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Grow Your Business Technology

Is Your Company's Mobile App Safe?

Is Your Company's Mobile App Safe?
Customers are counting on your to keep your company's mobile app safe. / Credit: Apps image via Shutterstock

When businesses are creating a mobile app, it's important to ensure that it's tightly secured. Nonetheless, many developers are putting their companies at risk by not taking the necessary steps to safeguard their apps from potential cybercriminals. In fact, 460 of the top 500 Android apps create a security or privacy risk when downloaded, according to recent research from mobile risk management firm MetaIntell.

Michael LaVista, CEO and founder of app development firm Caxy, has outlined a checklist of what businesses should consider when creating mobile apps in order to properly protect themselves and their customers:

  • Store only necessary information. Businesses shouldn't store anything that they don't need to. For instance, storing credit-card numbers often puts companies at a huge risk. Businesses should use payment gateways in their mobile apps that employ a token system that doesn't require the retailer to store the credit-card information. Instead, the payment gateway provider encrypts and stores the information so that it's totally secure.
  • Establish company policies. Businesses should have strict company policies on who can access the data that is collected. There have been countless incidents of IT professionals accidentally bringing home a laptop with a million customer records on it.
  • Use secure channels. All information should be communicated over a secure channel, such as "https," which provides protected Web communications. The information gets encrypted on the customer side through "https" and then decrypted when it arrives on the company server. In between, it is, for the most part, secure.
  • Watch emails. Don't send customer data in emails. Email can be hacked, and a lost iPhone hooked up to a corporate email account can quickly spell big trouble.
  • Protect Social Security numbers. Don't store Social Security numbers.
  • Run security audits. Create an automated test to regularly audit the app's security. One of the things it should check is if the SSL certificate is up-to-date. Imagine the damage that could be done to reputation if a customer checking out were to get a warning that the site is not secure.
  • Prepare for lost phones. Businesses should protect users that lose their phone, or have it stolen, by ensuring that their app can't be opened without authenticating the user.
  • Check third-party plugins. Businesses that are using third-party plugins in their apps should make sure those providers have followed all of these security rules as well.

Originally published on Business News Daily.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.