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Building an App for a Business Main Security Concerns

security concerns building mobile app

If you were asked to identify the two biggest growth markets in 2015, you would probably be compelled to answer with ‘smart technology’ and ‘mobile apps’. The latter represents a particularly lucrative business, with more than 1.55 million apps now accessible through the Android-based Google Play Store alone. This exponential growth has been triggered in part by the rise of branded commercial applications, which in turn has heralded the dawn of app store optimization (ASO) and created huge competition among developers.

Appraising the 3 Main Security Concerns when Building a Branded App

The development of a branded app is challenging, however, as brands must balance the execution of their vision with the security of their customers. As applications are based in the Cloud, they can potentially place customer data at risk if they are not developed effectively. With this in mind, here are three of the most prominent risks and the steps that can be taken to avoid them: 

Beware of Insecure Data Storage

If you have ever used the coveted Starbucks mobile app, you will most probably love the fact that your passwords are stored to prevent you from having to log in every time you make a purchase. While this helps the brand to encourage customers to use their app, however, Starbucks have recently confirmed that all registered usernames, email addresses, and passwords were stored in clear text. This meant that anyone who gained access to the phone could see this data and subsequently access the account.

Clear text also displays user’s Geo-tracking points and enables hackers to gain access to alternative accounts, so this is something to avoid if you are developing an app for your business. Instead, design software that prevents critical information and sensitive data from being stored directly on a device, prompting users to re-enter their details when returning to the app. Alternatively, ensure that this information is stored securely in an encrypted data section that automatically disables back-up.

Avoid Unintentional Data Leaks

As anyone who works in marketing knows, consumer profiling and targeting is commonplace in the commercial world. While brands have been known to use apps to access customer data and subsequently create tailored marketing campaigns, it is imperative that this is not done at the expense of consumer privacy. This can sound the death knell for any business, with even global corporations such as Google struggling to contest anti-trust charges and allegations.

Ultimately, you must assume responsibility for this risk as a brand manager and take every conceivable step to protect customer data, collate it selectively and use it in an ethical manner. In particular, you should adopt a cautious approach when choosing third-party analytics providers and implementing advertising throughout your application. You should also be proactive when tracking data, and ensure that your app is secure before collating or storing customer information.

Minimize the risk of Broken Cryptography

At first glance, your commercial app development team may report that popular cryptography protocols such as MD5 and SHA1 are ill-equipped to cope with contemporary hacking techniques. This can encourage some brands and developers to create and implement their own algorithms, although this creates even greater security risks that can threaten the integrity of your firm and individual customers’ data.

With this in mind, the key is to work diligently to find a viable and modern algorithm that can adequately secure your app. Not only must this solution be verified by experts in the field, but it must also incorporate cutting edge encryption API’s within the mobile platform. Another important step is to invest in penetration testing at an early stage of the venture, in order to access manual analysis that identifies any potential risks and enables you to fortify the application.

Image: - Mashable

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