View of data and OWA managing existing web applications

Managing existing web applications

Mark Hall - 25 January 2022

At OWA we are frequently asked by clients if we can host, manage and support existing web applications and apps. This is a service in which OWA specialises and is delivered in-house by our UK-based team.

Before we begin

As part of our pre-sales process our team spends time to fully understand the technologies which have been used to build the application. Although we are able to support a broad range of technologies, we don’t do everything, so this initial piece of work will confirm whether we’re able to help. 

Depending on the complexity of the application we may recommend a code review is carried out as an initial piece of work. Code reviews are required for more complex applications where there is little or no technical documentation available from the original developers. These tend to focus on security, including the current support levels of other applications or code libraries which may have been integrated with the original application. OWA provides a detailed report as part of the code review highlighting any areas of the application that need upgrading before we are able to fully support it.

Secure hosting

OWA hosts the majority of applications which we manage at two independent UK-based data centres. For additional resilience the data centres are located in different geographic parts of the UK with facilities and connectivity sourced from different providers. For customers who run business-critical applications, we can securely replicate data between the two data centres and, in the event of an issue at one location, we can quickly get a standby version online.

As standard we take daily backups of client data but this can be more frequent for clients whose data changes rapidly. Offline encrypted copies of critical data are stored securely in the UK.

OWA systems are monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week and our team is on standby to respond to any issues which may arise. We aim to provide 100% uptime for the applications we host for our clients.

We aim to provide 100% uptime for the applications we host for our clients

Ongoing management

To ensure client systems remain online and secure for the maximum amount of time, our team will carry out regular performance application health-checks. Our aim is to always identify potential problems before things fail and avoid unnecessary downtime. 

Automated checks are run against the application every five minutes and optionally more in-depth manual checks can be carried out on a daily or weekly basis, depending on the complexity of the application.

System upgrades and patch management

It is essential for the security of any online application that the underlying operating system (OS) and dependent software are kept up to date. Operating systems will periodically need to be upgraded before they go out of support to ensure that security fixes continue to be made available. Security patches need to be installed on a regular basis to protect against cyber attacks.

OWA offers a monthly security protection service to all clients. This includes the monthly installation of all security patches which have been released by software vendors plus any zero-day vulnerability patches which are needed from time to time.

Further development and enhancements

Once the OWA development team is familiar with the underlying application code, we are able to carry out project-based development and enhancements as and when required. Typically clients will provide the OWA team with a development brief which we will then discuss before providing a fixed-cost proposal to carry out the development work.

All development work carried out by OWA comes with an inclusive 12-month warranty against any software bugs or errors.