SaaS Testing: Top Challenges, Tools and Testing Approach
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a software product that is delivered over the web. SaaS products may or may not use cloud-based technologies. The customer pays as per usage of the product. Some examples of SaaS products are Gmail, Netflix, GitHub, etc. Most of the SaaS products offer pay-as-you-go pricing along with a subscription model. In SaaS technology, infrastructure, database, and data – everything is managed by the SaaS organization. The customer is only responsible for accessing data and performing operations. In this blog, we will learn more about SaaS testing, its challenges, testing approach and tools that can be used for the same.
Table Of Contents
- 1 What is SaaS Testing?
- 2 Why SaaS Testing?
- 3 How SaaS work?
- 4 SaaS Testing Methodology
- 5 Understanding the Focus of SaaS Testing Methodology
- 6 Advantages of SaaS Applications
- 7 How do You Develop an Effective SaaS Testing Strategy?
- 8 Elements of SaaS Testing Strategy
- 9 SaaS Testing: Manual or Automation Which One to Choose?
- 10 Testing Types to Consider while Performing the SaaS Testing
- 11 Advantages of SaaS Testing Tools Over Lagacy Method
- 12 SaaS Testing vs Traditional testing
- 13 Best Testing Tools for SaaS Testing.
- 14 SaaS Testing Tool for Every SaaS Company
- 15 SaaS Testing Challenges
- 16 Best Practices for SaaS Application Testing
- 17 Frequently Asked Questions
What is SaaS Testing?
SaaS Testing is defined as the method of testing the quality of a SaaS product by undergoing different activities. As per the need, testing activities can include testing security, functionality, performance, usability, accessibility, integration, etc.
Before we move into detail about SaaS testing let’s understand how SaaS works.
Why SaaS Testing?
We can quote many reasons for companies to move toward SaaS testing. In this competitive industry, with organizations adopting cloud computing services and software delivery options using SaaS models, it indeed has become a necessary testing approach.
- The pay-per-use option allows enterprises to extract the full value of the software worth the cost.
- On-demand software service.
- Ensures a positive user experience by identifying and resolving issues related to usability, functionality, and performance, which can directly impact user satisfaction.
- Validates the security of sensitive data.
- Tests the application’s ability to scale with changing user loads.
- Identifies and resolves issues early in the development cycle, reducing the cost of fixing defects.
- Maintains a high-quality product, which can give SaaS providers a competitive edge in the market.
- Verifies that the SaaS application functions consistently across various web browsers, operating systems, and devices.
How SaaS work?
SaaS is a web-based application, generally distributed over the cloud platform. The cloud provider manages the infrastructure and hardware. So, you do not need to worry about any testing infrastructure, hardware installation, etc.
However, you still need to ensure that the SaaS functionality works as expected. Some of the major areas for SaaS testing includes compatibility testing, also known as responsive testing. You need to test other areas, such as application performance, security, API Testing, etc.
SaaS Testing Methodology
When it comes to ensuring the reliability, security, and performance of your SaaS (Software as a Service) application, following a well-structured testing methodology is essential. Despite knowing the testing procedure, many testers fail to execute the same in a systematic way.
We bring you a comprehensive SaaS testing methodology approach that includes all the essential steps while ensuring that your application meets the requirements:
Begin with precise planning:
Requirement Analysis: Understand and document your SaaS application’s specific requirements.
Test Environment Setup: Prepare a test environment mirroring the production setup.
Test Case Design: Create comprehensive test plans covering all aspects.
Data Preparation: Ensure diverse and realistic test data availability.
Put your plan into action:
Functional Testing: Verify that the application functions as intended.
Performance Testing: Assess the application’s performance under various conditions.
Security Testing: Evaluate the application’s security through penetration and vulnerability testing.
Usability Testing: Ensure a user-friendly experience.
Regression Testing: Continuously test for new issues with updates and bug fixes.
Make sense of your test results:
Result Evaluation: Analyze results and document any issues.
Root Cause Analysis: Understand why issues occurred.
Prioritization: Rank issues by severity.
Re-testing: Confirm issue resolution without introducing new defects.
Understanding the Focus of SaaS Testing Methodology
In the realm of Software as a Service (SaaS), testing takes center stage to ensure that applications, infrastructure, and networks function flawlessly. A robust SaaS testing methodology directs its attention to multiple key areas, ensuring the application operates as expected. Here’s a breakdown of these focal points:
White and Black Box Testing (Component Testing): Inspects both visible functionality and underlying code to uncover discrepancies.
Functional Testing: Ensures the SaaS application aligns precisely with its requirements.
Integration Testing: Checks seamless interaction with external systems.
Exploratory Testing: Explores new test cases to identify unanticipated issues.
Infrastructure and Security Testing: Ensures network security, detects threats, maintains data integrity, and guarantees accessibility.
SaaS Connectivity and Compatibility Testing: Assesses UI portability and compatibility across devices and browsers.
Regression Testing: Confirms existing functionality remains intact after upgrades or migrations.
Reliability Testing: Minimizes real-time deployment risks.
Network Security Testing: Addresses data access and transmission concerns.
Performance and Scalability Testing: Evaluates behavior under heavy loads.
Compatibility Testing: Ensures consistent user experiences across browsers and devices.
Continuous Upgrade Testing: Maintains functionality with new features or updates.
API Testing: Examines functionality, security, completeness, and performance.
Operational Testing: Handles customer queries, payments, and billing for seamless operations.
Comprehensive SaaS testing methods help mitigate risks while ensuring reliable, secure, and high-performance applications accessed directly over the internet. This focus is pivotal in reaping the benefits of SaaS adoption.
Advantages of SaaS Applications
- Easy to provision resources as and when needed.
- Improved reliability and availability.
- High-level infrastructure security.
- Easy to distribute the updated product.
- Easy to have recovery and backup plans.
- Lower maintenance cost.
- Easy to upgrade the product with less or no downtime.
As mentioned earlier though developing a SaaS application is easier and consumes less time. However, ensuring quality requires a huge effort. You can reduce the manual effort by replacing with the automation tool as much as possible. There are multiple areas to focus while designing the SaaS Testing strategy. Let’s talk about the elements of SaaS Testing Strategy, in more detail, below.
How do You Develop an Effective SaaS Testing Strategy?
To develop a successful and effective SaaS testing strategy, you have to take in account three points:
Application: Focus on business workflows, end-to-end integrations, data integrity, security, access roles, and nonfunctional requirements. Perform functional testing to validate workflows, integration testing for seamless data flow, and security testing to safeguard data. Role-based testing ensures appropriate permissions. Nonfunctional requirements like performance and scalability are vital for a smooth user experience.
Network: Examine network bandwidth to guarantee and secure accurate data transfer between the SaaS application and the client network. Network testing verifies data flow, latency, and bandwidth adequacy to ensure that the network infrastructure can handle the SaaS application’s demands without compromising performance or data integrity.Infrastructure: Ensure disaster recovery readiness and assess the availability, reliability, and regulatory compliance of the SaaS application. Infrastructure testing validates backup and recovery mechanisms. It verifies that subscribers can access the SaaS application consistently. Regulatory compliance checks ensure adherence to industry-specific standards and legal requirements.
Elements of SaaS Testing Strategy
- Application: It involves testing the application, test scenarios consist of all client facing use cases such as business workflows, functionality, responsiveness, user roles, application performance, etc.
- Network: Most of the networking components are managed by your cloud providers. However, you need to ensure the application is behaving as expected under all different network conditions such as low bandwidth, and unstable network. You should also ensure that the data transfer over the network is secure.
- Infrastructure: You don’t need to worry about installing or integrating infrastructure. But, you are responsible for managing backup plans, recovery plans, and availability configurations. All infra-level configurations and backup plans should be tested thoroughly.
SaaS Testing: Manual or Automation Which One to Choose?
Testing strategy focuses on areas to test. However, you can choose the execution strategy using either manual or automation approach. Let’s understand which one choose. SaaS-based products follow aggressive releases. Product upgrades happen very frequently.
Considering these factors you need to ensure proper automation is in place. It is also a widely accepted fact that you cannot automate 100% but based on the application type you can choose the ratio of manual vs automation testing. In general, manual testing should be less and only when automation is not possible.
You can use the Testsigma tool for codeless automation, where manual testers can also contribute to automation. We will talk more about it in the tools section below.
Testing Types to Consider while Performing the SaaS Testing
Functional Testing mainly focuses on business workflows or application functionality. You need to ensure that all the functionality is working as expected from an end-user perspective. You can consider this as black box testing with test plans. Tester should perform this testing after every deployment and whenever there are any configuration changes. Optionally you can also consider the automation scripts to make your life easy.
Performance is the key factor of any SaaS Application. The SaaS application may contain a set of modules, or it may be a combination of multiple applications. You need to test each module and application for performance issues. You need to put an application into various performance states like low bandwidth, unstable conditions, offline, etc.
SaaS applications can be accessed worldwide so load testing is important. Make sure your application can handle the maximum load. Even if there is a server crash application should gracefully recover after a crash.
Most of the SaaS applications are configured to be scalable. If the load increases the application should automatically scale to meet the current demand. You can do stress testing to ensure the scalability of your application.
Other areas include File transfer testing. If your application has any functionality such as upload and download, then test for file transfer.
Compatibility Testing (Responsiveness Testing)
Today, the internet is supported by all different types of devices. The SaaS application can be accessed from any device which supports the Internet. One of the major challenges in SaaS applications is compatibility. You need to make sure that the functionality remains the same across the various device, platforms, and browsers. Mostly, the product team will have maximum supported pixels and minimum supported pixels, you need to make a list of devices that falls under these conditions. Once you have a list, put a testing strategy for responsiveness testing.
- Component of Compatibility Testing.
- Browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, etc.).
- Device (Laptop, 4K monitor, mobile device).
- Operating system (Mac, Windows and Linux).
Typical, SaaS product communicates with many third-party applications internally. The communication is done via API calls. Tester should test these APIs for security, integration, usability, and accuracy. Any microservice level changes should go through API testing. Sometimes API Testing acts as integration testing. You can schedule these API tests to run on a timely basis.
Infrastructure Level Tests
Infra-level tests are not directly connected to user functionality, but they can have an impact on user functionality. As the technology evolved, hackers are also trying different approaches to creep into applications. Security risks always incur a higher cost and it has a brand reputation impact. You should consider the security testing as a must-have component while building the testing strategy.
Some of the commonly tested scenarios for Security Testing are mentioned below.
- DDOS attack testing.
- SQL Injection / Cross-site scripting etc.
- Test the access privileges at the environment layer, for example, the production environment should have restricted access.
- Security Compliance is one other important area. For example, the Payment industry should comply with PCI/DSS standards.
- Logging and Alerting should be properly configured.
Many countries are making it a standard accessibility implementation. Accessibility testing focus on how easily SaaS application can be accessed by people with disability. There are different levels of compliance such as AA, WCAG2.1, etc. If your application is incorporated accessibility standards it’s important to have accessibility testing as part of your test strategy.
Accessibility testing deals with below key areas:
- Hearing Deficiency: The application should follow an alternative option to speech.
- Visual Impairments: The application should provide high-contrast themes. The font, theme, and other user interface colors should be chosen carefully considering the visually impaired users in mind.
- Physical Disabilities: The application should provide minimal physical movements to access the required information.
- Cognitive Deficiency: Cognitive deficiency people will have poor memory, so when designing an application, you need to make sure to provide the help section with relevant information.
- Learning Impairment: This is one other accessibility scenario where the user will have difficulty reading such scenarios need to be handled and tested thoroughly.
Advantages of SaaS Testing Tools Over Lagacy Method
SaaS testing has many challenges. In the SaaS world, everything is rapid and more frequent. Tester cannot handle everything manually. You need to use the testing tools as much as possible. We discussed many key areas of SaaS Testing, there are many tools available for these areas. Major advantages are listed below.
- Testing tools provide the accurate results.
- Easy to test the application more often and on demand.
- Helps to cover all important areas of testing.
- Less resource is required for the SaaS testing.
- Reduced dependency on human.
The ready and sharable report, no need to spend time on preparation of test result data.
SaaS Testing vs Traditional testing
SaaS testing takes a different approach that traditional testing despite there being a few similarities between them. Let’s look at the differences between the two:
- SaaS products are built and delivered at a faster rate, making SaaS QA testing a matter of concern for all the parties involved.
- Testers working on SaaS testing need to have a comprehensive knowledge of the product to QA all the features properly.
- You need to have accurate, clear, and detailed business and domain knowledge to test all the possible configurable and non-configurable parts of SaaS.
- SaaS automation testing is important where testers need to work with a test environment that offers automatic deployment, execution, and validation support for the application.
- SaaS testing strategy also includes certain ways to limit the cost and frequent upgrades of the application.
Best Testing Tools for SaaS Testing.
Testsigma is a codeless testing tool. It covers most of the key areas of SaaS testing. Testing supports all major types of Testing.
- Manual Testing: You can use the Testsigma for manual testing, with different browser and device combinations. This helps in compatibility testing.
- Automation Testing of End-to-End Scenarios: It provides codeless testing; manual testers can easily learn and automate the scenarios with few clicks. Interestingly, the tester with no coding knowledge also contributes to the automation testing.
- API Testing: You can perform the API testing using this tool.
- Mobile App Testing: Many organizations provides both browser-based and mobile app-based version of the application. Testsigma supports mobile app testing.
Testsigma comes with a bundle of features such as easy and sharable reporting, codeless automation, and an automation dashboard. Regression testing, Visual Testing, etc.
JMeter and Blazemeter
The JMeter is a universally accepted tool for performance testing. JMeter is open source, and it is free to use. It supports different operating systems. You can also perform API testing using the JMeter. JMeter helps in testing the application load, scalability, stress testing, etc. BlazeMeter is not a scripting tool rather it provides the execution environment for the performance tests. Using the JMeter and Blaementer combination you get the high accuracy performance test report.
The ZAP is a security testing tool. This tool helps you to find the security loopholes in your application. ZAP also provides automation capability. The ZAP discovers all common vulnerabilities such as SQL injection, Cross Site Scripting, Sensitive data exposure, Broken Access control, Security misconfiguration, etc.
qTest is the test management tool. It helps to store all your testing data in one place and access swiftly whenever you need it. qTest comes with Jira integration as soon as you find the defect you can instantly log the bugs. You can also map the requirement and generate test cases based on the requirement. The qTest is a central test management tool, so any relevant person can get access to this tool and look for activities.
SaaS Testing Tool for Every SaaS Company
Compatibility testing is one of the key challenges in the SaaS industry. The reason for this is organizations cannot spend on multiple devices and infrastructure. A simple solution for this is to use a SaaS-based testing tool like Testsigma. Testsigma itself is a SaaS application it provides SaaS testing capability. It provides real-time devices and browsers, using the combination you can test your application more effectively with less cost. Importantly, it is one tool for all your testing needs as it supports, Manual, Automation, API testing, end-to-end testing, Visual Testing, Mobile App testing, etc.
SaaS Testing Challenges
- Less time to test: SaaS application delivery mostly follows an agile model with a frequent release life cycle. Tester gets very less time to test all the required features.
- Compatibility Testing: Every day new devices with new screen resolutions enter the market. So for testers, it is difficult to test applications across the browser and device combinations.
- Testing application with real data: The production environment will have real user data which cannot be replicated in the QA environment. Privacy and security are a bigger concern while performing SaaS testing. Because of this limitation, it’s difficult to test the SaaS application with lower environments.
- Tester vs Developer ratio: If the organization is not maintaining the proper tester-developer ratio. SaaS testing becomes more challenging with frequent release cycles. As testers have to test multiple areas including functionality, performance security, etc.
Best Practices for SaaS Application Testing
- Customize the SaaS testing strategy for your organization.
- Use automation tools whenever possible.
- Align testing teams with agile-based feature teams.
- Never forget to perform the security testing.
- Performance testing should be considered a key area.
- Compatibility testing should be done for every release.
SaaS application makes the development and delivery more flexible however it increases the testing complexity. Unlike other applications, SaaS applications will have a huge user base which in turn makes non-functional testing more critical such as scalability, reliability, security, and performance testing. SaaS requires faster delivery and faster testing.
Automation testing is most recommended to align testing with a fast development cycle.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an example of a SaaS application?
There are many SaaS applications in the market examples are Gmail, Netflix, Zoom, MS Teams, etc.
What is the role of QA in SaaS testing?
QA plays a very important role in SaaS testing. Increased complexity makes more room for defects. QA must ensure the application’s functional and non-functional requirements are met for the SaaS application.