If you’re a software publisher, security testing is a hugely important part of your process. You must be able to give users the confidence that the products you offer aren’t vulnerable to cyberattacks that could compromise their devices or data.
Not only would such a breach violate the responsibility you have toward your customers. It could also subject your company to financial, time and reputational losses from which you may never recover. While you can certainly execute quality assurance processes in-house, there are several reasons to consider outsourcing this critical step.
Benefits of Outsourcing Security Testing
If you need testing done yesterday and all your developers are busy with other projects, delegating security testing to an outside vendor is a smart move. You get to keep meeting your deadlines without having to pull anyone from other critical tasks.
If you use a continuous testing model, this flexibility is even more important. Outsourced professionals can perform the automated testing required for this approach. Because this method includes quickly changing technology, you need a team that keeps up with all the latest developments—something in-house workers aren’t always able to do.
Once you’ve engaged an outsource quality assurance contractor or agency, they can be available to help with this phase of the project whenever needed. As a bonus, you don’t have to bother with the hiring and onboarding process necessary for employees.
An outsourced security testing resource is more likely to give you objective test results, whereas an in-house team may be subject to factors such as pressure to offer feedback that might hasten the overall development process to meet tight production deadlines. Thus, you’re likely to get more useful test results earlier in the development process, giving you the opportunity to fix problems before they grow and become more expensive to repair.
This direction is in contrast to the DevOps approach to QA that has become popular in recent years, which combines development and testing. This method is less effective because developers are less likely to see potential issues with their own work.
No matter what your needs, you’re likely to find security testing professionals to meet them. Outsourced agencies can hire testers from anywhere in the world, so the talent pool is unlimited. This pool can be an especially valuable resource if your development company or team is focused only on development with no security expertise on staff.
Testing professionals not only have the necessary skills to help with your security testing, but they also understand the latest tools and methodologies to use. Conversely, you may not be able to devote enough time or resources to help an in-house team stay up to date on ever-changing security testing developments or keep your infrastructure operating up to the state of the art.
Of course, hiring outsourced security testers will cost money upfront but using this approach could save you money in the long term. If you’re only using the service when your in-house employees are at full capacity, you get the benefit of permanent staff without the continuing costs of salary, vacation time, insurance and ongoing training for those workers.
Additionally, some outsourced services use offshore, nearshore, onshore or hybrid models to keep costs down. An offshore model could be to your advantage in that testers in distant time zones could be performing their tasks while you’re sleeping, enabling you to maximize the time of yourself and your staff.
Finally, you can consider outsourced security testing an “insurance policy.” By increasing the likelihood of publishing safe software, you ensure you won’t get dinged with the cost, aggravation and hit to your reputation that a vulnerable product could bring.
Because outsourced testing teams want your repeat business and referrals, they’re likely to perform their work quickly and effectively, so the quality of work is very good. In fact, outsourced security testing agencies may offer a no-defect guarantee, while your in-house testers may not be able to do the same.
Better quality security testing means a better-quality product, leading to more and more loyal customers, referrals and brand advocacy for your company. On the other hand, the opposite result can lead to the opposite outcomes, including loss of sales, diminished reputation and financial or legal consequences.
Outsourcing software security testing might have its drawbacks. You’ll need to spend time identifying your needs, researching vendors and training the outsourced team members. All of that may take resources you may not feel you have, which is why you need to hire help in the first place.
But, for many software publishers, it’s an excellent resource that ends up being well worth the upfront time, money and effort. You can think of an outsourced team as an extension of your own team—one that you can use as needed to make your software products better, safer and more desirable to potential customers. Therefore, one that is a valuable addition to your business.
— Malcom Ridgers