How to Ensure the Apps Your Business Uses Are Safe

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When it comes to digital data, it’s widely recognized that all types of data are under constant threat. Both personal and company-owned mobile devices can introduce a threat to your network. This threat can leave many employers wondering how to ensure that the business’s apps are safe. Unfortunately, many commonly available apps can be a direct threat to any security measures.

To address these threats, many companies focus on managing the device side of security. Still, it is becoming more accepted that any comprehensive security plan must also address the app side of potential threats because it only takes one failure to put your company’s data at risk.Up to 75% of mobile applications will fail basic security tests.

Fortunately, there are many policies that a company can enforce that will help to ensure that the apps used for business purposes are safe.

Implement Strong Authentication

One of the easiest ways to shore up security on mobile devices and apps is by enforcing multi-factor authentication. This security measure prevents unauthorized access and password guessing because it requires users to provide more than one piece of identification to access the device or its apps. Multi-factor authentication often requires at least two of the following:

  • Something that the user knows, like a password or PIN
  • Something the user has, such as a mobile device or answers to security questions
  • Something the user is, such as biometric data like a fingerprint or voice sample

The combination of requiring several pieces of identification can dramatically reduce the risk of unauthorized access. Companies may also implement additional restrictions based on the time of day when users would commonly use the app or their location. These restrictions also work to prevent fraud by ensuring that only the right people can gain access.

Encrypt Mobile Data

Threats like man-in-the-middle attacks often work on Wi-Fi and cellular networks. This type of communication should be encrypted no matter where it is sent from and what type of transmission is used. Adequate encryption methods can prevent even the most skilled hackers from viewing or using the data even if they are able to access it. In addition, any business or personal identification data that may be stored on the device should also be encrypted.

Scan Apps

Businesses will also want to scan apps for malicious behavior regularly. This type of malware-detection software can root our problems by using virtual sandboxing or signature-based scanning tools. Elimination of malware or adware can optimize app performance and identify any apps that have inherent weaknesses. If you find one particularly troublesome app, you can always work to identify a more secure alternative.

Separate Business and Personal Use

In today’s highly digital and extremely mobile workplace, it is easy to blur the lines and use personal devices for business and business devices for personal use. Some employers might want to allow users to install personal apps on a mobile device or require that the employee use a  personal device. But even in these instances, it’s crucial that IT partition business apps from personal ones. Creating secure mobile workspaces can prevent malware from accessing corporate apps and stop users from copying, saving, or distributing sensitive data.

Restrict Data Settings

To beef up the security of apps even more, you can consider preventing certain things when confidential data is involved. For example, you can control clipboard access to prevent copying and pasting, block screen captures, block the download of confidential files, and use watermark sensitive files that display the user names and timestamps.

Lock the Code

When discussing proprietary apps, the process of developing and securing mobile apps begins with coding. The application code should be encrypted and tested with quality assurance to ensure that there are no security gaps. During ongoing refinement and development of the app, you must take the proper amount of time to conduct rigorous testing. Thorough testing allows your team to properly identify threats and spend the time needed to develop defenses before the app’s rollout.

Change Data Caching Settings

Many apps use cached data to speed up the app’s performance. Unfortunately, this method can cause tremendous security issues because cybercriminals can breach and decrypt cached data. Requiring a password to access the application can reduce the vulnerabilities related to cached data. Companies can also adopt automatic processes that delete cached data during every restart. This process reduces the amount of information in the cache and can shore up security concerns related to cached data.

Patch Vulnerabilities

Security patches are critical for mobile devices on all operating systems. A key strategy in protecting users from an attack is ensuring that the latest patches and updates have been applied. This also means that all apps should be updated and patched regularly when a new security patch is available.

Implement Remote Delete Functions

While adding a password or PIN to the device can lock it, which goes a long way in keeping data more secure, some companies may want more protection. This additional protection may be required if they handle very sensitive business or personal information. In these instances, the company can prevent data loss by adding functionality that allows the IT team to erase sensitive data remotely. This method continues to protect data even if the device is lost or stolen. Another option would be to ensure that data is never stored on mobile devices, which prevents the need for remote deletion, although it can make some business functions more difficult.

User Education

It’s also essential for employees to recognize that they perform critical security functions too. After all, app security is never guaranteed to protect from all threats. Therefore, training employees on identifying and minimizing risk is one of the most effective strategies in ensuring apps your company uses remain safe.

App security is becoming increasingly crucial for all businesses. But it requires a multi-faceted security approach. Contact Sagacent Technologies today to learn app security. Our team of managed IT service providers can help you address any app security issues you might have.

Sagacent Technologies offers technology management and support, including proactive/preventative maintenance, onsite and offsite data back-ups, network and security audits, mobility solutions, disaster planning, and emergency business resumption services. The company serves clients of 10 to 150 employees within the Silicon Valley region.