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Best Practices to Build Secure Applications

by Mubi 

Best Practices to Build Secure Applications

Apps rule the world of business because an organization cannot build its digital presence without them. Currently, there are more than 2.89 million apps in Google Play Store and more than 1.96 in Apple App Store.

Companies need to stay updated with recent trends and competitions, so having web applications is necessary. But as we know, “with great power come great responsibility,” – so we have to be responsible enough to secure our powerful applications.

12 Actionable Steps to Build Secure Applications

App security must be the primary defense against hackers who might want to steal crucial information about your business. Business leaders need to acknowledge that their digital data are assets that need security as much as tangible ones do. Thus, this brings us to discuss some of the best practices to build secure apps.

Tracking Application Infrastructure 

Track the infrastructure of your application by considering every component un-secure. Analyze the changes you need to make to prevent a non-application component from interacting with data sent and received.

The analysis must cover each software platform required between development and runtime enablers. It is the first step that will help you evaluate the network access control (NAC) that you need to implement during app development. The strategy will ensure allowing approved users to access your app.

Assess Threats Against The App

After tracking the vulnerabilities of your application, you need to take measures to secure them. You need to follow NAC to create and develop policies for security compliance for every operating scenario.

You need strategies to block non-compliant devices trying to access the software. Also, integrate multiple security through open/RESTful API. 

Practice Security Testing 

Testing application security regularly can quickly help app developers detect malicious data sent by an attacker. Due to this, there are many securities testing tools in the market that help developers perform:

  • Dynamic testing
  • Static testing
  • Mobile testing
  • Interactive testing

It is essential to subscribe to support like SaaS security service to ensure thorough testing. You can also rely on automated testing tools that have access as on-premises tools. Also, know which programming language the tool supports. Some might support more than one, while others require a specific environment to conduct.

Secure Coding Practices

Coding is one of the critical components to help you build secure web apps. Cybercriminals take advantage of vulnerabilities due to a lack of appropriate coding and tamper with a public copy of the app.

You can prevent such threats by strengthening your coding practices, which hinders hackers from cracking through. To improve coding practices, make sure you consider the operating system and possible vulnerabilities that it can come along with.

Encrypt Data

App developers create encryption keys and use advanced algorithms to secure data. The most prevalent keys are:

  • Symmetric Encryption: where the same set of keys are used for encryption and decryption
  • Asymmetric Encryption: where there are two different sets of keys (one public and one private), combining the two works for decryption.

Data encryption confirms the security of data exchanged from one app to another. It ensures that the data is strictly shared between two apps, and a third party cannot intervene or access it. 

Enable App Permissions

Data sharing between different apps have become increasingly prevalent. Thus, signature-based permissions are needed to secure the process of data sharing from one app to another.

The process defends one app from the firmware of another by asking for a sign-in key signature. Thus, data sharing is only made possible with the same sign-in keys. However, if two applications have the same sign-in key already, sharing undertakes directly.

Be Cautious When Using Third-Party Libraries

Scripting backend codes is quite a task for app developers, which makes them rely on third-party libraries majorly. These are open-source codes that are not always updated regularly and can have malicious firmware. 

The issue does not have a permanent solution but is a systematic process of updating and tracking open-source libraries. Placing checkpoints while coding is a smart way to prevent vulnerabilities when using third-party libraries. Using device update system data to prevent un-secure communication will also work.

Using Authentic API

Using centrally authorized API can prevent loopholes that allow attackers to steal your data. APIs also help streamline app development and give you recommendations in the area that needs action.

Most app developers follow cache data authorization that allows data manipulation and makes the process easy for development. However, developers must not allow discrepancies that hackers can easily exploit.

Session Handling Practices

Session handling practices establish access rights for users and localization settings. It is applicable every time a user uses your app. It ensures anonymity until a user is authenticated. The process helps identify users as they pass through subsequent app requests.

Session handling helps secure access control, authorize access to each user’s data, and improves app usability. 

Practice Safe Data Storage 

App developing platforms offer options for data storage. App developers need to select among those options depending on the quantity, type, accessibility, and sensitivity of the data. 

If an app has sensitive data that needs a private storage facility, it is best to store it in internal storage. Moreover, adding layers of encryption over the primary layer can help prevent data theft.

Update Servers Regularly

App developers must practice regular server updates for two primary reasons:

  • To add new features
  • To fix bugs

While adding new features keeps users hooked, fixing bugs can defend the app from attacks. It is best to document updates to ensure regular checking and solve issues timely.

Automation To Prevent Potential Vulnerabilities 

While app developers work towards churning out useful apps that make people’s lives easier by the day, hackers also evolve and advance in committing cybercrimes.

You are recommended to automate security for your applications to prevent possible vulnerabilities. Optimizing manual processes that have repetitive steps can help you facilitate patching. The security team must improve the speed of collecting information to take quick action to fix problems. 

By implementing automation, you will have a grasp of NAC systems. It will help you decide what data sources you need to prevent discovering a threat in different networks. Finally, you should also implement automated drive-by analytics to evaluate threats considering the attack surface.

Final thoughts

All entrepreneur wants to have robust apps that serve the purpose and have complete security. It is essential to take the above steps to ensure your app is protected from attack and the data shared by your trusted users remain private.

Subscribe to effective security tools and implement credible strategies to help you cover such aspects of app safety. Most importantly, have a strong IT team and depend on their expertise to make this a possibility.  

About the author 

Mubi Ace

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