Cloud Considerations for Testing Mobile Apps

While it’s made the lives of consumers infinitely better, the cloud has not always been kind to testers and developers. As Christina Mulligan recently pointed out, this is especially true in the mobile realm.

Indeed, there are several mobile app pitfalls that can occur in the cloud, but in today’s post, we wanted to take a closer look at the ones pertaining to mobile app testers. Here were a few pitfalls that stood out – and ones you’ll definitely want to avoid:

Poor connections to back-end data Traditionally an organization’s data has been saved on premise, but as more apps are moving to the cloud, a new architecture of storing information that is secure and easily accessible is needed…organizations have tried creating duplicates of their data in the cloud, but this has led to inefficiencies to the process and end result, according to Kawasaki. He suggested that organizations choose a mobility platform that has prebuilt native connectors and flexible integration middleware that easily pulls data and customizations without duplicating efforts.

We’ll expand more on performance in a moment, but this pitfall does highlight the growing need for data that is accessible by anyone, anywhere and on any device. It’s important that your mobile testing (and development) activities focus on the critical path, and duplicating efforts to ensure data integrity and consistency is one area that definitely does not quality.

Insufficient and ineffective security Once developers figure out how to extend and scale existing back offices by using the cloud, the next problem they face is security. “Developers need to ask themselves ‘How do I ensure someone doesn’t hack into the system?’ or if it is sufficiently encrypted,” said Kawasaki. The answers to these questions lie inside a cloud service provider’s protocols. Organizations and developers need to be thoroughly familiar with the protocols and have details on each point of security, according to Kawasaki.  

It’s important for mobile app testers to remember that security isn’t just about your own app; it also pertains to the cloud service provider. You’re only as secure as your weakest link, so as testers, always assume that the cloud vendor has not taken all necessary precautions (hopefully they have).

Sacrificing performance Traditionally, when something wasn’t performing right, the answer was to buy more hardware to scale up or scale out. Nowadays with the cloud, an organization’s mobile app is running from someone else’s data center that could be halfway across the globe, and that luxury of fine-tuning for performance is gone. Avoiding this comes back to doing homework about a cloud provider. An organization needs to ask detailed questions to ensure an app’s performance won’t suffer.

Users have been shown to abandon a mobile app that takes even a few extra seconds to load – and if the app crashes or freezes with regularity, they are almost guaranteed to remove it. Choosing the right cloud service is therefore an important task, but so too is testing this performance on a regular basis (something many companies fail to do).

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What other mobile app pitfalls have you encountered as testers? Be sure to share in the comments section below.

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