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Develop Enterprise Mobile Apps? Turn Application Security into Profit instead of Cost

Do you want to know the real reason mobile apps are full of security holes? Do you know what Android and iOS apps have in common?

The majority of them have been hacked.

97% of the top 100 paid Android app and 87% of the top paid iOS apps have been hacked. Gartner says that that by the end of this year, 75% of mobile apps will fail basic security testing.

Enterprises are adopting mobile technologies at an increasing level to improve employee productivity and satisfaction, at the same time to effectively engage customers and partners. Enterprises start to invest heavily in building mobile applications for their employees, partners, contractors and clients.

Many enterprises outsource bespoke mobile application development to third-party vendors because they do not have the skills to build those apps internally. Mobile app development is not their core business.

If you are the mobile app development agency, this means more demand for your services, churning out mobile apps for such enterprises.

However,there is a catch.

Today, correctly implementing mobile application security incurs a substantial cost to mobile app development agency. If the agency includes the cost of security, the total cost will balloon. The agency is then much more expensive than its competitors who leave security measures out.

Enterprises are not skilled in assessing the real value of mobile application security. They consider it to be provided implicitly and for free. Having said that, guess who will be able to provide the lower quote and selected as the vendor of choice for the delivery of bespoke mobile app?

Not you.

More than 3/4 of enterprises have experienced mobile security breaches. These breaches cost larger enterprises approximately 3 million dollars. One reason is the BUILD cost to properly implement mobile application security measures. The BUILD cost is what matters most. Choosing build cost over security is the number one reason behind the miserable state of mobile app security.

app developer

Why it is difficult to build secure mobile enterprise apps

Mobile app developers by nature are not security experts

Developers’ primary skillset is in the frontend coding and User Experience (UX). They are trained to make sure the application contains required features and business functionalities. Developers are focused on the User Interface (UI) to make their application easy to interact and beautiful to look at, not so much on security side.

Mobile app developers lack experience with enterprise IT infrastructure

Mobile app developers, not commonly experienced with enterprise IT infrastructure, are not able to properly implement application security requirements to fulfill enterprise regulations. They often mistakenly think that security is out of the scope of the mobile app delivery or it will be solved by someone else e.g. on infrastructure level. Alternatively, even worse, they underestimate security risks linked with the mobile app and knowingly decide on substandard application security measures.

Mobile is a new and unexplored space for enterprises

For many enterprises, mobile is a completely new and unexplored space. Thus, Enterprises lack the necessary expertise and have never opened their corporate data center for mobile communication before. Their information has always been isolated and safe from prying eyes because it was discrete and unconnected. However, now, they have to punch a hole to allow the communication to/from the mobile apps.

Lack of security guidelines

There is a lack of security guidelines that give concrete "how to’s". If there is any guideline, it seems rather focus on high-level statements and not what to do to comply with regulations and meet security requirements. Project executives confessed that at the end of a long multi-page policy document, they got the impression "don't even start up the mobile app.”

boxing

What happen next - WHO vs. WHO battle

1. DEVELOPERS vs. INFO SECURITY TEAM

Developers might attempt to implement security into the mobile app, but they make a cursory effort to do that. Naturally, such an approach results in an inevitable clash with Enterprise Information Security team at the time of the delivery of the mobile app.

Remember that every CISO (Chief Security Information Officer) and Information Security team need to ensure the security compliance and standards at their organizations. They must be sure that any mobile app released to production does not introduce security risks. They will naturally block the mobile app deemed to be risky.

Now you have two distinctly different groups of people: developers and security people. Developers, not equipped to deal with the security side of the mobile app and information security people who are asked to open their precious data fortress to outside communication.

2. PROJECT TEAM vs. INFO SECURITY TEAM

Mobile projects are constantly getting delayed or even being canceled due to this reason. This problem typically emerges during the most critical part of the project: during security testing right before release to production. A large portion of the project budget has already been spent. The deadline is close, and the build is considered as finished. This situation is very expensive to fix, and the reputation of responsible people suffers.

Some enterprises, failing security testing means extending the project deadline to fix the issues. However, in many enterprises, the priority of the mobile app project overrules InfoSec team’s findingS.The mobile application with security vulnerabilities is deployed to production, effectively putting the entire enterprise at risks.

If you want to do mobile application security properly, you need to have specialized security experts on the mobile app development team. You probably need to drag your security experts to every mobile project. They inspect mobile app design, manage the security testing, and educate developers to ensure developers correctly implement mobile application security. As stated above, doing so increases the project cost and might turn away the potential enterprise customers who will go for a cheaper app development agency which leaves out mobile app security. This creates a never-ending circle, difficult to break.

While enterprises implicitly expect that their mobile apps are secure, they are not willing to pay an extra cost for that. As you now know, app development agencies are not in the position to invest in anything fancy regarding security.

3. HACKERS vs. THE REST OF US

Hackers know this. They exploit vulnerabilities found in mobile apps. They use entry points from mobile apps as gates to other data sources that might be much more valuable. This effectively compromises the whole enterprise information security.

The gap creates the abysmal state of mobile app security that we experience today. We now understand why.

And what do we do about it?

mobile app development

Mobile Application Security as a Service (MASaaS) - How MASaaS Benefits App Development Agencies

There is a way how mobile app development agencies deliver secure mobile applications for enterprises and stay competitive price-wise. These agencies even turn the cost of mobile application security implementation into recurring profit.

Mobile Application Security as a Service (MASaaS) offers mobile app development agencies ways to offer their enterprise clients access to security services that are robust, scalable and cost effective without the burden of provisioning and managing on-premise hardware and software. With cloud-based service, enterprises eliminate the cost and hassle of scaling hardware and software. MASaaS delivers security technologies and updates fast and consistent, ensuring that enterprises stay compliant and reduce risk.

Security Implementation is easy and can be done in a couple of hours by any mobile app developer. Moreover, there is no cost to the agencies.

Another important benefit of MASaaS is control and visibility. Enterprise InfoSec team has an overview of threat visibility and continuous security protection of the mobile app and corporate data throughout the app’s lifecycle.

Let’s Summarize the Key Points How App Development Agencies Leverage from MASaaS

  1. Spend less time or use fewer resources otherwise used to implement security of mobile applications.
  2. Keep the build cost of the mobile app the same.
  3. Meet strict enterprise security requirements and standards, thus removing the risk of having the mobile project get delayed or canceled.
  4. Satisfy enterprise information security people by delivering a secure mobile application, visibility via reporting, and even a service of continuous and active monitoring. All of these benefits come with no new overhead for the security team.
  5. Have a recurring revenue stream monthly.

By partnering with TeskaLabs, a mobile application security provider and integrating SeaCat Mobile Secure Gateway technology into the mobile apps and using TeskaLabs’ security monitoring and incident response services, app development agencies effectively become a reseller of TeskaLabs.

As resellers, app development agencies get a fair slice of the subscription income every month.

Contact us today to know more about our partner program and the benefits gained by our partners.

Additional readingr:

  1. Custom Made vs. Off-The-Shelf Mobile Apps – The Issue of Security
  2. You Can Build Apps for the Apple TV, But Do You Know How to Do It Securely?
  3. We Know Why 85% of Mobile Apps Suck in Security. Do You?
  4. 7 Reasons Why Testing the Security of Mobile Applications Is Crucial for Enterprises
  5. The Top 5 Mobile Application Security Issues You Need to Address When Developing Mobile Applications
  6. What Is a Mobile Application Containerization, or Wrapper, and Why Must It Die?

About the Author

Cindy Dam

TeskaLabs’ Marketing & Community Manager, Cindy Dam, has a penchant for hacking and storytelling. When she's not reading and writing about cyber hacking, she reads, writes, and comes up with mind and travel hacks.


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