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Mobile Security Without Sacrificing Speed

Speed wins the marketplace, and that’s especially true for mobile apps. If you can’t get from concept to version 1 quick enough, someone will beat you to it. The question becomes, how can you worry about mobile security when you’re so worried about speed to market? Is safety just as important as speed?

Studies have shown mobile devices are dominating the Internet. The majority of digital media consumption has moved from web browsers to mobile devices. More than 650 million Facebook users only interact with the service using mobile devices. And mobile security is also dominating the news. Gartner estimated that 75% of mobile apps would fail basic security tests. Constant press coverage of high-visibility breaches have increased awareness of security and privacy concerns.

How is it possible to address both speed to market, and mobile security?

At 10Pearls we help our customers address these concerns this with a three-layered approach. We focus on security early, integrate security into all processes, and enable continued testing and improvement after release.

Focus on Security Early

It’s never too early in the process to be thinking about mobile security. From the initial concept of the application, we begin to concern ourselves with what information might be at risk. Does the app have regulatory concerns, such as HIPAA or PCI? Are we storing or transmitting anything that could violate someone’s privacy? Put security issues into the discussion from the beginning. Then, architect and design the product to make it easier to secure during development.

Integrate Security into All Processes

Industry leaders know that it takes more than a handful of developers to create a valuable mobile app. The best mobile apps are developed by teams including product managers, system architects, user experience designers, and developers. Securing mobile apps requires investment and involvement at each step of the process. Product managers need to capture security requirements and ensure they make it into the final application. As mentioned, system architects should ensure the app’s architecture allows for security. User experience designers should work alongside security teams to make sure the security-related experiences are just as successful as the other parts of the application. And of course, developers can address mobile security by using secure development practices.

Enable Continuous Testing and Improvement

Even when addressing mobile security at each step of the app development process, items can be overlooked and mistakes can occur. To help combat this, perform continuous testing for mobile security concerns. We look for defects with automated regression testing, static code analysis, and vulnerability scanning. All these mechanisms feed into the backlog for the app development process. Security testing can (and should) continue after the app is delivered and while it is in a maintenance phase. Vulnerability research is always evolving, and it is possible a new class of vulnerability will render your app insecure in the future.

Conclusion: Approach Mobile App Initiatives Holistically

Securing mobile apps is critical. You don’t want your mobile app to end up as the headline in another news story about data breaches. Speed to market is also critical. You don’t want to be without an effective mobile strategy since fewer people use computers each day. An integrated, experienced team following the path above can help you achieve mobile security without sacrificing speed.