The true cost of not having a solid web testing strategy 

Posted by Dan Berry on Friday 8 September 2017
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It’s a sad truth, but the effects of poorly tested software are very familiar to all of us. Bugs can linger unknown for weeks, months or even years and then suddenly come to light at the worst time for you and your customers. And it’s often your customers that report these bugs because your web testing process was not robust enough to find them in the first place.

Your customers telling you about your inadequacies as an online business. It doesn’t make sense, does it?

But it’s not your fault. The world of testing moves at such an eye-wateringly fast pace it’s (almost) impossible to keep on top of every new issue that pops up on every new device or OS. Or keep up with the increasingly sophisticated methods and tools cyber criminals use to target your business in the online space.

The true cost of such testing shortcomings is well documented. Let’s look at two common bug categories and the financial implications for your business:

Functional issues

Functional issues are related to your software’s functionality. For example, your customers may not be able to make a purchase or access key content on your site. These issues could be specific to a particular device or operating system. Or they could cause glitches across your entire online suite.

If your website or mobile app doesn’t do what it should, your business will suffer in a number of ways.

For example, a large UK retailer recently lost thousands of pounds after failing to adequately test its new (and expensive) mobile site in various European countries. A new device on the market can also affect your mobile website or app, as another large fashion retailer recently found out. Despite testing their site, a number of issues appeared on both their site and app when the iPhone 7 was released. The retailer was not aware of these issues until the next round of testing.

You also need to test across multiple devices and platforms, as another company discovered after failing to complete sufficient cross browser testing. The jeweller lost £30,000 per week in revenue because its customers could not purchase popular products on certain devices and browsers.

And a well-known department store suffered a double digit drop in conversions after a multimillion pound program of work to re-platform its online presence failed. Following a round of web testing from BugFinders, dozens of issues were identified. When just one issue was fixed the store saw an instant 9% increase in conversions. You can read more success stories of ours here.

The consequences of poor functional web testing in place are obvious. You will lose customers, your conversion rates could plummet and you could risk losing substantial amounts of revenue. Not to mention the impact of a poor user experience on your conversion rates (again) and your brand reputation.

So, what’s the solution? Putting a continuous testing process in place is a solid place to start. This will ensure you stay on top of any new device releases, operating system updates, and product changes. Simply put, continuous web testing ensures your software works on all the devices your customers use, all of the time.

Our Always On testing program is one such continuous testing process. And it’ll also rank any issues that pop up in order of priority so your developers can tackle the most critical show-stopping bugs first.

Continuous agile web testing can be used across your different development environments too. This means any issues are caught before your site is released into the live environment.

Your customers won’t be contacting you to report another bug on your site or app because continuous testing gives you the coverage you need.

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Security issues

There have been some high-profile security breaches in recent times with serious financial implications. Sony, for example, was hit by a multistage hack a couple of years ago where its entire system was compromised. Personal information on staff, financial records, emails and even Twitter accounts were all affected.

While Sony initially claimed the hack cost $15 million in “investigation and remediation costs”, the company then estimated a total cost of $35 million in IT repairs.

TalkTalk also lost 101,000 customers and suffered costs of £60 million following a cyber-attack in October 2015 where the details of approximately 160,000 customers were stolen.

The cost implications of poor online security are quite catastrophic. In the UK, you could face fines of up to £17 million, or 4% of your global turnover, if you fail to take measures to prevent cyber-attacks.

However, the true cost is difficult to estimate as the consequences of a cyber-attack are far reaching. For example, you could temporarily lose access to business-critical information, your brand could be irrecoverably damaged, your legal costs could spiral if you need to hire professional help, not to mention the financial losses associated with reimbursing or compensating customers - and the knock-on effects for your insurance premiums.

Staying secure in the online world is a necessity and a multi-stage process. You’ll need to conduct a security audit to validate your existing security measures. Also, you may want to consider onboarding verified security researchers who can highlight critical vulnerabilities. Again, our Always On testing solution could offer you peace of mind as your site is continuously scoured for vulnerabilities as new threats appear.

This is an important point to note. You can’t simply test your website or app once and then assume that it works and is secure in the months or days (even hours) ahead.

But it’s a difficult ask for many companies. Traditional testing programs mean you need to scale up your budget and your resources to make your business truly functional and secure in the online world.

But continuous web testing gives you another option. It’s an option where your website or app works and is secure no matter what changes are implemented in the wider digital world. Whether it’s a new device, operating system update or security threat - you always need to remain agile and vigilant with your approach to web testing.

If you’d like to find out more about how to revolutionise your web testing, download our guide today....

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