The 5 Secrets Of Succeeding at Test Automation.

The report Testing Trends in 2017 – A Survey of Software Professionals” showed that an increasing number of development teams are deploying software faster – 14% doing so hourly, up from 10% last year. Clearly, to enable this pace of deployment the speed of testing has to increase too so that bug fixes can be faster and the feedback loop can be shortened. Perhaps, the prime enabler of faster testing is test automation and hence software development companies are focused on strengthening their test automation initiatives. Reports are that the test automation market is all set to expand at a CAGR of 15.4% from 2017 to 2025 to hit US$ 109.69 billion by 2025.

Having said this, test automation is no magic wand that can be simply waved to cure all testing related ills. Automation initiatives also demand investment, so there is increased pressure on organizations to ensure the ROI of these initiatives. In this blog, we look at the 5 secrets to ensuring test automation success.

  1. Align testing with business goals:
    First, it is essential to align testing with the expected business goals of the software application or service under development. Taking a requirement-driven approach that addresses all functional and non-functional needs of the software, and discussing these needs with the development team is essential to develop a relevant testing suite. Testers must also ensure maximum code coverage through smart test design that not only tests the boundary considerations using multiple test cases but also ensures thorough and detailed test coverage of the codes that implement the requirement.
  2. Optimal utilization of all testing and QA assets:Manual testers, automation engineers, domain experts, and product owners are also key QA assets along with test cases, test data and the testing infrastructure. While many might feel that manual testers are no longer relevant when test automation is implemented, this is not true. There are certain tests such as exploratory testing that can only be done by manual testers. Remember that test automation cannot test for everything. It is essential to rely on manual testers to identify problems at a contextual level since automated scripts are restricted by boundaries. Similarly, automation engineers should be employed to ensure that the right test automation technologies are being used, the scope of automation is well-defined and that the test preparation is such that it hastens the testing process.
    Testing teams should also take into consideration the expertise of domain experts and product owners. They can give a deeper understanding of how the user wants the software to perform and what needs it must fulfill. Test cases and test data are other areas of focus that improve the quality of test automation initiatives by ensuring comprehensive coverage of all testing scenarios. It is essential to pay close attention to the testing infrastructure for better software testing, downtime management, and utilization management.
  3. Focus on ‘what’ to test as much as ‘how’ to test:Some test automation initiatives fail because organizations look at achieving 100% automation. For the success of test automation, testing teams need to first identify the right candidates for automation. As a thumb rule, testing teams should identify those that are repetitive in the development cycle, identify the development environment, and validate the functionalities across this environment. Those tests that are repeatable and have to be done often such as functional testing, regression testing, unit testing, integration testing, smoke testing, and performance testing are more likely automation candidates.
  4. Treat the test suite like a product:To stay in step with today’s dynamic business environment, organizations have to keep product evolution in mind. This suggests that as the software product evolves the test suite has to evolve too – just like a product would. Therefore, testing professionals should analyze their test suite carefully and identify test plans that will stay relevant in the long run and which test plans will become redundant. Changing the entire test suite in the event of a product upgrade is impossible. Instead of having a monolithic test plan it makes greater sense to have more modular test plans. A modular test plan that is built using smaller and independent test cases ensures that if one test fails then the entire test suite does not come tumbling down and that if something breaks in one test then only that one segment can be changed and you don’t have to change all the scripts associated with it. Along with this, testing teams should also focus on the maintenance needs of the test automation suite and chart its lifecycle to determine its maintenance needs. Testing teams should also focus on creating automation suites that are resistant to changes in the UI to ensure that the suite can work with future versions of the product.
  5. Integrate testing with development:The aim of test automation is to speed up development, increase code coverage, and assist in keeping timeline overruns under control. To achieve this, it is essential to place testing at the heart of software development for better testing and faster delivery. As more and more organizations are adopting development methodologies such as DevOps and Agile, it becomes all the more essential to be ready with all the components of your test automation strategy before the development process begins. This will ensure the success of the test automation initiative and that the final product matches the expectations of the user.

In closing, here’s a bonus tip! Testing teams should not be lax when designing the testing code as the quality of your testing code will impact the testing process. b, robust, and quality code will ensure that the testing code becomes an asset for future use while ensuring the success of the existing test automation initiative.

Now that you are equipped with 5 secrets to Test Automation success, it’s time to go out and look at your initiatives – and make them work for you!

Why the Cloud will Rule the 2017 eCommerce shopping season?

Online retailers are rolling up their sleeves in preparation for the holiday season that is practically upon us. According to a report by IBM online sales have increased by 21.5%, of which 57.2% are mobile shoppers. Global online sales in this period are projected to touch 8.8% of the total retail spending in 2018, a considerable sum when you consider that the industry is geared to haul in $2 trillion in 2017.

That being said, online retailers have their work cut out for them to avoid becoming that bad headline during the blockbuster season. In the past, we have been witness to many such incidents where established retailers buckled under the pressure of high traffic during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. In 2016 we saw the Macy’s website succumb to the holiday e-traffic on the second biggest online shopping day of the year, Black Friday. The year before it was Target and Neiman Marcus, and Best Buy in 2014. Clearly, performance is of strategic importance for eTailers as almost 67% of Millennials and 6% of Gen Xers prefer online shopping to in-store shopping. As time and performance become the ultimate currency, here’s a look at why the Cloud is all set to rule the eCommerce shopping season to help the eTailers pass this stress test.

  1. Speed and Performance:
    The cloud is built for speed and performance and the consumers of today look for just these qualities in an online store. Consumers are looking to access the products, assess and compare them and to proceed to complete the check-out in the shortest possible timeframe. Any lags here, whether it is to load pages or to complete the transaction is only going to lead to cart abandonment. The cloud servers and platforms are designed to give eCommerce sites the advantage of speed with optimal performance.
  2. Scalability:
    An eCommerce store has to be ready to handle seasonal spikes in heavy traffic, especially during the special sale days. The cloud gives an eCommerce store the capability to increase their capacity, in terms of the bandwidth, storage, CPU etc. on-demand, when the eTailers need it. This gives eStores the capability to scale up to cope with the increase in traffic and scale back down when the holiday rush is over. Cloud servers bring operational agility to eCommerce stores and allow them to deal with high traffic much faster than in-house applications or servers.
  3. Security:
    Delivering a secure shopping experience is of paramount importance for eTailers. A number of high-profile data breaches and vulnerabilities have impacted consumer confidence. This means that eCommerce vendors have to ensure that they take all the necessary steps to deliver a secure shopping experience to their consumers. Leveraging cloud managed services, eTailers can easily manage vulnerabilities as the software gets updated automatically regularly. This immediately eradicates vulnerabilities from legacy applications.Additionally, now cloud platforms have their own vulnerability scanning and intrusion detection, and prevention measures which increase the security of the eCommerce platform. The cloud also helps in data protection since all the data is stored securely on the cloud servers. Most cloud providers go for ISO 27001 certifications and various types of security audits to make their solutions more secure for their customers. This allows security layers to be implemented at application, facility, and network levels, thus ensuring complete data protection.
  4. Disaster Recovery:
    The cloud gives eCommerce stores great disaster recovery capabilities. If an eCommerce website is hacked or if the server develops a fault, the consequences would be enormous especially during the holiday season. However, with the backup and recovery solutions provided by cloud server, eTailers can rest easy. The disaster recovery solutions are easy to implement, cost-effective and use the expertise of the cloud hosting company, making the cloud even more attractive for eCommerce.
  5. Greater control and reduced burden:
    One of the greatest advantages that eCommerce stores get with the cloud is that of greater business control. They can reduce the hardware burden, the time and money spent on making software upgrades and their dependence on IT. The cloud gives retailers the flexibility to seamlessly integrate with third-party solutions (ERP, CRM etc.) that often go hand in hand with robust API-driven integration. Product upgrades and changes to the eCommerce sites can be done easily across devices. This helps eTailers improve conversion rates. By leveraging Cloud testing, eTailers can determine how their site will respond under a load based on a set of defined parameters, and from a variety of virtual device types, including smartphones, tablets, and desktops. Along with this the cloud also helps eCommerce sites respond to issues and bugs faster and also provide a connected digital experience across all devices and channels.

Along with getting their marketing plans ready for the holiday season, eCommerce sites have to make sure that this time around they are ready to face the holiday rush. In the growing eCommerce landscape, hope is not a strategy. So, instead of hoping for a good holiday run, prepare for one by leveraging a robust cloud solution to ensure great site performance. Do this to set the cash registers ringing this holiday shopping season!

Why You Should Consider ReactJS for Your Web Application?

It’s a JavaScript library by Facebook. It helps in building very attractive and interactive user interfaces. It offers great performance and is extremely easy to use for programmers. Today, New York Times, Slack, Pixnet and other 100,000+ such well-known sites with heavy traffic use this library.

Yes, we are talking about ReactJS – the JavaScript library which is the hot favorite of developers and is climbing the popularity charts every day. According to the 2016 StackOverflow developer survey, React.Js’s popularity had recently increased by over 300%.

What is making ReactJS so popular? Let’s take a look

  1. Quick Implementation:
    The very fact that ReactJS is a library and not a full-fledged framework makes it extremely easy to implement into any project. It is just a view layer and that’s what makes it so attractive in terms of quick adoption.
  2. Fast Rendering:
    This is one of the best features of ReactJS. The smart methods in ReactJS mitigate the amount of DOM operations and optimize and accelerate the updates process – all these things make the overall rendering very fast.
  3. Code Stability:
    ReactJS uses downward data binding. Through one directional data flow and by making ReactJS just a view system, Facebook has ensured that any changes to the child elements don’t affect their parent elements and parent data. While allowing for direct work with components, it ensures that the code remains stable. Changing an object is also very easy – the developers simply need to modify its state and apply updates. With this, only the allowed components are upgraded maintaining the overall code stability.
  4. Ease of Use:
    ReactJS uses JSX which is a HTML-like syntax. It allows the creation of JavaScript objects using HTML syntax and simplifies the creation of React tree nodes with attributes. Anybody familiar with HTML can very easily use JSX and build a ReactJS application. The code built using JSX is machine-readable. It allows the creation of compound components in one compile-time verified file.
  5. Code Reusability:
    Another big advantage of ReactJS is its ability to reuse code components. The reusability of components saves a lot of time and efforts for developers. Managing system updates is very easy with ReactJS because every change does not necessarily affect each component in the system. The React components are isolated and a change in one does not affect the others. This allows the developers to reuse the components and makes coding more precise and comfortable for the developers.
  6. Easier Debugging:
    One of the things which developers love about ReactJS is the descriptive warnings. New developers working with ReactJS find it very useful to know what exactly went wrong, where is the error in the code and what is the best way to fix it. Debugging becomes very easy and less time consuming with React.
  7. Constantly Developing Library:
    Facebook released ReactJS as the first JavaScript-connected open source project. Developers using ReactJS have free access to a variety of useful applications and tools from the community at large. There are over 1000 open-source contributors who are working with ReactJS library and enhancing it every day. Apart from this, there is an excellent community support extended through groups, conferences, and documentation.

Real-World Examples of ReactJS Usage:

Asana:
This web and mobile application which helps teams improve collaboration and communication moved to ReactJS in 2016 to create a more maintainable, readable, testable, and performant application.

Atlassian:
The creator of products like JIRA, Confluence, HipChat, etc. moved to React for its simplicity, component-based structure, testability, and maintainability.

Netflix:
This leader in the internet delivery of TV shows and movies, transformed its desktop and mobile user interface in 2015 using React. React was selected for its ease of use and runtime performance.

Yahoo Mail:
Yahoo Mail, which has been around since 1999, decided to use ReactJS + Flux when it wanted to build its next-generation Mail product. ReactJS was chosen for its independent deployment of components, easy debugging, and shorter learning curve.

Apart from these, there are numerous other examples such as Uber, Salesforce, KISSmetrics, Tesla, Scribd, Reddit, Periscope and many more which have leveraged the power of ReactJS to build world-class interactive web applications.

With ReactJS, organizations can quickly and easily build UI rich applications with good performance. With its component re-usability feature, it offers code re-usability and saves a lot of time and effort for developers. It is extremely easy to edit, test, and debug the code which makes the web applications very maintainable.

If you are looking to develop SEO-friendly, interactive web applications with great UI and expect your application to handle heavy traffic, it’s time to migrate to ReactJS.

The Top 10 Performance Testing Considerations

Today’s digital consumer has no time for slow, error-prone apps or applications that crash when the load is high. Sadly, there are abundant examples of websites and portals crashing under the weight of heavy traffic. Target, Amazon and other such giants have been subject to crashes that have resulted in the loss of millions on their big sale days. The banking industry too has been subject to these crashes. In recent times, customers of banks such as Barclays, RBS, couldn’t access their banking mobile app since their sites were experiencing major traffic on payday. However, such events can dent the confidence of customers and ultimately have a negative impact on the bottom line. This is why thorough performance testing is essential.

What is Performance Testing?

Performance testing measures validates and verifies the quality attributes of the system such as responsiveness, scalability, stability, and speed under a variety of load conditions and varying workloads.

The Types of Performance Testing are:

  1. Load Testing –
    Testing to check the system with incrementally increasing load in the form of concurrent users and increasing transactions. Done to assess the behavior of the application under test, till the load reaches its threshold value.
  2. Stress Testing –
    Testing to check the stability of the software when hardware resources are not sufficient.
  3. Spike Testing –
    Testing to validate performance characteristics when the system under test is subjected to varying workloads and load volumes that are increased repeatedly beyond anticipated production operations for short time periods.
  4. Endurance Testing –
    This is a non-functional testing and involves the testing of a system with expected load amounts over long time periods to assess system behavior.
  5. Scalability Testing –
    Testing to determine at what peak level the system will stop scaling.
  6. Volume Testing –
    This tests the application with a large volume of data to check its efficiency and monitors the application performance under varying database volumes.

While undertaking performance testing, these top 10 considerations need to be kept in mind:

  1. Test Early And Test Often:
    Leaving performance testing as an afterthought is a recipe for testing disaster. Instead of conducting Performance testing late in the development cycle, it should take the agile approach and be iterative throughout the development cycle. This way the performance gaps can be identified faster and earlier in the development cycle.
  2. Focus On Users Not Just Servers:
    Since it is real people that use software applications, it is essential to focus on the users while conducting performance testing along with focusing on the results of servers and clusters running the software. Along with measuring the performance metrics of clustered servers, testing teams should also focus on user interface timings and per-user experience of performance.
  3. Create Realistic Tests:
    Assessing how a software application will respond in a real-world scenario is essential to ensure the success of performance testing. Thus, creating realistic tests that keep variability in mind and taking into consideration the variety of devices and client environments to access the system is essential. Also important is mixing up device and client environment load, varying the environment and data, and ensuring that load simulations do not start from zero.
  4. Performance is Relative:
    Performance might mean something to you and something else to the user. Users are not sitting with a stopwatch to measure load time. What the users want is to get useful data fast and for this, it is essential to include the client processing time when measuring load times.
  5. Correlating Testing Strategy With Performance Bottlenecks:
    In order to be effective in performance testing creating a robust testing environment and gaining an understanding of the users perspective of performance is essential. It is also essential to correlate performance bottlenecks with the code that is creating these problems. Unless this is done problem remediation is difficult.
  6. Quantifying Performance Metrics:
    In order to assess the efficacy of the performance tests, testing teams need to define the right metrics to measure. While performance testing, teams should thus clearly identify:

    • The expected response time – Total time taken to send a request and get a response.
    • The average latency time.
    • The average load time.
    • The longest time taken to fulfill a request.
    • Estimated error rates.
    • The measure of active users at a single given point in time.
    • Estimated number of requests that should be handled per second.
    • CPU and memory utilization required to process a request.
  7. Test individual units separately and together :
    Considering that applications involve multiple systems such as servers, databases, and services, it is essential to test these units individually and together with varying loads. This will ensure that performance of the application remains unaffected with varying volumes. This also exposes weak links and helps testing teams identify which systems adversely affect the others and into which systems should be further isolated for performance testing.
  8. Define the Testing Environment:
    Doing a comprehensive requirement study, analyzing testing goals and defining the test objectives play a big role in defining the test environment. Along with this, testing teams should also take into consideration logical and physical production architecture, must identify the software, hardware, and network considerations, and compare the test and production environment when defining the testing environment needed.
  9. Focus on Test Reports:
    Test design and test execution are essential components of good performance testing but to understand which tests have been effective, which need to be reprioritized and which ones need to be executed again testing teams must focus on test reports. These reports should be systematically consolidated and analyzed and the test results should be shared, to communicate the results of the application behavior to all the invested stakeholders.
  10. Monitoring and Alerts:
    To ensure continuous peak performance, testing teams have to set up alert notifications that can intimate the right stakeholders if load times fall below normal or in the event of any other issue. This ensures proactive resolution of performance bottlenecks and guarantees good end user experience.

Along with these points, in order to be successful with performance testing, testing teams should utilize the right set of automation tools. These will help in fast-tracking testing initiatives with the least amount of effort, identify the right candidates for automation and create robust and reusable tests to further testing efforts. They should also have a defined troubleshooting plan that includes responses to known performance issues. Finally, testing teams should think outside the box and take into account a broad definition of performance that takes into account factors that users care about, the infrastructure needed to execute realistic tests and look at ways of collaborating with developers to create performance-driven software products. In a performance-driven world – shouldn’t your app have the strength to keep up?

Talk to Our Performance Expert Today

5 Reasons Python continues to Rule the Popularity Charts

Web development is hardly an easy task. Using a complicated programming language to that mix can often be a recipe for disaster. In order to make robust and user-friendly applications that the consumer loves to use, developers thus need to use a language that is highly functional without the complexity, is easy to implement and puts emphasis on code readability. Python, an open-source and object-oriented programming language, has continued to rank highly as one of the world’s most popular programming languages. According to Stack Overflow, Python has been the fastest growing programming language of 2017 and has overtaken Java and JavaScript for the first time this year. So what makes Python a developer’s favorite? Let’s take a look at some compelling reasons.

  1. More Features With Lesser Code:
    Python has the benefit of having a clear syntax and its simplicity. Since Python is easy to learn and is a relatively shorter language when compared to other programming languages it is easier to develop and debug. The features in this language are simple to graph because developers do not need to emphasize greatly on the syntax. Since the syntax of the language resembles pseudo code, developers can easily build more functions and features using fewer lines of code. This helps developers maximize code writing and helps them roll out software products to meet the demanding timelines of the present day. Further, the simplicity of the language also reduces programmer efforts and the time taken to develop large and complex applications.
  2. Extensive Support Libraries:
    Python gives programmers access to extensive support libraries. These libraries include areas such as Internet protocols, web service tools, string operations, and operating system interfaces. A lot of the popular programming tasks have already been scripted into these standard libraries which helps in significantly reducing the volume of code to be written. This also helps developers build functioning prototypes faster and reduces the time and resource wastage. This also helps in the ideation process, an often overlooked part of web development.
  3. Flexibility:
    Python is a high-level programming language but is far more flexible than most programming languages. There are many robust Python implementations that are integrated with other programming languages such as Jython, or Python integrated with Java, PyObjc, or Python written with ObjectiveC toolkits, CPython, a version with C, IronPython, that is designed for compatibility with .NET and C# and RubyPython which is Python combined with Ruby. This helps developers run Python in different programming scenarios. The source code written in Python can be run directly without any compilation, making it easier for developers to make changes to the code and assess the impact change almost immediately. Since it does not demand code compilation it further reduces the coding time significantly.
    According to Gartner, almost 90% of enterprises are using open-source software to build business-critical applications. Since Python was not created to address any one specific programming need, it is not driven by templates of API’s. This also makes the language more flexible and makes it well-suited for rapid and advanced application development for all kinds of applications. This enables faster time-to-market for enterprise applications.
  4. Robust Nature:
    Python is a solid, powerful and robust programming language. This is one of the reasons why some of the leading organizations across the globe such as Bank of America, Reddit, Quora, Google, YouTube, DropBox, for example, have chosen it to power some of their most critical systems. Since Python has fewer lines of code, it becomes more maintainable and is prone to fewer issues than any other language. Python also has the capability to scale easily to solve complex problems making it a programming favorite.
  5. Wide Range of Development Tools:
    Depending on the requirement, Python gives developers the advantage of a wide range of frameworks, libraries and development tools. Developers can leverage a number of robust frameworks such as Flask, Django, Cherrypy, Bottle, and Pyramid to build applications in Python easily. With increasing demand for custom big data solutions that demand features to collect, store, analyze and distribute a large amount of structured and unstructured data, Python gives developers the tools for data analysis and visualization as well. Developers can also use specific Python frameworks to add desired functionalities to statistical applications without writing additional code. Python libraries such as NumPy, Pandas, SciPy and Matplotlib further help in simplifying development of big data and statistical applications.Python also has a number of GUI toolkits and frameworks such as Camelot, PyGTK, WxPython, CEF Python etc. that helps developers write standalone GUI applications in Python rapidly.

Python presents itself as a comprehensive programming language that has basic tenets and simple instructions. This increases the level of accuracy and makes it easy to identify mistakes in development. Its simplicity allows developers to create system administrative programs to direct all processes correctly and efficiently as well. Additionally, Python has search-engine-friendly URL’s, making it SEO friendly. Given that it is a free programming language it also reduces upfront project costs. It has a rich web asset bank to support developers and gives developers the capability to combine it with other programming languages and technologies using specific implementations. Given the breadth of its capabilities, it is hardly a surprise that Python today is continuing to rule the development popularity charts. Has your application development turned to Python yet?

Will Software Testing Prove Digital Transformation’s Achilles Heel?

“MarketsandMarkets research estimates the global digital transformation market is expected to grow from $150.70 Billion in 2015 to $369.22 Billion by 2020

Digital Transformation is on everyone’s lips today. Companies across the globe are looking at opportunities to use technology to transform business processes, improve enterprise performance, and consequently achieve better business outcomes. We have seen the adoption of analytics, embedded devices, business process digitization, rise of RPA (Robotic Process Automation) etc. as some elements of the digitization drive. Improved business models and operational processes and enhanced customer experience are the three key areas of focus. Enterprises are leveraging technology heavily to remain relevant and ahead of the curve in today’s digital enterprise. According to Forrester Research, the top three drivers of digital transformation are improved customer experience, improved time to market and increased the speed of innovation. Thus, the fact that almost two-thirds of CEO’s of the top Global 2000 companies plan to put digital transformation at the heart of their corporate strategy by the end of 2017 hardly comes as a surprise.

Our contention is that given that the heavy lifting for pretty much all transformation initiatives is done by software-driven technology, these initiatives can only be successful if software testing gets its due place in the transformation cycle.

While a lot of importance is placed on increasing the level of automation within the enterprise and streamlining processes when embarking on the digital drive, far too many organizations ignore the role of testing in making these initiatives successful. Since digital transformation initiatives demand heavy investments organizations can justifiably claim the rewards of the transformation initiatives only when software testing ensures software that works exactly as intended.

One of the key elements of digital transformation is Business Process Automation. Using technology enabled automation, organizations are looking at simplifying and improving business workflows and increasing efficiencies. Business Process Automation reduces human error and helps businesses adapt to dynamic market demands faster. During BPA, organizations have to focus on infrastructural upgrades and identify redundant processes and replace them with newer, efficient processes. In this transition period, the role of QA and testing becomes indispensable. In order to ensure that the new processes deliver on the promise of greater productivity, efficiency, and reduced errors, and to guarantee the quality and stability of the process, it becomes imperative to test early and test often. By testing the new business processes, its components and application area thoroughly, organizations can confirm that all business rules and business logic are working correctly. Any defects or deviations in the same are recorded and suitably amended before the process is launched.

Along with improving business processes and workflows, organizations are embarking on digital transformation initiatives to improve customer experiences. Driving good customer experiences has always been an enabler of business success. The customer of today is more technologically informed, digitally savvy, and on the lookout for differentiated experiences. Organizations thus, have to ensure that the quality of their customer experience lives up to these expectations. In order to deliver experiences of the future, organizations have to ensure the flawless quality of their products, as well as of every interface the customer has with the organization in buying or using the product or service. Whether it is an application created for customer experience or improving processes to deliver high-quality products, organizations have to focus on testing to deliver on these metrics.

The role of testing becomes even more pronounced in digitization initiatives when it comes to security. While digital transformation initiatives do benefit the enterprise, inadequate testing and QA strategies can leave the applications exposed to hacks, bugs, and vulnerabilities. Business critical applications that contain customer sensitive data must have the highest level of security and cannot be subject to vulnerabilities and risks. Security breaches can cost organizations heavily and lead to loss of customer trust and consequently the loss of market share.

Organizations are embarking on digital transformation initiatives to create value both within the organization and for their customer. With a plethora of technologies at their disposal, organizations are spoilt for choice to build the right experiences and services. The main aim of digital transformation is to drive quality transformation. In their digital transformation journey, organizations will witness the need to adopt new age technologies and will witness many challenges in the process of implementing digital change. Integration of new technologies with existing platforms, the efficiency of new business applications, the implementation of new technologies within the new work culture etc. are just some of the challenges. There is also the growing dependence on the digital backbone that gets created – in a sense, there is no going back but this creates a single point of failure too. These challenges become inherently easier to manage if the organization focuses on building quality assessment models and metrics to measure the efficiency of the digital processes.

With the rise of the digital enterprise, software testing cannot remain confined to the realm of the development lifecycle alone. To enable seamless integration and working of software systems and processes as demanded by digital transformation, it is imperative that organizations ensure that strong QA and testing processes become a part of the transformation initiatives. Otherwise, software testing will prove to be the Achilles’ heel in digital transformation journeys.

Should Beta testers be Professional Testers?

Handing over the newly developed software application or system to its intended user or group of users to evaluate its functional and non-functional quality is a good move as the system’s functionalities would be executed by the end users from the user’s perspective in the real world environment and condition. This process of evaluating the quality of software quality by hands of its targeted users is generally termed as beta testing in software quality assurance process.

Beta testing phase marks the absence of professional testers and involves the participation of intended users. The primary advantage of performing beta testing both from technical and business perspective is that before the release of the software application, it is actually tested by the real users at a much lower cost compare to cost to be incurred on professional testers. Game testing is a live example of beta testing, where passionate and ardent gamers are invited to test the features and qualities of the beta version of the gaming application. Although, involvement of non-professional testers(end users) for testing the gaming application could be acceptable at some extent due to absence of multiple & larger functionalities, features and complexities, but may lacks quality testing for other types of software applications.

So, Should beta testers be professional testers?

It would be irrelevant to give judgement in favour or against the involvement of professional testers in beta testing as beta testers. Here, we are stating some advantage/pros of employing users and professional tester as beta tester in beta testing.

When beta tester is an user.

  • Evaluation and assessment of software application from user’s perspective.
  • Consistent focus and inquisitiveness to improve or correct the defects or issues imparting the need to improve quality from user’s perspective.
  • Most of the time, beta testers are the loyal users where they are affectionate by the organization or company’s brand, value or products. Therefore, they will be interested and sincere in their task of testing.
  • Less cost of testing the system.
  • Ultimately, it’s the customer who validates the system.

When beta tester is a professional tester

  • Involvement of professionalism, skills and experience.
  • Professional testers are well aware of the techniques, methods and tools to dig, explore and test each and every, minute and major features and functionalities.
  • User will find difficult to distinguish between a feature and a defect but not the professional testers.
  • Professional testers will be able to explain defects precisely and perfectly compared to user, to fix or correct the explored defect.
  • Professional testers can effectively write & describe the steps to reproduce defects, which may seems to be impossible for the users.
  • Sometimes, the user may not be available due to its commitment towards any other home or official work. However, Professional testers are bound to their roles and responsibilities with fixed hour of their duty.
  • Professional testers can make and know the usage of tools and devices to effectively and qualitatively test the system, which may seems to be infeasible from user side.
  • Professional tester helps in defining and stating the severity and priority of each identified bug, whereas a user will find difficult to relate bugs with the terms severity and priority.

Based on the above stated facts and points, you can yourself decide the answer to the question- “Should beta testers be professional testers?”

How the Microservices Landscape Has Changed In The Last Year & a Bit?

2016 proved to be the year of Cloud, DevOps, and Microservices. While organizations across the globe realized that Microservices was a great way to leverage the potential of the cloud, it was made evident that DevOps and Microservices worked better together to provide business agility and increase efficiencies. It became evidently clear that traditional, large and monolithic application models and architectures did not have any place in the organization of the future. Technologies such as the cloud demanded application architectures that enabled greater scalability with workload changes and greater flexibility to accommodate the evolving needs of the digital enterprise. 2016 proved that monolithic application architectures running on the cloud did not deliver the promised benefits of the cloud and that a Microservices architecture was best suited to leverage the benefit of this technology.

  1. The Bump on the Road
    In one of our blogs published last year, we had spoken of Microservices and the testing needs of applications built using the microservices architecture. One of the greatest challenges of microservices testing is testing each and every component individually as well as a part of an interconnected system. Each component or service is expected to be a part of an interconnected structure and yet is independent of it. However, as Microservices adoption increased, a number of organizations also realized that despite the promise, latency issues when accessing these applications continued. Along with this, Microservices brokered by API management tools further escalated the latency problem since that introduced an additional layer between the user and the microservice. Also, Microservices used up a large amount of virtual machine resources when they were deployed on virtual machines.
  2. Microservices and Containers – A Match Made In Heaven
    In 2016, the value of using Microservices and the Cloud became evident. 2017 promises to show the value of Microservices with Containers to break the barriers that impede cloud usage. One of the key problems plaguing Microservices in 2017 is that of resource efficiency and Containers can be used to solve this problem. Organizations are leaning in to use Containers with Microservices. Containers increase the performance of these applications and aid portability and also decrease hardware overhead costs.Containers, unlike virtual machines, allows the break down of the application into modular parts. This allows different development teams to work on different parts of the application simultaneously without impacting the other parts. This aids the speed of development, testing, application upgrades and deployment. Since there is a reduced duplication of large software elements, multiple microservices can easily run on a single server. As compared to VMs, Microservices would deploy faster on Containers. This helps during horizontal scaling of applications or services with load or if a microservice has to be redeployed.Along with increasing resource and deployment efficiency, Container adoption in Microservices has been increasing owing to the level of application optimization Containers offer. Container clouds also are networked on a much larger scale and allow the service discovery pattern to locate new services in the microservices architecture. While this level of optimization can be achieved by VM’s, it becomes more complex since these demand explicit management policies.
  3. Rise of Microservices In DevOps:
    The past year also saw an increased use of Microservices in DevOps. Since Microservices offers the benefits of scalability, modifiability, and management owing to its independent structure, it fits in comfortably with the DevOps concept. Microservices offer the benefit of increased agility owing to shorter build, test and deployment cycles, making it perfect to complement a DevOps environment. With the increasing adoption of Containers in Microservices, organizations are now able to use the DevOps environment better to deliver new services by streamlining the DevOps workflow. Fault isolation also becomes inherently easier by using Microservices in DevOps. Each service can be deployed independently and identifying a problematic component becomes easier.
  4. Automation Focus Increases:
    Organizations leveraging Microservices and DevOps are also increasing the levels of automation in the testing initiatives. Owing to the DevOps methodology, test automation has found a firm footing in the microservices landscape with testing in production, proactive monitoring and alerts becoming a part of the overall quality plan.A year is a long time in the field of software development. When it comes to Microservices we are seeing organizations leveraging development methodologies like DevOps and technologies such as Containers in a symbiotic manner to propel growth, increases efficiencies and improve business outcomes for all. How has your Microservices journey been?

Top Trends Of The Future That Will Drive Mobile Apps

In the past few years, there has been an explosive growth in the number of mobile apps with over 2.1 billion users reportedly having access to smartphones around the world. As per reports from Touchpoint- adults over 25 years use their smartphones almost 264 times a day, which includes both text and calling. The number is even greater among people in the age group between 15-24 at 387 times a day.

The biggest names in all areas of business such as Amazon, Bank of America, and Walmart have been actively using mobile applications for boosting their customer and brand engagement strategies. Even small and mid-sized firms are seen following this trend and mobile application development continues to grow at a rapid pace. In this post let us look at some options available in mobile app development and some future trends for mobile app technologies:

Refresher (Feel free to skip ahead if you know the types of Mobile Apps)

  1. Native Mobile Apps:
    The first thing that comes to the mind while creating mobile apps is a native mobile app which is coded in a specific programming language such as Java for Android or Objective C for IOS. These apps are designed specifically for a particular platform and guarantee high performance with greater reliability to deliver a better user experience.
  2. Hybrid Mobile Apps:
    Hybrid mobile apps can be developed using a combination of technologies such as HTML, CSS, Javascript etc. They can be installed on a device like a native app but they mainly run on a web browser. In 2015, HTML 5 seemed to attract a lot of attention from many leading companies such as Facebook, Xero, and LinkedIn. However, the trend seems to be declining from last year and companies still continue to rely on native apps.
  3. Web Apps:
    Web apps are mainly of three types-traditional, responsive and adaptive. Traditional web apps comprise websites, whereas responsive web apps display a different design when viewed on the mobile devices. The biggest advantage of using web apps is they are developed using some of the most popular languages and to a great extent are cross-platform.So, you with us so far? Now onto the future.
    Trends that will shape the future of mobile apps.
    According to some recent predictions, an estimated 268 million mobile apps are likely to be downloaded this year, generating a revenue of $77 Billion for companies that use them as tools for their businesses. Mobile application development driven by advancements in technology is increasingly becoming a critical part of business success. This makes it critical for businesses to develop a solid vision for the future.

Here are some of the key trends that will change the future of mobile apps:

  • Augmented Reality set to be a game changer:
    In 2016, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality created a revolution in the gaming industry with games such as Pokemon Go, Sky Siege, IOnRoad, and myNav that grew immensely popular. According to statistics from Goldman Sachs Global Investment, the market size of different AR/VR software for various use cases in 2025 would be as follows: Healthcare-$5.1 billion, Engineering-$4.7 billion, Real estate-$2.6 billion, Retail-$1.6 billion. Over the upcoming months get set as AR and VR experiences start appearing more frequently in traditional mobile apps too.
  • IOT and Wearable devices will be in vogue:
    Analysts have predicted that Internet Of Things will continue to grow from $157.05 billion to about $661.74 billion in 2021. As per Gartner’s predictions, there will be over 26 billion connected devices as we approach 2020 which will comprise of hundreds of smart objects including domestic appliances, LED, toys, sports equipment along with electronic devices. Most of these domestic smart objects will be an integral part of IOT and their communication will take place via an app or through smartphone devices.Smartphones could well be the center of a personal area network comprising wearable devices such as sensors, smart watches, display devices such as Google Glass, medical sensors etc.
  • M-commerce trend to remain strong:
    The growing popularity of mobile-based payments like Apple Pay and Google Wallet will push the demand for mobile purchases further. A time may come when people will prefer using mobile phones for payment over credit cards or debit cards. Mobile commerce will continue to grow popular in the coming years with wearable devices also playing a crucial role in the growth and future of m-commerce.
  • Cloud-driven mobile apps to grow popular:
    According to reports by Cisco, cloud driven apps will be able to attract 90% of the entire mobile data traffic as we approach 2019. This will result in a compound growth of 60% of mobile cloud traffic over a year. In the coming future, it may not be surprising to see high powered mobile apps able to retrieve data from the cloud and occupy less space in the internal memory of smartphone devices.
  • Micro and enterprise apps to gain wide acceptance:
    The main purpose of enterprise mobile apps is to help businesses manage their processes better. For example, work organizer and planner Evernote. Then there are a plethora of enterprise apps for everything from CRM, to Logistics, and Supply Chain Management, On the other hand, micro apps are focused on a single task to achieve the end results such as Facebook messenger. According to a research by Adobe, 77% of business owners feel that enterprise apps are beneficial to them and over 66% of them are planning to increase their investment in them. As far as micro apps are concerned, they are set to become more popular with some of their excellent features which are targeted, nimble, ad hoc and HTML based. Look for these worlds to come together in the months ahead as Enterprise apps look to recreate a more consumer-like app experience and features.
  • Location-based service to become popular:
    iBeacon from Apple and Beacon from Google are some of the widely-used location-based services now. These are at the vanguard of device data capturing apps. This trend is driving the integration of a growing number of external devices with mobile apps for business benefit. In a recent example, Google acquired Senosis, a company that helps make the phone a device for medical diagnoses.

Conclusion:

The revolution in technology is set to change the future of mobile apps. It will become critical for businesses to embrace these new trends to stay ahead and competitive in their business. Is your mobile app leveraging any of these trends?

Have you considered JavaScript for your web application?

Application development has been in a constant state of evolution over the last couple of years and continues to evolve. The race is to deliver high-quality applications in the shortest possible time. The focus now is on a complete user experience. This drive is blurring the lines between development and design, paving the way for a sustained focus on front-end development.

Front end development is essentially a method of developing a website that allows the users to interact with it directly and gain access to information that is relevant to them. The goal is to combine programming and the design layout in a manner that powers the interactions of the user. If front end development was to be a car, then all the things you can directly touch and see to run the car such as the accelerator, the brake pedal, the steering wheel and the things that make it a cool drive such as the slick interiors, and the cool car design fall into its purview.

Why is front-end development gathering steam?

Today while it has become infinitely easier to develop great products, it has become that much harder to create products that the users will love and continue to use. In order to create software products that can capture the love of the users, it is now imperative to acquire a deep understanding of the users. This will help to develop a product that can be helpful to address their needs while delivering delightful experiences. With iterative product development becoming more mainstream, product design teams that were usually relegated to their own silo are being compelled to work more collaboratively in the software development ecosystem.

As front end development is picking up speed in software development so are the technologies, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript that enable it. In front end development, much of the front end work that defines the look of the web page is done in HTML and CSS. JavaScript is used as the programming language that runs directly within the web browser. Using JavaScript, developers can effectively design code structures that help them build fluid interactions, especially in applications that have complex user interactions.

  1. Manage concurrent operations with ease
    JavaScript helps software developers immensely in developing web applications that need concurrency. Using the event loop programming model, developers can execute multiple instruction sequences at the same time and also handle concurrent operations on a single thread. This saves developer time and effort.
  2. Faster Programming:
    In front end development you can develop the front end interfaces using HTML and CSS. Then in order to build user interaction, developers need to use JavaScript or one of the many JavaScript frameworks such as jQuery, AngularJS, Backbone.js, ReactJS, or Bootstrap. They can streamline complicated commands and make the programming process faster and easier. Given that these frameworks are widely used and easy to learn, finding the right talent is never a problem.
  3. Cross-browser Support:
    Good front end development is not just related to the code but also how the code interacts with the customers. JavaScript has a host of libraries such as jQuery that provide cross-browser support. This ensures that a dynamic web application can be run on any browser without any glitches. These libraries also help in simplifying and standardizing interactions between the JavaScript code and HTML elements. This helps in making web applications that are more dynamic and interactive. Further, JavaScript has several popular engines such as JavaScript V8, Chakra, JavaScriptCore and SpiderMonkey that help server-side development. They compile the JavaScript code to native machine code with ease and gives the language the capabilities of an interpreter, a compiler, and a runtime environment to run in a browser with ease.
  4. Frameworks that provide ease of adding functionalities:
    Adding functionalities to web applications using JavaScript also becomes much easier since the wide range of frameworks have predefined functions. This makes the task of adding functionalities easier and less time-consuming. This also further simplifies the coding process and reduces development time and costs significantly while helping developers develop complex applications easily. For example, using Angular.js, developers can extend HTML vocabulary for custom applications with ease. Developers can also wire up the backend with form validation, deep linking, and server communication as well as create and reuse components.
  5. Responsive Design:
    Since responsive design has become a critical component for web application success, developers need to ensure that the web applications that they design are device agnostic and can respond correctly to all form factors. Here too, JavaScript frameworks such as ReactJS, Angular.js come to the rescue and provide a host of options that make responsive application development convenient and efficient.
  6. Universal/Isomorphic JavaScript:
    Universal/Isomorphic JavaScript is gaining prominence today as it allows rendering of pages both on the client and the server side. This isomorphism helps in better application maintainability, better application performance, and better Search Engine Optimization. Using JavaScript framework Node.js, it is also possible to write code that renders both on the browser and the server. Having this one set of code makes application maintenance much easier and allows developers reuse same libraries and utilities on both the server and the browser using libraries such as Underscore.js, Request etc.

In the fast evolving web application development landscape, JavaScript provides developers a comprehensive ecosystem to develop web applications that are smarter and create an impact. With JavaScript, developers get access to the right set of tools that help them create functionalities and UI’s. They can craft experiences that help in turning innovative ideas into successfully executed web applications that can capably capture the interest of the users – even amidst all the noise that surrounds them.

Achieving Assured Quality in DevOps With Continuous Testing

DevOps has finally ushered in the era of greater collaboration between teams. Organizations today realize that they can no longer work in siloes. To achieve the required speed of delivery, all invested in the software delivery process, the developers, the operations, business teams, and the QA and testing teams have to function as one consolidated and harmonious unit. DevOps provides organizations this new IT model and enables teams to become cross-functional and innovation focused. The conviction that DevOps helps organizations respond and adapt to market changes faster, shrinks product delivery timelines, and helps to deliver high-quality software products is reflected in the DevOps adoption figures. According to the Puppet State of DevOps Report, in 2016, 76% of the survey respondents adopted DevOps practices, up from 66% in 2015.

One of the hallmarks of the DevOps methodology is an increased emphasis on testing. The approach has shifted from the traditional method of adding incremental tests for each functionality at the end of each development cycle. The accepted way now is to take a top-down approach to mitigate both functional and non-functional requirements. To achieve this DevOps demands a greater testing emphasis on test coverage and automation. Testing in DevOps also has to start early in the development process to enable the DevOps methodology of Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery.

The Role of Testing in Continuous Delivery and Continuous Integration:

In order to deliver on the quality needs, DevOps demands that testing is integrated into the software development and delivery process and acts as a key driver of DevOps initiatives. Here, individual developers work to create code for features or for performance improvements and then have to integrate it with the unchanged team code. A unit test has to follow this exercise to ensure that the team code is functioning as desired. Once this process is complete, this consolidated code is delivered to the common integration area where all the working code components are assembled for Continuous Integration. Continuous Integration ensures that the code in production is well integrated at all levels and is functioning without error and is delivering on the desired functionalities.

Once this stage is complete, the code is delivered to the QA team along with the complete test data to start the Continuous Delivery stage. Here the QA runs its own suites of performance and functional tests on the complete application in its own production-like environment. DevOps demands that Continuous Integration should lead to Continuous Delivery in a steady and seamless manner so that the final code is always ready for testing. The need is to ensure that the application reaches the right environment continuously and can be tested continuously.

Using the staging environment, the Operations teams too have to run their own series of tests such as system stability tests, acceptance tests, and smoke tests, before the application is delivered to the production environment. All test data and scripts for previously conducted application and performance tests have to be provided to the operations teams so that ops can run its own tests comprehensively and conveniently. Only when this process is complete, the application is delivered to production. In Production, the operations team has to monitor that the application performance is optimal and the environment is stable by employing tools that enable end-to-end Continuous Monitoring.

If we look at the DevOps process closely we can see that while the aim is faster code delivery, the focus is even more on developing error free, ready for integration and delivery code by ensuring that the code is presented in the right state and to the right environment every time. DevOps identifies that the only way to achieve this is by having a laser sharp focus on testing along with making it an integrated part of the development methodology. In a DevOps environment, testing early, fast and often becomes the enabler of fast releases. This means that any failure in the development process is identified immediately and prompt corrective action can be taken by the invested stakeholders. Teams can fail fast and also recover quickly – and that is how to ensure Quality in DevOps.

Complete Guide to Penetration Testing

With the increasing cyber attacks in recent years, organizations have started focussing on security features of software applications & products. Despite, applying sincere and attentive efforts towards the development of safe and secure software applications, these software products gets lack into one or more than one security aspect or feature, owing to various tangible and intangible errors. Thus, it has become essential to explore each and every vulnerable area present in the application which may invite and provide opportunity to hackers and crackers in exploiting the system.

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing is one of the useful testing methodologies to identify and reveal out vulnerable areas of the system, which may provide passage to number of unauthorized and malicious users or entities for intruding, attacking and compromising the system’s integrity & veracity.

The process of penetration testing involves the wilful and authorized attacks on the system in order to identify and spot the weaker areas of the system including security loopholes and gaps, vulnerable to multiple security threats and attacks. These revelations help in fixing various security bugs and issues in order to improve and ameliorate the security attributes.

In addition to its defined objectives, penetration testing approach may also be used to evaluate and assess the defensive power mechanism of the system; how strong or capable is the system to defend different types of unexpected malicious attacks?

What are the Reasons for System’s Vulnerabilities?

Number of activities contributes towards the occurrence of security vulnerabilities in the system such as:

  • Designing Error: Flaws in the design may be seen as one of the most prominent factors for the occurrence of security loopholes and gaps in a system.
  • Configurations and settings: Sometimes, inappropriate setting and configuration of associated hardware and software may results in introduction of vulnerabilities in the system.
  • Network Connectivity: Safe and secure network connection prevents the incident of malicious and cyber attacks, whereas insecure network provides gateway to hackers for assaulting the system.
  • Human Error: To err is human; Mistakes committed intentionally or unintentionally by the individual or by the team, while designing, deploying or maintaining system or network may also lead to occurrence of security glitches in the system.
  • Communication: Improper and open communication of confidential data and information amongst the teams or the individual using internet, phone, mail or any other mean also leads to security vulnerabilities.
  • Complexity: It is easy to monitor and control security mechanism of a simple & sober looking network infrastructure, whereas it is difficult to trace leakages or any malicious activity in the complex systems.
  • Training: Lack of knowledge and training over security to both in-house employees and those functioning outside the organizational boundary, could also be seen as one of the prominent factors of security vulnerabilities.

Is Penetration Testing = Vulnerability Assessment?

No, penetration testing and vulnerability assessment are two different approaches, but with the same end-purpose of making software product/system safe and secure.

People are often ambiguous between the differences or similarity between these two techniques and use them interchangeably. However, both methodologies have different workflow to ensure the safety and security of the system.

Penetration Testing is a real time testing of the system, where the system and its related component are thrashed by the simulated malicious attacks in order to reveal out security flaws and issues present in it. It may be carried out using both manual approach and with the help of automation tools. While, Vulnerability Assessment involves study and analysis of system with the help of testing tools to identify and detect security loopholes and flaws present in the system and making it vulnerable to multiple variants of security attack.

Vulnerability Assessment methodology follows a pre-defined and established procedure, unlike penetration testing where the sole purpose is to break system, irrespective of adopted approaches. Through, vulnerability assessment, vulnerable areas are being spotted which may provide opportunity to hackers to attack and compromise with the system. Further, various remedial measures are provided in the approach of vulnerability assessment to remove or correct the detected flaws.

Why Penetration Testing?

As stated earlier, security loopholes, gaps and weakness prevailing in the system provides doorway to unauthorized user or any illegal entity to attack and exploit the system affecting its integrity & confidentiality. As such, penetration testing of software products has become the necessity to get rid of these vulnerabilities in order to make system competent enough to get protected and survived of expected and unexpected malicious threats and attacks.

So, let’s go through and recall the need of penetration testing in below given points:

  • To identify weaker and vulnerable areas of the system before the hacker spots it.
  • Daily, frequent and complex upgrades to make your system up-to-date may affect the associated hardware and software, resulting into security issues. As such, it is pertinent to monitor and control these upgrades to avoid any kind of security flaws in the system.
  • As discussed earlier, it is preferred to evaluate the current and existing security mechanism of your system in order to assess its competency in defending or surviving unexpected malicious attacks. This ensures the level of security standards maintained in the system along with the confidence in the system’s security traits.
  • Along with the system’s vulnerabilities, it is recommended to assess different business risks and issue including any sort of compromise with organization’s authorized and confidential data, with the help of business and technical team. This helps organization to re-structure and prioritize their plans and execution in order to avoid and mitigate different business risks and issues.
  • Last, but not the least, to identify and meet certain essential security standards, norms and practices, a system is lacking or is deficient of.

How to perform penetration testing?

Penetration testing of a system may be carried using any of the following approaches:

  • Manual Penetration Testing.
  • Automated Penetration Testing.
  • Manual+Automated Penetration Testing.

1. Manual Penetration Testing:

To carry out the manual penetration testing of a software product, a standard approach involving following operations or activities is being followed in a sequential manner:

  • Penetration Testing Planning:Planning phase involves the gathering of requirements along with the defining of the scope, strategies and objectives of the penetration testing in adherence to security standards and norms. Further, this phase may include the assessment and listing of areas to be tested, types of testing to be performed, and other related testing activities.

Scope may be defined using following criteria:

  • Reconnaissance:This phase involves the gathering and analysis as much as detailed information as possible about the system and related security attributes, useful in targeting and attacking each and every corner of the system to carry out effective and productive penetration testing of the system.Reconnaissance involves two different forms of gathering and analysing targeted system’s information; passive reconnaissanceand active reconnaissance, where former involves no direct interaction with the targeted system, and the latter approach needs direct interaction with the system.
  • Vulnerability Analysis:During this phase, vulnerable areas of the system are being identified and detected by the tester to get entry into the system and initiate the task of attacking the system using penetration tests.
  • Exploitation:This phase may be seen as the actual penetration testing of the system, where both internal and external attacks are being carried out, compromising both internal and external interfaces of the system.
    • External attacks are the simulated attacks from external world perspective, prevailing outside the system/network’s boundary. This may include gaining illegal or unauthorized access to system’s features and data pertaining to public facing applications and servers.
    • Internal attacks may be seen as those attacks which already intruded the system & got access to network perimeter, and carrying out various malicious activities to compromise with system’s integrity and veracity. This attack is useful from the purpose that those authorized entities within the network perimeter may intentionally or unintentionally compromise with the system.
  • Post-Exploitation:After exploiting the system, the next step is to perceive and analyse each and every different attacks on the system independently from different perspectives to assess the purpose and objective of each different attack along with its potential impact on the system and the business process.
  • Reporting: Reporting task involves the documentation work of the activities carried out prior to this phase. Further, reporting may also include different risks and issues identified, vulnerabilities identified and detected, all vulnerable areas whether exploited or not and remedial solutions to correct identified flaws and issues.

2. Automated Penetration Testing:

Another useful & effective approach of performing penetration testing is with the help of penetration testing tools. In fact automated penetration testing is very faster, speedy, reliable, convenient, and easy to execute & analyse approach. These tools are efficient in precisely and accurately detecting the security defects present in the system in a short period of time along with the delivery of crystal-clear reports.

Some of the popular and widely used penetration testing tools are:

  • NMap.
  • Nessus.
  • Metasploit.
  • Wireshark.
  • Veracode; and many more.

However, it is preferred and recommended to select tool based on below given criteria to meet each different requirements.

  • The tool should be easy to deploy, use and maintain.
  • Supports easy and quick scan of the system.
  • Able to automate the process of verifying the identified vulnerabilities.
  • Able to verify the previously detected vulnerabilities.
  • Feature of producing crystal clear, yet simple and detailed vulnerability reports.

3. Manual + Automated Penetration Testing:

A better approach of two combine the pros of manual and automation to ensure effective, monitored, controlled, reliable, precise and accurate penetration testing of software product in quick and speedy manner.

Types of Penetration Testing:

Depending upon the elements and objects involved, penetration testing may be categorized into following types:

  • Social Engineering Test: This test involves the usage of ‘human’ element to astutely reveal & gain the confidential & sensitive data and information over internet or phone from them. These may include employees of the organization or any other authorized entity present within the organization’s network.
  • Web Application Test: It is used to detect security flaws and issues in multiple variants of web applications and services hosted on client or server side.
  • Network Service Test: This involves the penetration testing of a network to identify and detect the security vulnerabilities, providing passage to hackers or any unauthorized entity.
  • Client Site Test: As the name suggest, this test is used to test applications installed at client site.
  • Remote Dial-up Test: Testing the modem or similar object which may provide access to connected system.
  • Wireless Security Test: This test targets the wireless applications and services including its different components & features such as routers, filtering packets, encryption, decryption, etc.

We may also categorize penetration testing based on the testing approaches to be used as stated below:

  • White Box Penetration Testing: In this approach, tester will have complete access to and in-depth knowledge of every minute and major attributes of system, in order to carry out the penetration testing. This testing is very much effective in comparison to its counterpart; white box approach, as the tester will be having complete and in-depth knowledge and understanding of each and every aspect of the system, useful in carrying out extensive penetration testing.
  • Black Box Penetration Testing: Only high-level of information is made available to testers such as URL or address of the organization to perform penetration testing. Here, tester may see himself as a hacker who is unaware of the system/network. Black box testing is a time consuming approach as the tester is not cognizable of system/network’s attributes and he/she will need considerable amount of time to explore system’s properties and details. Further, this approach of testing may result into missing out of some areas, keeping in view limited time period and information.
  • Gray Box Penetration Testing: Limited information available to testers to externally attack the system.

Penetration Testers:

The professionals or the individuals who proceeds and execute the task of penetration testing are called penetration testers. His/her job is to identify, locate and demonstrate the security flaws, loopholes and deficiencies present in the system.

In case of manual penetration testing of the application, the responsibilities of penetration testers increases manifold times. As such, it is essential and pertinent to state some of the characteristics and responsibilities of a penetration tester.

Characteristics and Responsibilities of a Penetration Tester:

  • A Penetration tester should be very much inquisitive to trace and explore each and every corner of the system/network.
  • He/she should be aware of & have hacker’s mindset.
  • He/she should able to identify and detect different components and areas of the system, which may be seen as the prime targets of hackers.
  • A penetration tester should be skilled and proficient in reproducing bugs or defects identified by him/her in order to assist developers in fixing them.
  • Penetration tester will have full access to each and every component of the system including confidential data and information, and thus it is expected from them to keep these data & information confidential and secure. He/she will be fully responsible for any sort of compromise, damage or loss to system’s data & information.
  • He/she should be well-proficient in communication to convey & report vulnerabilities, their details and other related information in clear, precise and effective manner to related teams.

Penetration Testing Limitations:

Amidst its various positives, penetration testing is affected by some limitation as stated below:

  • Limited time and increased cost of testing.
  • Limited scope of testing based on the requirements in the given period time, which may results into overlooking of other critical and essential areas.
  • Penetration testing aka pen testing may break-down the system or put system into failure state.
  • Data is vulnerable to loss, corruption or damage.

Conclusion:

Advancement in technologies has armed hackers with wide variety of resources and tools to easily break into system and network with the intention to cause loss to you or your organization name, reputation and assets. More than the testing, pen testing may be seen as a precautionary approach to identify and detect various symptoms of security deficiencies in order to nullify the potential security threats to system.

How the Cloud has Transformed Product Development & Launch?

Today organizations across the globe are leveraging the cloud to boost innovation and productivity within the enterprise and consequently improve their profitability as well. Gartner called the cloud one of the top technology trends back in 2015 and now expects cloud adoption to be worth USD $250 billion this year. Use-cases are also constantly evolving. While the cloud has for long been used to host business applications, given that issues such as security have been mitigated, product development is the cloud is now becoming the new normal.

IT-driven organizations now need the flexibility to work flexibly with a diverse array of technologies that are easily customizable and allow for easier integration. This need for speed and modularity has propelled the rise of SaaS or cloud products that have shaken up traditional development approaches. The traditional, monolithic style of product development has been forced to undergo a radical overhaul. Organizations today need to be more agile and responsive. They must ensure that they reduce their time to market and release features faster while creating new foundations that allow integrations and continuous deployments. In this blog, we look at how the cloud has given product development, and launch a new age facelift.

More value and Less pain:
With the cloud, product development organizations today can save themselves the pain of managing and maintaining complicated and time-consuming tools and technologies. Cloud products generally employ a common hardware infrastructure, are served from a common software instance and, often, use a common code base. This has made product development more cost-effective, manageable, and maintainable.

Speed of Development:
The traditional software development cycle has been thought of as long and time-consuming. Here the product must go back and forth amongst development, QA, and deployment or operations teams before it is finally ready for release. Clearly, such long development cycles have no place in today’s business environment that demands work to be done at light speed. Businesses should make sure that they release upgrades and patch fixes faster so that they can remain relevant in today’s competitive market place. Software development cycles have become crunched, teams have become cross-functional, release cycles have become shorter, and MVP-like iterative development has become the norm. The cloud makes the software development cycle more efficient as developers can just focus on building, testing and deploying the application and do not have to worry about the infrastructure demands.

Collaboration:
Cloud product development gives software engineers the benefit of real-time collaboration which ultimately helps in developing a superior product. Unlike traditional software development teams, software development in the cloud does not take a siloed approach and provides developers the capability to collaborate real-time in a distributed environment without worrying about customizing or upgrading existing tools or installing new tools.

The Importance of Testing:
While traditional software development used testing at the end of the development cycle, cloud product development places testing at the core of development. This change in the development methodology helps in building a product incrementally, in lesser time and with fewer defects. Since a cloud product is used by multiple users, testing application performance in conjunction with the shared resources becomes central to ascertaining application performance. In addition, testing for SLA adherence, interface backward compatibility, multi-privilege tests etc. become essential. Development and testing are brought much closer together.

The Changed Launch:
Product launches too have changed considerably in the age of the cloud. Testing product concepts has become much easier for one as information generated from connected systems can be accessed from anywhere and anytime.

Product launches have also become more fast-tracked. Platforms, frameworks, and backend services are all offered as a service under the cloud umbrella and hence developers do not need to spend time focusing on getting these in place before they get working. The cloud has also helped address the problem of capacity planning for organizations and development teams. Applications can scale easily so developers can make updates and releases without worrying about additional infrastructure investments or setting up additional computing resources. Load balancing has become easier with the cloud and has taken outage worries away with the help of load balancers and content delivery networks.

It can be said that with the cloud, product launches have become faster and easier as some of the major pain points that plagued development teams in the past have been removed.

Today organizations have turned to the cloud to optimize their development process, lower their application maintenance and operations costs, and to improve their cost efficiency. In the process, software product development and launch too have got a much-needed facelift.

You Need Stage-Wise Security Testing For Reduced Product Vulnerabilities

A few lines of code can wreak more havoc than a bomb”
– Tom Ridge (Former Secretary, Department of Homeland Security, U.S)
In today’s digital age an increasing amount of vital data is being stored in applications. As the number of transactions on the web is increasing significantly, the proper testing of security features is becoming of critical importance. Technology is evolving at a very fast pace and the number of possible security vulnerabilities is also rising. Some research suggests that 75 % of all cyber-attacks occur at the web application level and almost 70% of websites stand at the risk of immediate attack. In the last couple of years, we have witnessed many security vulnerabilities and malware attacks in the form of URL manipulation, SQL injection, Spoofing, XSS (Cross Site Scripting), Brute Force Attack etc. According to a report by Symantec, even in 2015 alone there were more than “430 million new unique pieces of malware”, up by 36% YoY. Clearly, the success of any application in today’s world depends on how secure it is. Why would anyone use an application for personal or business use if they knew that it was vulnerable? It’s really as simple as that!

Security testing can be considered as one of the most important areas of testing that reveals the flaws in an applications data protection security mechanism. Fixing these ensures that confidential data is not exposed to individuals or identities or entities for whom it is not meant. Only authorized users would be able to perform authorized tasks on the application and no user is able to change application functionality in an unintended manner.

Today, testing is a core part of the development process owing to rise of development methodologies such as Agile, Test Driven Development, Behavior Driven Development, DevOps etc. Security testing too, like other testing areas should ideally begin at the first phase of the product development to ensure a high-quality end product. Let’s look at some areas where security testing should be included in the product development.

  1. Information Gathering:
    Security Testing should start from the requirement gathering phase itself to understand the security architecture that the application would demand. Understanding the business requirement, objectives and security goals can help testers to factor in the security factors to achieve PCI compliance. The testing team must conduct a security architecture analysis and understand the security demands of the application under test. Once this is done, the testing team should create an elaborate security test plan and test suites. The plan should identify the tools set to be used, the tests that should be manual and automated, and outline the vulnerabilities that need to be covered.
  2. Unit Testing:
    Security testing at the unit testing phase should be conducted to discover vulnerabilities in the development phase. Using static analytics tools, vulnerabilities can be identified based on a set of fixed patterns. By starting security testing in the unit testing phase, testers can dramatically reduce the number of bugs that make their way into the Black Box testing phase. This also has the advantage of discovering vulnerabilities with source code.
  3. Integration Testing:
    Black Box security testing can be introduced in the Integration Testing phase to identify security vulnerabilities before the application is deployed. Doing this helps in uncovering implementation errors and bugs that impact the application security that may have gone unnoticed in the unit testing or White Box testing phase. Security testing conducted during integration testing also uncovers security complexities and concerns that stem from interactions with the underlying environment or during interactions with third party components and the whole system.
  4. Application Deployment:
    n the application deployment phase, testing teams can conduct Penetration Testing to discover security threats that still exist in the system and assess if there are any open gates that leave the application vulnerable to malicious attacks. Along with uncovering these vulnerabilities, security testing conducted in this phase also helps in regulatory compliance and in saving network costs later.
  5. Post Production:
    While security tests are generally done in the pre-production phase, however running some security tests post production helps in making an application even more secure. This can help ensure high performance and that the use of scanners for security testing has not impacted the application in a negative manner. This is also a good time to assess the efficiency of the SSA(Software Security Assurance) program in use.

For security testing, the testing team needs to focus on identifying areas where a product is most vulnerable and address those comprehensively. By starting security testing early in the development, testers can understand the application better and find the chinks even in the most complex application designs. A thoroughly tested code, ensures that the end product is robust and more secure – and isn’t that what we all want?

The Big Challenges in Automating Your Testing for DevOps

To stay ahead of the market organizations have to deliver a high-quality product in the least possible time. For this, organizations have had to fundamentally change their development methodologies as well as their testing practices. These shifts have prompted all the stakeholders of product development to work more closely and in tandem with one another. DevOps is one such development methodology that takes a more holistic approach to software development by bringing software developers, testers, and operations together to improve collaboration and to deliver a quality product at light speed.

Clearly, the role of QA and testing have been redefined in the DevOps environment. DevOps is heavily focused on the ‘fail fast, fail often’ mandate propelled by the ‘test first’ concept. Testing, thus, becomes continuous and exhaustive and hence demands greater levels of automation. But just how easy is it to automate testing in DevOps?

DevOps makes testers an important part of the development team to develop new features, implement changes and enhancements, along with testing the changes made in the production software. While on the outset this arrangement looks fairly simple to achieve, there can be some challenges that first need to be addressed to automate testing in a DevOps environment. In fact, Quali’s 2016 survey on the challenges of implementing DevOps states that 13% of those surveyed feel that implementing test automation poses a barrier to successful DevOps implementation. In this blog, we take a look at some changes that create challenges in automating testing for DevOps.

  1. The New-age Testing Team
    The DevOps environment needs testing teams to change pragmatically to accommodate accelerated testing – not always easy to achieve. These teams, instead of being in the back end now have to co-exist with the other development stakeholders in DevOps. Along with being focused on the end-user, testing teams in DevOps also have to be aware of the business goals and objectives and have to have the ability to understand how each requirement impacts another and be in a position to identify and iterate cross-project dependencies. So along with being able to understand user stories and define acceptance criteria’s, they also need to have better communication, and analytical and collaboration skills. This allows them to clarify intent and also provide sound advice on taking calculated risks.
  2. The Process Change
    DevOps demands greater integration of development and testing teams. This also means that the testing and QA team has to work closely with product owners and business experts and also understand the working of the business systems being tested. Even testing teams need to develop a Product Lifecycle Management mindset by first unlearning the standard SDLC process. DevOps testing teams also need to assign an architect to select the right testing tools, determine best practices for continuous integration and integrate the test automation suite with the build deployment tool for centralized execution and reporting. There, thus, has to be a ‘one team’ mentality across the invested teams – a significant change in the “way we work”.
  3. The Pace of Change
    DevOps also focuses heavily on the speed of development and deployment. This places a lot of emphasis on increasing test coverage, iterating detailed traceability requirements and ensuring that the team does not miss testing of critical functions in the light of rapidly changing requirements. Test plans in DevOps thus need to be more fluid and have to be carefully prioritized to adapt to these uncertainties that arise from changing requirements and tight timelines. Test Automation also takes time to develop. At the blistering pace set by the DevOps team how is the automation to be completed?
  4. Unified Reporting and Collaboration
    Test automation in DevOps demands consolidated timely reports to provide actionable insights to foster collaboration in cross-functional teams. Testing teams also need to ensure that they introduce intelligence into the existing test automation set up. This is to proactively address scalability challenges that may slow down testing speed. Analytics and intelligence can also play a key role in implementing intelligent regression models and establishing automation priorities. This is essential to test what is needed, and only what is needed, in the interest of time. Ensuring easy maintainability of the automation architecture has always been a priority but it may now become necessary to have a central repository of code-to-test cases for easier test case traceability. Prevailing test practices are not necessarily tuned to this level of reporting and analysis and this is a significant challenge to overcome.
  5. Testing Tools Selection and Management.
    Traditional testing tools may be misfits in a DevOps environment. Some testing tools can be used only once the software is built, thus failing the whole purpose of DevOps. Some testing tools can only be employed once the system has evolved and is more settled. DevOps testing teams thus, need to use those tools that help them explore the software still being built. They must test in a manner that is unscripted and fluid.

The test automation tools DevOps needs can link user stories to test cases, provide a holistic requirement view, keep a record of testing results and test data, have REST API’s, help manage test cycles and create and execute test cases real-time, and provide detailed reporting and analytics.

Testing teams in a DevOps environment are critically important. They need to work with an enhanced degree of speed and transparency and they must root out all inefficiencies that impede the automation process. Automation is key to their success but as we have outlined, there are some significant challenges to overcome in getting Automation right in DevOps. Stay tuned for future posts where we reveal just how these challenges can be addressed in the DevOps environment.