In-House Application Development - High Risk Strategy?

In-House Application Development

As more businesses enter the mobile scene, some organisations are recruiting developers to build in-house apps to work in the new hybrid mobile-desktop environment. Software engineers using HTML, CSS and JavaScript are building programs that use mobile device features like smaller screen sizes and touchscreens to their advantage. Unfortunately, a recent study by HP Security Research revealed that whilst these solutions are more flexible on a budget, they are seriously lacking in security.

The report identified four major components of mobile device security; encryption, storage, Web access and permissions. In addition, when these programs are put through security testing, over half of them had issues with client-side operation and 48 per cent exhibited issues with poor quality of server-side application code resulting in instability of the software and network vulnerabilities.

These security flaws contained in in-house solutions can mitigate any benefits gained by creation hybrid applications in the first place. Obviously, companies want to ensure that their workforce is productive whilst gaining cross-platform and multi-device functionality and the safest way to achieve this is through the use of mobile device management software. This allows IT technicians much greater control over the security of staff’s mobile devices and ensures that permissions, storage and encryption are in-line with the variety of mobile operating systems on the market.

Multiple Security Issues

When studying the various in-house applications, it was noted by HP researchers that developers had either left out encryption entirely prior to storing sensitive client and corporate information on mobile devices or had merely relied on very weak security algorithms.

Clearly, this reticence left devices inadequately protected and also created an environment for users that did not deliver a consistent experience. These issues led to decreased productivity as staff were left struggling with different applications and an assortment of permissions to accept and protocols to remember.

However, even when third party development tools were used, mobile devices and corporate data were not properly secured. The report revealed that a lack of MDM software suites led to inadequate encrypted storage on mobile devices leaving database contents exposed. Most of the issues were traced to a lack of hardcoding for sensitive information; a tried and tested security practice.

Finding A Solution

The results of HP’s research clearly illustrate that in-house development is not the answer to providing application security for mobile devices. Mobile app management provides all the necessary protection and security that BYOD environments require from applications to file sharing.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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