Data Validation Testing Tools & Techniques: Explained
Data validation is important to ensure your data is correct before using it in any process, so we’ll also get an accurate result from the process and can achieve the objective.
Data validation, by definition, is a method to check (validate) the accuracy and quality of data. It is also called data cleansing or data cleaning due to the fact the purpose is to ensure the data is ‘clean’.
Here, we will explain several data validation testing tools and techniques, but let us begin with why data validation is necessary.
Common Causes Of Data Errors And Losses: Why Data Validation Is Needed
Data errors and losses can be caused by many different factors, and each cause might create unique challenges.
Below are some of the most common causes of data errors and losses:
1. Human Error
Human error remains the leading cause of data errors. Employees might input the wrong data, overwrite or even delete important data, physically losing the hard drive, damaging the hard drive (i.e. with liquid spills), software corruption due to misuse, and so on.
An important factor (besides implementing data validation) in preventing human error is to conduct proper and regular training.
2. Malicious Bots
Malicious bots can inject virus/malware, attempt data breaches to modify, steal, or delete data, and perform other cyber attack vectors related to data breach and data manipulation.
To tackle this issue, the organization must perform cybersecurity best practices such as:
- Installing adequate antivirus/anti-malware software, preferably those with AI-based protection
- With most cybersecurity threats related to data breaches being performed by bots, a credential stuffing prevention solution by DataDome is a necessity.
- Regular training and education for employees so they can recognize common cybersecurity attacks (i.e. phishing) and how to handle them
3. Physical Damages And Losses
Data loss can also occur due to hardware damages and losses, with the primary perpetrator being the hard drive (or devices containing hard drive). Laptop or tablet theft, for example, is a serious threat and the perpetrator can modify and even delete your data when these devices aren’t properly protected.
Hard drives, on the other hand, are the most fragile parts of computers and can often be damaged due to human misuse or mechanical issues.
Besides making sure you work with your device appropriately and carefully to protect it from damages and thefts, backup your data regularly.
4. Software Corruption
Software corruption can cause serious data errors and losses, and in severe cases, you might not be able to run the software due to serious corruption, and you won’t be able to access data stored in the software. Update your software regularly, and avoid improper shutdowns.
5. Hacking And Insider Attacks
Hackers can gain access and manipulate/delete your data with various methods, and you should:
- Use strong and unique passwords at all times
- Ensure adequate firewalls are in place when accessing untrusted external networks
- Use servers and hosting services with adequate security
Different data Validation Tools and Techniques
There are several techniques and tools available in performing data validation process, each with its unique features that can cater to specific types of needs:
1. Scripting Technique
In this data validation technique, the process is performed by using a programming script to perform the validation process. The script can be written with various programming languages, for example, Python.
This technique provides the most versatility since you can write any script depending on the data’s needs. However, it is also the most time-consuming since you’ll need to write and validate the script yourself.
2. Using Open-Source Tools
We can use open-source tools like SourceForge, Valideer, Cerberus, and others to perform cloud-based validation processes.
The main advantage of using these tools is that they are cost-effective and even totally free, but this method would require adequate coding skills and knowledge to perform the validation effectively.
3. Enterprise and Premium Tools
There are various premium data validation tools available in the market, and typically they are focused in giving the users simplicity and ease of use. However, they are also typically the most expensive and you may need to invest in the required infrastructure before you can use them.
Typical Process in Data Validation
While the actual process of data validation may vary depending on the types of data validated and the techniques/tools used, the typical process will involve the following steps:
Step 1: Define The Dataset
If your dataset is fairly small (when compared to the available data validation tools), then you can use the complete dataset. However, if you have a large amount of data, you need to define a valid sample. You can check this guide on how to perform data sampling and determine the volume.
Step 2: Database Validation
It’s important to ensure that all the requirements are already met by the database to ensure a valid comparison of target and source data fields.
Step 3: Validating Data Format
Checking the data for incorrect formats, duplicated data, null field values, and other types of errors.
Data validation is extremely important to ensure the accuracy of data so we can also ensure the process using the data can achieve the intended objective. Every data validation technique has its own benefits, as well as disadvantages, so it’s important to first understand your type of data and your specific needs in performing data validation.