Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Elizabeth White, Rishi Bhargava, Matthew McKenna, Dan Potter, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

API Testing Helps MedicAlert Increase Agility, Extend Services

Acclerating the roll out of secure, reliable APIs

MedicAlert pioneered the use of medical ID products and delivers the most dependable, responsive, and trusted Emergency Identification and Medical Information Network. The nonprofit charity provides the functionality of an e-health information exchange for emergencies through an innovative combination of a unique patient identifier linked to a personal health record and a live 24/7 emergency response service.

medicalertAs MedicAlert continues expanding its role as an innovative provider of healthcare information services, they are leveraging APIs.  To accelerate their ability to roll out new APIs in a secure and effective fashion, MedicAlert has relied on automated API testing software from Parasoft.

With Parasoft, the organization has been able to rapidly manage the functional, regression and load testing challenges associated with its new capabilities and offerings. Parasoft has enabled MedicAlert to automate the testing and validating of new APIs – enabling them to provide new healthcare information services and more rapidly respond to business opportunities.

Challenge: Agility and Scalability on Demand

MedicAlert is focused on enabling members to manage their personal health records (PHR) online while maintaining security, privacy and confidentiality. Its repository of personal health information also facilitates the delivery of critical medical information between patients, providers, payers, and emergency responders. These foundations have enabled the organization to grow by constantly introducing new product offerings such as an RFID-based medical card and a USB- enabled portable information device called E- HealthKEY.

Given the high demands associated with such endeavors, MedicAlert recognized the need to
publish APIs to support its dynamic market plans and objectives. The organization now relies on
these interfaces to support its members’ PHR, which include information about medical conditions
as well as drug prescriptions and other relevant health data.

Considering the sensitive nature and life-saving potential of such information, MedicAlert’s IT organization is under severe pressure to ensure its systems are secure, streamlined and effective. APIs represent an opportunity to roll out new  offerings rapidly, capitalize on reusability, and ensure the systems can scale up to meet the growing demands of members and partners. “APIs are about making your business more agile – being able to rapidly seize new business opportunities,” says Jorge Mercado, Principal Architect for MedicAlert’s Product Development Group.

To be sure, software quality is an essential factor in meeting these objectives – and this fast-moving organization needed a way to address its demanding quality requirements quickly and effectively. “We needed tools to automate our testing processes,” says Natalie Doan, the team’s QA Engineer. “When I joined the group, we had a very manual approach for testing.”

Action: Capitalizing on Parasoft API Testing

After exploring some of the potential API testing solutions, MedicAlert chose API testing with Parasoft SOAtest. “We found SOAtest and we ran with it,” says Doan. “Parasoft support trained us for one week and we were able to take it from there. We quickly saw that the product had a lot of powerful features that would help us automate our testing activities and processes. Parasoft SOAtest was able to support all the latest standards (ex. security and schema validation standards); we were able to test all areas of our APIs.”

Through the use of Parasoft SOAtest, the team is able to efficiently test different endpoints and ensure broad test coverage within this environment. When new updates or modifications are made to an API, Parasoft SOAtest’s regression testing can be employed to ensure that no defects have been introduced and that previously verified functionality continues to operate as expected. “I can quickly ensure that features from the previous version are in place to support the new version,” adds Doan.

Parasoft also brought powerful capabilities in terms of functionality and load testing. It enables the team to test the performance differences on the system between, say, 10 or 100 users simultaneously, updating their personal health record through the services under various scenarios. For instance, Parasoft can test how a user sending a long, data-intensive message impacts a particular API.

Parasoft also helps the group ensure authentication and authorization of data and users are managed properly. However, the key to Parasoft’s value is the range of capabilities it delivers and coverage it enables. “We load test the system from beginning to end,” says Doan. “I couldn’t do that with other testing tools we were using previously.”

Results: Enhanced API Security, Quality and Performance

In recent years, MedicAlert has realized important benefits from Parasoft along three key dimensions: security; quality; and performance.

Parasoft’s support for security is critical to an organization that manages personal health records for its four million members. It relies on Parasoft to ensure authentication and authorization capabilities are performing as expected – whether this requires the team to test SAML assertions or HTTP authentication procedures. With different levels of security support, MedicAlert benefits from Parasoft’s expansive testing capabilities.

In terms of quality, Parasoft’s regression testing capabilities are particularly valued. Doan notes that she can use the same test suites she built two years ago to test new versions of products such as E-HealthKEY, ensuring that all members are continually supported. “When we upgrade to new versions of an API, I can rerun tests and make sure the new API actually supports the previous functionality,” she says. “It’s reliable. It assures me that the functionality is there and working as expected.”

Without such testing capabilities, MedicAlert would run the risk of upsetting its members. APIs might not perform and member data might not be saved or updated properly. “We have to ensure members have an effective experience and that data is there when you need it in an emergency,” Doan adds. “The data must be valid and correct. It must be rapidly and correctly updated. Parasoft helps us ensure these objectives are consistently met.”

Finally, Parasoft supports MedicAlert’s progressive efforts to enhance online performance for its members and partners. Doan explains that the performance of the organization’s APIs was “quite slow” when they initially launched their effort. Updating one’s health record could take as much as a minute to complete. However, through continual testing, iterations and improvement, the team has been able to reduce the time associated with such transactions to less than four seconds.

“We don’t want our members or partners to wait at all,” says Doan. “So we are continually upgrading our services and enhancing the performance of our system to ensure the members have an effective experience.”

Ultimately, automated testing has enhanced the user’s experience online, strengthened relationships with members and partners, and contributed to the agility of MedicAlert. Parasoft’s delivers a “strong return on investment,” says Doan. “We use it on a daily basis for reliability and support throughout our API infrastructure.”

Such capabilities have clearly strengthened the linkages between IT and the business. “Business leaders at MedicAlert want to be able to react quicker and make our APIs more valuable,” says Mercado. “They want to bring on more members at a faster rate. Being able to more rapidly respond to different business opportunities addresses their objectives – and now they realize that APIs can help the organization meet those goals.”

[PAPER] API Testing Business Drivers

Learn about the business drivers behind API testing solution purchase decisions, as well as the opportunities for ROI. This 6-page API Testing Business Drivers paper explains how an automated enterprise-grade API testing solution delivers

  • Reduced costs by reducing testing costs, reducing technical debt, and exposing defects earlier in the SDLC
  • Reduced risks by applying more exhaustive testing techniques, increasing test coverage, and immediately exposing any defects introduced by modifications
  • Increased efficiency by leveraging sophisticated automation and enabling artifact reuse

More Stories By Cynthia Dunlop

Cynthia Dunlop, Lead Technical Writer at Parasoft, authors technical articles, documentation, white papers, case studies, and other marketing communications—currently specializing in service virtualization, API testing, DevOps, and continuous testing. She has also co-authored and ghostwritten several books on software development and testing for Wiley and Wiley-IEEE Press. Dunlop holds a BA from UCLA and an MA from Washington State University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) and Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) have entered into a definitive agreement under which Verizon will acquire Yahoo's operating business for approximately $4.83 billion in cash, subject to customary closing adjustments. Yahoo informs, connects and entertains a global audience of more than 1 billion monthly active users** -- including 600 million monthly active mobile users*** through its search, communications and digital content products. Yahoo also co...
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
The best-practices for building IoT applications with Go Code that attendees can use to build their own IoT applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Indraneel Mitra, Senior Solutions Architect & Technology Evangelist at Cognizant, provided valuable information and resources for both novice and experienced developers on how to get started with IoT and Golang in a day. He also provided information on how to use Intel Arduino Kit, Go Robotics API and AWS IoT stack to build an application tha...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? You need to discover patterns that are repeatable in vast quantities of data, understand their meaning, and implement scalable monitoring across multiple data streams in order to monetize the discoveries and insights. Motif discovery and deep learning platforms are emerging to visualize sensor data, to search for patterns and to build application that can monitor real time streams efficiently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, ...