The term continuous testing refers to the use of automated testing at all possible stages in the development lifecycle. The end goal of continuous testing is to provide your organization with end-to-end automated testing coverage that will enhance the ability of the development team to find bugs earlier in the development process. This serves to ensure that any issues found in the early stages can be fixed much sooner, thus lowering the risk they pose to the delivery schedule.
How can companies in the finance industry benefit from the adoption of continuous testing strategies? Application security and company reputation come to mind when I think of how to answer this question. Below, I explain how these concerns can be put to rest through end-to-end automated testing in the financial services industry.
Enhanced financial application security through continuous testing
In the world of finance, application security and compliance with standards to protect consumer information are of nearly unparalleled importance. When dealing with financial information, it pays for the financial institution you are working with to protect data at all costs. By nature, financial information is:
- At greater risk of being stolen due to its value
- Often more important to the consumer than other information they volunteer online (such as information relating to social media profiles)
Several continuous testing practices can be employed to ensure that your coding standards are being upheld and that application security is being maintained. These include the use of tools to analyze your source code as well as the use of automated integration and unit testing to test for both security and non-security related bugs that are committed to the common code base for release.
By utilizing a strategy of continuous testing in this manner, the organization is taking steps to systematically embolden their application security. Most of the issues with the application are then caught earlier in the process, making them less expensive to fix, and making it less likely that a major problem makes its way into production. By keeping most of these bugs out of production, the finance organization is only strengthening their defense of consumer data.
Increased delivery speed for finance software
The speed of delivery is very important for any organization that relies on software. Being able to release working software in a timely manner to implement new features that consumers desperately want can greatly assist in an organization's ability to remain relevant in their particular field. This is no different for companies in the finance industry.
Continuous testing can also be a major player in the effort to increase delivery speed. As discussed earlier in this article, continuously testing the application throughout the development process leads to the discovery of issues earlier, where they are less expensive to fix. This is because bugs found earlier take less time to fix. If you can find a bug in your code soon after it was introduced, there is a greater likelihood that it is less intertwined with the application, and easier to root out and resolve. Therefore, you ensure that the timeline for delivery is not disrupted (which is more likely if testing is held back until development is completed, and issues in the code often take much more time to sort out).
The effect of reputation on remaining competitive in finance
At this point, we can see how continuous testing can help an organization in the finance industry. But what is it that makes continuous testing so particularly important in a finance organization’s effort to remain competitive?
That part is simple to answer. It all comes down to company reputation. Company reputation in the finance industry may be, arguably, more important than in any other industry—especially now, as banks work to rebuild tarnished reputations. Would you want to invest your money with a finance company that has a history of issues with protecting consumer data, or buggy performance of their applications? I know I wouldn’t.
When it comes to money and related financial information, people want to feel as if their data is safe and that the application they use to access their information is intuitive and free of major issues.
Continuous testing assists significantly in this pursuit. As discussed earlier, automated testing at all stages of development facilitates the discovery of bugs earlier in the process, leading to a more enjoyable and stress-free experience for the user when the application makes its way into production—which is more likely to convince consumers to stay, while providing the company with a reputation that contributes to their ability to remain competitive in the industry. In addition, the company may experience the bonuses of more easily reeling in new consumers due to less negative press on consumer data protection, and more positive user experience reports.
Simply put, testing continuously throughout the development process saves time and increases organizational confidence that an application is ready for use by the public. These practices increase the chances for greater application security and a better user experience, which lead to a better reputation for the organization responsible for the application. For organizations in the finance industry, these advantages are considered essential.