Main Security Issues when Building an App for Business

App CyberSec

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.

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

Recommended Posts | Mobile Management

How To Integrate BYOD Into Your Business

How To Integrate BYOD Into Your Business

Here are some tips and advice for safely and efficiently overseeing the integration of consumer apps into the workplace without compromising company security. BYOD is certainly here to stay and it has many advantages for the savvy business owner. Do your research, put the necessary policies in place ...
Five iOS and Android Alternatives

Meet Five iOS and Android Alternatives

I bring before you 5 amazing alternatives to the two most popular operating systems for mobile devices. The mobile devices kingdom is, in terms of operating systems, totally dominated by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Microsoft has been trying to impose in this segment ...
The Top 5 Android Apps for DJs

The Top 5 Android Apps for DJs

While the older generation perhaps remembers what a DJ would have to pack and prepare in order to get ready for a party, for the young and aspiring DJs, all the music that was once mixed from vinyls and tapes is just a few clicks away. All you need is have your Android phone or tablet organized ...
In-House Application Development

In-House Application Development - High Risk Strategy?

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 ...