Addressing Security Issues in Mobile Apps
Mobile applications are the new frontier in enterprise security. Today’s mobile apps enable people to access any number of things — from public services information and school lunch menus to private health records and financial data to. As more people use mobile apps for increasingly sensitive and complex transactions, the temptation to hack into mobile apps becomes even more irresistible to hackers.
At the enterprise level, a corporate mobile application can be a goldmine for hackers. In addition to the functionality, performance, and user-friendliness of mobile apps, enterprise users must also be assured that the app they’ve just downloaded has the latest in security technology and that their privacy will remain protected. For the company itself, any mobile app that provides access to corporate information and resources must be secured to protect against any data breaches.
Issues in Mobile App Security
Most of the traditional security tools are also available for mobile devices. However, there are additional threats that apply specifically to mobile devices, such as targeted attacks on certain device models. It is important to choose a mobile app development and testing company that can help ensure that enterprise apps can withstand hacking attempts by unscrupulous individuals and organizations.
With regard to data security, it is important to determine if the enterprise app meets the following standards:
- Confidentiality – can it keep sensitive data private?
- Authentication – does the app verify the user before allowing him or her to log in?
- Integrity – can the data on the app be verified?
- Authorization – is there a limit on user privileges?
- Non-repudiation – does the enterprise app record events?
In-house mobile app development and testing teams tend to overlook these questions. If you already have an existing team, it is important to make them aware of these issues. In some cases, it is helpful to hire outside testers who are used to testing applications on a variety of mobile devices but have not yet encountered your application. That way, the app can be tested and weak points identified without bias. Depending on your organizational goals, you may want to outsource the development and testing of new mobile apps to specialists.
The Role of Test Automation in Mobile App Security
Manual testing, while widely-used, can be a slow and cumbersome process when it comes to mobile applications. When you consider the high potential for security breaches presented by mobile apps and the speed at which enterprise apps must be deployed, it becomes apparent that slower testing cycles present a challenge as testers focus on app quality as well as app security. If automated testing is folded into the overall mobile app testing lifecycle, test results can be achieved faster, giving QA team members more time to focus on testing security points.
There is no question that hackers will continue to take advantage of any weaknesses they see in mobile apps. Fortunately, the enterprise can take the additional precautions noted above to vastly improve mobile app security. By implementing sound security practices in the early stages of app development and during the testing lifecycle, organizations can avoid mobile app security breaches that can debilitate their business.