Digital data is the new gold, and hackers will stop at nothing to get yours. In a study by cybersecurity experts at Maryland University, researchers found that cyber-attacks happen once every 39 seconds. As one of the first organizations to quantify cyber-attacks, Maryland University also says that these attacks can affect one out of every three U.S. citizens.
Furthermore, the number of connected devices today is estimated at around 200 billion. Combined with the fact that 77% of organizations have no cybersecurity response plans in place, America’s application security is far from being an adequate response to the rapid-fire threat posed by hackers. These frightening statistics underscore why the fields of cybersecurity and quality assurance (QA) need to integrate their key processes.
Both QA and cybersecurity are about risk management
In the development lifecycle, QA teams are all about filling in the gaps in order to minimize risks to the quality of the end product or user experience. Meanwhile, cybersecurity processes such as Mobile Application Security Testing (MAST) are all about identifying security-related risks. From authorization concerns to data vulnerabilities, MAST is about analyzing all the potential risk that comes with every possible action on that app.
In turn, this type of testing makes the job of QA teams easier down the line. With fewer security risks comes less risk to the overall quality of the software as well. And the better the quality, the easier it becomes to spot any cybersecurity risks. Because of how QA and cybersecurity intersect in terms of risk management, coordinating with one another can significantly lighten the workload of both parties.
Security testing is ‘shifting to the left’
This simply means that cybersecurity or application security training is now being integrated within software developers’ daily responsibilities. Rather than being a discrete step in the development lifecycle, this leftward-shift means that cybersecurity is becoming part and parcel of the QA testing process. In their task to build the test infrastructure, today’s software developers, data scientists, and QA testers are expected to have a solid grasp of security.
A similar shift to the left can be observed in cutting edge tech training institutions, like the long-standing and web-based Maryville University. Aimed at producing well-rounded developers and software experts, the online school’s different advanced tech programs were developed with cybersecurity integration in mind. In fact, the online bachelor’s in cybersecurity at Maryville University is designed to be paired with its masteral-level data science, software development, and MBA courses. Furthermore, with coursework mostly happening in the university’s Apple-distinguished Virtual Lab, students can train in a fully online and mobile platform that they can access anywhere. This includes working on defensive digital tactics for real-world companies – under the remote supervision of cybersecurity experts.
This gives students real-world experience in remote and collaborative cybersecurity work. When they graduate, this hands-on remote training will be valuable in terms of collaborating with QA experts. Whether they go on to focus on cybersecurity or branch out to other in-demand fields like data science, software development, or business administration, the security experts of the future are being trained to more easily integrate their security expertise with companies’ existing QA testing infrastructures. From training to implementation, this impending partnership between security and QA is inevitable.
In an age where high-value targets like the Defense Department, other government offices, financial institutions, social media platforms, and tech giants are being constantly assailed by hackers, the integration of software QA and security is the best defense. It’s no secret that cybersecurity concerns have led to software developers and QA teams being spread out too thin. But with security being integrated as a top-of-mind priority for anyone involved in the testing infrastructure, then security experts, developers, and QA teams can breathe a little easier.
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