 Years of Data Says Your Server Sizing is Wrong By Bill Supernor

Serving sizing in the cloud can be tricky. Unless you are about to do some massive high-performance computing project, super-sizing your cloud virtual machines/instances is probably not what you are thinking about when you log in to you favorite cloud service provider. But from looking at customer data within our system, it certainly does look like a lot of folks are walking up to to their neighborhood cloud provider and saying exactly that: Super Size Me!

Like at a fast-food place, buying in the super size means paying extra costs…and when you are looking for ways to save money on cloud costs, whether for production or non-production resources, the first place to look is at idle and underutilized resources.

Within the ParkMyCloud SaaS platform, we have collected bazillions (scientific term) of samples of performance data for tens of thousands of virtual machines, across hundreds of customers, and the average of all “Average CPU” readings is an amazing (even to us) 4.9%. When you consider that many of our customer are already addressing underutilization by stopping or “parking” their instances when they are not being used, one can easily conclude that the server sizing is out of control and instances are tremendously overbuilt. In other words, they are much more powerful than they need to be…and thus much more expensive than they need to be. As cool as “super sizing” sounds, the real solution is in rightsizing, and ensuring the instance size and type are better tailored to the actual.

Size, Damned Size, and Statistics

Before we start talking about what is involved in rightsizing, let’s look at a few more statistics, just because the numbers are pretty cool. Looking at utilization data from about 88.9 million instance-hours on AWS – that’s 10,148 years – we find the following:

So, what is this telling us about server sizing? The percentiles alone tell us that more than 95% of our samples are operating at less than 50% Average CPU – which means if we cut the number of CPUs in half for most of our instances, we would probably still be able to carry our workload. The 95th percentile for Peak CPU is 68%, so if we cut all of those CPUs in half we would either have to be OK with a small degradation in performance, or maybe we select an instance to avoid exceeding 99% peak CPU (which happens around the 93rd percentile – still a pretty massive number).

Looking down at the 75th and 50th percentiles we see instances that could possibly benefit from multiple steps down! As shown in the next section, one step down can save you 50% of the cost for an instance. Two steps down can save you 75%!

Before making an actual server sizing change, this data would need to be further analyzed on an instance by instance basis – it may be that many of these instances have bursty behavior, where their CPUs are more highly utilized for short periods of time, and idle all the rest of the time. Such an instance would be better of being parked or stopped for most of the time, and only started up when needed. Or…depending on the duration and magnitude of the burst, might be better off moving to the AWS T instance family, which accumulates credits for bursts of CPU, and is less expensive than the M family, built for a more continuous performance duty cycle. Also – as discussed below – complete rightsizing would entail looking at some other utilization stats as well, like memory, network, etc.

Hungry Size

On every cloud provider there is a clear progression of server sizing and prices within any given instance family. The next size up from where you are is usually twice the CPUs and twice the memory, and as might be expected, twice the price.

Here is a small sample of AWS prices in us-east-1 (N. Virginia) to show you what I mean:

Double the memory and/or double the CPU…and double the price.

Pulling the Wool Over Your Size?

It is important to note that there is more to instance utilization than just the CPU stats. There are a number of applications with low-CPU but high network, memory, disk utilization, or database IOPs, and so a complete set of stats are needed before making a rightsizing decision.

This can be where rightsizing across instance families makes sense.

On AWS, some of the most commonly used instance types are the T and M general purpose families. Many production applications start out on the M family, as it has a good balance of CPU and memory. Let’s look at the m5.4xlarge as a specific example, shown in the middle row below.

  • If you find that such an instance was showing good utilization of its CPU, maybe with an Average CPU of 75% and Peak CPU of 95%, but the memory was extremely underutilized, maybe only consuming 20%, we may want to move to more of a compute-optimized instance family. From the table below, we can see we could move over to a c5.4xlarge, keeping the same number of CPUs, but cutting the RAM in half, saving about 11% of our costs.
  • On the other hand, if you find the CPU was significantly underutilized, for example showing an Average CPU of 30% and Peak of 45%, but memory was 85% utilized, we may be better off on a memory-optimized instance family. From the table below, we can move to an r5.2xlarge instance cutting the vCPUs in half, and keeping the same amount of RAM, and saving about 34% of the costs.

Within AWS there are additional considerations on the network side. As shown here, available network performance follows the instance size and type. You may find yourself in a situation where memory and CPU are non-issues, but high network bandwidth is critical, and deliberately super-size an instance. Even in this case, though, you should think about if there is a way to split your workload into multiple smaller instances (and thus multiple network streams) that are less expensive than a beastly machine selected solely on the basis of network performance.

You may also need to consider availability when determining your server sizing. For example, if you need to run in a high-availability mode using an autoscaling group you may be running two instances, either one of which can handle your full load, but both are only 50% active at any given time. As long as they are only 50% active that is fine – but you may want to consider if maybe two instances at half the size would be OK, and then address a surge in load by scaling-up the autoscaling group.

Keep Your Size on the Prize

For full cost optimization for your virtual machines, you need to consider appropriate resource scheduling, server sizing, and sustained usage.

  • Rightsize instances wherever possible. You can easily save 50% just by going down one size tier – and this applies to production resources as well as development and test systems!
  • Modernize your instance types. This is similar to rightsizing, in that you are changing to the same instance type in a newer generation of the same family, where cloud provider efficiency improvements mean lower costs. For example, moving an application from an m3.xlarge to an m5.xlarge can save 28%!
  • Park/stop instances when they are not in use. You can save 65% of the cost of a development or test virtual machine by just having it on 12 hours per day on weekdays!
  • For systems that must be up continually, (and once you have settled on the correct size instance) consider purchasing reserved instances, which can save 54-75% off the regular cost.

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