What Is Software Deployment: Definition, Specific Activities, Challenges and Advantages
Software Deployment: Initial Installs, Updates and Security Patches. Learn Why They’re Important for Your Company’s Cybersecurity!
The use of proper software applications can help any business move forward, but, if you want to minimize cybersecurity risks and avoid all the negative consequences that a security incident could bring, you should be aware of the software deployment concept. Read on to find more!
Software Deployment: Some Definitions
To begin with, Software can be defined as
a collection of instructions and data that tell a computer how to work. This is in contrast to physical hardware, from which the system is built and actually performs the work. In computer science and software engineering, computer software is all information processed by computer systems, including programs and data. Computer software includes computer programs, libraries, and related non-executable data, such as online documentation or digital media. Computer hardware and software require each other and neither can be realistically used on its own.
Software deployment refers to
all of the steps, processes, and activities that are required to make a software system or update available to its intended users. […] Some of the most common activities of software deployment include software release, installation, testing, deployment, and performance monitoring.
In other words, deployment represents “the mechanism through which applications, modules, updates, and patches are delivered from developers to users”.
Software Deployment: Specific Activities
Software deployment activities include aspects like the release, installation and activation, uninstallation and deactivation, update, built-in update, and version tracking.
- The release activity includes “all the operations to prepare a system for assembly and transfer to the computer system(s) on which it will be run in production.”
- Installation may involve some sort of “command, shortcut, script or service for executing the software (manually or automatically)”, but also system configuration. Activation represents “the activity of starting up the executable component of software for the first time”.
- Uninstallation and deactivation are the reverses of installation and activation. In the uninstallation activity, a system that is no longer required is removed. Reconfiguration of other software systems may be necessary for the process. Deactivation “refers to shutting down any already-executing components of a system” and is “often required to perform other deployment activities, e.g., a software system may need to be deactivated before an update can be performed. The practice of removing infrequently used or obsolete systems from service is often referred to as application retirement”.
- An update process “replaces an earlier version of all or part of a software system with a newer release. It commonly consists of deactivation followed by installation.”
- The mechanisms for updates installation can sometimes be built into software systems or even in the operating system itself – this is called built-in update.
- Version tracking is used to “ help the user find and install updates to software systems.”
Software Deployment: Importance/Advantages
Software deployment is important because it offers a few advantages:
- Software deployment can intensify the in-house operations of an organization because it allows customization of software solutions.
- The custom-made software solutions lead to automation of business methods and can create centralized management.
- Software deployment can follow the modern mobile trend and help businesses by allowing users to operate remotely, from any device.
Software Deployment: Challenges
When it comes to software deployment, IT teams must overcome a few challenges:
- Integration. Most of us link software development to coding. However,
Prototyping, designing the user experience and user interface, testing the application on different devices, organizing and running field trials, figuring out how to deploy the application in legacy systems, how to integrate the app with the CRM, ERP, or other running systems, how to migrate the data, and how to safeguard the migrated data are all just as important, and take up a significant chunk of time as well.
- Data migration. As Fingent notes,
Data may reside in disparate legacy repositories and may be non-compatible with the new system. There may not be any business validation rules in place to determine the process of migration. Many companies fail to undertake an as-is assessment, to understand the quality of the data, before starting the data migration job. Such an assessment identifies what is missing, and enables companies to assess the work required to migrate the legacy data successfully.
- Resistance to change. As human beings, we are all programmed to seek familiarity, so it’s very possible that not all users will be willing to try new applications or functionalities. It’s important to always take into account the end users’ suggestions and feedback.
Software Deployment: Updates and Patches
Updates and patches are important aspects of software deployment. Let us have a closer look at what each represents:
Software updates refer to “a free download for an application, operating system, or software suite that provides fixes for features that aren’t working as intended or adds minor software enhancements and compatibility.”
As you can find in our Cybersecurity Glossary, a patch “is a small software update released by manufacturers to fix or improve a software program. A patch can fix security vulnerabilities or other bugs, or enhance the software in terms of features, usability, and performance.”
Consequently, patch management “refers to the activity of getting, testing, and installing software patches for a network and the systems in it. Patch management includes applying patches both for security purposes and for improving the software programs used in the network and the systems within it.”
Patches are crucial for the cybersecurity of any company – and any user, for a matter of fact. They help you reduce the risks of cyberattacks, and avoid data leaking and productivity loss – as these cybersecurity experts explain.
Software Deployment: Best Practices
Software deployment is a complex process. To make it more simple, the best suggestions would be to:
- create a list of goals that must be accomplished.
- create a checklist to avoid missing any steps.
- try to optimize (read: automate) the process as much as possible.
- test as much as you can to reduce bugs.
- inform end-users about the next updates and when to expect them.
Software Deployment: Wrapping Up
Software deployment, especially with its components of patching and updates, is essential for reducing cyberattack risks and for keeping the data safe and productivity up.
However you choose to proceed regarding software deployment and update management, please remember that Heimdal™ Security always has your back and that our team is here to help you protect your home and your company and to create a cybersecurity culture to the benefit of anyone who wants to learn more about it.
Drop a line below if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions related to the topic of software deployment – we are all ears and can’t wait to hear your opinion!