The benefits, challenges, and best practices for cloud-based mobile application testing
You can test your mobile apps in one of two ways: with on-premises hardware or on remote, cloud-based infrastructure. Cloud-based testing comes with both benefits and challenges. When it comes to cost, scalability and other key factors, working in the cloud presents possibilities that on-premise testing simply can not rival.
Benefits of Cloud-Based Mobile Application Testing
Cloud-based mobile application testing provides four primary benefits, namely scalability, cost-effectiveness, flexibility and collaboration.
- Scalability: Cloud-based mobile application testing allows testing teams to scale up or down their testing resources quickly and efficiently. They can easily add or remove testing resources based on their current requirements. As a result, developers can complete the testing process faster and more effectively, and adapt their resources to suit a project of any size or type.
- Cost-effectiveness: Cloud-based mobile application testing teams do not need to invest any of their budget in hardware and infrastructure. The entire testing process can be done in the cloud, using rented resources on a pay-per-use basis. In this way, money and resources can be saved, and the process is cheaper and more cost-effective. On-premise testing is a capital-intensive enterprise. You would first have to pay to acquire and set up the hardware, and then cover ongoing operational costs. Instead of focusing on testing and fine-tuning a new app, the QA team would waste a lot of time customizing and reconfiguring your setup to operate on each new app. Imagine if an app needed to be tested across five different OS versions and 50 different phone models. Bringing all that testing capacity onto your premises would be incredibly expensive. There are so many variables involved with app testing, from the number of screens to the types of testing to the number of test cycles and the number of devices, among others, that it is difficult to estimate a general price, but suffice it to say that applying all these variables in the cloud, as opposed to on your own hardware, will yield incredible savings.
- Flexibility: Testing teams have the ability to set up customized testing environments with relative ease. Whatever their specific user scenario and network conditions may be, they will have the resources they need to create an environment that perfectly suits their needs. On-premise infrastructure is likely to have inherent limitations that may inhibit the expansion of projects outside of the original specifications for which the system is designed. When you test a new app, you may have to upgrade your on-premise system, generating more costs and taking up more preparation time.
- Collaboration: With cloud-based mobile application testing, your team, even if it is spread across many different locations and time zones, can collaborate effectively. They can easily share test results, collaborate on testing activities, and communicate with each other in real time. Collaboration helps teams to work more efficiently and effectively. On-premise testing is more of a closed system, in which collaboration is limited to team members working on-site. Of course, remote collaboration is possible with on-premise systems, but, again, this would entail additional costs.
- No maintenance or updates necessary: Without any on-premises devices, you wwill not need to worry about repairing hardware, updating software, or ensuring the right device mix.
Challenges of Cloud-Based Mobile Application Testing
Even though cloud-based testing has undeniable benefits, it also presents some challenges, including the following:
- Security: Testing data is stored in the cloud, potentially making them accessible to more people, and thus susceptible to cyber-attacks. These security concerns do not make cloud-based testing unfeasible, however; it just means that adequate security measures need to be put in place. Effective encryption is usually enough to ensure that data is kept safe. A good cloud operator that provides a platform for data-sensitive functions, such as app testing, should provide end-to-end encryption that protects all data and strictly limits access only to authorized personnel.
- Reliability: Testers need to be able to trust that the cloud infrastructure they are using is reliable. Downtime or technical issues can disrupt the project and lead to unnecessary and unplanned costs
- Data Privacy: Cloud-based mobile application testing involves sharing sensitive data with third-party service providers. Any time data is shared, it is potentially vulnerable, which may raise concerns about data privacy and data protection. Again, cloud platform operators have an obligation to ensure data security through measures such as encryption, and strict configuration principles. Users can further strengthen security by protecting all the devices they use to access the cloud, using careful permission and password management, avoiding the use of public Wi-Fi connections, and the use of up-to-date anti-malware products.
- Integration: Cloud-based mobile application testing may require integration with different systems and platforms, such as the testing framework, automation tools, and testing tools. Integrating all these different parts may require additional configuration and setup, which may be time-consuming and complex.
Examples of Cloud-Based Mobile Application Testing
- AWS Device Farm: AWS Device Farm is a cloud-based mobile application testing service provided by Amazon Web Services. It allows testing teams to test their mobile applications on real devices hosted on AWS infrastructure. Device Farm also supports both manual and automated testing and provides a range of testing tools and frameworks.
- Sauce Labs: Sauce Labs is a cloud-based mobile application testing platform that supports automated testing on real devices and emulators. It provides a range of testing frameworks, such as Selenium, Appium, and Espresso, and supports different programming languages and platforms.
- Firebase Test Labs: Firebase Test Lab is the loud testing solution by Google, which allows testing teams to test their mobile applications on real devices hosted on Google infrastructure. Firebase Test Lab supports both manual and automated testing and provides a range of testing tools and frameworks.
- BrowserStack: BrowserStack is a cloud-based platform that offers a comprehensive solution for testing web applications on real devices and browsers. It provides developers and testing teams with the ability to test their web applications across a wide range of devices and browsers, ensuring compatibility and functionality.
Best Practices for Cloud-Based Mobile Application Testing
Cloud-based testing is the best way to test your mobile application, but in order to enjoy the benefits of this method and mitigate or eliminate the potential challenges, there are a few key practices that you should always bear in mind:
Choose the right cloud provider
Choose a cloud provider that meets your specific requirements and offers the features and functionalities you need for your testing process. When selecting your cloud provider, measure the services offered against the following key criteria:
- Certifications and standards - make sure the provider is compliant with the leading industry standards organizations, such as ISO, IEC, Cloud Security Alliance, or NIST.
- Ensure that the technologies the provider offers aligns with your environment and support your specific objectives.
- Check their data management policies, and ensure that these are of a high standard, and guarantee the safety of your data.
- Check the performance of the service provider against their SLAs for the past 6-12 months. This information will help you to measure the overall reliability of the cloud provider.
- Ask the provider about their policies and practices with regard to migration support, vendor lock and exit planning. How easy would it be to migrate to another service provider if this should ever become necessary?
Ensure data security
Make sure that your testing data is protected and secured by using appropriate security measures, such as encryption, access controls, and monitoring.
Monitor the cloud infrastructure
Keep a close watch on the cloud infrastructure to ensure its availability and performance. There are various manual and automated techniques that will help you to confirm the availability and performance of servers, applications and other cloud-based components. These include virtual network monitoring, cloud storage monitoring, virtual machine monitoring and database monitoring. Your cloud provider will help you with those that are relevant to your specific operation.
Atimi Software can help you develop a cutting-edge mobile app. We are a team of custom mobile app developers in Vancouver. Founded in 2000, we quickly grew in reputation, and are now widely known as app developers who can handle complex projects and deliver high-quality work, throughout the process, from design to testing and launch. We have the distinction of having developed three of the first 100 apps to be listed in the App Store. After 22 years in business, we have completed over 900 projects for clients in 70 different industries - many of them Fortune 500 companies. Contact us for help creating and testing an industry-leading app.
Are you ready to take the quality of your custom app development project to the next level with well thought-out, holistic testing that benefits your product and consumers? Then contact Atimi, a native app development company in Vancouver, today.