test data management: funcionalidades

Test Data Management: Functionality and Utilities

The use of Test Data Management systems comes to solve some of the most common bottlenecks in software testing processes.

These problems often range from inefficiencies in the time spent (for example, operators wasting time waiting for data); to the difficulty in creating high-quality test data and achieving a balance with GDPR requirements.

Therefore, from icaria Technology, we want to share some of the key insights about Test Data Management, including a definition and description of its functionality, as well as some advantages of choosing the right TDM.

Test Data Management (TDM): What It Is and How It Works

Test Data Management refers to all processes aimed at properly managing test data throughout software development and testing.

Thanks to TDM, it is possible to have access to quality structured data, in adequate quantities and in compliance with the law. For this, a safe subset of data, similar to real data, is generated to be used with total security.

TDM systems arise from the need to have quality and secure data for use in software testing, a field otherwise common to find multiple vulnerabilities.

Considering that the cited data (especially sensitive ones) are not necessary as test data, Test Data Management represents the only viable formula to ensure safe and effective software testing.

Through an appropriate TDM system, it is possible to free the team from the need to rewrite test data and generate, on the other hand, a smaller-sized and masked copy of the production data.

In other words, the data generated from a Test Data Management approach meet the following requirements:

  • They comply with data privacy regulations through their dissociation
  • They are valid and meet the requirements for the tests
  • They are reusable
  • They present traceability, so they can be associated with the test case.

The typical operation of a TDM is as follows:

  • Identifies the most useful elements for the tests based on their repeatability
  • Masks the test data or generates new data based on rules adjusted to each process and business
  • Prioritizes the most relevant data
  • Builds an automation suite that simplifies the process
  • Creates reports around the entire process
  • Generates a data file.

Dissociation and Data Protection

Both are key concepts in the context of Test Data Management:

  • Dissociation refers to the process by which sensitive data within an information system are identified and masked. The result of what is known as data masking is the transformation of the data set into one that protects the information and its confidentiality. Thus, the test data appears like the original data, but it is not.
  • Protection is framed in the context of the Data Protection Law (known as GDPR by its acronym in English).

In this sense, the appropriate software for Test Data Management will achieve a balance between useful data (complete, coherent, and correct) and, at the same time, respect the current legality and be totally safe.

Manual Process vs. Automated Process

Automation in Test Data Management has been positioned since the World Quality Report of 2017 as an important trend and mandatory task in a QA and software testing context.

Automated processes in Test Data Management include from detection, to segmentation, masking, and automatic result checking.

On one hand, only small data sets would have the possibility of being treated manually. On the other hand, it is important to know the benefits of automation in Test Data Management:

  • More effective time management, as waiting times are significantly reduced (up to 5 times less time).
  • Higher quality software, as it is possible to perform a greater number of tests and these be more exhaustive. It also minimizes the possibilities of human error.
  • Liberation of the human team from manual and repetitive work
  • Limit to storage costs and testers, using only the necessary test data.

Advantages of Using the Test Data Management System

Reduction of times and costs

  • Savings in storage costs and resource localization
  • Reduction in the costs associated with the time spent in obtaining the test data, in addition to avoiding the need to have a human team

Improvement in software quality

Test Data Management implies tests with greater coverage: more tests with higher quality are carried out. This results in more reliable tests with greater depth. It also allows for the anticipation of software failures detection, eliminating associated costs if detection were carried out later with the software in operation.

Test Data Management and GDPR Compliance

Software for Test Data Management allows meeting the GDPR requirements linked to data sets and their privacy.

The GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation focuses on the risks derived from data processing to ensure that companies take measures regarding their confidentiality.

Since the approval of this law (which is accompanied by hefty fines), companies must have software that guarantees good data processing practices, also in test data environments.

In this sense, GDPR-oriented Test Data Management guarantees this through:

  • The creation of a map of sensitive data that, in addition, is immersed in a continuous improvement process
  • Generation of a plan for its dissociation
  • Customization possibility in the process

Looking for effective Test Data Management software aligned with current legal needs?

At icaria, we propose our TDM solution to facilitate the safe use of data in software testing processes and information analysis.

Thus, icaria TDM takes care of the process from start to finish: from identifying sensitive data to dissociating them automatically, all with a speed up to 5 times greater.

Want to know more and firsthand check the benefits of Test Data Management for your company? Request your free demo now.

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