Security, privacy fundamental to mobile app success

Security, privacy fundamental to mobile app success

on May 13, 14 • by Chris Bubinas • with No Comments

Constructing mobile applications will require developers to think about security and privacy...

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The proliferation of mobile devices in the workplace has increased the pressure for internal developers to create applications and solutions that can function sufficiently on those platforms. In many cases, simply transferring conventional desktop software into the mobile realm will not produce the desired results, which is forcing development teams to take steps toward creating innovative tools designed with smartphones, tablets and other gadgets in mind.

Unfortunately, there are a number of security and privacy concerns IT departments need to consider when moving into the mobile realm. This is because next-generation portable devices introduce new endpoints and gateways that can be manipulated by sophisticated cybercriminals or exposed by negligent employees. TechTarget recently highlighted these concerns, noting that decision-makers must take a look at several key factors before even thinking about creating the solutions.

While code refactoring offerings allow teams to go back and revise errors down the road, executives should try to find innovative ways to circumvent problems in the first place. This means that businesses must look at different ways of testing mobile software code to make life easier for quality assurance professionals, TechTarget noted.

The security hump
Mobile solutions are becoming more Web-based, especially as cloud computing and other technologies gain momentum. This means that developers must understand the potential risk. Firstly, the presence of cybercriminals is growing and malicious outsiders are becoming more relentless and aggressive with subtle attacks that often go unnoticed by even experienced security teams. Secondly, employees may accidentally expose confidential information when using their mobile devices improperly. In other words, developers must account for these risks when they construct mobile-oriented applications.

TechTarget encouraged teams to build a testing platform that can evaluate the functionality of any given solution. These environments should be constructed before the code is written, as it can be expensive and time-consuming to establish these architectures once an application begins experiencing problems.

Additionally, executives should launch code review services and strategies that enable different individuals to simultaneously assess the software products. Ultimately, this means that an application will not be deployed until it is scrutinized by numerous professionals, each with their own perspectives.

Keep it private
Privacy is becoming increasingly concerning for many consumers. Developers need to keep this in mind when launching mobile solutions for individuals in and outside of the workplace. According to TechTarget, overcoming the privacy concern means addressing two topics: what type of information the application is asking for and what data the tool will store.

The former question, in particular, is often overlooked during development simply because it's become the norm for mobile software to harvest information within the platform in order to optimize performance. However, not all individuals appreciate this nosiness, which means IT professionals should keep privacy in mind when creating products.

A PCWorld report echoed how developers need to understand and incorporate privacy into their mobile applications, especially now that scandals about government spying and other security breaches are growing in number.

"Consumers want convenience, social tools and relevance," said Kevin Trilli, vice president of product at TRUSTe, according to PCWorld. "And privacy is hot now because of the data and behavior interaction that enables these apps."

Establishing thorough development practices and policies will help IT teams build mobile solutions that are secure and support various levels of privacy depending on the software's function. Businesses that plan ahead, understand these challenges and deploy methods to overcome them will likely find it easier to create mobile applications that will be accepted and used by employees and customers alike.

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