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The Pitfalls of Impersonation in ServiceNow Testing

4 min read

Steve Harris • 22/08/2023

At AutomatePro, we often find ourselves at the forefront of discussions surrounding the use of impersonation vs creating ‘persona’ users for testing purposes. Clients frequently seek our insights and advice on the matter. With our extensive experience in ServiceNow testing, we understand the importance of striking the right balance between convenience and accuracy.

In the realm of software testing, impersonation refers to assuming the identity of another user to carry out actions and evaluate system behaviour.

While it may seem convenient at first, using impersonation during testing can introduce risks and compromise the integrity of your results. In this blog post, we’ll explore the risks associated with impersonation, ways to mitigate them, and why creating specific ‘persona’ users is the way to go.

The Risks with Impersonation:

Impersonation may seem harmless on the surface, but beneath lies a range of risks that can undermine the effectiveness of your testing efforts. Let’s take a closer look:

  1. Security Breaches: Poses a significant security risk by allowing testers to bypass access controls and potentially gain unauthorised access to sensitive information. This could lead to data breaches that compromise the confidentiality of your system.
  2. Role Confusion: Impersonating users blurs the lines between their actual roles and testing activities. This ambiguity can result in misunderstandings and hinder accurate tracking and analysis of test results.
  3. Test Environment Accuracy: Impersonation fails to capture the complexity of real-world user interactions.

Mitigating the Risks:

Now that we understand the dangers of impersonation, let’s explore some mitigation strategies to overcome these risks:

  1. Create Specific ‘Persona’ Users: Create dedicated ‘persona’ users representing various roles and groups within your system. This approach ensures that testing accurately simulates real-life scenarios without compromising security.
  2. Define Proper Roles and Access Controls: Develop robust role-based access controls (RBAC) to ensure that ‘persona’ users have the appropriate permissions and restrictions. This helps maintain data confidentiality and integrity during testing.
  3. Maintain a Clear Audit Trail:  Establish an accurate audit trail that attributes actions to specific users, enhancing traceability and accountability.
  4. Perform User Experience Testing: ‘Persona’ users enable comprehensive testing of user experience and usability. By simulating different user roles, you can identify and address potential issues early in the development cycle, improving overall system performance.

To ensure accurate results, maintain data integrity, and uphold system security, it is crucial to avoid impersonation and adopt the practice of creating specific ‘persona’ users. By doing so, you mitigate risks, accurately replicate real-world scenarios, and provide a better user experience. Let’s prioritise reliable testing practices to build robust and secure systems.

Remember, your testing efforts are the gatekeepers of quality, and by steering clear of impersonation, you pave the way for success. Happy testing!

About AutomatePro

AutomatePro is a leading platform designed to accelerate ServiceNow delivery. With a suite of tools specifically designed to streamline processes and improve efficiency, AutomatePro, an Elite ServiceNow Partner, has become a trusted partner for businesses globally. Headquartered in London, UK, AutomatePro is committed to delivering innovative solutions that empower businesses to take control of their ServiceNow delivery.

Steve Harris • 22/08/2023

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