Software applications play a vital role in this digital world. Thus it is very important to ensure the software applications are working according to the user’s requirement. The validation and verification can be done by testing the correctness of output by providing various input data while testing it. For this, the developers and testers require test data. Therefore effective management of test data is very important.
In this new era of the digital world, automation testing and cloud-based testing environments have evolved to develop and maintain software applications at low cost which thereby increase the overall quality of the software application. The testers and developers can work from their different locations on the same software applications with the help of resources and data available in the cloud.
It has become essential to manage test data effectively so that it is neither tampered with nor misused as the cloud platform is available for everyone. It is also important to ensure that the private data of software applications are safe and secure.
The Importance of Test Data Management
Test data management refers to the replication of actual data in order to maintain the privacy and security of the software application. Here are a few of the reasons that will tell us the importance of test data management.
- Increased Test Data Coverage: Test Data Management increases the test data coverage by using the same set of data for testing various test cases without the need to maintain different test data. Also, it helps in visualizing the defect pattern present in the software application due to the test data.
- Cost Reduction by Finding the Bugs Early: As we already know test data management helps in increasing the test coverage area and that is why bugs can now be found at the early stage of testing and can be fixed at the same time. This reduces the cost of development as the other features will not be affected due to the bug.
- Data Provision Based on Testing Type: Test Data Management allows testers and developers to use the same set of data for multiple testing techniques as the test data are stored and managed at the same place. This helps in the reduction of storage costs along with data redundancy.
- Data Compliance and Security: Test Data Management involves hiding actual data from the external user which helps in maintaining the data security. Also, there are rules related to data compliance that must be followed as part of test data management.
- Reusability of Data: Test Data Management allows its user to data reusability which makes data management an essential part of software testing. It helps in the reduction of cost and storage. Also, allows different members of the testing team to use the same set of data.
- To Reduce Copies Of the Data: Software testing is carried out by various members of the team to ensure seamless functioning. Therefore different user require their own copies of test data to test the correctness of input and output of the software application. Test data management allows everyone to use the data from an individual test data file which helps to reduce the need for multiple copies of the data.
Automated Test Data Generation
Automated test data creation efficiently reduces the time required for the development, upkeep, and execution of tests when compared to manual test data creation. This process is carried out using automation testing solutions like LambdaTest, which automate the entire process end to end. These solutions are faster and more precise than a human-driven approach, leading to increased efficiency in the long run.
LambdaTest is an AI-powered test orchestration and execution platform that enables users to perform manual and automated testing of web and mobile applications across 3000+ browser types, operating systems, and real device combinations. LambdaTest serves the needs of more than 1 Million users spanning 130 countries, aiding them in the testing of their mobile and web applications. By utilizing LambdaTest, businesses can ensure thorough testing of their products and achieve a quicker time-to-market.
What does LambdaTest provide?
- Run Selenium, Cypress, Playwright, Puppeteer, and Appium automation tests across 3000+ real desktop and mobile environments.
- Conduct live interactive cross-browser testing in various environments.
- Execute Mobile App testing on the Real Device cloud. Achieve a 70% boost in test execution speed with HyperExecute.
- Address test instability, reduce job durations, and obtain rapid feedback on code modifications with TAS (Test At Scale).
- Employ intelligent visual regression testing in the cloud.
- Utilize LT Browser for responsive testing across 50+ pre-configured mobile, tablet, desktop, and laptop viewpoints.
- Capture comprehensive automated screenshots across multiple browsers with a single click.
- Test your web and mobile applications hosted locally with the LambdaTest tunnel.
- Conduct online accessibility testing.
- Conduct tests across multiple geographical locations using the Geolocation testing feature.
- Access 120+ third-party integrations with your preferred tools for CI/CD, Project Management, Codeless Automation, and more.
Challenges in Cloud-based Testing Environment
With various advantages, there are a few challenges associated with a Cloud-based testing environment.
- Lack of Test Data Security: Cloud-based testing environment is available for everyone and that is why there is a lack of test data security. Even though the test data mimics real data, the external user can decode it to get the actual data due to which security is lost.
- Performance Inaccuracy: The cloud-based testing environment contains various data sets that do not suit our requirements. Also, there are a few sets of data that are not updated in accordance with the new features. However, the developers and testers need to rely on these data due to the complexity of maintaining test data thus making the performance of the software application inaccurate.
- Poor Data Quality: The cloud-based testing environment contains test data sets designed and managed by various testers and developers which sometimes may not be of seamless quality. This poor data quality needs to be managed before using them which may cause data-related issues.
- Data Privacy Compliance: Maintaining the privacy of data in a cloud-based testing environment becomes challenging due to its vast area and no boundaries. Everyone can access the data and therefore it is advised not to use sensitive data on a cloud-based testing platform.
- Data Access Control: Data access control is a challenging task while using a cloud-based testing environment. This is because anyone can use and update the test data according to their own requirement. Also, sometimes unauthorized users change and add malicious data for their benefit.
Best Practices for Effective Test Data Management in the Cloud
Here are a few of the best practices that testers and developers may use for effective test data management in the cloud.
- Focus on the security of the data: The security of data can be focused on by hiding the sensitive and real data and not uploading it into the cloud-based testing environment as it does not have the features of access control. Also, it is best suggested to use data that seems like real data but is not actual data. This will maintain the security and secrecy of sensitive data.
- Keep the real and test data isolated from each other: In a cloud-based testing environment, we have various sets of data designed and maintained which cannot be easily distinguished whether it is real or mimicked. So, it is considered the best practice to isolate the real data from the designed data so that real data can be kept secure and is not available to external users.
- Keep a focus on application security: The testing of software applications on the cloud gives access to various individuals including the intruders to look into the software application. Thus, it is suggested that the testers and developers focus on the security of the software application by ensuring that there is no updation to the test data by anyone other than the team members involved in the software development.
- Automate data management and usage: Test data management is considered one of the complex tasks and requires a lot of time and effort. So, it is considered a best practice to use automated tools that will help in the management of the test data with very little human interference which will thereby help testers and developers to focus on fixing bugs and resolving other critical issues.
- Refresh data using a central repository: The data is stored at various locations in the cloud-based testing environment and it becomes very difficult for testers and developers to update and change them when required. Thus it is suggested to refresh data using a central repository which will update data at once by reducing the overall effort and time.
- Perform continuous data analysis to update test data as and when necessary: This is one of the most important practices that must be followed by the testers and developers before using the test data for testing the software application. Data analysis will help in enhancing the quality of the test data which will therefore enhance the quality of the software application.
Tools and Technologies for Test Data Management in the Cloud
In order to manage test data effectively in a cloud-based testing environment it is best to use some tools that will ensure that the data is managed with very little effort and time. There are tools available to generate test data that help in generating complex data within no time. Also, these data are safer to use than that of actual data.
Even though there are tools available for masking up the data that means now the sensitive and real data can also be used for testing the software application without the fear of getting tampered with or misused. Hence it is suggested to use tools and technologies to ease the process of data management.
There are even tools available to visualize the issues that arise with test data and solve them. Even the testers and developers may monitor and compliance the test data thus maintaining the security with the help of integrating tools with the cloud-based testing environment.
Software testing is highly dependent on test data thus making effective data management an important part of the software testing process. High-quality test data is not only essential for developing a seamless software application but also plays a vital role in ensuring that a large population of users will accept the software application.
In this digital world, ensuring data privacy and security should be the top priority of the developers and testers. Neglecting these increases the risk of unauthorized access and tampering with user data, which will not be accepted by any quality-based software application. Therefore, following up the best practices mentioned above is highly encouraged to ensure effective test data management.
Along with this acquiring knowledge about the challenges involved with a cloud-based testing environment is equally important. This understanding will enable testers and developers to overcome these challenges, ultimately delivering software applications that are according to the Software Requirement Specification.