Mobile app security has become a major concern in recent years, both for the developers and end-users. After all, most apps today will ask you for personal information at some point, you want to make sure that it’s going somewhere you can trust. This leads many to wonder how to develop an app with security as a focus.

Wonder no longer. In this article, we are going to explore how to develop an app with security in mind. Not only that, but we will review some best practices along the way so that you can make the most out of your next app development project. Let’s take a look.

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Build from the ground up

The first and most essential step when understanding how to develop an app with security in mind is to build in security from the ground up. By integrating security protocols and systems into your mobile app design from the very beginning, you have a much better chance of having a secure app in the long run.

Make sure that when you are developing this part of the app and its security that you keep other areas in mind. For instance, large file sizes can affect your speed and the user experience. Security is important and there is a way to do it without tipping the scales the wrong way, just make sure you can find a good balance.

Secure network on the back-end

Not only should your app be secure, but the cloud severs that your API will be accessing need to have proper measures in place as well. When planning out your RESTful API design, make sure that this is a priority. Having a weak point here can be lethal for an app if you aren’t careful.

There are a few methods for securing your back-end that you should consider. One way to do it is with containerization, which is the method of creating encrypted containers for your data and documents. Another is the use of an encrypted connection with a VPN, SSL, or TLS for additional security.

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The important part here is finding the right way for your app to remain secure, both on the device and in the cloud.

Identification, authorization, and authentication

In the same way that we want to protect the information coming to an app from servers, we also want to protect information coming from users. By putting identification, authorization, and authentication measures in place, you can make sure that only users with proper clearance can be using your app.

Whether these users are helping with code, quality testing, or simply keeping up with mobile app maintenance, there are plenty of ways to keep security tight. Some companies use web tokens, while others simply double authenticate or require frequent password changes. Again, the method by which you accomplish this is not as important as making sure your app is secure.

Have an encryption policy in place

While web apps keep most of their data online, apps today (especially native apps) are housing more information than ever on the devices themselves. While this can help with app speed and UX design, data on devices can sometimes ‘leak’ out in a few different ways.

This is why it will be important for your app development team to go over an encryption policy early on and stick to it. For example, encrypting individual files instead of file groups makes it more difficult for this data to be accessed.

Another best practices is segmenting the data that you collect and making sure that more sensitive information like credit card numbers and passwords are kept off-device. While you can’t always predict how data will leak, these are just a few steps that you can take to limit the possibility of that happening.

Test, then (you guessed it) test again

If you have read our articles on how to develop an app, you probably know that we like to say “Test, test, and test again” here at Snyxius. This continues to be true with app security.

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You see, what often happens when app developers test their software is that they focus on areas like UX design and clearing out bugs. Now, while these are both important, security should be at the same level in terms of priority at least.

When the developers forgo testing the security of the app, they are putting too much faith in their own design. Like anything in the app development process, security should be rigorously tested both before and after the release of the app.

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Train your team

The final part of this article on how to develop an app with security in mind doesn’t have to do with mobile app design at all. Instead, it has to do with the designers themselves. After all, even the app with the best security in the world is nothing without the people who create it.

If you want to make security a focus when you set out to develop your app, then training your staff on the latest security protocols is part of that process. Not only should this be mandatory, but it also should be done at regular intervals.

As the world continues to become more technologically advanced, user security is going to continue to be an important aspect of development. Along with new technologies will become new information that needs to be protected (along with new ways of accessing it). By having regular security trainings, you and your team can stay ahead of the curve.

Final thoughts (and a word on devices)

We hope that this article was beneficial and helped you understand how to develop an app while focusing on security. Before we go, we did just want to give a last bit of advice to those looking to follow the guidelines we have laid out.

If you work at a BYOD (Bring your own device) company, security should be even more important. Companies that have a secure server for their office is becoming less common than ever, so make sure that you can trust the devices your team is using to keep your app safe.

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