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Software Test Services and Transformation Services

Software Test Services and Transformation Services

Software Quality is a formidable differentiator in today’s economy driven by technology. In order to succeed, an organization requires to address their Software Testing requirements ranging from Manual Testing to Automated Testing. Ensuring quality is the most practical way of ensuring business effectiveness.

Test Advisory and Transformation Services are designed to leverage technology in order to improve business outcomes. It ensures flawless IT operations with the right test infrastructure, tools and skills for Software Testing requirements.

Test Advisory and Transformation Services work towards improving test outcomes, better return on investment and a quicker time-to-market. It helps to assess and re-engineer the QA processes. Test Advisory Services provides consulting expertise along with the best testing practices across typical Functional, Non-Functional, Continuous Testing, Defect Management and Test Automation in an organization.

It explains to them their main problem areas by analyzing the risks and miss outs in their processes and practices. Test Advisory Consultants follow the process of test assessment, audit of test assets, test process advisory and QA tools advisory. This major approach includes developing a testing strategy and planning with assistance and assessment. Here, all the factors of people, process, technology, and risk is taken into account.

The key benefits of Test Advisory Services can be listed as follows:

  • It helps design a transformational journey
  • It helps make business improvements and roadmap for investments
  • It enables industry benchmarking
  • It helps identify single point failures
  • It rovides a holistic approach to assess the testing partner
  • It helps deliver reliable solutions that effectively help to brand business
  • It helps to optimize testing cycle time
  • It provides a uniform test management, planning and reporting system. It standardizes the entire process of test management and generates standardized reports.
  • It develops a reliable and feasible test strategy and plan, with focus on business goals.
  • It adheres to the target verification, validation and compliance requirements.
  • It helps to overcome testing challenges by building robust testing challenges.
  • It reduces total cost of testing and improves business value.

Transformation Services further empower the organizations in supporting their transformation journey by implementing a roadmap designed during the advisory phase. Transformation Services involve enhanced process architecture, improved tools, improved skill consistency, metrics framework and a robust management.

The term Business Assurance can be a new term for Quality Assurance. It signifies various factors such as Risk Assessment and Mitigation, Compliance Management and Management of Business Continuity. A testing transformation involves a number of methodologies, processes and accelerators. They subsequently speed up time to market and ensure cost effectiveness.  Transformation Services mainly involve:

  • Rationalization of costs and enhancing the productivity of the testing function
  • Establishing a shift-left approach in order to reinforce the constant involvement of testing across SDLC

Conclusion

Test Advisory and Transformation Services bring in high visibility into the organization’s processes from inception to delivery and helps to establish a higher level of Quality Assurance and Process Maturity.

Is IoT testing a key to empower a smart city?

A smart city is conceived as a huge ecosystem of interconnected organs of a city brought about by embedded electronics, softwares, sensors, and actuators using wireless or other networks working in a seamless way to provide better services to the citizens. The organs can include services like fire, police stations and hospitals, power generation and distribution centres, residential buildings, businesses, courts, municipalities, libraries, schools, colleges, administrative units, transportation system, traffic management, and many others. In a smart city good use of computer based networks can be used to bring about the following:

  • Prompt response in cases of emergencies like fire, natural disasters, rioting, accidents, etc.
  • Betterment of services like health, education, etc.
  • Better waste management by municipalities
  • Better traffic management through suitable signalling and parking arrangements
  • Ensure proper distribution of power and reduce leakages
  • Better coordination amongst a multitude of transport services
  • Better management of schools, colleges, libraries, etc.
  • Better monitoring of air quality and optimal use of natural resources like water

Smart cities are the need of the hour; as urban population density is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. As population increases the pressure on limited resources is bound to grow leading to conflicts. Smart cities would ensure equitable distribution of resources in the most efficient way. As there will be less wastage or leakages in the services offered the citizens will be better served leading to a better quality of life. To bring the concept of smart cities into reality Internet of Things or IoT will play an all encompassing role.

IoT enables physical infrastructure like buildings, vehicles and all other objects to communicate and exchange data with each other. They can do so with the help of embedded softwares, actuators, sensors, thermostats and other gadgets through wireless network protocols like LAN, WAN, PAN. As the proper functioning of IoT becomes a prerequisite for different organs of a smart city to function in a seamless manner, the testing of IoT ecosystem becomes inevitable.

IoT testing services can include the following:

Functional testing: Here individual components like applications, sensors, actuators, etc. are tested for efficient outcomes. It also tests if the communication bandwidth is adequate for faster transmission of data signals.

Interoperability of systems test: It covers testing of various devices and software systems to ensure they operate across different platforms with compatible versions.

Security testing: Checks if gadgets and services follow security protocols, and adhere to privacy norms.

Usability testing: Checks systems and processes from the users’ perspective to ensure they meet user requirements and lead to a better user experience.

Conclusion:

As IoT ecosystem is part of the basic architecture of smart cities, its proper functioning needs to be ensured. Hence, IoT testing is an absolute must to usher in a throbbing smart city.

Michael works for Cigniti Technologies, which is the world’s first Independent Software Testing Services Company to be appraised at CMMI-SVC Level 5, and an ISO 9001:2008 & ISO 27001:2013 certified organization.

Check Cyber crime by employing Security Testing of software

The digital revolution has transformed the world with its focus on time, speed, reach and quality. As its broad sweep continues to touch almost every aspect of our lives, cyber criminals have found its all encompassing ecosystem too lucrative to wreak havoc. Hence, the challenge before everyone connected to the digital world, with its vast repositories of sensitive government, business and personal customer information, is to remain ever vigilant with new safeguards put in place. The threat of data breach can not only impact the lives of end customers but can also ruin the brand equity of companies and institutions. Given the enormity of the threat of cyber crime, security testing experts often find themselves at their wits’ end while strengthening data security measures. As customers’ lives begin to be increasingly governed by software applications, the need for companies to make software security testing an important part of the overall SDLC, has become the sine-qua-non to fight the menace of cyber crime.

The digital platform has opened new vistas that till a few years back were considered part of science fiction. Today, there is hardly any activity that has not been touched by the digital revolution, more so after the advent of smartphones. Of late, we have become so dependent on software applications that willy-nilly we have become party to share sensitive personal information with app developers. Although increased digitization has made our lives easier, it has spawned a new threat of cyber crime that many of us have fallen victims to at some point of time or the other. The threat is not confined to common customers alone but applies to businesses, institutions and governments as well.

There have been many instances of data breach or breach of data security measures in banking institutions leading to a loss of people’s confidence in the system. It appears a constant game of cat and mouse is being played between security testing experts and cyber criminals with hurrahs and sighs drawn from each of the sides. Given below is a list of methods that are employed by cyber criminals to gain access into secured systems:

Phishing: Here, emails are sent to customers tricking them into revealing sensitive information. A typical example is the ‘lottery win emails from Nigeria,’ wherein bank details are sought from customers to receive the ‘jackpot money.’

Spam: Unsolicited mails containing malware or links to fraud websites, which mimic the designs of familiar websites are sent to customers. These emails trick customers into using these fraud links to share information.

Denial of Service: Also known as Distributed Denial of Service or DDOS, it includes sending a barrage of multiple service requests from a number of IP addresses to a site, preferably a financial one, causing it to crash.

Hacking: Any of the methods like phishing, malware, spyware, worms, identify theft, spam etc is employed to exploit the vulnerability of a system in order to gain entry and steal information. The theft of credit card information from banking servers can be one such example.

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Eliminating Software Testing Constraints through Service Virtualization

Service Virtualization-Declare Your Independence from Testing Constraints

With the growing complexity of software applications, testing teams face a number of testing constraints. Such constraints include restricted access to the mainframe or test environments, unavailability of test data, limited access to third party systems and economic limitations. More often, constraints are faced when parallel development teams require access to the same environment. Service Virtualization is the practice of mocking and stubbing the development and test environments with realism in order to optimize the development time and shift left testing. All this is done with the sole agenda for a faster release process and higher quality delivery.

A Service Virtualization Strategy works on the following approaches for eliminating Software Testing Constraints and establishing Independent testing.

  1. Creation of Live Environment: Service Virtualization needs to be applied at or between any layer where dependencies exist in order to provide the most realistic or live-like possible environment. Mostly, teams try to move forward with their own component development by stubbing the next downstream system only. Alternatively, when teams work with real data scenarios, the resulting environment is more realistic and current than manually coded stubs.

Benefits:

  • Ability to start development despite the unavailability of the system interface.
  • Reduced cycle time for test execution.
  • Improvement in test coverage because of reduced data dependency and available testing time.
  • Improvement in unit testing with lesser effort.
  • Improvement in code quality due to increased test coverage and regression testing.
  • Ability to build a simulator with a low maintenance effort.
  1. Enabling Parallel Devlopment and Testing: Service Virtualization enables the development and testing team to work simultaneously by acting as a ‘go between’ asset between the system under development and the system under test in a symbiotic manner. Such a solution allows teams to execute under live services where they are available, functionally robust and data synchronized. For situations where the teams do not have the services that support the component correctly, they can switch back to virtual services. This ability to switch between a purely virtual system and a live system is a very powerful asset in creating a robust parallel development capability.

Benefits:

  • Increase in the speed of test and development cycles.
  • True responsiveness of Agile Iterations.
  • Reduced burden of Version control.
  • Increase in issue acceptance and resolution prior to production.
  • Faster delivery with higher quality and higher accuracy.

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Impact of Test Automation on enterprises

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Software, either in the form of a web based service or a mobile based application, has become immensely popular and universal. Consequently, a poor quality software or application can lead to customer dissatisfaction, loss of revenue and brand equity, increase in litigation costs, and numerous other fallouts where customers use the software to carry out crucial tasks like banking.

As an antidote to such eventualities, businesses are fine tuning their testing processes by adopting Test Automation. This is because by establishing a Test Automation Framework an enterprise can leverage many benefits in the form of identification of hidden errors, reusability of test suite, quicker test and release phases, better deployment of human resources, better quality software, increased customer satisfaction, and a rise in profits.

In the digital era, where trillion lines of codes are written to develop a software – ranging from office suites, engineering automated tools, and mobile gaming to the high end domains of military hardware and space technology, the issue of Quality Assurance cannot be over emphasized.

Poor quality software with glitches can be absolutely damaging for a company’s reputation and a customers’ loss of confidence in the product. The situation has arisen as companies tend to cut costs on quality control in order to become the early bird in the market.

Impact of poor quality software

  • Cost of correction: When poor quality software triggers increased customer complaints, a large chunk of employees are forced to spend their productive time in addressing those issues rather than focusing on doing something new. Hence, it makes sense to perform quality control activities on applications before they are delivered to the customers.
  • Effect on brand value: Dissatisfied customers can spread the news of a bad quality product real fast, more than what the PR or marketing team of a company can do. Customer distrust can have a lasting impact on the revenue stream and brand equity of a company, as customers will not think twice before moving to a rival product.
  • Litigation costs: Affected customers can sue a company if its product(s) impacts their lives in a negative way. Moreover, should a product fall foul of regulatory compliance requirements the consequences can be real damaging.

As business stakeholders realize the scale of damage poor quality software can bring upon the company, quality control is made central to the overall scheme. Besides, in order to ensure the delivery of better quality software in real quick time, the use of Agile or DevOps gains traction. This brings into focus Software Test Automation wherein quality issues on account of manual testing are addressed.

Five key benefits of Test Automation

  1. Saving time and money: Automated Application Testing can drastically cut down time and resources that are typically spent on manual testing. Besides, since innumerable test iterations can be carried out practically unattended, the concerned manpower can be deployed on other focus areas.

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7 key benefits a Testing CoE brings for your business

7-key-benefits-a-Testing-CoE-brings-for-your-business

Adherence to Quality is at the centre of an application’s acceptance by its end users. It validates if an application is suited to meet specifications that were laid out at the time of its designing. Traditionally, quality testing functions as a distinct phase in the overall Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and suffers from inadequacies such as lack of synergy with the development team, lack of automation, dependence on external variables, and a general slackness in following best practices and technologies.

With the advent of Agile and DevOps methodologies, quality testing has undergone a paradigm shift. The shift involves setting up a centralized Testing Centre of Excellence that oversees conduct of best practices, increased automation and coordination with other business arms, and continuous metrics based evaluation to deliver top notch quality applications in the least possible time.

Even though the implementation of Quality Assurance (QA) centre of excellence might involve initial costs and changes to the organizational work culture, its benefits can be seen in the near future.

The demand for quality, speed and agility in designing, developing and deployment of applications has been understood by business stakeholders including the most important Quality Assurance team. In its quest to offer better quality products and shorter time to market schedules, the traditional Quality Assurance team has to necessarily transform itself into a Testing Centre of Excellence.

This gives the team an insight into emerging technologies, best practices, operational inadequacies, cost optimization and faster time to market. CoEs help in increasing the efficiency of the Quality Assurance team a notch or two vis-a-vis its traditional avatar. It comes across as a centralized framework, wherein quality tools, practices, technologies, and processes are shared across different testing arms of an organization.

Inadequacies of the traditional QA model

  • No proper insight into various processes and systems that develop and run applications
  • Unable to adapt to fast-paced changes in business priorities, market dynamics, technologies, and end user expectations.
  • Glitches go unnoticed frequently, thanks to the dominance of manual testing, thereby impacting business and brand equity.
  • Repetitive manual tests can frustrate even the most stoic of employees, leading to less optimised use of crucial IT resources.
  • Lack of synergy between various testing teams can lead to glossing over of glitches and increased cost of fixing them.
  • Absence of proper tools to communicate and share push teams in respective silos
  • The QA team lacks resources and mechanisms to undertake continuous improvement of an application post deployment

What stops COE from deployment?

  • Normal resistance to change – in organisational structure, work culture, technology, and further resistance to bear the initial cost of setting up COE.
  • Lack of insight into tangible/intangible benefits in the absence of metrics driven quality checking across functions.
  • Lack of executive support, both at the tactical and strategic levels.

Seven key benefits of Testing centre of excellence

A common framework: Testing Centre of Excellence provides for a centralized framework of testing tools, processes and systems that ensure quality of an application across departments is maintained. Besides, all testing teams become part of the overall CoEs in alignment with the missions and goals of the company.

Resource Mobilisation: In COE human resources are properly assigned across functions keeping in mind their core skills. Hence, additional cost on retraining of resources is not needed.

Proper ROI assessment: As metrics based testing is followed covering a greater test area, cost of glitches and time to market can be easily ascertained.

Use of automation: Increased use of automation in Testing Centre of Excellence implies lesser testing cycles, and faster time to market.

Standardization: Standardization of testing methodologies means streamlining of testing processes, and sharing of systems and tools across functions.

Better synergy: Increased coordination between various QA functions ensures better identification of glitches.

Sync with new developments: Testing centre of excellence entails focus on latest technologies and best practices, thereby garnering better responses to emerging business dynamics.

Michael works for Gallop Solutions, which is one of the North America’s largest Independent Software Testing companies operating since 2003 with offices in Philadelphia & California.

The importance of Test Advisory Consultants in meeting business needs

The-importance-of-Test-Advisory-Consultants-in-meeting-business-needs

Businesses across the globe have been dealing with challenges related to market recession, capital crunch, frequent technological advances, increase in customer expectations, and quicker time-to-market. The best way to meet these challenges is to upgrade the IT infrastructure on the lines of Agile and Lean principles. Besides, quality as an important attribute in the overall SDLC or manufacturing life cycle is needed to be acknowledged, and suitably customised to meet a company’s business goals.

Test Advisory Services are independent bodies of experts that assess the maturity of the QA function in a company, and suggest or implement measures to make it nimble, effective, technically compliant, responsive, and world class. The role of Transformation testing experts is to assess and implement measures that ensure that the testing processes of an organisation remain capable of testing multiple vendor inputs and cloud based resources, run virtualization, and confirm that final deliverables meet business specifications and objectives.

The ever expanding demands of businesses have brought Quality Assurance to the centre stage. Of late, business stakeholders have realized the importance of quality and how it can have a bearing on the spread of their customer base and brand equity in the market. As business dynamics change rapidly in the wake of technological advancements and other global factors, the need to reorient one’s Quality Assurance processes assumes salience.

Furthermore, a significant number of organizations are yet to embrace the latest testing technologies, and the ones they are saddled with (read legacy QA systems) do not do justice to the customers’ need for world class quality products or services.

Such scenarios require an independent assessment of the existing QA systems present in companies by Test Advisory Consultants – independent third party experts, who have their eyes and ears tuned to the latest QA technologies and customer preferences. The assessment by Test Advisory Services (TAS) is critical, as it can pave the way for transforming legacy QA systems to the ones that are truly world class.

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Performance Testing as critical to medical devices testing

Performance-Testing-as-critical-to-medical-devices-testing

The advancements in medical science have brought about a revolution in the diagnosis and treatment of critical diseases. And an important cog in the wheel in the entire cycle of diagnosis and treatment is the suite of medical devices that is as varied in its range as the types of existing diseases.

Be it the drug eluting stents, magnetic resonance imaging machines, CT scan machines, X ray and ultrasound devices, Color Doppler, ECG or the pacemakers, the lives of patients depend upon the efficacy of these devices. Any malfunction in the functioning or performance of medical devices can have a serious impact on the condition of patients threatening even their very survival.

No wonder, the domain of Medical Device Testing has become so critical in the overall scheme of things. As embedded software is increasingly becoming the norm in new medical devices, they should be thoroughly checked – right from the design stage to the entire end to end development cycle.

Medical devices testing specialists should conduct performance testing on medical devices along with other tests to ensure they pass muster on regulatory requirements as well as during crucial clinical trials.

The role of medical devices in spheres of diagnosis and treatment of diseases has grown over the years. Moreover, the devices have undergone changes in terms of materials used, embedded software deployment, automation, and the way they capture crucial parameters related to the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions.

As medical devices become crucial, the significance of Medical Device Testing has received increased traction amongst stakeholders. It is about increasing use of technology for designing, building, testing and deployment of medical devices.

Apart from meeting design specifications, medical devices have to be compliant with the standards set by federal and international regulatory bodies. Medical Device testing specialists have their tasks cut out when they check medical devices for robustness, accuracy, usability, safety and responsiveness a la performance testing.

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Make healthcare applications glitch free through performance testing

Why-is-Performance-Testing-absolutely-a-mandate-for-Healthcare-Applications

As the world of healthcare moves from manual to digital systems, it has brought about sophistication, swiftness and responsiveness in a big way. Furthermore, the role of healthcare applications in facilitating a seamless management of modern healthcare system and requirement has benefited all stakeholders. It could be the administration, medical practitioners, caregivers, management, pharmacies, insurance companies, and the most important of all – the end customers. The increased reliance of modern healthcare industry on digitally enabled healthcare platforms has a flip side to it as well. Particularly, how it will impact the functioning of the entire healthcare architecture in case a software glitch takes place. As healthcare applications directly impact the life of a person, its smooth functioning should be a foregone conclusion. To ensure the same, Application Performance Testing comes into the picture whereby performance of a healthcare application is tested during the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC). In this type of testing, Performance Testing Experts check the performance, responsiveness and stability of an application when it encounters increased workload. Besides, in conformity to Agile and DevOps principles, Performance Engineering is made part of the development process whereby probability of glitches to remain or being generated in the system is addressed.

With mobile based applications covering virtually every aspect of our lives, how could the important domain of healthcare be left behind? Thus, a plethora of healthcare applications that encompasses functions such as hospital admission, booking and paying for consultation, buying medicines, checking vital health parameters, billing, and liaising with insurance companies has found its value among governments, companies and the general populace. Besides, various applications embedded within diagnostic tools and critical health saving devices have revolutionised medical science as never before.

The criticality of applications in various arms of the healthcare domain requires them to be glitch free so that they can work with absolute precision. This is where testing comes into play for it can prevent a glitch prone application from hitting the market and endangering the lives of patients. However, testing of healthcare applications entails challenges of its own.

How difficult is it to test Healthcare Applications?

  • Adherence to industry standards such as ISO, FDA, HIPAA, HL7 and CMMI is required.
  • Performance Testing Experts should be reasonably acquainted with various aspects of medical science and their clinical manifestations.

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5 skills in Security Testing you need to build for 2017

5-skills-in-Security-testing-you-need-to-build-for-2017

As cyber security has become one of the biggest areas of concern both for the individual and the enterprise, more number of security testing experts are required.

According to industry statistics, by 2019, a massive 6 million security testing experts will be needed and there would only be 4 to 5 million professionals with right skills.

Some of the key domains of security testing skills that are going to be in demand big time are lined up here.

  1. Machine learning

For advanced form of threat, machine learning solutions are emerging strong. In this technology the machine is not something that works as programmed but grows its abilities through self-learning, just like human brain. It is in line with artificial intelligence and still is the most sophisticated form of technology devised.

  1. Incident response plan and Malware analysis with Sandbox

As we prepare to detect and resist threats, we must also have detail plan of action when security has been transgressed. To minimize the degree of damage, Incident Response plan is a powerful security testing measure.

This area of security skill is to do with damage control in the aftermath of data breach or any other attack on cyber security. Knowing the deft use of right tools, a skilled Incident response planner is able to rise to the emergency situation to address and manage the harm in the best possible manner.

Many big corporations are investing in Incident Response and threat intelligence professionals to build better fortresses and responses against cyber breaches.

  1. Malware analysis with Sandbox

Malware is the big old enemy and cannot get detected by regular antivirus systems. It can trigger a wide range of disruptions in automated systems. Sandbox is a very strong mechanism of detecting malwares from unverified or untrusted sources. Works as a standalone, Sandbox ensures no harm to the host system. A 60 % increase in Malware analyst position noticed in the last two years and is expected to grow manifold.

  1. Whitelisting

For a long time it was a cumbersome task to blacklist the ever-growing and ever-changing army of viruses. The new whitelisting security approach has proved to be more apt. Whitelisting applications allow only pre-approved programmes and services while closing all other probabilities of deceptive applications.

  1. Privileged Access Management

Security testing is about building an integrated solution for controlling all privileged or authentic accounts. Managing authentication and authorization of a user, who needs access to a system is a security testing skill of great worth.

  1. PKI

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is another kind of integrated authentication system comprising computer systems, policies and standards. It creates, distributes or cancels digital keys and certificates.

Authentication of identity and Access is essential for an organization’s smooth functioning, and this is a key expertise to be built.

Conclusion

Security is a prime concern and more the threats or vulnerabilities, better are the efforts to fight them with newer and smarter technologies. Both businesses and governments depend heavily on security testing experts and will continue to do so for some obvious operational and performance reasons.