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Steps to Securing Your Enterprise Mobile App
Date: 1/23/2020

The world’s top corporations safeguard their consumer data, employee data, and company information by considering all mobile devices insecure. It’s kind of like when someone hands you a gun – you should assume it’s loaded just to be on the safe side.

A significant number of offices now encourage their employees to bring their own devices to the office, but it is one of the leading causes of a data breach.

Considering all personal devices unsafe gives the developers the edge while designing enterprise applications that can safeguard critical data against common security failures.

Here are the five steps that contribute to a more secure enterprise mobile app:

1. Accurate Mobile Device Management

  • Mobile security begins with personal devices. iOS devices are leading the market in terms of enterprise app compatibility and security.
  • The cost of iOS devices can be a hindrance for smaller businesses. They prefer cheaper Android devices, but they have fewer regulations on which applications can be installed on the OS.
  • Between iOS and Android, the former provides better control and security of all types of data. One of the latest Android versions for enterprise is the Android for Work (A4W); it is an extension of 6.0 Marshmallow. It can encrypt devices and it can separate the enterprise applications from personal apps.

2. Secure Deployment of the App

  • Application wrapping is an easy and quick method to segregate it from the other apps on the device. The method encapsulates the app in a miniature secure environment.
  • It can prevent third-party entry into data storage. It defines the parameters of data security, sans coding, for each mobile device using the said enterprise app.

3. User Authentication During Sign-In

  • Are you an authentic user of the application? Although a simple question, it holds the key to the security of data worth millions of dollars.
  • Enterprises are employing a combination of MDM (mobile device management) and EMM (enterprise mobile management), SAML (Security Assertion Mark-up Language), and VPN (Virtual Private Network) to reinforce a single sign-on (SSO).
  • Other than SSO, mobile users find two-factor authentications useful. This method typically uses a User ID and password, and a PIN or One-time-password sent to the mobile number. iOS and Android support two-factor authentication services.

4. Securing the Development-Level OS

  • Selecting an upgrade of the development-level security can help in the encapsulation of the app inside a secure space inside the OS. It is easy to achieve with iOS devices.

Tools and resources necessary for app security can include:

  • Regular review of the latest code samples
  • Quarterly review of Apple/Android security guide
  • Using a tool for static code analysis on the OS

Android tools are often easier to adopt and use as compared to any iOS.

5. Securing the Data in Transit and at Rest

  • All security measures should apply to your APIs. At your enterprise, you can use the APIs to manage business data and logic. At the same time, you can use the enterprise app APIs for android, iOS, web, and Windows development.
  • With SSL (256-bit encryption), data is easier to manage in transit. At rest, data security is more complicated. The origin of data and the device, both require protection.
  • Therefore, each API requires app-level authentication and sensitive data should be limited to memory.

The list provides a small glimpse of the key factors that contribute to the security of enterprise mobile apps. It is not exhaustive, but these five points should be the basis of any security framework for a company of any size.