Without the proper protection measures, chaos quickly brings your software system to its knees.
But fear not; there are several ways to protect your system from chaos, from developing a robust architecture to implementing a proactive approach to maintenance.
In this article, we’ll explore how it happens and some key steps you can take to protect your business from software chaos to keep things running smoothly.
Feedback loops generate chaos. Chaos theory says feedback loops eventually reach an unstable state, where a small change can cause your system to act in ways you don’t expect.
Chaos is far from ideal for your business-critical software.
Unfortunately, feedback loops creep into most software systems as they change and grow. If they don’t kill your system outright, they make managing it challenging, expensive, and time-consuming.
And it’s more insidious than most people realize.
Here’s a simple example of how it creeps in.
Suppose you have a data-cleansing script triggered by your system’s state. If your system uses anything related to updated data to determine what data to clean next, guess what: You have a feedback loop. If you do nothing, it will eventually become unstable and could fail, do something unexpected, or severely damage your business.
This simple example is pretty straightforward, but it’s more than that today. Let’s zoom out to see the big picture.
Think of your business’s technology ecosystem as a block of stable plutonium atoms. Usually, you are safe. However, in particular circumstances, like when you split just one atom in a block of millions, it causes a chain reaction leading to a nuclear detonation, destroying entire cities in the blink of an eye.
In the same way, every business today runs on many systems that are all connected and work together. Your product may even be one of the atomic tools in your customer’s ecosystem.
With many moving parts, even minor system degradation, entropy, or a single mis-wire can trigger escalating feedback. What you thought was a slight change sets off a chain reaction that delivers devastation. The resulting explosions destroy places you’d never expect.
Therefore, protecting your company from chaos is vital to ensure you keep running, adapt, and meet your potential.
There are several strategies for protecting your system from chaos.
Implementing a solid foundational architecture is crucial to stopping explosions and making it easy to make changes without causing problems. Another strategy is a high focus on monitoring during normal operations. You also get some insurance with mature quality assurance practices.
When we talk about “chaos” in software systems, we usually mean disorder and not knowing what will happen next. Triggers can be incorrect functionality, an uneven workload, or other things that make your system less safe or stable.
These issues cause your system to go down, data loss, and even hurt your company’s reputation if people stop trusting your system or if it doesn’t meet regulations.
Chaos is complex. It’s caused by many things, like lousy management or lack of control over change. Chaos also creeps in when you don’t implement proper risk management controls.
Understanding what it is and how it affects your software system is key to preventing chaos. Once your problems are clear, you gather the best tools to address them.
As I mentioned, there are several ways to protect your software system from feedback loops that feed chaos.
To start, you need to understand your system’s general state. Your first step is to do an initial assessment of your system to figure out how you are doing now—understanding your system’s health and disease risks.
To improve your system’s overall health, you need to identify potential issues and either resolve them now or implement a plan to fix them.
How do you do this?
To begin with, you need to understand your system’s components. You likely have a more extensive ecosystem made up of many systems. Each of those systems is composed of highly coordinated subcomponents.
Rank your ecosystem risks: Use an assessment to find, measure, understand, and rank your risks. This will help you decide in what order you should deal with them.
With this information, you can plan to improve your systems’ health. You need to understand the risks associated with each piece and then put the proper controls to manage those risks.
Use a risk assessment process to identify, quantify, and understand your dangers and rank them to help determine the order in which you should address them.
Once you’ve got this information, you know where to invest your efforts to protect your system from chaos.
Adopting a robust architecture is one of the best ways to protect your system from chaos.
A robust architecture is a well-structured, reliable, scalable, and secure system. It’s like the skeleton of your system. Architecture is meant to keep you safe by ensuring your system can handle things that might happen in the future.
A robust architecture comprises three key components: a rugged design, a solid foundation, and a reliable infrastructure.
A robust design is a blueprint for your system. Your overall structure and design let you scale your system to meet the needs of different stakeholders without sacrificing security or reliability.
A solid foundation is an existing architecture. It could be your database, software versions, or hosting environment.
Finally, a reliable infrastructure includes your system’s hosting environment, power, cooling, or network connectivity.
These parts need to work together to make a robust architecture that will keep your system from exploding.
One of the easiest ways to protect your system from chaos is through quality control.
At different points in your software development lifecycle, testing helps you find, quantify, and mitigate issues that could trigger problems in the future. Testing throughout your SDLC protects your system’s components. Testing protects your architecture from issues, protects your data from being corrupted, and verifies how well your system works.
Break down your testing into different stages, including testing your architecture, data, and functionality.
Instrumenting your architecture helps you identify potential issues early on. It helps you figure out if you are flexible and reliable enough to meet the needs of different stakeholders today without sacrificing security or reliability tomorrow.
Measuring, monitoring, and mitigating the health of your data helps identify issues early on and prevent corruption. It also ensures that your data is safe and that the right people have access. It also helps determine if your data could cause issues in the future.
Finally, testing functionality helps identify issues with your system’s functionality. It enables you to figure out what parts of your system you need to fix, improve, or retire so that the whole thing works better.
Another way to protect your system from chaos is through a proactive maintenance program.
Find out what could go wrong with your system and put the proper controls to deal with those risks. You can apply this program to all your assets across your entire SDLC.
Use maintenance to protect your system’s architecture, data, and behavior.
For example, applying security patches and upgrades as part of regular maintenance helps keep your business safe from problems.
It also stabilizes your data’s health by ensuring that it’s clean, has no errors, and is secure.
Maintenance also keeps your system running well by letting you know about issues early and helping you set up controls to fix them.
Another way to protect your system from chaos is through monitoring and logging.
Use monitoring throughout your SDLC to find issues with your system before they happen.
Use monitoring to secure your system’s architecture, data, and functionality. The instrumentation of your systems helps you identify potential issues. It also enables you to figure out if your architecture is flexible and reliable enough today to meet the needs of your stakeholders without sacrificing security or reliability tomorrow.
Monitoring your system’s health helps you find issues early and stop them from causing corruption. It also helps ensure your data is safe and people have the proper permission to access it. It also helps determine if your data could cause issues in the future.
Finally, monitoring your system’s behavior helps identify its functionality issues. It enables you to figure out what parts of your system need to be improved so that the whole thing works better.
Another way to protect your system from chaos is through automation.
You can use automation to protect your architecture, your data, and how your system works. Use automation throughout your SDLC to cut costs, speed up delivery, and help protect your system.
Automation helps keep your architecture safe by finding potential problems and putting controls in place to help fix them quickly. It can also secure your data by ensuring that it’s clean, has no errors, and is secure. Automation also protects how your system works by finding issues early and putting controls in place to help fix them.
You should now understand the importance of protecting your system from chaos.
You must also put the proper security measures in place.
Security maturity helps keep your system from going down unexpectedly, losing data, or getting a bad name because of chaos.
In this article, we covered where chaos comes from and several strategies you can use to protect your business, including
You should now understand the importance of protecting your system from chaos, how it hurts you and damages your business, and how to prevent it from happening. Chaos is a problem that every company has to deal with at some point, but when you act quickly, you delay the situation and keep it from worsening.
Adopt a strategy today to prevent chaos and protect yourself.
By the way…
Chaos is the enemy of all software systems. It can quickly ruin your business without the proper protections or cause considerable trouble.
Don’t let chaos keep you from taking your business to the next level. Uncover your risks with a Truth Shield assessment and mitigation strategy. With our help, you can rest easy knowing that your software systems are safe and secure.
Your assessment action plan will help you resist chaos through focused preventive maintenance backed by a solid architecture strategy. Our approach will help you make the most of your software systems, so you can focus on what matters: growing your business.
Don’t let chaos bring your business down. Get the protection you need with our software protection system. Contact us today for more information on how we can help protect your business from software chaos.
I’d love to learn how I can help accelerate your success.