App development is a highly demanding and challenging process. It takes a small army of people to launch the perfect app that has all the crucial elements covered. From idea to realization, different processes and stages of app development take place, and each one needs to be perfectly conducted to ensure the best results. And, one of those processes is writing an app security strategy.
App security is equally as important as app design or app features. Why? Because if you launch an app with weak security levels, you’ll end up with a lot of unhappy users. Security breaches and cyber-attacks are not good for your reputation, so you need to learn how to ensure the highest level of security for your app.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of 7 steps to write an effective app security strategy. Let’s take a closer look.
Impose Strict Company Rules
Starting from scratch, you need to think of security as a top priority in your company and all your teams. This is why, before you start thinking about a specific app, you need to impose a strong security policy.
That means that security should be:
- a major part of your company policy
- a top priority for all your teams
You’ll achieve this by constantly reinforcing this policy through:
- team meetings
- security briefings
- seminars & webinars
In case you need help to write comprehensive reports, emails, or policies, you can check out this site. You can also use Thesaurus for finding the right words and Canva for an improved design.
Find different ways to educate your employees about the importance of security and make sure they respect it. This is an obligatory step in the creation of an effective app security strategy.
Limit Access to Sensitive Data
The next step you want to take is to think about the access your team members and different employees have over sensitive data.
In case anyone can access all sensitive data- you’re making a huge mistake.
Instead, limit their access to:
- the data they need to do their job
- the data that is strictly connected to their field of expertise
So, a person from finances is the only one that should have access to financial data.
This way, you’re making it harder for anyone to reveal any sensitive data, whether it’s by accident or on purpose. You’re also motivating your employees to stay focused on their tasks as well as on app security.
Impose Strong Authentication
Now that you know that your employees are on the same page as you, it’s time to turn to the app users. When they’re using your app, the last thing they’re thinking of is their data security.
But, it’s your job to ensure they’re using the app responsibly.
This is why you need to impose strong authentication. That means making it impossible for the users to choose a password such as “mellissamiller.” Instead, make it obligatory to:
- create an alphanumeric password
- ensure it contains a letter, a number, a sign
- ask to include uppercase letters
- include strong security questions
This is especially important for apps that store credit card information, such as e-commerce apps. If you set these rules, your app users will have to follow them.
This way, hackers and those trying to steal users’ data won’t be able to figure out the password as easily.
Limit Data Collection
Why do apps collect users’ data? And why do app developers ask the users to share certain information?
It’s because apps need this data and information to work properly. And, the more data you collect, the more danger you’re imposing on your app users.
This is why you should:
- only collect the data you need for the app to function
- completely avoid asking for data you don’t have to know or have
By limiting data collection, you’re making the data you’ve collected less valuable and less of a security threat.
So, aim for the bare minimum when it comes to data collection, and store nothing more than that.
Employ Data Encryption
The next step in your process of data protection and boosting app security is the employment of data encryption.
Data encryption is the process of protecting your data as follows:
- all your data is encrypted, meaning it’s turned into a bunch of meaningless text
- the people authorized to use it have the key to decode it
- other parties such as potential hackers don’t own this key
This way, even if hackers manage to get their hands on the data, they won’t be able to decode it or understand it. That means they won’t be able to abuse it.
Encrypt all data, including:
- data at rest
- data in transit
- data in memory
Leave no possibilities for hackers to get their hands on any data.
Test On All Levels Possible
Once you decide you did everything you could to write an effective app security strategy, it’s time to test it. There are different ways for you to do this, and we strongly suggest using as many different strategies as possible.
Here’s what you can do:
- try performing different cyber attacks
- start using app testing tools and software
- perform threat analysis
- perform vulnerability analyses
App security testing is yet another integral part of your security strategy. Perform it on all levels to make sure you’re doing your best.
Constantly Update & Patch
Even when you’ve written your app security strategy, and you feel like there’s nothing left to add, there is.
Things are changing fast, and new security threats are appearing every day. Hackers are coming up with new ways to jeopardize your users’ security and reach their data.
This is why you need to:
- continue to learn about new threats
- update your security levels accordingly
- patch your security systems
Your app is never going to be 100% or eternally secure. You need to keep working on updating your security levels.
As you can see, writing an effective app security strategy is a serious task that never really ends. You need to cover all levels of security- from your developers, through your users, and to potential hackers.
Follow the steps we’ve provided above to write a strong and effective app security strategy. Use it to protect your users and your reputation.