Test Accreditation - Minimizing Risk and Adding Value

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  • testers for correction. Another opportunity for continuing improvement!
  • Accreditation also helps to provide a more level playing field. It ensures that accredited laboratories are performing tests to the same standard using similar procedures, test techniques and competent personnel, operating within a proper management system.
  • Accreditation also helps test laboratory management to confirm that due diligence issues have been adequately dealt with. Management can rest easy knowing that they have done everything which can be done to ensure that their test results are meaningful.
  • It achieves a similar outcome for software developers, suppliers and users, by giving them assurance that the software has been tested in an environment of properly implemented management procedures by competent test staff using properly validated test procedures and equipment.
  • In obtaining accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 the laboratory is establishing a formal framework in which competent testing can be performed and reliable results achieved. It is worthwhile noting that this framework is consistent with the various software life cycle models and, in fact strongly supports them. It does this by ensuring that the testing is done in a quality environment which can ensure reliable test results and so add to the quality and value of the software.
  • Accreditation provides a simple mechanism for laboratories to demonstrate that they do have the necessary competence and systems to meet the requirements of an internationally recognized standard for the competence of testing laboratories. This information is readily promulgated through the accreditation certificate issued by NATA on successful conclusion of the assessment.

10. Conclusion
NATA has recently built on the experience of over fifty years accreditation of testing facilities by establishing a program for the accreditation of software testing laboratories. This program is equally applicable to in-house testing facilities as well as third party test houses. It requires software test facilities to operate in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025 and, therefore, provides increased confidence in the effectiveness of the testing for laboratory management, software development managers, software suppliers and their clients alike.

In addition the development of this program took account of the lessons learnt from NATA’s program for accreditation of AISEFs ( Australian Information Security Evaluation Facilities). This program has been in place for five years and covers laboratories performing tests on software security.

The NATA Accreditation Service for Software Testing Laboratories is supported by the Commonwealth through the Testing and Conformance Infrastructure Program of the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts. There was also considerable input from representatives of the IT testing industry

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