Private sector businesses are more likely than public sector organizations to suffer from damage stemming from software errors, according to a recent analysis of news stories by U.K. software quality consultants SQS. The company found that reports of public sector computer glitch issues remained consistent from 2011 to 2012 but those in the private sector multiplied threefold.
This discrepancy is likely due in large part to the fact that private sector organizations are more aggressive in adopting new technology, while public agencies are more likely to wait for tried and tested technologies. Right now in particular, public IT budgets are being reduced or kept the same, while private companies are adopting new technology at a rapid pace, SQS executive Stephen Fice noted. Trends such as the rise of mobile banking, online retail and cloud computing are creating a particular strain on companies as they struggle to keep up with the pace of innovation.
“Inadequate requirements gathering continues to be a major reason for poor quality of delivered software projects, and is driving the need to ‘shift left’ and introduce software quality earlier in the software development lifecycle,” Fice said. “All IT projects should have quality and testing built in from day one to reduce the likelihood of errors. No longer does a testing expert have to scroll through lines of endless code; instead testing is being automated and virtualized.”
He added that a failure to adopt more aggressive source code analysis techniques would likely create further issues as software complexity increased. The study found that retail was the sector with the most errors in 2011, followed by mobile and banking. In 2012, banking was by far the most error-prone, followed by retail.
Improving the quality of retail software has become particularly important in the wake of threats like the “Dexter” malware, which infects POS systems. Banking software has also come under scrutiny with recent incidents such as outages at the Royal Bank of Scotland. With such events on consumers’ radar, organizations in these sectors can reduce the likelihood of a public relations disaster by using tools like static analysis software to catch bugs before they are released.
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