System acceptance is the testing of new hardware and/or software before adding it to your network. For many small businesses, system acceptance testing is not really necessary for every new addition unless you require a higher degree of security based on your business type. In some cases, however, it is a good idea for every small business to perform system acceptance testing, and here are some examples of when you should use it.
- Upgrading to a new network server.
- Adding a new major software platform – such as a new accounting platform.
- A major change to your existing network structure – such as allowing an employee to work remotely for the first time.
If you decide to use System Acceptance testing, here are some procedures you should consider.
- Use an isolated environment for testing. For example test a new software on a computer that is not networked.
- Make sure new systems follow your existing security guidelines such as network access controls.
- If you have a Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Plan, make sure the new hardware and/or software can be incorporated into your existing procedures. For example if you are adding a new accounting software package, make sure it follows the same backup procedures as your existing accounting platform.
- Test software and/or systems for restart, system failures (crashes), error recovery, etc to ensure they meet your needs.
- Make sure the new systems will integrate with your existing systems, and evaluate the ease of use.
- Make sure training is setup on the new systems.
- Ensure the new system integrates into your existing security plan. For example see this blog post on security considerations for adding a mobile employee.
As always if you have comments or questions, please feel free to post below.