The Power of Web Applications for Performance, Security & Accessibility
5 min read
Despite the advancements that have been made over the last decade, there are still a lot of enterprises out there running internal LAN-based applications that are not accessible over the Internet without a VPN, or Virtual Private Network. The issue is that while these applications may be convenient while someone is physically in the office, they cannot be accessed by employees while traveling, while working in the field... or while at home.
Even in a completely normal situation, this would be an issue as more people have been working from home over the last decade than ever. Once you also consider the fact that many people had to work from home thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, you quickly begin to get an idea of just how big this issue is.
With employees literally required to stay at home in a lot of areas, the shortcomings of those internal LAN-based applications have become crystal clear. Thankfully, an alternative has arisen in the form of web applications. Not only are they inherently accessible from anywhere and on any device with an active Internet connection, but they're also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Did any of your employees have to work late at night during the pandemic because they had been taking care of their child's education during the day? Suddenly you've just given them the tool they need to support that.
But at the same time, this poses the question: how do you convert a server-based internal application running on a LAN into a web application that operates just as well in terms of web application performance and other key factors? The good news is that by its nature, your web app will take care of performance, security and accessibility concerns moving forward - all while also unlocking all of the other key benefits outlined above.
The Importance of Web Application Performance
It goes without saying that web application performance is critical to any business. To guarantee that your new application has the performance necessary for the most productive use possible, your developers will need to use all of the best practices for web application development available to them to make it as fast as humanly possible.
The "behind the scenes" details of performance are subtle, but rest assured they are there. The programmers who are designing your application must be aware of those coding techniques that ensure the fastest execution of the code possible. Note that some techniques can actually degrade application speed over time, while also limiting the number of users on the system who can be engaged simultaneously. Because of that, it will ultimately be the skills of your development team that will guarantee the high performance of the application you need when you need it the most.
Another thing that you have to consider is that if an application is an internal server or LAN-based application, then generally these "solutions" are old - meaning that they're not optimized for the ever-changing needs of a business in the fast-paced Internet era. By optimizing a web application version of that business system, you have the opportunity to gain all of the known benefits of these apps themselves - while simultaneously improving your business workflows and the usability of the application, too.
That's another major way that web application performance excels - not only are you ending up with a solution that is more powerful than your old one, but it's also easier to engage with and make use of as well. This helps to empower productivity across the board during a time when you desperately need to do so.
What You Need to Know About Web Application Security
One of the most crucial things to understand about the security of web applications is that it really is an evolving science. Smart development teams take a great deal of care to architect applications in a very precise way so that there are different layers of security, ranging from the point of entry all the way up through when someone has access to your business data.
By simply selecting the right development platform to begin with, with the Microsoft ASP.NET development platform being one of the most prominent examples, businesses stand to benefit from the security that is built right into it from the moment of its inception. Likewise, you also have the ability to update code as new security methods are implemented moving forward.
The security extends from the server all the way through to the application itself, making sure that you can rest easy at night knowing that the chances any of your sensitive business data will be compromised are slim.
Web Application Accessibility: A Bold New Frontier
When you're dealing with older server and LAN-based systems, the expertise needed to simply maintain them may no longer be available - to say nothing of how challenging it becomes to enhance those systems over time. Yes, it's true that universities across the country are educating many new software engineers as you read this. But nobody wants to graduate only to go to work at the frustrating job of maintaining a legacy system that should have been put out to pasture years ago. The longer a legacy system is in service, the harder it is to find qualified people who are willing to maintain it. All of the best people move onto new and exciting technologies. These skilled workers, versed in the latest web technology, are able to build and support new web applications and it's up to you to let them do so.
Having this rich resource pool enables your company to have complete confidence that your new web applications will have access to the resources that can actually support it.
Likewise, when you have an internal system, it cannot be modified to allow clients to be pulled into the workflow process as they are naturally an "external" part of the business. By designing controlled, direct web access apps for clients, you gain efficiency and improved customer service satisfaction by allowing them to play an important role in the work you're doing daily. For larger clients that require a large amount of data to flow back and forth, data is often rekeyed because of a LAN-based system at the business or at the client level.
Direct integration over the Internet between a business and its client via web services can eliminate the need to rekey this data - therefore improving the way you need to work while making the client feel like an organic part of the process as well.
In the end, one of the essential things you need to realize is that a high performing web application is more than just a "minor convenience." It may seem like a big investment initially, but the benefits quickly prove that it was more than worth the effort. At a bare minimum, web applications enable team members to have access to important business systems wherever they are.
Moreover, modern applications can absolutely transform the productivity of a business in a way that allows them to work smarter, not harder - all while bringing them closer to their customers as well by making those traditionally "external" entities an organic part of the business process. If you needed a single factor to convince you that this was the right move to make at this particular time, let it be that one.
Leveraging the web was always the future of the workforce in this country - and it's especially important given the way companies have evolved to do business during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic highlighted business process weaknesses that had to be overcome just to survive. These new processes and new technology put in place during the pandemic have forever changed the way companies conduct business and if you want to stay competitive, you need to do the same.
To learn more about the power of web applications for performance, security and accessibility, please download the eBook titled "Legacy Systems Modernization 101: Your Guide for Success."