The importance of testing in critical systems

Discover the importance of digital tools to mitigate critical errors.

Technology and connectivity have transformed our lives significantly, and much of this is due to software development.

From planes and trains to automobiles and medical equipment, software has become a crucial component in systems we depend on every day. But how can we be sure that these critical systems will operate reliably and securely?

The research report of Market Research Future (MRFR)-  predicts that the safety-critical software testing market will exceed $650 billion at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 43.2% by 2030. This significant growth reflects the importance of ensuring that safety-critical software systems are robust and free from errors.

Safety-critical software development is a demanding and vitally important field in a variety of industries, where software reliability and integrity are crucial to protecting lives and assets. From Exceltic, we have put together the 15 essentials that every developer should be aware of when working on safety-critical software projects. From internationally recognised standards to development and testing practices, this knowledge is essential to ensure excellence in this area.

15 key issues for maintaining the integrity and security of critical software

1.Defining safety critical software: 

Understanding the nature and implications of safety-critical software is fundamental to effectively addressing its development. This enables us to appreciate the importance of high safety standards and how their application can make a difference in protecting lives and assets.

Safety standards: 

Internationally recognised standards provide fundamental guidelines and directives for the development of safety-critical software. Meeting these standards not only ensures compliance, but also demonstrates a strong commitment to quality and safety in the development process.

3.Domain knowledge:

In-depth knowledge of the application domain is essential for developing safety-critical software. Only by understanding industry-specific needs, constraints and challenges can we design solutions that are truly effective and reliable in their context.

Development process:

A systematic approach to safety-critical software development is essential to ensure quality and safety. Following a well-defined process, from requirements analysis to thorough testing, allows for the identification and mitigation of potential risks and errors.


Proper documentation at every stage of safety-critical software development is a fundamental requirement. It provides a solid basis for safety audits and reviews, and also serves as a tool for tracking and understanding changes and decisions made throughout the project.

Change management: 

Controlled and documented change management is essential in safety-critical software development. By doing so, we can ensure that changes are implemented safely and that they do not compromise the integrity and security of the software.

7. Verification and validation:

Verification and validation activities are crucial to ensure that software meets requirements and is safe to use. By conducting rigorous and thorough testing, we can identify and correct potential problems before they become safety risks.

8. Software reuse:

Reuse of software components can be beneficial in terms of efficiency, but must be handled with care in the context of safety-critical software. It is essential to assess the risks and ensure that reused components comply with safety standards and are compatible with the overall system.

9.Safety tests:

Effective security testing is essential to ensure the resilience of safety-critical software. Applying techniques such as penetration testing and risk assessments allow us to identify potential vulnerabilities and strengthen software security.

Software maintenance:

Ongoing maintenance of safety-critical software is essential to address emerging issues and maintain your long-term security. By performing upgrades and fixes in a timely manner

In conclusion, the development of safety-critical software requires a thorough understanding of safety standards, a systematic approach and a constant dedication to software quality and integrity. Developers must be familiar with internationally recognised standards and diligently apply them at every stage of the development process.

Proper documentation, controlled change management, verification and validation activities are critical aspects that should not be overlooked. Reuse of software components should be approached with caution, carefully assessing the associated risks.

Rigorous security testing is essential to identify and correct potential vulnerabilities, thus ensuring that software meets security requirements. In addition, ongoing and timely maintenance is critical to address emerging issues and maintain long-term security.

In addition, specialised tools such as Cantata QA Systems can greatly support the development of safety-critical software by providing advanced static code analysis and testing capabilities that help ensure quality, reliability and compliance with applicable safety standards.

Training and competence of developers is essential, as is taking responsibility and accountability for their work. Continuous improvement is key to refining practices and meeting new challenges in safety-critical software development.

Ultimately, by understanding and applying these 15 key aspects, developers can help ensure safety, reliability and the protection of lives and assets in industries that rely on safety-critical software. In doing so, they play a critical role in advancing secure technology and meeting the highest standards in the creation of safety-critical software.



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