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Altru Sandbox Update

When new features are released, it is nice to run a couple of tests to see if the feature is something your organization can utilize.  This blog will discuss some tips to testing features in your live database.   

What happened to the Altru Sandbox?  

We apologize for the delay in this response, but we wanted to make sure we did a thorough investigation.  Like any technology company, Blackbaud does audits of its products, hosted environments, and offerings. When we reviewed our Sandbox environments we determined that the current environment presents security and compliance issues that could pose a threat to our customers as well as Blackbaud.  In response, we immediately disabled the credentials for the Sandbox, and we will be changing our policies to prevent any issues moving forward.  As a result, Blackbaud has decided to discontinue the use of a shared sandbox environment for Altru. This decision came out of several weeks researching and analyzing options.  We are working to clarify new offerings and policies and will release details in January of 2019.  We understand this may change some of your internal practices, but we made this decision with you in mind to keep your data secure, and we’re here to help you move forward.  

If you were a heavy user of the sandbox, don't worry, you can still test features in your database.  Some of the most popular features users test include:  

All of these and more can be tested in your live environment as long as you follow three key rules: 

  1. Create and use a test constituent record.   

Create a test individual and organization record.  Make up a fake name so it can be easily identified.  For organization records, create one or two test contact records as well.  Add a pop up note on the records so users know the records are test (Click here for directions).   

What about using your own record?  If you have a constituent record in your database, you can use your record to test features like guest passes and appeal mailings.  For memberships or anything that would affect your personal contribution history, you should use a test record so personal contribution history is not compromised.   

  1. Leave no trace.   

When testing features in your live database you want to make sure you leave no trace if you begin using the feature on live constituent records.  With delete permissions you can delete most test records except for sales transactions.   

When you do test transaction from the back office (Add a payment, Add a pledge, Add a pledge, Add a recurring gift), you can completely delete the transaction from the database if you have Delete permissions.  See this KB tip for additional information - https://kb.blackbaud.com/articles/Article/61319.  

For sales transactions (Advance, Daily, Group and Online), there is no way to leave no trace because we cannot delete sales transactions.  When testing transactions, create a Credit Reason called "Test Transaction" so you can easily identify transactions.  See this KB tip for additional information - https://kb.blackbaud.com/articles/Article/53737.   

Another option is to create a special payment method for test transactions and prohibit payments from getting picked up by you deposit process.  Step up instructions for that are found here - https://kb.blackbaud.com/articles/Article/57964 .    

  1. Be responsible. 

Create a testing plan.  Control the number of people testing in your live database so you do not create "bad" data.  When in doubt about testing a feature, contact Customer Support and/or post a question on the Community!   

There will be times when you'll need a test environment.  For example, if you're redesigning your website and need to test your code for Altru web forms or when you want to use the Altru API.  In these instances, you will still have the opportunity to purchase a copy of your database for testing purposes.  For information on pricing, please contact your Sales Account Executive or if you don't know who your sales person is, contact the Customer Success team at CulturalCustomerSuccess@Blackbaud.com.   

 

Posted by Rosita Bradham on Dec 4, 2018 4:30 PM America/New_York

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