Tag Archives: enterprise mobile application

Mobile App Security: Ways to Protect Your App in The Future

Mobile app market has grown tremendously as enterprises bring in innovative products and services for the users. However, malicious hackers are targeting on applications with sophisticated attacks. Therefore, security of mobile apps has become a top level concern for all stakeholders.

App market is huge, and in the coming years, there is considered to be almost 2 million smart phone users worldwide and by 2017, the app market will be worth $77 billion.

During a research conducted by HPE, almost 2000 mobile applications from over 600+ companies were tested. The results show that:

• Around 97% of tested apps access at least one private information from that application.
• 18% of applications sent user names and passwords over HTTP; 18% implemented SSL/HTTPS incorrectly.
• 75% of applications do not use correct encryption methods for the storage of data from the mobile device.
• 71% of applications failed to use binary hardening protections against cyber-attacks.

Recently, there has been a major shift in the app security where it is given more attention. App security is a big area. Therefore, it is important to know the trends available and you should also be aware of how well you can align them according to the need of the organization.

Common App Security Threats

The most common security threats in mobile applications are:

1) Threats in App Store Security: The type of platform chosen for the mobile application development does impact on security. Most of the apps might contain significant vulnerabilities, and nearly 90% have vulnerabilities.

In the case of iOS devices, Apple takes app security seriously and allows the users to access the level of the apps used. But Android devices, tend to have more app security issues than that of iOS due to Android’s wider range of device type, operating system and more App Store requirements.

2) Cross Devices Threats: aren’t the only place where secure information should be provided not only to mobile devices. Many stores allow users to download apps from desktop devices and later added to mobile devices and through this way, cross device threats occur.

3) IoT Devices: The aim of IoT devices is to collect user data and use that information to take ‘smart’ automation decisions. In the case of Android devices, IoT devices allow connections with many other operating systems making the security of the devices in risk and difficult to control.

4) Usage of Single Devices: Enterprise-level applications contain sensitive corporate information, which has to be kept secure in all possible ways. As most of the employees use a single device for all purposes, sensitive information can get mixed with personal information, thus, risking security.

5) Mobile Malware: Mobile phones are susceptible to Trojans, spyware and viruses. These can steal confidential data.

6) Unauthorized Access: Unauthorized users can access email accounts, applications, social media networks and many more details.

Best Practices to Protect Your Application

Let’s look at a few steps for mobile app security:

1) Secure App Code
Encryption is the best method to protect the app code. Stick on to modern, well assisted algorithms incorporated using API encryption.

•  Source code test for checking vulnerabilities.
•  App code should be transferable between the operating system and device.
•  Runtime memory, file size, performance, data usage etc. should be noted while adding security.

2) Include Authorisation, Identification and Authentication

APIs, authorization and authentication adds security to login of an app. Make sure, that app APIs provides access only necessary parts of apps. This minimises vulnerability.

•  Standard protocol OAuth2 is used to secure connections. Installing this protocol collects credentials      and then, allows permission between the end user and client
•  JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is ideal for encrypted data exchange
•  OpenID Connect allows re-usage of same credentials within multiple domain

3) Apps should be Secured from Back end

Servers should have security measures to prevent unauthorized access and protect confidential data. APIs that access the servers should be verified before passing from the client to the database and app’s server.

• Containerization is a method to securely store the documents and data
• Penetration testing(testing a network/Web application to find vulnerabilities) should be done by consulting with a network security specialist to ensure data protection.
• Encryption using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), VPN(Virtual Private Network) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) add app security.

4) Implement Mobile Encryption Policy

Some kind of apps release users data without permission. Here, data is protected on file-by-file basis.

•  Key Management should be a priority.

5) Repeated Testing of App Software

This is the most crucial step in the case of mobile app development process. While testing your app, make sure that security is tested along with usability and functionality tests. Emulators for operating systems, devices and browsers lets you test how an app performs.

6) Solid API Security Strategy

A solid APIs are a main channel for functionality, content and data. Ensuring proper security of API is important. Main security methods in an API security stack is authentication, authorization and identification.

7) Increasing Code Complexity

Making your app more complex internally can make it difficult for the hackers to attack the app.

8) Protect Internal Resources

Resource that does not require public Internet access should be restricted using network segmentation and firewall rules. Compromising on administration or other resources can lead to extensive damage.

9) Avoiding Catching App data and Crash logs

Developers can configure Android and iOS devices by preventing HTTP caching. Also, avoid caching of page data and URL history for any app processes. In the case of crash logs, ensure that released apps are built without warnings and are tested to avoid crashes.

10) Implement ATS (App Transport Security)

Ensure secure connections between back-end server and app. When ATS is enabled, HTTP connections are forced to use HTTP and attempts to connect with devices using insecure HTTP will fail.

Many consumer and enterprise mobile app work on a single device; but, they appear to act independently with different functionalities. However, without proper security built in mobile applications, hidden integrations and data hacking might definitely happen.

Some of us think that cyber-attacks happen only to big co-operates ;however, the reality is that we all are potentially at risk even while doing something as simple as downloading a mobile app to your smart phone. Follow best practices and rely on security experts to keep your app safe from threats.

What Makes an Enterprise App Successful ?

Mobile applications that are generally used in business to solve any kind of enterprise issues is known as an enterprise mobile application. It is important for enterprises to follow the trend of using apps for internal and external services if they wish to succeed in the current app dominated world.

Different types of Enterprise mobile applications include

Content management
Customer support
Payment processing
Email marketing systems
Automated billing system
Collaboration, messaging and business intelligence
Customer relationship management(CRM)
Enterprise application integration (EAI)

Factors that make an Enterprise App Successful

For any Enterprise to develop, the first step to take forward is to have a well-planned strategy. After you have the perfect strategy, you can plan the business and go for a suitable enterprise mobile application. Following are some key factors that an enterprise should consider to build a highly buoyant mobile enterprise application to ensure their enterprise-wide acceptance:

•  Clarity of business goals and objectives

Having a clear vision about the goal you need to achieve is very important. Once you have a strong objective, start thinking about the platform on which you want your app to be done. Keep your idea concrete to justify your investment in the mobile  app development. The goals you need to consider are to:

1) Increase the customer’s perception of brand experience
2) Project the growth of your organisation
3) Increase the business force of your partners and employees
4) Attract new customers
5) Enhance the revenue opportunities

•  Build apps keeping the target audience in mind

Another factor to consider before you develop an enterprise mobile app is to understand the behaviour of the mobile users and the way they use the device. How to optimise the user experience?
This might be the main question in your mind and if you have the answer to this question, you have solutions for rest all. This can help enterprises steer the app development efforts to fulfil user expectations, and result in an enchanting user experience for the app users.

•  Selecting the apt platform for your Enterprise mobile application

The process of creating a mobile enterprise app is challenging as well as rewarding at the same time. Whether it’s iOS, Android, BlackBerry or Windows Phone, no platform has a clear dominance over the other. So, it’s unavoidable to develop apps for all these platforms on both tablets and smart phones. But. It’s highly critical to choose a development methodology that meets all your cross-platform goals for the enterprise.

1) Native apps: These are built for a specific platform using the SDK platform, tools, languages and operating system (iOS, Android) that are typically provided by the platform vendor. Features of native apps:

• Most reliable and fastest, conventional
• Can get into the wider functionality of the device like: microphone, camera, accelerometer, compass, swipe gestures etc.
• Make use of push-notifications
• Provide access to important device attributes such as geo-location API etc.

2) HTML5-based apps: This is the latest approach used by most of the organizations with HTML5-based development. This helps them to reduce custom development costs for all the platforms. Even though HTML-5 based apps are a cost-saver, it does not provide the advantage of leveraging the native APIs and device capabilities.

3) Hybrid apps (Native + HTML5): Another approach is to include both HTML5 and native development, and adapt the core functionality of all platforms. Depending on the business requirements, you can choose the right platform.

The key method to have the best enterprise is to choose the right framework which is capable enough to meet the changing technology and user requirements.

•  Maintain a policy to manage the app within the enterprise

As mobile applications are becoming widespread, enterprises need to ensure that their IT departments control what employees can install and remove from their mobile devices. Also, ensure standard applications and configurations to help the employees derive maximum benefit from their mobile devices.

The system of MAM, i.e., mobile application management is all about managing the apps installed on a user’s device. This has already been used by the organisations through desktops. Now they have to follow the same in mobile devices. MAM provides a higher level of control over the applications.

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Capabilities required for Mobile App Management

1) Authorization
2) OTA application provisioning
3) Regular monitoring of app performance and delivery
4) User and group access control
5) Update the app versions
6) Analyse the usage
7) Event management, reporting and tracking

•  Security check for the application

This is the most challenging part of creating an application. With the rapid growth of mobile devices, applications, information protection is critical than before. Particularly when you develop mobile applications for highly regulated industries such as finance and healthcare. Right from password enforcement, data encryption, virus protection etc. organizations need to use robust application security measures to prevent data theft and loss.

Main Security policies that should be followed:

1) Models of devices to be used
2) Minimum requirements needed within the device
3) Networks, data, application etc. permitted to access
4) SSL certificates (data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to the data of the enterprise)

•  Ownership

App management requires a central figure to ensure that they don’t go wrong and loose direction. These project leaders will have to analyse the app from the start to the finish.

•  Take regular data analytics

It’s important to get to know who all are using your app and how they’re being used. The continuous analysis of these things will help you improve your organisation’s app environment. The things you should keep an eye out are the number of active users, the number of versions and the number of downloads.

•  Keep the user expectations in mind

Since enterprise apps are used on a regular basis, the expectation of the user also increases on the side of design menu, loading time, appearance etc. Human resource is the most valuable thing for any company. Each employee has a different set of experiences and this can be effectively utilized while making the app.

•  Estimating the Costs

Making and testing of an app is an expensive act and requires up-to-date cost calculations and implementation. Enterprise Apps actually optimize the processing of the company and results in increasing efficiency which can lead to cost reductions. Thus, before going in for making an enterprise app, the purpose and effectiveness of the app should be well studied and calculated.

•  Accessing app functionality

While testing the finally developed app, the loading time and functionality are the main things to be checked. Checking for the bugs and other issues is also important. Slow and dysfunctional apps become reasons for user irritation and can harm the company’s reputation.

•  Compatibility with all devices

Each device has its own variations and it should be well tested that the app works within all devices. This also ensures that the maximum number of devices including Android, iOS and Windows are used in order to confirm the smooth usage of the app over all platforms.

Whether it is a large/small enterprise, the strategy to have an enterprise mobile application is a key to stay ahead in the current business environment. No one can escape enterprise mobility for sure because technology has been pushing forward so much. Therefore, the question is how soon and how effectively you can make this transformation in your business.