One of the main components of proper testing is data. As such, it stands to reason that without good data, good testing just isn’t possible. You may have a test plan full of comprehensive scenarios but unless you have the appropriate data to run the scenarios, what you have is only a plan that can’t be executed. The best data is in production, since it’s the real world data that the application will use. However, depending on your business, the live data may also have privacy and legal concerns associated with using it. To keep yourself and your business safe from expensive lawsuits, it’s best to forgo the practice of using raw production data. But how can you do that effectively?
QA Mentor’s Test Data Management (TDM) Service has been designed to help you with data creation, management, and protection to keep your business compliant with all legal regulations without sacrificing expediency or quality. With our help, your business can have test data on-demand for all of your testing needs in any test environment. Following our practices, your testing team won’t have to incorporate time consuming, manual test data creation into their test plans, saving you both time and money.
How It Works
To start off, our team will meet with yours to determine the project timeline and objectives. From there, we’ll evaluate your entire QA process, including application profiles and tools used. We will identify the data that you commonly use in testing, how it’s acquired, where it’s stored, and how it is maintained. It’s at this point that we can pinpoint gaps in your process, potential compliance issues with data handling, and possible ways to streamline. After this evaluation, we’ll have a plan of attack specific to your QA challenges.
Our next step is to determine which data is necessary. Using Data Mining, we can analyze data from multiple perspectives to gain a greater understanding of your specific needs, determine which data is needed to satisfy testing requirements, and minimize the risk of data issues in development and QA. We’ll identify smaller datasets from your production environment that can be used to populate a test database. Since it’s unlikely that the tests will use all of the production data available, we can save you time, money, and space by creating smaller, more concise datasets for use in testing.
Next, we’ll identify the confidential data that may need to be masked. Using leading tools or SQL queries, we can replace sensitive data with realistic, synthetic data without a loss of quality. Completing this step will bring your company into federal or state compliance, mitigate your legal risk, and allow you to source your data to people outside the company, such as vendors. The method used depends on the data type and the testing needs. Data may be conditionally masked, incrementally masked, or partially masked using encryption, number variance, random generation, character masking, or substitution.
Last, we will determine the amount of data creation necessary to fill in any gaps left by masking or the minimized datasets. This generated data will ensure that all combinations are available for development and testing. For this part of the TDM, we can use algorithms to generate the data, random generation with tools such as Excel, manual generation, or by using leading automation tools.
Our TDM service doesn’t stop there. We can help you implement archiving and purging to save you money on storage and infrastructure, as well as performance. When data is obsolete or redundant, it should be purged from the environment to decrease the risk of false defects. Identifying this data can be time consuming on its own. With our help and expertise, we can help you use manual or automatic processes to perform complete system checks. These checks can identify obsolete or redundant data based on predefined criteria and can be automatically or manually removed at regular intervals.
Your tests are only as good as the data used to run them. Don’t overlook this vital component of safe, comprehensive, and professional QA processes. With our years of experience and expertise, let QA Mentor be your guide in Test Data Management.