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Testing and Security Measures | @CloudExpo #DevOps #Agile #Cybersecurity

Security testing has always been a top priority for organizations when it comes to implementing technology

How to Address Security Measures While Testing

Cyberthreats have become more sophisticated over the years, improving methods to take advantage of software information and even completely shut down systems to hold data ransom. As a result, developers and testers must be able to ensure that their programs have the necessary protections in place to prevent attacks and keep business information safe. Here are a few tips to help teams address security measures during testing.

1. Designate an expert
Within a team there should be a person delegated to investigate and document all security measures necessary. It's this individual's job to assess requirements facing the industry the app's users operate in. For example, health care has a wide range of strict regulations like HIPAA and other legislation that dictates how patient information should be stored and secured. Nearly every sector must also contend with PCI DSS, a law that helps protect payment card information and financial data. Since most organizations accept credit and debit cards, this regulation is the most widespread.

However, it's not enough to have just one expert. TechTarget contributor John Overbaugh noted that all team members must be educated on these security needs in order to test effectively. Once team members have a better understanding of what to expect, they will be able to strategize on how to better address protection requirements using agile testing methodologies.

"The test manager plays one other important role in ensuring security measures are followed," Overbaugh wrote. "This role is to encourage, enforce and pattern compliance with internal security guidelines both of the company as well as guidelines given by the company's customers. Security is everyone's responsibility, but managers carry the duty to be examples to their teams and to ensure their teams follow security requirements."

2. Simulate attacks
As noted earlier, there's a wide variety of attacks that an organization may experience, but QA teams can prepare for these events by simulating these threats. If a known strain of malware is rising up, for example, testers should evaluate their app against this threat in a secure environment. Although real-world situations may not proceed the same way, exploratory testing can reveal a significant amount of information concerning what areas go down first and how well the app responds to certain stressors.

It's virtually impossible to plan for everything or to foresee the types of sophisticated attacks on the horizon, but it's still worth it to simulate known and emerging attacks to understand your vulnerabilities. Security Innovation Europe's Alan Pearson suggested using static and dynamic testing tools to improve security by weeding out false positives and identifying real threats. With quality testing tools, testers can better detect what areas need to bolster their protections and what steps to take to improve security overall.

3. Test after each change
Under agile operations, it's expected and even encouraged that teams will make continuous innovations to a project to enhance functionality and provide a quality experience. However, each change made also introduces a certain amount of risk that it will open up a vulnerability. Teams must do extensive testing after each adjustment to not only ensure that the app still functions as expected but that security measures continue to cover everything. Ongoing code reviews will be critical to maintaining protection and confirming that features have been configured correctly.

"It's vital that you remember that your testing environment is different to the real world: even after all your testing, unexpected errors or vulnerabilities can crop up during deployment that you hadn't anticipated," Pearson wrote. "One of the biggest risks is misconfiguration during deployment. To protect against this, you should have a dedicated member of staff overseeing deployment who is responsible for checking for any configuration errors to mitigate the risk."

Security testing has always been a top priority for organizations when it comes to implementing technology and ensuring that they maintain compliance with industry regulations. By establishing a security expert on your team, simulating attacks and testing code after each code change, groups can maintain protection throughout the application lifecycle and effectively prevent a breach. Strategies will need to constantly evolve to address current threats and vulnerabilities that will emerge in the future.

More Stories By Sanjay Zalavadia

As the VP of Client Service for Zephyr, Sanjay Zalavadia brings over 15 years of leadership experience in IT and Technical Support Services. Throughout his career, Sanjay has successfully established and grown premier IT and Support Services teams across multiple geographies for both large and small companies.

Most recently, he was Associate Vice President at Patni Computers (NYSE: PTI) responsible for the Telecoms IT Managed Services Practice where he established IT Operations teams supporting Virgin Mobile, ESPN Mobile, Disney Mobile and Carphone Warehouse. Prior to this Sanjay was responsible for Global Technical Support at Bay Networks, a leading routing and switching vendor, which was acquired by Nortel. He has also held management positions in Support Service organizations at start-up Silicon Valley Networks, a vendor of Test Management software, and SynOptics.

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