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Best Practices for Effective Test Data Management

Best practices

When organizations operate in agile environments, the demand for relevant production-grade test data grows, making organizations spend more time on test data collection. This data search often delays software delivery. Good test data management is one of the most acceptable practices for successful software quality assurance, especially when performing integration and functional testing on large systems.  

Test Data Management Best Practices

A practical and comprehensive program for managing test data must start with a plan. Before you begin collecting test data, you should understand the landscape and the various business processes that will use and contribute to it. The plan should include:

  • The necessary data requirements
  • Testing environments
  • Your company’s data governance policies
  • The essential rules regarding the handling of personal data.

A test data management plan can reduce costs, time, and rework. Here’s how it works:

  • Finding Test Data: The first best practice in test data management is locating and integrating test data from diverse source systems and IT environments within the enterprise. Identifying all critical data channels and sources should begin in the early stages. Enterprises must identify and categorize data under different data protection regulations (such as GDPR and CCPA) and industry standards (HIPAA and PCI).
  • Safeguarding Personal Information: People and governments are becoming more aware of the risks of collecting and using sensitive data, and Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is one of those hot topics. Test data management must adhere to strict compliance laws, such as GDPR or CCPA, which require solid data governance protocols. Unified data masking techniques ensure that sensitive data is protected. The production data gets masked so that it gets mirrored in real-life data without revealing the actual information. The management and storage of test data is another crucial element of security. It is imperative that test data is accessible only by authorized individuals following security protocols, even for apps in development.
  • Real-time Refreshing of Test Data: The most critical aspect of test data is keeping it current. Because of the vast volume of enterprise data, many businesses only renew their test data every quarter. Because extracting and supplying test data takes time, testing teams frequently reuse outdated data. A real-time synchronization solution that does not involve mass database copying is required to keep test data relevant and trustworthy. Another critical factor is ensuring that frequent access does not negatively influence production system performance.
  • Ensure the Relevance of Test Data: It’s not just the time factor that influences data testing. To ensure quality testing, teams need to be capable of sourcing and analyzing the appropriate test data. The laborious nature of parameter-based subsetting ( the process of making a smaller but referentially accurate duplicate of a larger database) discourages testers from using this feature, particularly when multiple sources are involved. Testing teams should determine which data items are required to create test data subsets for a particular scenario. Because of more relevant and targeted test data, software delivery will be faster, and the data itself will be of higher quality.
  • Plan wisely: Managing a test environment entails a significant amount of overhead. However, if you standardize exams across groups, you will see a decrease in this overhead. This is made feasible by proper planning, which allows you to better grasp standardizing examinations across groups. Consider this: You won’t be able to use all of the data anyway. That is why you must select a subset that is similar to production. Planning facilitates the entire TDM process in agile.

Automation of Test Data Management is underway

While the administration of test data sounds time-consuming, you can automate several steps. Automation reduces the risk of human error and speeds up test data delivery. We need to automate test data for CI/CD pipelines to include it in agile software development. Data and software testing have evolved into increasingly automated processes in recent years. 

It is crucial to configure test data in the system to execute tests credibly and improve their accuracy. Software or an application cannot run without the correct data. The only way an organization can thrive and make the most of its agile development methodology is if it manages test data following the best practices.

How Avo’s iTDM assists testers

Avo’s iTDM integrates with Avo Assure. This test data management solution offers data masking, subsetting, discovery, etc. The application also includes a slew of other capabilities that benefit development teams. It helps supply development teams with the data they require securely. The solution assists teams in discovering and creating data subsets for testing. Smaller data sets can be provisioned to minimize overburdening infrastructure and enhance test speed. It also helps test teams achieve scale compliance by masking data to remove any sensitive information. Contact us to streamline your test data management process

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