5 Best Practices For a Secure App Development Process
With the average man depending on mobile applications for everything from ordering food to finding their next dating partner, successful app development is paramount for anyone tasked with building apps. Of all the things that make an app successful, security is the most important one.
Why is Cybersecurity So Big of an Issue?
With the losses caused by cybercrime standing at $4.2 billion for the last year, it is natural to focus on making apps secure for users. Here’s why you need to develop secure mobile applications.
Your Market Reputation is at Stake
The money lost in cyberattacks is the least of the concerns for the company building the apps. It’s the market reputation that matters the most. If you are a multi-million-dollar company that is listed on the stock exchange, a security breach in one of your products can do a lot of harm to your stock price. If you are a small business, getting customers after being at the focal point of a security breach would be quite hard.
It Makes Economic Sense
Incorporating security practices in the software development lifecycle might cost money, but it will be economically beneficial in the end. By making secure applications, you can prevent data leakage and other unwanted outcomes during the application’s life. Such data leakage can have severe economic implications for you and your application’s users.
Security Compliance and Regulation Requirements
If the app you are developing will deal with the sensitive data of users, you might be mandated by cybersecurity law to make it secure. Different security standards or regulations like HIPAA, PCI-DSS, or others might be necessary to get the application online.
With that in mind, here are the top five practices that can minimize all types of application vulnerability and make sure that the apps you are developing are fully secure.
Five Best Practices for Secure App Development Process
5 Best Practices For a Secure App Development Process.
1. Security Training
The first thing that any company can do to ensure that they are developing secure apps is to train the development team in security. The important factor in understanding, here, is that it is not enough to appoint a security team to build secure applications, nor is it enough to make security the last step of development.
Security needs to be a part of every step of app development. It is imperative to train the development team in cybersecurity. The secure app development process can only be ensured if the app is developed by a team that treats security seriously at each and every step of the process and has all the necessary training on the subject. To secure the app, you need to add a cheap code signing certificate as it will be a low-cost affair for a developer or publisher. Code Sign cert ensures users that an app is secure and the code is intact.
As the nature of cybersecurity threats and the measures taken to mitigate them keep changing constantly, it is also a good practice to keep updating the training and knowledge of the team as and when new things come up.
Like any other project, the success of any app development process relies greatly on effective communication between various parts of the team working on it. Effective and routine communication between the development and security development teams is one of the most important secure app development process tenets.
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Routine meetings between the development and security teams need to be held to make sure that any security issues that arise are dealt with in the early stages and both the development and security teams are moving in the same direction with respect to the cybersecurity aspect of the application.
3. Only Rely on Application-Level Security
Of the things related to the application itself, the first thing to do is not count on hardware or operating system-level security measures. As modern apps are supposed to work in a number of different environments, it is not advisable to design an app assuming the security features of the hardware or software it will be running on.
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All the measures needed to make the app secure for the users should be implemented at the application level to operate securely even if the containing environment does not provide any security.
4. Encryption and Sterilization
The next thing that is necessary to make a secure application is to sterilize all the data that enters the application and encrypt all the communication between the user and the server.
Sterilization is the practice of examining and validating any input given to the app before it is allowed to enter. This eradicates any possibility of infected input ending up inside the app and compromising security.
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Encryption changes the data sent to and from the application into a form that cannot be read by anyone other than its intended party. This eliminates the possibility of sensitive information ending up in unsafe hands. This is one of the very basic steps for cybersecurity that can make an application considerably secure.
Last but not least, testing is the single most useful thing for making applications secure. The new trend, and the best practice, is to shift testing as far left as possible. This is a practice where testing is started as early on in the development process as possible. As a result, the security problems are identified and can be rectified as soon as possible.
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In the later stages of development, testing changes to penetration testing and dynamic and interactive application security tools. This testing makes sure that the application can stand up to even the most severe cyber attack over its operational life.
Application security has become a bigger concern than ever since we started depending on these pieces of software more than ever before. Compromised application security can spell disaster not only for the users but also the developers of the application. Several measures can be taken to make sure that an application is developed securely. The most important ones are training the development team in security, effective team and inter-team communication, application-level security measures, encryption and sterilization, and stringent testing at all stages of the development process.