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CSQA Certified Software Quality Analyst (CSQA)

Acquiring the designation of Certified Software Quality Analyst (CSQA) indicates a professional level of competence in the principles and practices of quality assurance in the IT profession. CSQAs become members of a recognized professional group and receive recognition of their competence by business and professional associates, potentially more rapid career advancement, and greater acceptance in the role as advisor to management.

With the move to Pearson VUE Testing Centers as its partner for the administration of certification examinations worldwide there will no longer be a fixed schedule posted with dates / locations as in previous year.

Exams are offered daily at Pearson VUE Testing Centers and seats for the exams are based on availability at each site which depends on when you are planning to schedule an exam. The farther out you attempt to schedule an test the better the chances are of finding a seat so plan accordingly.

As a general rule most Pearson VUE Testing Centers are open Monday – Friday, however in some locations that may vary. The majority of test centers are open in the morning and late afternoon and a handful have opted to stay open on the weekends.

- Quality Principles and Concepts

- Quality Leadership

- Quality Baselines (Assessments and Models)

- Quality Assurance

- Quality Planning

- Define, Build, Implement and Strengthen Work Processes

- Quality Control Practices

- Metrics and Measurement

- Internal Control and Security

- Outsourcing, COTS and Contracting Quality

Knowledge Category 1 ~ Quality Principles and Concepts

Before an organization can begin to assess the quality of its products and services, and identify opportunities for improvement, it first must have a working knowledge of quality principles and basic concepts. This category will test the CSQA candidates ability to understand these principles.

Knowledge Category 2 ~ Quality Leadership
The most important prerequisites for successful implementation of any major quality initiative are leadership and commitment from executive management. Management must create a work environment supportive of quality initiatives. It is managements responsibility to establish strategic objectives and build an infrastructure that is aligned to those objectives. This category will cover the management processes used to establish the foundation of a quality-managed environment, as well as commitment, new behaviors, building the infrastructure, techniques, approaches and communications.

Knowledge Category 3 ~ Quality Baselines (Assessments and Models)

Organizations need to establish baselines of performance for quality, productivity and customer satisfaction. These baselines are used to document improvements by showing changes from a baseline. In order to establish a baseline, a model and/or goal must be established for use in measuring against to determine the baseline.

Knowledge Category 4 ~ Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance is a professional competency whose focus is directed at critical processes used to build products and services. The profession is charged with the responsibility for tactical process improvement initiatives that are strategically aligned to the goals of the organization. This category will address the understanding and application of quality assurance practices in support of the strategic quality direction of the organization.

Knowledge Category 5 ~ Quality Planning

Executive management establishes the vision and strategic goals. Planning is the process that describes how those strategic goals will be accomplished. Quality planning should be integrated into the IT plan so that they become a single plan. In simplistic terms, the IT plan represents the producer and the quality plan represents the customer.

Knowledge Category 6 ~ Define, Build, Implement and Strengthen Work Processes

This category will test the candidates understanding of process components, how to define a process, and how to continuously Strengthen process capability.

Knowledge Category 7 ~ Quality Control Practices

Quality control practices should occur during product development, product acquisition, product construction at the end of development/acquisition and throughout product change and operation. During development, the quality control process is frequently called verification and at the conclusion of development, it is called validation. This category will address the various types of controls and when they are best used in the process.

Knowledge Category 8 ~ Metrics and Measurement

This category addresses measurement concepts, the use of measurement in a software development environment, variation, process capability, risk management, the ways measurement can be used, and how to implement an effective measurement program.

Knowledge Category 9 ~ Internal Control and Security

Privacy laws and increased accessibility to data have necessitated increased security. Accounting scandals and governmental regulation such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act have placed increased importance on building and maintaining adequate systems of internal control. The quality assurance function can contribute to meeting those objectives by assuring that IT has adequate processes governing internal control and security.

Knowledge Category 10 ~ Outsourcing, COTS and Contracting Quality

Organizations can assign software development work responsibilities to outside organizations through purchasing software or contracting services; but they cannot assign the responsibility for quality. Quality of software remains an internal IT responsibility regardless of who builds the software. The quality professionals need to assure that those quality responsibilities are fulfilled through appropriate processes for acquiring purchased software and contracting for software services.

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ICYB IASSC Certified Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt CSQA Certification study guides are setup by IT professionals. experts work out to bring CSQA dumps questions and CSQA VCE test simulator with guarantee that all the knowledge is covered after deep research and analysis. Everything is to make convenience for candidates on their road to CSQA certification.
Certified Software Quality Analyst (CSQA)
Question: 278
All of the following are safety integrity levels with which the safety risks are identified
and kept acceptably low EXCEPT:
A. Intolerable
B. Undesirable
C. As low as reasonably practical
D. Moderately acceptable
Answer: D
Question: 279
Which of the following reviews are required in order to ensure proper tracking of
software between phases of a project?
I.Product feasibility
II.Software requirements
III.Software design
IV.Acceptance test
A. I and II only
B. II and III only
C. I, II, and III only
D. II, III and IV only
Answer: D
Question: 280
What happens to the relative cost of fixing software errors from the requirements phase
through the test phase?
A. It decreases linearly
B. It remains fairly constant
C. It increases linearly
D. It increases exponentially
Answer: D
Question: 281
When an audit team concludes that a finding demonstrates a breakdown of the quality
management system, the finding should be documented as:
A. A minor nonconformance
B. A major nonconformance
C. A deficiency
D. An observation
Answer: B
Question: 282
According to Crosby, it is less costly to:
A. Let the customer find the defects
B. Detect defects than to prevent them
C. Prevent defects than to detect them
D. Ignore minor defects
Answer: C
Question: 283
Which of the following is LEAST likely to be used during software maintainace?
A. Software project management plan
B. Customer support hot line
C. Software problem reports
D. Change control board
Answer: A
Question: 284
An effective software development environment consists of tools that:
A. Are freestanding and free access by other tools
B. Have different user interfaces for each tool by other depending on the development
phase supported by each tool
C. Allow maximum flexibility while maintaining security and traceability
D. Are integrated, linked to other tools, and have common user interfaces
Answer: D
Question: 285
A software firm has just signed a contract to deliver an inventory tracking/online
transaction system for use by 500 entry clerks. The client has demanded a schedule of
rigorous checkpoints but the requirements for the project are poorly defined. Which of
the following would be most suitable as a development model?
A. Spiral
B. Top-down
C. Rapid prototyping
D. Waterfall
Answer: C
Question: 286
Which of the following is NOT an accepted code inspection techniques?
A. Domain analysis
B. Item-by-item paraphrasing
C. Mental code execution
D. Consistently analysis
Answer: A
Question: 287
The defect density for a computer program is best defined as the:
A. Ratio of failure reports received per unit of time
B. Ratio of discovered errors per size of code
C. Number of modifications made per size of code
D. Number of failure reported against the code
Answer: B
Question: 288
When a company evaluates its own performance, it is conducting what type of audit?
A. First-party
B. Second-party
C. Third -party
D. Extrinsic
Answer: A
Question: 289
The primary task of Change Control Board (CCB) is to:
A. Define change procedures
B. Approve and/ or disprove changes to software products
C. Evaluate cost and schedule impact of changes
D. Authorize personnel to implement change
Answer: B
Question: 290
A module includes a control flow loop that can be executed 0 or more times. The test
most likely to reveal loop initialization defects executes the loop body
A. 0 times
B. 1 time
C. 2 times
D. 3 times
Answer: B
Question: 291
Software quality engineering includes all technical and management functions that
determine the quality policy, objectives and responsibility for software life-cycle work
products whether they are part of the product to be delivered or not. These quality
functions include, but are not limited to:
A. Establishing and enforcing a quality policy
B. Planning of quality (normally in the form of a Project Quality Plan)
C. Developing processes at the project and organizational level
D. All of these
Answer: D
Question: 292
No doubt, the project manager is the person ultimately responsible for the quality
produced by the project team, quality functions may be performed by:
A. Project leaders together with product and product component development
B. Quality managers or quality representatives
C. Data blocks
D. Both A & B
Answer: D
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Quality-Assurance Certified answers - BingNews Search results Quality-Assurance Certified answers - BingNews Newport News Earns ISO 9 0 0 1 Quality Certification

Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) received certification in the most comprehensive, international standard for quality assurance, ISO 9001. This standard includes such areas as design, production, installation and service.

The ISO 9000 series of quality standards is considered an important international marketing element and is looked upon as a symbol of a company's dedication to quality throughout its operation. NNS is certified to ISO 9001, the most comprehensive standard in the ISO 9000 series. The ISO 9001 certification was presented to NNS Nov. 30 by ABS Quality Evaluations, an accredited, Houston-based certifying agency for the ISO 9000 series of quality standards. W.R. "Pat" Phillips, president and CEO of Newport News Shipbuilding, said of the certification, "This is a significant event for NNS, as it will strengthen our ability to compete for business on a global scale.

Wed, 03 Jan 2024 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html
Quality Assurance for Embedded Systems

By Ambuj Nandanwar, Softnautics

In this rapidly evolving technology, embedded systems have become the backbone of the modern world. From the subtle intelligence of smart home devices to the critical operations within healthcare and automotive industries, embedded systems are the quiet architects of our technological landscape. The seamless and error-free operation of these intricate systems is ensured by the meticulous application of Quality Assurance (QA). QA emerges as a paramount force in the development of embedded systems. In this article, we dissect the significance of QA in embedded systems, where precision and reliability are not just desired but mandatory. Join us as we navigate through various aspects of QA, exploring how QA shapes the robust functionality of embedded systems.

Embedded systems are specialized computing systems that are designed to perform dedicated functions or tasks within a larger system. Unlike general-purpose computers, embedded systems are tightly integrated into the devices they operate, making them essential components in various industries. They are the brains behind smart home devices, medical equipment, automotive systems, industrial machinery, and more. These systems ensure seamless and efficient operation without drawing much attention to themselves.

Significance of Quality Assurance in Embedded Systems

In embedded systems, QA involves a systematic process of ensuring that the developed systems meet specified requirements and operate flawlessly in their intended environments. The importance of QA for embedded systems can be emphasized by the following factors:

  • Reliability: Embedded systems often perform critical functions. Whether it's a pacemaker regulating a patient's heartbeat or the control system of an autonomous vehicle, reliability is non-negotiable. QA ensures that these systems operate with a high level of dependability and consistency. Some of the key test types in reliability testing.
    • Feature Testing
    • Regression Testing
    • Load Testing
  • Safety: Many embedded systems are deployed in environments where safety is paramount, such as in medical devices or automotive control systems. QA processes are designed to identify and reduce potential risks and hazards, ensuring that these systems comply with the safety standards. To achieve a safe state in an embedded system, the Hazard Analysis and Risk Assessment (HARA) method is applied to embedded systems when it comes to automotive and the healthcare sector, an additional layer of consideration is crucial in medical devices and systems, compliance with data security and patient privacy standards is of utmost importance. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) method is applied to ensure that healthcare information is handled securely and confidentially.
  • Compliance: Embedded systems must stick to industry specific regulations and standards. QA processes help verify that the developed systems comply with these regulations, whether they relate to healthcare, automotive safety, smart consumer electronics, or any other sector. Embedded systems undergo various compliance tests depending on the product nature, including regulatory, industry standards, and security compliance tests.
  • Performance: The performance of embedded systems is critical, especially when dealing with real-time applications. QA includes performance testing to ensure that these systems meet response time requirements and can handle the expected workload. Following are the types of performance testing.
    • Load testing
    • Stress testing
    • Scalability testing
    • Throughput testing

Evolution of QA in Embedded Systems

The technological landscape is dynamic, and embedded systems continue to evolve rapidly. Consequently, QA practices must also adapt to keep pace with these changes. Some key aspects of the evolution of QA in embedded systems include

  • Increased complexity: As embedded systems become more complex, with advanced features and connectivity options, QA processes need to address the growing complexity. This involves comprehensive testing methodologies and the incorporation of innovative testing tools.
  • Agile development practices: The adoption of agile methodologies in software development has influenced QA practices in embedded systems. This flexibility allows for more iterative and collaborative development, enabling faster adaptation to change requirements and reducing time-to-market.
  • Security concerns: With the increasing connectivity of embedded systems, security has become a paramount concern. QA processes now include rigorous security testing to identify and address vulnerabilities, protecting embedded systems from potential cyber threats.
  • Integration testing: Given the interconnected nature of modern embedded systems, integration testing has gained significance. QA teams focus on testing how different components and subsystems interact to ensure seamless operation.

Automated Testing in Embedded Systems

As embedded systems fall in complexity, traditional testing methods fall short of providing the speed and accuracy required for efficient development. This is where test automation steps in. Automated testing in embedded systems streamlines the verification process, significantly reducing time-to-market and enhancing overall efficiency. Also, incorporating machine learning algorithms to enhance and modify testing procedures over time, machine learning testing is an important aspect of automated testing. This helps to identify possible problems before they become more serious and increases efficiency.

Testing approaches for Embedded systems

Testing Approaches for Embedded Systems

The foundation of quality control for embedded systems is device and embedded testing. This entails an in-depth assessment of embedded devices to make sure they meet safety and compliance requirements and operate as intended. Embedded systems demand various testing approaches to cover diverse functionalities and applications.

  • Functional testing is used to make sure embedded systems accurately carry out their assigned tasks. With this method, every function is carefully inspected to ensure that it complies with the requirements of the system.
  • Performance testing examines the behavior of an embedded system in different scenarios. This is essential for applications like industrial machinery or automotive control systems where responsiveness in real-time is critical.
  • Safety and compliance testing is essential, especially in industries with strict regulations. Compliance with standards like ISO 26262 in automotive or MISRA-C in software development is non-negotiable to guarantee safety and reliability.

Leveraging machine learning in testing (ML testing)

Machine Learning (ML) is becoming more and more popular as a means of optimizing and automating testing procedures for embedded systems. AIML algorithms are used in test automation. Test time and effort are greatly reduced with ML-driven test automation. It can create and run test cases, find trends in test data, and even forecast possible problems by using past data. ML algorithms are capable of identifying anomalies and departures from typical system behavior. This is particularly helpful in locating minor problems that conventional testing might ignore.

As technology advances, so does the landscape of embedded systems. The future of Quality Assurance in embedded systems holds exciting prospects, with a continued emphasis on automation, machine learning, and agile testing methodologies.

In conclusion, the role of QA in the development of embedded systems is indispensable. It not only guarantees the reliability and safety of these systems but also evolves alongside technological advancements to address new challenges and opportunities in the ever-changing landscape of embedded technology.

Thu, 14 Dec 2023 00:50:00 -0600 en text/html
Certification of UK Doctors Would Strengthen Quality of Care Certification of UK doctors would help to Strengthen quality of care, say researchers in this week’s BMJ.

England’s chief medical officer recently recommended certification of doctors to strengthen professional regulation. Specialist certification is a well established process in the United States that allows doctors to demonstrate achievements and competencies beyond the minimum acceptable standards required for licensing purposes. Certified status must be renewed every six to 10 years.


But does certification Strengthen medical standards?

Kim Sutherland and Sheila Leatherman reviewed data on the effect of certification in the US on quality of care. A review of studies published between 1966 and 1999 found that over half showed positive and statistically significant associations between certification and superior outcomes. Since 1999, four well conducted studies have concluded that certification is associated with provision of higher quality care across a range of specialties.

Recent studies have also found that a lack of certification is associated with an increased risk of disciplinary action.

So, most of the available evidence seems to support rigorously conducted certification as a good method to Strengthen quality of care, say the authors. Renewable certification also provides a more transparent process for assessing skills, knowledge, and competence than the opaque principles of professionalism.


Adopting certification as a key regulatory instrument in the UK will have important implications, they add. In the US much of the cost is borne by doctors themselves who are likely to benefit from the process. However, there may be an argument for some of the costs to be offset by the NHS.

As the NHS strives to Strengthen quality of care, it is important to consider the central part played by the professions, they write. Individual professional conduct, along with collective professional values, will always provide a patient with the best quality assurance. Certification, or validation within the UK context, provides a way to strengthen and bolster that vital protection and reassurance.


Thu, 21 Dec 2023 22:27:00 -0600 en-US text/html
The New CMMC Rule: FAQs for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors

The Department of Defense (DoD) delivered its proposed Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification Program rule (CMMC) the day after Christmas this year, including several related guidance documents (listed here). The proposed rule is brand new, but we answer several "frequently asked questions" federal contractors and subcontractors may already have about it.

Comments on the proposed rule are due February 26, 2024.

What is CMMC again?

DoD has been developing the CMMC Program for several years now. DoD describes it as a new "assessment mechanism" designed to "ensure defense contractors and subcontractors have … implemented required security measures to expand application of existing security requirements for Federal Contract Information (FCI) and add new Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) security requirements for certain priority programs."

Basically, CMMC refers to a future DoD program and DFARS clause that will require DoD contractors and subcontractors to demonstrate their continual compliance with numerous cybersecurity measures in order to remain eligible for and win new federal awards. Depending on the data at issue, this may require a self-assessment of compliance with a handful of security measures or obtaining certification from a third-party contractor (or DoD itself) of compliance with more than 100 security measures.

Will CMMC apply to all DoD contracts and subcontracts?

No. CMMC will apply only to "DoD contract and subcontract awardees that will process, store, or transmit information that meets the standards for FCI or CUI on contractor information systems." It will not apply to "government information systems operated by contractors or subcontractors on behalf of the Government."

DoD also notes, however, that under the proposed rule, a "DoD Service Acquisition Executive or a Component Acquisition Executive may elect to waive inclusion of CMMC Program requirements in a solicitation or contract." However, it remains to be seen how frequent or accepted such a waiver may be and therefore how likely it is to be applied.

Are there any exceptions for small businesses or commercial items?

There is no exception for small businesses; DoD reasoned that "[t]he value of DoD's sensitive information (and impact of its loss to the Department) does not diminish when it moves to contractors—prime or sub, large or small."

There is, however, an exception for contracts or orders that are exclusively for commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) items or are valued at or below the micro-purchase threshold. There is no exception for commercial item (non-COTS) contracts above the micro-purchase threshold.

"Contractor information system," "FCI," and "CUI" seem like important terms here. How are they defined?

The proposed rule does not define "contractor information system," but it does incorporate the definition of "information system" from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-171: "[a] discrete set of information resources organized for the collection, processing, maintenance, use, sharing, dissemination, or disposition of information." DFARS 204.7301 defines "[c]overed contractor information system" for the purposes of existing cybersecurity clauses as "an unclassified information system that is owned, or operated by or for, a contractor and that processes, stores, or transmits covered defense information."

According to the proposed rule, "[t]he CMMC Program uses the definitions of FCI from FAR 4.1901 and CUI from 32 CFR 2002, which are the definitive sources for these definitions." Thus, DoD summarizes:

Federal Contract Information (FCI): As defined in section 4.1901 of the FAR, FCI means information, not intended for public release, that is provided by or generated for the Government under a contract to develop or deliver a product or service to the Government, but not including information provided by the Government to the public, such as that on public websites, or simple transactional information, such as that necessary to process payments.

Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI): 32 CFR 2002.4(h) defines CUI, in part, as information the Government creates or possesses, or that an entity creates or possesses for or on behalf of the Government, that a law, regulation, or Government-wide policy requires or permits an agency to handle using safeguarding or dissemination controls, including FCI.

Does CMMC create new security measures for contractors and subcontractors, or is it just a way for DoD to confirm that existing requirements are being followed?

According to DoD's estimates (see here), for more than 99 percent of affected contractors and subcontractors, the CMMC Program rules will not create new security measures. But the CMMC Program will require periodic affirmations—as well as either self-assessments or certifications from a third-party assessor—demonstrating compliance with existing security measures required under Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 52.204-21 (which includes 15 basic security measures) and/or Defense FAR Supplement (DFARS) 252.204-7012 (which incorporates more than 100 security measures from NIST SP 800-171, Rev. 2).

For the remaining 1 percent of affected contractors and subcontractors, CMMC will require implementing multiple new security measures contained within NIST SP 800-172 (but tailored for DoD). As discussed below, by DoD's own estimates, implementing these new security measures will be quite expensive, even before considering the cost of completing and maintaining the relevant assessment/certification.

The assessments and certifications for preexisting security measures are contained within CMMC Level 1 (FAR 52.204-21) and Level 2 (DFARS 252.204-7012), and the new security measures (NIST SP 800-172) are contained in Level 3.

This is hard to visualize. Is there a chart summarizing the new CMMC levels and security measures?

DoD issued the following summary graphic in an "overview" of the new CMMC rule (here):

CMMC Model 2.0

How will my company know what CMMC level applies to our DoD contracts or subcontracts?

Federal contractors will have to review each DoD solicitation to know what CMMC level will apply. The proposed rule states that "[p]rogram managers and requiring activities are responsible for identifying the CMMC Level that will apply to a procurement … based on factors including but not limited to" the following:

(1) Criticality of the associated mission capability;

(2) Type of acquisition program or technology;

(3) Threat of loss of the FCI or CUI to be shared or generated in relation to the effort;

(4) Potential for and impacts from exploitation of information security deficiencies; and

(5) Other relevant policies and factors, including Milestone Decision Authority guidance.

For subcontracts, DoD states that "the prime contractor will identify for its subcontractor the required CMMC Level in accordance with [32 C.F.R.] § 170.23 if it is not already defined in the solicitation" and that "[i]f a prime contractor is uncertain about the appropriate CMMC Level to assign when creating a subcontract solicitation, it should consult with the government program office to determine what type of certification or assessment will be required given the information that will flow down." The proposed Section 170.23 of Title 32 of the C.F.R. states:

(a) Procedures. CMMC Level requirements apply to prime contractors and subcontractors throughout the supply chain at all tiers that will process, store, or transmit FCI or CUI on contractor information systems in the performance of the contract or subcontract. Prime contractors shall comply and shall require subcontractor compliance throughout the supply chain at all tiers with the applicable CMMC level for each subcontract as follows:

(1) If a subcontractor will only process, store, or transmit FCI (and not CUI) in performance of the contract, then CMMC Level 1 Self-Assessment is required for the subcontractor.

(2) If a subcontractor will process, store, or transmit CUI in performance of the subcontract, CMMC Level 2 Self-Assessment is the minimum requirement for the subcontractor.

(3) If a subcontractor will process, store, or transmit CUI in performance of the subcontract and the Prime contractor has a requirement of Level 2 Certification Assessment, then CMMC Level 2 Certification Assessment is the minimum requirement for the subcontractor.

(4) If a subcontractor will process, store, or transmit CUI in performance of the subcontract and the Prime contractor has a requirement of Level 3 Certification Assessment, then CMMC Level 2 Certification Assessment is the minimum requirement for the subcontractor.

Beyond those factors, is there any way to predict which CMMC level may apply in a given acquisition?

Yes, knowledge of whether performance on a given program will involve FCI or CUI could be predictive of the CMMC level. DoD explains that "[t]he CMMC Program requirements for Level 1 will apply when the contract effort requires contractors to process, store, or transmit FCI on its unclassified information system," whereas, "[i]f CUI is processed, stored, or transmitted on a contractor information system, a higher level of CMMC compliance or certification is required."

DoD does not provide detailed information regarding how determinations will be made for CUI, stating that "[t]he CMMC Level required to protect CUI (i.e., CMMC Level 2 Self-Assessment … CMMC Level 2 Certification Assessment … or CMMC Level 3 Certification Assessment …) is determined by the Department based upon the sensitivity of the CUI and will be identified in the solicitation." DoD offers that "[t]he requiring activity knows the type and sensitivity of information that will be shared with or developed by the awarded contractor and selects the CMMC Level required to protect the information according to DoD guidance."

How will my company know whether it needs to obtain a CMMC certification from a third party rather than perform a CMMC self-assessment?

As with the CMMC level, whether a third-party certification is required or a self-assessment is permitted will be identified in DoD solicitations.

CMMC Level 1 requires only self-assessment, while Level 3 requires a certification from DoD. In theory, CMMC Level 2 may only require a self-assessment, but in practice, DoD estimated that 95 percent (76,598 of 80,598) of entities performing at CMMC Level 2 will require a certification from a non-DoD third party, rather than a mere self-assessment.

Does the proposed rule address disagreements regarding what CMMC level or assessment/certification should apply to a given procurement?

The proposed rule does not address this issue in detail. Even though "[t]wo commenters requested clarification regarding whether the CMMC Level required by the DoD or a prime contractor could be contested," DoD responded only that "[a]ny questions about the CMMC Level required by the solicitation should be directed to the contracting officer for the affected contractor."

Once CMMC goes into effect, some contractors may file pre-award bid protests challenging the terms of DoD solicitations on one or more legal grounds related to CMMC, including that the contracting officer's CMMC level selection unduly restricted competition in violation of the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984 and the competition requirements in FAR Part 6.

Who will perform the CMMC certifications for my company?

For CMMC Level 2 certifications, the proposed rule contemplates private entities called "CMMC Third-Party Assessment Organizations" (C3PAOs) performing assessments and providing certifications. The C3PAOs will be authorized and accredited by the "Accreditation Body," another private organization (see for more information on the Accreditation Body).

The proposed rule contains requirements for C3PAOs with regard to national security background checks, foreign ownership, reporting, records management, information protection, quality assurance, and appeals.

Can my company contest a certification company's determination?

Yes, the proposed rule contains a CMMC assessment appeal process. DoD summarizes this process as follows:

Each C3PAO is required to have a time-bound, internal appeals process to address disputes related to perceived assessor errors, malfeasance, and unethical conduct. Requests for appeals will be reviewed and approved by individual(s) within the C3PAO not involved in the original assessment activities in question. OSCs [organizations seeking certification] can request a copy of the process from their C3PAO. If a dispute regarding assessment findings cannot be resolved by the C3PAO, it will be escalated to the Accreditation Body. The decision by the Accreditation Body will be final.

Ultimately, however, DoD states that "[t]he issue of C3PAO liability is between an OSC and the C3PAO with which it contracts to do the assessment." In other words, DoD contractors and subcontractors will have to carefully review the terms of their agreements with C3PAOs to fully understand what remedies may be available in the event of a dispute with a C3PAO.

Does my company need to obtain the relevant CMMC level prior to contract award?

Yes, the proposed rule states that "[c]ontractors must have achieved [the CMMC level stated in the solicitation] or higher, to be awarded the resultant contract." As a result, DoD places the burden of timing compliance on contractors and subcontractors:

Prospective contractors must make a business decision regarding the type of DoD business they wish to pursue and understand the implications for doing so. If an offeror or current DoD contractor or subcontractor has self-assessed then later decides to pursue a contract or subcontract requiring a certification at CMMC Level 2 or 3, it will need to factor in the time and investment necessary to hire a third-party assessment organization and achieve certification as a condition of contract award.

In this regard, DoD noted that it does not intend to delay procurements to wait for contractors or subcontractors to obtain a CMMC assessment or certification: "The CMMC Program rule does not provide mitigations for assessment delays that may impact timeliness of certification or recertification with regard to the closing date of a particular solicitation."

But there is an exception to the general requirement to obtain the designated CMMC level prior to award. For CMMC Levels 2 and 3, under certain circumstances, it is possible for the contractor to obtain a "conditional" certification (or, for Level 2, a conditional self-assessment) with unmet security measures placed on a Plan of Action and Milestones (POA&M) that must be closed out within 180 days. A POA&M is not permitted for CMMC Level 1 self-assessments. Contractors obtaining such a conditional score will be eligible for award of CMMC Level 2- and Level 3-rated DoD contracts.

How much is this going to cost my company?

DoD's proposed rule does not calculate the cost of implementing the security measures in CMMC Levels 1 and 2, on the assumption that DoD contractors and subcontractors should have already implemented them, since compliance with those standards predated the CMMC Program under FAR 52.204-21 and DFARS 252.204-7012.

But DoD does attempt to calculate the cost of obtaining the new assessments/certifications, as well as the cost of the new security measures in CMMC Level 3:

  • Annual cost of CMMC Level 1 assessment and affirmation: $4,042 for other-than-small entities ($5,977 for small entities)
  • Triennial CMMC Level 2 self-assessment and three annual affirmations: $48,827 over three years for other-than-small entities ($37,196 for small entities)
  • Triennial CMMC Level 2 certification and three annual affirmations: $117,768 over three years for other-than-small entities ($104,670 for small entities)
  • Triennial CMMC Level 3 certification and three annual affirmations: $44,444 over three years for other-than-small entities ($12,802 for small entities)
  • CMMC Level 3 nonrecurring engineering costs for implementation and maintenance of the new NIST SP 800-172 requirements: $21,100,000 for other-than-small entities ($2,700,000 for small entities)
  • CMMC Level 3 recurring engineering costs for implementation and maintenance of the new NIST SP 800-172 requirements: $4,120,000 for other-than-small entities ($490,000 for small entities)

Each of DoD's estimates comes with caveats, and industry may well disagree with DoD's projections.

When does DoD anticipate CMMC going into effect?

The proposed rule states that "DoD intends to include CMMC requirements for Levels 1, 2, and 3 in all solicitations issued on or after October 1, 2026, when warranted by any FCI or CUI information protection requirements for the contract effort."

DoD is proposing a "phased approach for the inclusion of CMMC Program requirements in solicitations and contracts." The proposed phases appear below.

(1) Phase 1. Begins on the effective date of the CMMC revision to DFARS 252.204–7021. DoD intends to include CMMC Level 1 Self-Assessment or CMMC Level 2 Self-Assessment for all applicable DoD solicitations and contracts as a condition of contract award. DoD may, at its discretion, include CMMC Level 1 Self-Assessment or CMMC Level 2 Self-Assessment for applicable DoD solicitations and contracts as a condition to exercise an option period on a contract awarded prior to the effective date. DoD may also, at its discretion, include CMMC Level 2 Certification Assessment in place of CMMC Level 2 Self-Assessment for applicable DoD solicitations and contracts.

(2) Phase 2. Begins six months following the start date of Phase 1. In addition to Phase 1 requirements, DoD intends to include CMMC Level 2 Certification Assessment all for applicable DoD solicitations and contracts as a condition of contract award. DoD may, at its discretion, delay the inclusion of CMMC Level 2 Certification Assessment to an option period instead of as a condition of contract award. DoD may also, at its discretion, include CMMC Level 3 Certification Assessment for applicable DoD solicitations and contracts.

(3) Phase 3. Begins one calendar year following the start date of Phase 2. In addition to Phase 1 and 2 requirements, DoD intends to include CMMC Level 2 Certification Assessment for all applicable DoD solicitations and contracts as a condition of contract award and as a condition to exercise an option period on a contract awarded prior to the effective date. DoD intends to include CMMC Level 3 Certification Assessment for all applicable DoD solicitations and contracts as a condition of contract award. DoD may, at its discretion, delay the inclusion of CMMC Level 3 Certification Assessment to an option period instead of as a condition of contract award.

(4) Phase 4, Full Implementation. Begins one calendar year following the start date of Phase 3. DoD will include CMMC Program requirements in all applicable DoD solicitations and contracts including option periods on contracts awarded prior to the beginning of Phase 4.

Although the phases purport to provide DoD procuring offices with "discretion" to include the new CMMC clause in preexisting contracts upon option exercise, that approach would render the option invalid under long-standing procurement law. See, e.g., Varo, Inc., ASBCA No. 47945, 96-1 BCA ¶ 28,161 (modification purporting to exercise option and add "eight FAR and DFARS clauses which were not included originally in contract 2278" was invalid). A contractor that continues performing at the government's direction notwithstanding the invalid option exercise would be entitled to an equitable adjustment for the added cost of complying with CMMC. See, e.g., Fluor Fed. Sols., Inc., ASBCA No. 62343, 23-1 BCA ¶ 38,302 (collecting cases).

Mon, 01 Jan 2024 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html
The future of quality assurance and engineering – How AI is empowering software testers

By Dinesh Mohan

The future of quality assurance (QA) and engineering (QE) is undergoing a significant transformation. The focus now has shifted from mere cost-effectiveness and product quality to prioritising customer experience (CX). It’s no longer just about whether the software works but about how well it meets the experiential demands of users, necessitating a thorough understanding of the business, its services/products, and the technologies employed​. 

Recent findings from the Business Transformation Index 2023 reveal a concerning trend. 76% of firms are falling short on their business transformation initiatives with an alarming 66% missing the mark when it comes to criteria like—staying within budget, timely delivery, or solution reliability. This uptick from 50% in 2022, is a wake-up call highlighting the critical need for robust QA/QE practices, irrespective of the industry. Enter AI in QA—the game changer.

How can AI offer a turnaround?

No longer seen as just a final checkpoint, Quality Assurance and Engineering is now an integral part of the entire software development lifecycle. The narrative now is shift left or get left behind emphasising the importance of early and frequent testing. And AI is enabling this shift by automating various tasks. AI-powered tools analyse code, generate test cases, and execute tests automatically, freeing up testers to focus on more complex activities.

The integration of AI into QA engineering is empowering testers to:

• Automate repetitive tasks and focus on more strategic testing activities

• Move beyond reactive testing towards predictive analysis—predicting and preventing defects from occurring in the first place

• Optimise test data management and Strengthen test coverage

• Generate insightful test reports and provide actionable recommendations

• Collaborate effectively and share knowledge across teams

Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a transformative force also helps overcome the challenges of:

  • Budgetary Control: To provide cost-effective testing, minimise manual labour, and maximise resource allocation, software testers must embrace AI-driven QA/QE models.
  • Timely Delivery: A collaborative effort between human intuition and AI-driven insights lends a hand in identifying the potential bottlenecks early.
  • Solution Reliability: Analysis of vast datasets by AI facilitates predictive maintenance along with empowering testers to pre-emptively address potential software glitches or failures.

However, building a competent QA/QE practice isn’t just about ticking boxes; it’s also about fostering talent. The big question is: In this era of digital transformation-

Will AI-driven automation eclipse the need for human QA/QE professionals?

We’re witnessing a blurring of boundaries between industries. Innovations in one sector are rapidly influencing others. This crossover, while improving customer experience, challenges quality engineers to adapt to diverse technological landscapes​.

The fear that AI might render human QA professionals obsolete is, in my opinion, unfounded. Instead, AI is redefining career paths in QA/QE. Testers equipped with AI proficiency are today invaluable assets.

In fact, the changing dynamics have led many companies to rethink the traditional developer-tester ratio. Consider this, ten years ago, a typical ratio of QA testers to developers might have been 1:10 or 2:10. This means that for every 10 developers, there would be 1 or 2 QA testers. Fast forward to today, this ratio is starting to shift, and it is not uncommon to see ratios of 3:10 or 5:10. This means that there are now more QA testers for every developer. 

This ratio is likely to continue to increase in the future due to the increasing complexity of software, the growing importance of quality, and the rise of agile development methodologies.

While automation is gaining momentum, the human element in software testing remains irreplaceable. AI can smartly automate processes, but can never wholly replicate the nuanced understanding and decision-making capabilities of a human tester. Manual testing is absolutely necessary in cases such as—exploratory testing, usability testing, security testing, edge-case testing, providing a second layer of validation, identifying new test cases, and providing feedback to developers.

The future of QA/QE in the AI-Augmented world

It’s true that the comparison between manual and automated testing might currently lean heavily towards automation, yet we can’t overlook the value of manual intervention. The undeniable fact is that AI can revolutionise Technology but the ingenuity, creativity, and intuitive power of People remain the most crucial and irreplaceable parts of the Process.

Quick, efficient delivery of high-quality products/services is a hallmark of successful businesses. And a synergistic approach where AI and automation enhance human capabilities rather than replace them is central to this achievement.

In a future where AI and human ingenuity coalesce to redefine software testing, how can we use technological advancements as a springboard for innovation and excellence?

The author is head of delivery and operations, digital practice, Expleo

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Sat, 09 Dec 2023 05:00:00 -0600 en text/html
Highest Quality Standard: ESFM USA® Achieves ISO 9001 Certification No result found, try new keyword!CHARLOTTE, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ESFM has been awarded ISO 9001 certification ... clients have for their business,” Director of Quality Assurance Victoria Griffin said. Sun, 17 Dec 2023 18:02:00 -0600 Commentary: Dismantle the teacher accreditation cartel No result found, try new keyword!Twenty years ago, when I was hiring teachers for the private K-12 school I founded, I knew better than to recruit certified teachers. That’s right—I didn’t want to hire certified teachers. Why? Wed, 03 Jan 2024 19:00:00 -0600 en-us text/html ProDentim - Should You Invest In It? Expert Opinions, Ingredients, Side Effects, Reviews No result found, try new keyword!Is ProDentim the solution to your dental woes? Get expert insights and real user experiences on this oral health supplement. Thu, 28 Dec 2023 14:53:38 -0600 en-us text/html Halal Council Recognized as a Key Enabler in Sri Lanka’s Export Economy

The Halal Accreditation Council (HAC) for the 2nd consecutive year, has been conferred with Gold at the 31st National Chamber of Exporters (NCE) Export Awards, acknowledging its role as a key enabler in Sri Lanka's export economy, held on December 8th, 2023.

From L to R: Usama Zaid, Head of Business Development, Mohammed Nafas, Head of Quality Assurance, Aakif A Wahab, Director – CEO, T K Azoor, Director, Mohammed Rushdi, Accountant. 

In alignment with the government's Vision 2048, Sri Lanka underscores the pivotal role played by Sri Lankan exporters in rebuilding the economy.

HAC in advancing the national export strategy, facilitates Sri Lankan exporters to tap into the expanding Global Halal food industry, projected to reach US$1.67 trillion by 2025, with Sri Lanka's Halal-certified product exports estimated at US$1.7 billion in 2022.

HAC has engaged in various activities to foster Sri Lankan exports. In August 2023, HAC accompanied a Sri Lankan Trade delegation to Thailand, with the primary objective of promoting bilateral trade of Halal-certified products, before the much-anticipated Free Trade Agreement between the two nations.  

In September 2023, HAC's participation at the Global Halal Summit held in Malaysia advanced relationships with key stakeholders representing 47 countries, including government regulators and certification bodies operating in key export destinations.

HAC’s participation at the 13th International Halal Certification Bodies Convention 2023, held in Malaysia. From L to R: Annes Junaid, Director, Ali Fatharally, Managing Director, Rizvi Zaheed, Director,  Aakif A Wahab, CEO-Director. 

The Council, being accredited for standards ISO 17065:2018 & GSO 2055-2:2015, recognizes that food safety and quality are global imperatives for international buyers. HAC's standards mandate manufacturers to establish control over all stages of food production and processing, including food safety requirements. As part of the organization's initiative to build capacity within the Sri Lankan Food & Beverage Industry on International Halal standards, it has thus far inducted over 1,000 individuals from MSMEs, Food Franchises, and Large & Multinational enterprises.   

Sri Lankan Halal certified products hold significant potential in non-Muslim majority countries, including the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Germany, the Netherlands, India, and the United Kingdom. Furthermore, Muslim-majority countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Azerbaijan have shown promising acceptance of Sri Lanka's Halal-certified exports.

Aakif A. Wahab, Director & Chief Executive Officer at HAC, stated, “We are humbled to receive this industry accolade, confirming on merit our independent efforts to uplift the Sri Lankan export economy. Moving forward, a clear state policy on Halal must be established, as is the case in countries like Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore, to name a few, ensuring sustainability and enabling Sri Lankan exporters to further benefit from the lucrative global Halal market."


Wed, 03 Jan 2024 00:35:00 -0600 en text/html
Indium Software certified as a Major Contender in the Everest Group PEAK Matrix® 2023 for Quality Engineering Services No result found, try new keyword!With over two decades of deep expertise in Quality Engineering capabilities ... Srikanth Manoharan- Executive Vice President, Digital Assurance at Indium Software, stated, “Our success is ... Sun, 17 Dec 2023 19:15:00 -0600

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