In many cases, IT security has become a victim to digital transformations — a situation that has led to breaches and data theft.
Seeking expediency in application development and delivery, enterprises often turn to rapid application development and deployment tools. Unfortunately, those tools often place the need for speed above the need for security, creating situations where applications are pushed out without the full spectrum of security controls.
The security faults most likely lie with those developing applications and not so much with the tools themselves. However, development tools that place security first can eliminate many of the InfoSec problems created by digital transformation.
Case in point is Denver, Colorado-based TrackVia, a company dedicated to combining security with rapid application development ideologies. TrackVia provides a secure, reliable low-code platform that enables users to create, modify and deploy custom web and mobile applications easily and rapidly in order to digitize and streamline their critical and complex operational processes and workflows.
A Closer Look at the TrackVia Platform
Founded in 2006, TrackVia has its roots in cloud-based low-code application platforms and has steadily evolved to offer more advanced workflow management capabilities. Billed as an alternative to spreadsheets, legacy databases and complicated enterprise systems for managing operations, TrackVia’s low-code platform provides an efficient and rapid method to bring to fruition Web and mobile applications that can be tailored to support a company’s unique workflows and can be consumed on a plethora of devices.
The secret sauce behind those capabilities comes from the ideology of leveraging a cloud-based platform to create, provision and control workflows. Because the TrackVia platform is completely cloud-based, there is no software to download, install or maintain, yet it can still scale to meet enterprise needs. Therein lies TrackVia’s secret for creating secure web and mobile applications.
Simply put, TrackVia’s platform approach incorporates advanced security capabilities, such as 24/7 network security monitoring, AES-256 encryption, full user authentication, roles-based access and administration, as well as numerous third-party data center certifications, such as optional HIPAA compliance. The company also performs security monitoring, auditing and incident response chores, removing that burden from internal IT.
Any workflow created on the TrackVia platform is automatically secured by incorporating access controls and other security elements, which many low-code platforms do not offer by default.
Hands on with the TrackVia Platform
While security proves to be one of the most critical elements of any Web application, the ability to quickly create those applications proves almost as important. Luckily, with TrackVia, development speed and security go hand in hand.
The TrackVia platform is designed to help organizations quickly create their own software as a service (SaaS) applications. All the application elements, as well as the development tools, reside in TrackVia’s own data center.
Getting started takes little more than identifying what workflow a developer wants to create and then logging into TrackVia’s browser-based interface and management console. For many, one of the first applications created converts a manual spreadsheet into an integrated Web and native mobile application. For example, numerous businesses are stuck using spreadsheets to record data, report on transactions or even to track inventory, field services, projects or the like. The primary reason that spreadsheets have taken hold for those chores comes from either the lack of enterprise software that meets a business’s specific needs or from the lack of developers to create an appropriate application.
That is exactly where TrackVia comes in. It provides the toolset to convert a spreadsheet into an application that can be used in the field on a mobile device or in-house via a browser. What’s more, TrackVia transforms that spreadsheet into a data entry application that combines security with ease of use — while also incorporating reliability and data protection.
Spreadsheets prove to be one of the easiest starting points for creating a workflow. Once logged into TrackVia, all you need to do to get started is to create a new project and then simply drag the excel spreadsheet into the platform. TrackVia identifies the fields, data and other elements in the spreadsheet and automatically creates the basic framework for an application.
After importing the spreadsheet, application designers can finetune the application as well as choosing from various ways to customize the application to their needs. Oftentimes, they can fully configure an application using just drag-and-drop functionality. That said, the TrackVia platform also provides developer-centric features, such as in-app scripting, for more advanced customizations. These choices drive the development of the application, which then appears on the TrackVia dashboard. From the dashboard, end users can begin managing their work, and a project, for example, can be assigned to the person responsible for executing the next steps in the workflow.
With just a few mouse clicks, the TrackVia platform creates the necessary logic to process a data entry task that was once done manually in a spreadsheet. TrackVia also manages to create an application that runs on multiple platforms, uses a workflow paradigm to assign steps and gathers the necessary data to complete a process or procedure.
Of course, the TrackVia platform can do much more than transform spreadsheets into applications. The platform also offers the capability to integrate with other applications or create much more robust applications that can scale. TrackVia offers the ability to connect to hundreds of Web applications, including QuickBooks, Gmail, Google Docs, MailChimp, HubSpot, SurveyMonkey and many others.
Application developers can accomplish those integrations directly from the TrackVia Management Console, and in many cases, all it takes is a few mouse clicks to integrate applications together and build a workflow that transitions into a new application. Those new applications incorporate any logic or code chosen by the developer while also being wrapped in the necessary security protocols to keep data safe from interception or capture.
The TrackVia platform offers two ways to integrate with other Web-based applications. The primary method consists of using TrackVia’s own API, or alternatively using a third-party service called Zapier. Zapier connects hundreds of Web-based applications to each other using a very simple “when this happens, do this” structure, which is referred to as a “Zap.” A Zap is little more than the necessary code to create the connection and is self-contained, meaning that no programing is needed.
Zapier proves to be a very quick way to create simple integrations. For those looking to move beyond simple, TrackVia’s public API brings much more power to the table yet still supports the concept of a low-code environment. The company offers guided tutorials, as well as a full SDK to make adopting APIs and creating custom integrations relatively straightforward.
For businesses looking to streamline application development, introduce advanced security and create workflows that transition into “run anywhere” Web and mobile applications, TrackVia’s low-code platform proves hard to beat. TrackVia makes it easier to translate business logic into actual applications, bringing the power of custom programing to non-programmers, while also preventing them from getting in over their heads.
Frank Ohlhorst is an award-winning technology journalist, professional speaker and IT business consultant. He has written for leading technology publications including Computerworld, TechTarget, PCWorld, ExtremeTech and Tom's Hardware, and business publications including Entrepreneur, Forbes and BNET. Ohlhorst was also the executive technology editor for Ziff Davis Enterprise's eWeek and former director of the CRN Test Center.