Software Tester POV: We Practice What We Preach

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  • Innovating as part of a start-up is awesome but it doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.
  • I am a software tester for Bromium and I have watched us grow and mature.
  • I’m proud of what our product has become and how we’re helping stop cybercrime.

software-testingWhen I joined the Bromium team in March of 2013, I joined for the chance to work on a revolutionary, game-changing technology that was boasting about its plans to disrupt the market and become the de facto standard for security in the enterprise. As a start-up, however, it still had a way to go to prove that what was a watertight architecture “in a vacuum” could actually be applied to the chaotic real world.

Once upon a time, our technology was only for those who were willing to persevere.

In those early days, much of Bromium’s success was in places where security was the main, or perhaps only requirement. Those early-adopters were able to cope with the missing features or “niggles” and “quirks” that come with game-changing technology, and reap the massive security benefits and peace of mind offered nonetheless.

As a Software Tester, it did not surprise me that there were teething issues. Most could be attributed to missing features, an insatiable demand for better performance, or unpredictable interactions with legacy solutions unique to each customer environment. As an everyday user for nearly four years, I can bear witness to my own problems over the history of the product.

We believe in our technology and we do “eat our own dogfood”.

Dogfooding is a popular term in the tech industry for using your own product as part of a sane plan to test and release, and is something we have always been strong advocates of at Bromium. All staff use our product day to day, and it’s a fantastic way to gather information on the quality of new versions before release, and ultimately improve the quality of what reaches customers.

However, I can think back to a time where I would willfully disable some Bromium features in my everyday usage to get my job done faster. Bromium technology is incredibly complex if we wanted to create a seamless user experience – it has taken time and effort to create something that end users would embrace.

One of the most memorable and worst examples, was a period for which I would not use-test builds when writing up new bug reports for the product. This behaviour was in response to a particular bug where very occasionally a browser tab would spuriously refresh and lose my work. Needless to say, this was a serious issue and we naturally spent time and traced the cause, but the effect it had on me was like a sports injury, where often you continue to limp after the injury has healed.

We understand that all bugs and limitations of the product have exactly this effect on users.

Going big and having a vision can mean learning on the job.

I can take my own experiences and those of others around me as indicators of the lack of maturity in our product – mostly because we had bolder aims than anything else out there, but it needed time and effort to really deliver all the way down to the end user.

The modern day Bromium is a world away from those early times. Gone are the days where I disabled features to work faster. Sweeping improvements have been made to performance, reliability, usability, deployability, configuration, and endpoint management, alongside a raft of new features that help enterprises protect their assets.

When I joined, we had the best solution for organizations who cared about their security above all else, but one size does not fit all. It was deployable in large environments, but at times the cost to roll out the best security available was higher than we’d have liked. Today, we have a solution that can be easily rolled out at scale in complicated enterprise environments – an approach validated by Microsoft because of the massive value provided.

Mature, tested and ready for deployment.

As a tester, I’m not going to stop seeing issues in the product as I work on the bleeding-edge new builds, since that’s part and parcel of development. However, I can see every day that the overall quality in the hardened builds which reach customers, and tireless development of performance and useful new features, have created a product which is ready to provide seamless security to the masses.

Want to learn more about what I’ve been working on? Check out the Bromium overview.

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