As the digital asset market is projected to grow by 16.5 per cent by 2027, the significance of app security in modern business operations is more crucial than ever.
As companies increasingly rely on digital applications encompassing data, software, videos, logos and more, the need to safeguard these assets becomes paramount. This growth in digital reliance also escalates the risk of asset compromise, as these resources are easily accessible and shareable.
Digital assets are not just integral to a business’ online presence; they are the backbone of operational efficiency and customer engagement. Effective management and protection of these assets are crucial for businesses to create value, maintain accessibility and distinguish themselves in a competitive market.
The rising importance of app security in business
The projected annual increase in cybercrime costs by 15 per cent, amounting to $10.5tn by 2025, includes factors like revenue loss, eroded consumer trust and brand damage. Businesses are particularly vulnerable, as hackers continually adapt to target business applications where most vulnerabilities are exploited.
In 2021 alone, there were approximately 1,243 security incidents resulting in the breach of 5.1bn records. This trend highlights the growing importance of robust app security measures not only to protect business assets but also to maintain customer confidence. With the increasing handling of sensitive data such as credit or debit card information by online platforms, ensuring stringent application security is vital for safeguarding customer data and reinforcing trust in business cybersecurity measures.
Key strategies for robust app security
Today’s evolving cyber threats require a multi-layered approach combining network security, data encryption, access controls and regular security audits. Industries like finance and healthcare exemplify effective strategies; for instance, banks employ advanced encryption and multi-factor authentication for app security, while healthcare providers use data isolation to safeguard patient information.
To enhance app security, consider these key strategies:
- Perform a comprehensive risk assessment: Evaluate and pinpoint potential security vulnerabilities and threats in your application. Rank these risks based on their potential impact and the likelihood of effectively prioritising your security efforts.
- Implement robust encryption protocols: Secure your data in transit with SSL/TLS encryption and protect stored data using strong encryption algorithms like AES-256. This should encompass all sensitive information, including user credentials and financial details.
- Enforce advanced authentication measures: Adopt secure authentication practices such as multi-factor authentication or biometric verification, especially for administrative access. Steer clear of simple or default password policies.
- Ensure input validation and sanitisation: Guard against common security pitfalls like SQL injection and XSS attacks by rigorously validating and sanitising all inputs from users, external APIs and database interactions.
- Execute regular security assessments: Conduct ongoing security evaluations like penetration tests, vulnerability scans, and code reviews to discover and resolve security vulnerabilities in your application promptly.
Role of NC/LC in strengthening app security
The demand for digital services, accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic and remote work, has led departments to often bypass IT processes, creating shadow IT applications. These applications, while filling gaps between siloed systems and aiding decision-making, can introduce significant security risks. The average cost of a data breach, including business and technology impacts, is estimated at $4.35m, and non-compliance with regulations like GDPR can result in fines of up to €20m or 4 per cent of a company’s revenue.
NC/LC platforms address these concerns by enabling rapid deployment of security updates, which is crucial for mitigating risks associated with shadow IT. They offer customisation options, allowing businesses to tailor security features to their specific needs and provide a controlled environment. This ensures that applications developed on these platforms adhere to necessary security standards and compliance requirements, reducing the risk of breaches and regulatory penalties.
These platforms further help mitigate the technical debt associated with shadow IT by providing a structured development process under IT governance. By offering a bridge between business understanding and digital solution creation, they reduce the reliance on unregulated shadow applications and the associated risks, such as phantom couplings where shadow applications unknowingly depend on IT systems, leading to potential business disruptions.
What to watch for in the future of app security
As we look toward the future of app security, it is imperative for organisations to stay vigilant and adaptive in the face of emerging technologies and their potential impact on cybersecurity. The rapid evolution of technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain is poised to significantly alter the app security landscape. These advancements promise enhanced security capabilities but also bring new challenges and vulnerabilities that organisations must be prepared to address.
To stay ahead of these changes, it is crucial for businesses to continually update their security strategies, invest in advanced security tools, and prioritise regular training for their IT teams to keep abreast of the latest security trends and techniques. Proactively preparing for these future challenges and remaining informed about the evolving nature of cyber threats can ensure organisations are well-equipped to safeguard their digital assets and maintain robust security in an increasingly complex digital environment.
Amy Groden-Morrison is the VP of Marketing and Sales Operations at Alpha Software. She has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis.
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