Engineering team working in the lab at night showing continuous testing and automation

Continuous Testing and the Power of Automation

User experience is everything in our modern world – businesses who do not prioritize this will fall behind, especially those in highly competitive industries. Ensuring a stable and secure user experience necessitates accelerated release cycles (while remaining error-free), cost efficiency and a strong security posture, all of which is possible through continuous testing. And as software companies increase the speed of their releases, continuous testing sets a precedent for how to ensure high quality while also providing a more optimal means of running security checks.

What is Continuous Testing, and Why is it Important?

Continuous testing (CT) is a software testing method that discovers and confronts various issues throughout the stages of the development journey. An invaluable aspect of development teams, the CI/CD pipeline, CT helps developers and product managers find and fix potentially harmful bugs in the early and even later stages of the software development lifecycle (SDLC). CT provides consistent and insightful feedback with each automated test preventing code errors from getting released into the wild, strengthening business risk coverage and guaranteeing satisfied customers through suburb user experience.

Still, the most valuable feature of CT is its automated testing capabilities. As part of the delivery pipeline, CT completes thorough tests frequently and early to achieve release goals. Most notably, unlike other testing types, CT doesn’t always require a large staff – partly because it uses end-to-end automated tests across the front end and back end of technology. Similarly, automation reduces the cost of running manual and time-consuming tests – while also fast-tracking delivery without placing excess stress on internal teams.

Leveraging CT will result in a more stable user experience, measured by application health and the frequency of session-ending crashes. CT also breaks down siloed teams and invigorates cross-functional collaboration, enabling greater awareness of product quality and performance while simultaneously improving overall business metrics by fixing broken apps faster. Likewise, the feedback and actionable data provided from CT allows stakeholders to make immediate and informed decisions.

Continuous Testing is not just about automated functional tests.  The key to CT is that it includes all of the necessary types of tests, to certify a feature is production ready.

Continuous Penetration Testing

One overlooked aspect of CT is its potential for security checks, exemplified by many enterprises that use poor vulnerability management strategies. These strategies are weak because of their cost-inefficiencies; most companies rely on the traditional waterfall method or overtaxed teams to perform outdated analysis approaches that are labor-intensive and prone to inaccuracies. By utilizing the automated power of continuous penetration testing, a company would no longer need to waste the precious time of their employees.

Continuous penetration testing is a security check that as part of CT, can simulate cyber-attacks that probe a network for vulnerabilities such as weakness in code, weak encryption ciphers, and even the presence of SQL injection flaws. Like a blacksmith ironing out the holes in a knight’s armor before battle – a business can assess their susceptibilities and work to fix them before exploitation. Pen Tests need to be continuous because change is inevitable for both a business’s network and the threat landscape. Remote employees, unmanaged and unmonitored IoT devices, and the ever-evolving strategies of threat actors work to compound an already complex environment for organizations.

In the same way that CT reduces the frequency of code errors, continuous penetration testing cuts down on overlooked openings in a system. Powered by CT, Pen Tests do not disrupt network operations and improve resiliency. Likewise, it helps businesses see how their security teams respond to threats and allows them to practice against realistic scenarios.

User experience is everything, consumers expect error-free experiences when using software applications and other digital products; anything less, and they will go elsewhere or leave a scathing review. With CT in a software development pipeline, enterprises will see faster delivery, higher qualify, and better security – in the end, providing an improved end-user experience.


VP of DevTestSecOps at EPAM Systems