June 21, 2018

Are Crowd Testing Platforms Safe for Enterprise?

Written by
Vinod Saratchandran
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Testing forms a crucial part of software development. Every software or application built by a software development company goes through a detailed testing phase before it gets released to the users. Testing can help identify any flaws, bugs, performance problems, and user experience issues in the software.

Proper testing also ensures that the software works as intended and delivers its end goal clearly. Most enterprises that make and sell software maintain an in-house team specifically for testing their developed software. However, these same enterprises often use external help when it comes to testing and evaluation.

Outsourcing to professional software testers is one option that provides a detailed evaluation of the software. Another method that many enterprises now depend on for testing and evaluating their software products is crowdsourced software testing or crowd testing.

Crowd Testing = Efficiency and Quickness

developers looking at code for crowd testing
As a much better alternative to outsourcing, crowd testing is an entirely different approach that still provides insights into the level of functionality and any possible defects in the software. Crowd testing puts QA testing into a community of freelance software testers and users from around the world, who evaluate the software and give timely feedback to the developers.

The testing may be done by developers and users located at different geographic locations. Although not a replacement for the testing process implemented in-house, crowd testing is done as an auxiliary measure to guarantee that the software does not fail in any instances or contain any bugs.

Crowd testing is a flexible option as it enables enterprises to scale the processes depending on their deadlines or schedule. This method is faster since the testing involves a large group quickly generating results rather than a small in-house group. It’s also a cost effective strategy since there are no additional expenses involved in hiring in-house specialists or engineers for the testing who will require salaries and benefits.

Numerous major players in the software industry have benefited from using a crowd testing platform. Technology leader Google uses crowd testing extensively across its software products. The result is cost-effectiveness, speed and minimal risk of software failure.

Crowd Testing Platforms: Free Outsourcing

An enterprise could gain a lot by depending on a crowd testing platform for assessing its software products. A crowd testing platform uses crowdsourcing and the cloud to test software. It provides a place for enterprises relying on the service to connect with freelance testers.

Different crowdsourcing platforms use varying methodologies. The testing phase will involve a detailed preview of the software in the form of briefings and laying out of a strategy. The results that indicate the presence of any bugs or other flaws are shared with the customer firm after the testing is concluded.

It is therefore important to consider the offerings of each crowd testing platform before deciding on one. In enterprise app development, the use of a crowd testing platform gives more accurate test results compared to in-house testing. This is because the software is subject to real-world scenarios by dispersing it across users based in different locations.

Crowd Testing Platforms: Safe for Enterprises?

Since it involves sharing the actual software product with a large group of anonymous testers, a crowd testing strategy contains its fair share of risk. For enterprises developing proprietary software, it could result in a violation of their exclusive rights and patented technologies used for a project. Before using a crowd testing platform, it is recommended that enterprises evaluate its safety by considering the following aspects.

software developers crowd test code

Data Security and Confidentiality

An enterprise software company should first examine whether the crowd testing platform provides enough security and confidentiality of the data shared. There is always the possibility that any tester can compromise and steal the confidential data, and so choosing a reliable platform is of utmost importance.

When signing up for the services of crowd testing platform, an enterprise software development company should inquire about the privacy agreement to prevent any unlawful violation or infringement of their exclusive patented technologies and data. The availability of different access levels and options to initiate a recall to a pre-test stage should all be considered when settling on a crowd testing platform.

Testing Process

Before settling on a crowd testing platform, it is mandatory to consider the testing process that they deploy. This largely determines the efficiency and speed of the testing process. Usually, a crowd testing platform contains a group of expert freelance testers who can assess the software and provide the results quickly.

Since most crowd testing platforms rely on an agile model, it is advised to compare the testing methodology used within the enterprise. Doing so will help correlate the two approaches, which will result in more efficiency and speed in the entire testing process.

The Testers

software testing lifecycle

The testers constitute the base of a crowd testing platform. Specific software projects require testers who are well versed and experienced with the software being tested such as in the case of iOS or e-commerce. An enterprise should first inquire whether the crowd platform maintains an active tester forum.

This can provide the rankings, performance, and capabilities of each of the verified testers in the crowd platform. Crowd platforms with an active community of testers are the recommended option for enterprises as it allows them to choose a team based on their requirements and rankings.

Flexible Pricing

Most crowd testing platforms follow a flexible model that is reflected in their pricing options as well. With the growing adoption of TaaS (Testing as a Service) by enterprises, crowd testing platforms with their cloud-based operating model have paved the way for a more flexible pricing for their services.

It is better for enterprises that build software to opt for crowd testing platforms that offer a hybrid pricing model. They can cover all the aspects of testing from assessing the software to identifying any bugs or flaws, all at a reduced price. Consider selecting a crowd testing platform with a pricing model based on performance, such as the number of bugs discovered.

Newer Platforms

Some of the crowd testing platforms have adopted the latest trends, which keep them ahead of their competitors. Enterprises can rely upon platforms that also deliver other services like performance testing. Moreover, it is best to choose a crowd testing platform that has a diverse tester community, modern software availability, and an active social media presence.

Adhering to these guidelines can help enterprises find a reliable and safe crowd testing platform. However, there is still the lingering risk of compromising data and resources owned by an enterprise, making the undertaking less safe. Companies that make and sell software should subject their products to a crowd model only after careful inquiry of the testing platform. This involves cross-checking their working methodology, data security, confidentiality, and community of testers to ascertain safety.

Vinod has conceptualized and delivered niche mobility products that cater to various domains including logistics, media & non-profits. He leads, mentors & coaches a team of Project Coordinators & Analysts at Fingent.

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