With Mobile apps gaining a higher popularity among the smartphone users, the small and established businesses are heading towards the app industry and so are the hackers. Yes, you read it right.
The cyber hackers have turned towards mobile applications to get sensitive user information and make money from it. And a real-life incident to prove this is the BBC’s recently covered news that revealed hackers were selling access to personal messages from around 120 million Facebook account at the price of just 10 cents per account.
This has made the situation alarming for both the users trusting the mobile apps and the developers building these apps. It has prevented app users from enjoying better app’s services by sharing their personal information and developers from getting higher ROI; proving to be a big challenge for the mobile app arena.
But, is this the end of the story? Is there no solution to this challenge? Is there no way to make users and developers make the best use of the app services?
Well, there’s is one: Mobile App Security.
As depicted by the name, the Mobile App Security process empowers the developers to build a strong wall of security around their mobile apps and block all the entrances for the intruders. An outcome of which will be minimal data breach cases, higher user engagement, improved customer loyalty, and uplifted ROI.
But again, the major question is – How to integrate the mobile app security process in your mobile app development lifecycle?
Keeping the same into consideration, I have written this step-by-step guide to incorporate security into your app development process, which is as below:-
- Initial Review
The first step of this process involves bringing the mobile app development team and security team on the same page to understand the following pointers:
a. App Purpose – What will be its impact on the market and customers’ lives?
b. Tech Stack – What technology and tools are you using for building the app?
c. Policies and Regulations – What regulatory and risks are associated with using these technique/tools and building such an app
d. Processes – What mobile app development process do you follow?
e. Business Progression Requirement – Will you be able to release a new update with time?
This discussion will empower you to prevent choosing the wrong tech stack or violating any policy that could result in some security loopholes or other issues in the future.
- Threat Modeling
The next step of the process is Threat Modeling, which refers to the process of identifying critical areas of the app dealing with sensitive information and the associated security risks. This step aids the Quality analysts to pay higher attention to these critical areas and build better mitigation strategies for possible vulnerabilities.
In this way, it helps to set the foundation of a highly secure app, because of which the top mobile app developers in San Francisco recommend keeping this process into action till the end of the app development process.
- Design Review
The next step is Design review, i.e., identifying the risks related to app design. Here, the focus is concentrated on the design elements, their sources and the ways they are implemented into the process. This not only prevents you from adding an error-prone design element to your design, but also helps in determining if the formulated design is as per the business needs.
- Code Review
Since this phase involves coding the backend of the app, i.e., coding what and how the information will be processed and store, it is the most crucial phase in terms of security check. This step involves performing different types of manual and automated testing methods, including unit testing, performance testing, etc. But, the focus is mainly on the hardware and network environment, ensuring that the right servers and segments are configured to the app.
- Risk Assessment
In this security review process, the mobile app development companies consider different situations to check the intensity of risk before deploying it. They enter different values and perform different app flow to ensure that the app works effectively and securely. Besides, they also look into different elements that increases the mobile app privacy risk under this step.
- Risk Mitigation
Risk Mitigation refers to identifying, prioritizing, and implementing controls to lessen the risk identified during risk assessment. In this step, the risks categorized under lower priority are treated by avoiding the cause, while the higher priority risks are handled using the finest security procedures, including applying for insurance. The Quality analyst team works closely with the development team to accelerate the decision-making process while eliminating the identified risk.
In the Benchmark step, the mobile app security team ensure that the app follows the industry standards and achieve a higher security score. They figure out the gap between the regulations you follow in the mobile app development process and the one prevalent in the market and thus, make it certain that the app meets the benchmarks.
When it comes to the industry standards, some of the widely adopted ones are:-
a. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA),
b. NIST SP 800-30 guidelines,
c. California SB 1386,
d. BS 7799 guidelines, and
e. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.
- Maintenance Review
Last but not least, the maintenance review is conducted periodically even after the app launch. This helps to identify if your app is secure enough to cope up with the improving hacking tricks and implementing the best practices to make it possible.
Now as you know the 8 steps to add security into your mobile application development plan, take an action wisely. Launch a safe and secure mobile app and get the best perks of the opportunity. And in case, you come across any issues, feel free to leave a comment below.