It’s not an overstatement to say that our lives are lived out online these days. On an individual level many of us are paranoid about identity theft, online credit fraud and the safety of our personal data, like emails, photos and videos. We worry about this because we’ve seen what can happen when things go wrong, and the consequences are far reaching.
So just imagine how product companies feel when they read a fresh news story about data infringement — especially those who lead their respective markets and have millions of customers to serve. The leaking of any sensitive data, whether it be financial information, patient health records, credit card numbers or just about anything else can have a huge impact on a company’s reputation. Even if the company fixes the security vulnerability, it can be almost impossible to rebound from the ensuing PR nightmare.
The Smaller Consequences
Poor security can cause big problems, but smaller issues are more common. Luckily, they are also easier to prevent. If they aren’t fixed promptly by a skilled QA team with security expertise they can fester and become widespread and much more dangerous.
1. Malware can spread rapidly if email systems and other points of user authentication are left unchecked. After a virus is introduced into an engineer’s personal computer, it can quickly spread to enterprise servers.
2. Productivity can also suffer. Without defined security procedures teams must screen emails manually for suspicious attachments, stealing time away from other tasks related to the software development life cycle.
3. Legal action can be taken against an organization if fraudulent email messages are sent out to customers, subscribers or any group associated with its mailing list. Class action lawsuits, fines and poor PR may be the result.
Software companies do everything they can to avoid compromising the security of their product. But when outsourcing QA testing with a software testing company, there is compromise built into the relationship: they must exchange sensitive information like login credentials, proprietary code and precious user data with the testing partner. Therefore, the QA provider must have an exceptional security approach and be trustworthy.
Work with a trusted software testing company
This is far and away the best solution for ensuring that your product remains safe. Look for a QA partner that can guarantee both physical and logical security of your project. Special hardware safety measures should also be in place (i.e. personal workstations that are only accessible by an authorized user).
How can you tell if a provider is trustworthy? Easy — a track record of successful engagements with high-profile clients. When a partner has high client retention and receives glowing testimonials regularly, you can be sure that their security procedures are doing the job. Most of the following procedures are enforced at the personal and enterprise level:
– Strong spam filters with limited exceptions
– Strong password protection with scheduled password updates
– Enterprise-level antivirus and anti-malware software (with frequent updates)
– Server-level email encryption with closely monitored settings, along with attachment scanning features
Handing over the proverbial keys to your product to a third party is unnerving. But with proper research and vetting, you can find a QA partner that will work to earn your trust and function as a true extension of your team.