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App Security Insights

Mobile App Security Tips: 5 Ways to Secure Your Mobile App Today

Nov 17, 2016 2:33:23 PM / by Sung Cho

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With the advent of smartphones and tablets, consumers are spending more and more of their time connected to the world through mobile technology. The convenience of having these handheld devices on hand to surf the internet, communicate with loved ones and conduct business have contributed greatly to the proliferation of mobile apps.

However, with the growing popularity of these streamlined tools comes the need for enhanced security, specifically on the part of app developers. After all, in order to leverage the value of your own mobile app, you need to be able to ensure that users’ sensitive information does not fall into the wrong hands. With that in mind, here are a few important ways you can secure your mobile app going forward.

Data Encryption and Protection

Data makes the world go round, and never is that truer than when it comes to mobile apps. Because they frequently access and store a wide range of data, apps can often be vulnerable to data loss, especially if a device is misplaced or data winds up being shared with outside applications. Recently, the ability to remotely wipe a device has gained traction as a way to combat the risk of data leaks, but data encryption remains an integral part in preventing such events and counteracting malware and other challenges.

Application Management

Mobile application management (MAM) is an indispensable way to secure your app and reserve the right to approve or deny other enterprise mobile apps access to your coding. MAM offers a wide range of services to support your app -- typically involving an enterprise app store -- and provides your employees with a central hub for distribution and tracking of approved mobile apps in the process. The more complex your app is, the more essential it is that you have a MAM system in place to maintain it.

Single Sign-on

Today’s consumers often rely on a network of devices to carry out their day-to-day tasks. Laptops, smartphones and tablets are all commonly connected to a single account, and single sign-on is one of the easiest ways to authenticate users who swiftly move from one device to the next. For mobile users, the best resource is OAuth 2.0, which offers two-factor authentication to ensure that users are truly who they claim to be. Through a combination of user ID/password and a second form of identification (often a PIN or fingerprint), you can protect users regardless of where they may be accessing your app from.

Source Code Encryption

Because the source code for native mobile apps lies on the client side, it’s absolutely imperative that you take precautions to protect your coding from attack. Since your app’s code is downloaded onto a user’s device, it may be accessible to anyone and everyone who gains access. From this scenario, a malicious user could access your IP address, reverse engineer and tamper with your coding, and even target other users. Remember to keep your code encrypted and safely under wraps to protect your app and your users from harm.

Device Management

Regardless of how tight the security is on your mobile app, it needs to work in tandem with the device it’s installed on. Thankfully, you can help combat this with your own app by installing risk assessment functionality that will act accordingly when in use on a vulnerable device. “Risk-aware” apps can limit performance, shield sensitive data or prevent access based on the state of its device and its security standing. It’s easy to focus so much on your app itself, but don’t forget to take the device into account.

The Top Priority

Now that we’ve outlined some of the key concepts behind stronger mobile app security, we’re hoping that this knowledge can guide your future projects and better color your perception of how you can best serve your customer base. As mobile apps continue to permeate our world, security will no doubt remain an essential concern to keep the user experience safe and as confidential as necessary. Although the above tips may provide a solid basis for stepping up your security, we also recommend that you keep close eye on the latest resources, since mobile technology is an ever-evolving arena constantly raising new challenges for us all.

Topics: Mobile App Security

Sung Cho

Written by Sung Cho

VP, Growth & Strategy