The most effective software, application, or product results from a highly process-oriented Quality Assurance (QA) function in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). However, it is sometimes seen as an add-on that comes at the end to check on all aspects of the product or application before releasing it to the public or end customer.
A seasoned QA professional will look for bugs, errors, slow load times, and navigation breaks throughout the SDLC, improving the application’s functionality. However, security testing is equally essential as hackers can easily exploit vulnerabilities. These are the types of security risks that can have devastating consequences, such as data breaches and loss of customer trust.
WHAT IS SECURITY TESTING?
Security testing is a process intended to identify flaws in the security mechanisms of an information system that protects data and maintains functionality as intended.
Just like the software or service requirements must be met in QA, security testing warrants that specific security requirements be met. Typical security requirements may include specific elements of confidentiality, integrity, authentication, availability, authorization and non-repudiation.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SECURITY TESTING?
The main benefit of security testing is that it can help identify potential security risks in the software or application before it is released to the public. This can help avoid devastating consequences, such as data breaches and loss of customer trust.
Software testing looks out for specific bugs or flaws inherent in the software, which could hamper or even stop the software from performing. In contrast, security testing is looking for application vulnerabilities and threats that can cause loss of sensitive and confidential data, revenue and reputation.
It is most beneficial to begin the security testing process at the beginning of the requirement gathering stage, moving through the design, testing, implementation, rollout and support phases.
WHY QA SHOULD INCLUDE SECURITY TESTING
- It fits the QA role
The entire team in the SDLC should, ideally, be able to satisfy the demands by checking and testing the application vulnerabilities from a security standpoint. The QA team should continuously look for vulnerabilities in the network, system software, and client-side application or server-side application security.
- A high-quality application is a secure application
A bug-free and high-quality software application is not only one that functions well but is also secure. A QA team that pays attention to detail and has an eye for security risks can help add an extra layer of protection against cyber threats.
Many use cases of security testing encompass essential areas like password encryption, permissions, logins, session timeouts and cookies to more advanced ways of bypassing existing controls. All of it and more fall under the purview of a secure application.
- Security QA is cost-effective
The cost of fixing a security flaw post-release is significantly higher than fixing it during the development phase. It is important to note that vulnerabilities are often discovered only after the product has been deployed.
QA teams with expertise in application security testing can help organizations save time and money by identifying potential security risks early on in the SDLC.
For organizations that do not have in-house expertise in application security testing, third-party companies can assist in conducting ongoing testing.