7.4. Security and Tracking Concerns

Over time, you can spend millions of dollars outfitting a test lab. With accumulated assets worth that much, you need to protect your investment from damage, theft, and other losses. In hardware testing, for example, your assets might include some bigticket items such as thermal chambers and oscilloscopes. A thermal chamber isn't terribly easy to steal, but one person with a car can easily make off with an oscilloscope. In software testing, you often use test platforms such as laptops that anyone with a decent-sized briefcase could sneak out of the building.

No matter how honest your team and your other colleagues might be, the concept of due diligence requires that you, as the responsible manager, make efforts to prevent theft and the loss of valuable assets.[] With that said, you also don't want your security system to impede your team's productivity. A happy medium might be the use of a library system, in which one or more people fill the role of asset librarian. The asset librarian assumes responsibility for ensuring that every valuable materiel asset is secured when it is not in use, possibly in a locked cabinet or safe (for small hardware and software items) or a locked room (for larger items). When a tester needs to use an item for testing, for example, the tester checks it out from the librarian and then checks it back in when the test is completed. As you'll see in the next section, a simple database can track assets as they are checked ...

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