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When Is It Worth Automating System Integration Testing?

If you have a software or software/hardware product or tool that you are rolling out to employees or customers, system integration testing will normally be manual. At the same time, it doesn’t always have to be a completely manual process.

Most development teams at larger firms run unit tests against the individuals systems that they are working with while the product is being built. Many unit tests are automated to the extent that they are a script that runs against each build.

Yet when it comes to putting all of the pieces together for a round of software testing when you have full functionality, the same companies normally use software testers that can get in and take the software product through its paces in terms of features. In order to be successful with an automation effort at the system integration testing level, it is necessary to validate that the automation effort will be cost-effective for the coverage that it provides.

Here are some reasons to consider automating system integration testing:

Application quality assurance:

Sometimes people get confused between what the difference between quality assurance and quality control. It is easy to automate software quality control. You are merely testing the features that you are planning to release. It can be a little more discreet to test with quality assurance overtones. Your focus would shift and you would primarily be looking for trends that show that the application is not faring well as development work progresses. In essence, it may be getting buggier as the project moves forward. Having scripts ready that can check an application and validate the human testing work can give managers the control that they need to make decisions as the project moves forward.


10 years ago, the bulk of system integration testing was still done by people that worked onsite at the place where the software was being released. Today, mobile lifestyles have created a sort of two-tier system where people work offsite through aggregators that pay by the defect instead of the hour. The other group of system integration people continues to work onsite at companies, providing services that add value in a way that other workers may not be able to. The reason that automation has crept into both areas is that it can be justified by using ROI as a measure of whether or not a specific automation effort should go forward or not. ROI, or return on investment is simply a formula that can help you show whether a new process is more cost-effective than the previous process.

Canadians involved with system integration testing can expect to work more with automation as time goes on. The positive news is that the opportunity to develop as an automation specialist is a gateway to being a full-fledged software developer. More information can be found at QA Consultants.

Types of Documents That Needs To Be Properly Shredded

You’ve probably heard about the importance of document shredding to protect your personal information. According to the Canadian Council of Better Business Bureaus, identify theft costs the nation $2 billion annually. But what constitutes the sensitive information fraudsters are looking for? And are there types of documents that you should keep?

What You Should Shred
Typically, protecting yourself requires shredding any paperwork that includes:

* Account numbers
* Passwords and PIN numbers
* Social Insurance Numbers and Tax IDs
* Signatures
* Birth date

Any of this information could be used to impersonate you and gain access to your accounts or apply for credit in your name. To be safe, you should also shred anything with personal information such as your name, address, email, or phone number that make it easier to impersonate you or uncover more information. Maybe some of this information is public knowledge, but simply tossing it in into the trash makes it so much easier for it to be stolen and used.

Some documents you should keep for a period of time if they will help to avoid possible legal issues in the future. These should be kept stored in a locked metal box in a discrete location. If you have an electric shredder for your home or office (and you should), document destruction should include everything you have no need of.

Junk Mail
If you aren’t going to open it, shred it. Even letters to “Occupant” might be credit card offers that could provide a thief with a credit card in your name.

Credit Card Statements
Some people advise keeping them for awhile, especially if you need them for tax purposes. Your usual process should be to make sure every charge is legitimate, then shred any receipts once they’re paid. Even better, sign up for paperless billing so that there are no documents for thieves to find.

Mortgage and Tax Documents
For legal reasons, save mortgages and any records of property improvements until five to six years after you’ve sold the property. Save tax information 6-to-7 years before shredding.

Pay Stubs
Save them, but once you’ve done your taxes, shred the check stubs you don’t need.

Medical and Financial Statement
Keep them for a year in case there are disputes or errors. When they’ve been paid and cleared, shred them.

Insurance Documents
Shred bills as they are paid. After coverage has expired or been cancelled, wait five years before shredding the policy documents.

Utility Bills and Store/ATM Receipts
If this is something that can help with your taxes, save them. Otherwise, as always, verify billing charges are legit and shred them as soon as they are paid.

The government passed tough laws in 2009 meant to discourage identify theft – but it’s still on the rise. The odds are against any thief going to all the trouble to reassemble random documents from shredded paper. A cross-shredder that reduces them to confetti is even more of a deterrent. Paper shredding is the first and best way to safeguard personal information.

Automatic Backup of Microsoft Office 2007 Documents

With the 2010 edition of Office, Microsoft introduced file backup and synchronization to the average user. Like Microsoft Office 2007, 2010 also had SharePoint support, but SharePoint is an enterprise-level solution not likely accessible to the home user. If you own or are planning to buy Microsoft Office 2007 and want backup and sync capabilities, you do have a number of options.

Office Add-In

Perhaps the easiest way to achieve this functionality is to use an Office add-in, which is a functional extension. In fact, MS used to offer Microsoft Office Live as a free download for 2007, but it was since deprecated and replaced by services that don’t have native 2007 support. Third-party plug-ins are an option too, but availability may be spotty and support nonexistent at this point.

Use a Free File Hosting Service

SkyDrive, which was introduced with 2010, is an example of a free file hosting service. SkyDrive has since been rebranded to OneDrive. It’s available to anyone with a Microsoft account, and the service is independent of the Office suite. Create your OneDrive account. Install the OneDrive software, and you’ll have access to an automatically synced online folder. Simply use that folder to create and update your documents. OneDrive provides 5 GB of storage at no charge, which is enough for thousands of Word and Excel documents. There are also competing services that may offer more free space.

Use a Paid File Hosting Service

You can also store your Microsoft Office 2007 documents via a paid file hosting service or cloud, and some sellers will even give you free storage when you buy Microsoft Office 2007. The term FHS and cloud are often used interchangeably, but cloud can also refer to a service that provides processing power in addition to storage. Either a paid FHS or cloud can be a good investment if you need more than 5 GB, such as when your documents contain many large images.

Host a Backup Folder on a Secondary Storage Device

You can also host a folder on a local device rather than on the Internet. The key here is to use a device different than the one that contains your OS and Office installations. Options include a second internal hard or solid-state drive, an external hard drive or even a flash stick. One potential issue with syncing locally is the lack of redundancy. You should seek to have backup copies on at least two local devices.

Employ a Backup Application

Syncing Microsoft Office 2007 documents to an external hard drive isn’t as convenient as using a live folder. However, you can simplify the process by using an automated backup program. Such a program will sync your files automatically and can even backup to multiple locations, including local and Internet-based drives.