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As access to mobility & the proportion of net-access using mobile phones continues to grow, especially in a country like India, where it is already at a 65% mark, so are the associated security challenges. How can we stop intruders while still using the latest technologies?

Mobility has spawned an unprecedented growth in application development. There are more than 1 million applications available across platforms such as Apple’s IOS, Google’s Android, and Microsoft’s Windows. Retailers everywhere are developing applications to interact socially, send coupons, disburse advertisements, create sales, and increase revenue and brand loyalty. Retailers have seen the potential benefits of using these mobile platforms and applications for all aspects of their business: higher customer satisfaction and sales, stronger dialogue with customers, reduced costs, increased operational efficiencies, stronger partner collaborations, and greater employee productivity. These very mobile solutions are also helping consumers make more informed purchase decisions.

With more retailers and customers using these applications, ensuring adequate security across multiple platforms is critical to mitigate risks and avoid devastating data breaches. Apart from its obvious monetary impact, a data breach can also jeopardize customer confidence and loyalty, and damage brand reputation.

  1. It is critically important to understand the differences and limitations of each platform, from device to device, and operating system to operating system.
  2. One must understand how to enable high security features and disable insecure ones. All high security features must be monitored and controlled so your channel remains secure. After all, the intruder doesn’t care what your system was intended to be used for; they only care if they can breach it.
  3. The platform-specific differences are an all-important consideration. Different operating system revisions have different features. One needs to account for any changes in security introduced by these multiple versions.
  4. Backend systems security and risk assessments is another critical consideration. Backend systems are just as vulnerable to attacks as frontend systems. If an intruder can gain a foothold in your network using a backend system, they will do it. It thus helps to include backend systems in any risk or security evaluations.
  5. It helps to keep in mind the differences between the mobile app’s backend infrastructure and those of traditional applications. Transport mechanisms and authentication can be completely different on the mobile platform. Don’t forget to test! Have someone knowledgeable in web application security help with the testing. Thinking that an application is just a mobile version of a web page can result in poorly coded mobile apps and vulnerabilities.
  6. How and where the app will be connecting to the network makes a huge difference. The mobile device has to be connected to the Internet in some way, normally via cellular networks or Wi-Fi. Using a VPN instead of a public, non-encrypted Wi-Fi network will offer additional security. Protect sensitive information in transit.
  7. Make sure you know what data you are going to be transmitting on the network and how it will be protected. Best practices recommend encrypting communications like initial login data is just one example to follow.
  8. Be very careful how you store and use data. Do not store any sensitive data if it can be avoided. Storing unnecessary data adds to your risk level. Use encrypted data containers, key chain, or secure areas. Use cookies instead of stored passwords and minimize logs. Be aware of what data you are using, gathering, storing, and transmitting.
  9. Consider any regulations that may impact data security. Privacy and information security regulations are frequently updated, particularly Payment Card Industry (PCI) requirements. GPS, IMEI, device numbers, and customer personal information all have privacy implications that must be noted.

We, at Appmonks, have all these, and more, as our basic considerations when we taken on the task of building you an application! So do consider us when you are building one for your business.