The Importance of Data Security in Mobile Apps
In today’s world, mobile devices allow us to do just about everything online no matter where we are located. We can control IoT devices, do our banking, and maintain productivity in both our personal lives and at work.
With this movement, comes a variety of applications and services that connect to servers that aim to enhance a user’s convenience and a lot of moving parts to make a mobile app work: the application itself, the Client/Server network, the business logic, databases, any APIs you may be using, all of the devices your users have with knowledge of the OS running on them. Each piece just as important as the next, and all combining different layers for securing your application.
When designing mobile applications, user data is your most valuable asset. Making sure that you have the routing, security and processing methods to handle and store this data is the top priority for your customers. Especially when building native apps.
Tips for Mobile App Security
When building secure mobile applications, there are several considerations or tips to think about. I have put together a short list of some best practices that I find many organizations taking to protect their applications and their customers data.
1. Obfuscation and vulnerabilities
Protect the application code with encryption. Using well-supported algorithms can be a life saver. Securing your app code from the beginning also makes it easier to later protect your user base in case of a data breach.
2. Don’t solely trust app stores
Don’t rely on Google Play or Apple store to make sure your application is secure. They may tested and approved but they aren’t completely infallible,
3. Secure your back-end
Make sure your network connections on the back-end are secure… If using third party API’s, make sure they have measures in place to protect the data and authorization as you are rely on them to have accurate code and data.
4. Consider containerization and File Level Access!
You can safely store documents and other data in encrypted containers or protect data with at-rest encryption in files that require authorization.
5. Encryption, Encryption, Encryption
Making sure you have an encrypted “local” solution as well as the transmissions to and from the device is necessary to help with vulnerability and theft of the physical device.
6. Keep an eye on what and where data is stored
Don’t store PII (Personally Identifiable information) such as credit card numbers and passwords directly on the device unless it is stored in its own encrypted storage. For example, iOS has an encrypted data storage in its resources or you could use an embeddable database with encryption built in such as InterBase.
7. Know your strategy
Make sure that your security stack consists of : identification, authentication, and authorization. Assume that everything is insecure and compromised until you have your plan in place, the endpoints, logins, the OS, and especially the data.
8. When you’ve finished testing...Test again!
Testing your application is always a crucial process to any development cycle but placing a priority on security is key to keeping your customers safe. Test for authentication and authorization along with session management when you test your functionality and usability.
Like with desktop or web applications, mobile application security is a priority from day one. Secure data is an expectation by today’s consumers, and ensuring that your mobile application meets the requirements of your industry and the people that use them is essential. So let me know what you do to make your mobile apps more secure?
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