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Enterprise mobility is today’s reality. Businesses worldwide are relying heavily on mobile devices to keep their remote teams connected. Mobile apps of all kinds have gained traction as companies adopt various apps for project management, team communication, document sharing and so on. This heavy dependence of businesses on mobile apps is what has brought it to the radar of hackers. According to an article, 83 percent of apps have at least one security flaw. With mobile app security breaches such as the ParkMobile incident that exposed the account information of 21 million customers or the malware found in CamScanner, an app with over 100 million downloads, mobile app security must be at the forefront of managing a mobile-first corporate environment.
What is Mobile App Security?
Mobile app security is a measure taken to ensure that mobile apps do not possess any vulnerabilities that can make them susceptible to malware or fraud. If mobile apps are weakly built or possess any security flaws, they can be the soft targets for hackers to infect them with malicious codes. Every business today uses smartphones and tablets for a variety of business operations. Some businesses even allow their employees to use their personal devices for work as a part of the BYOD management to simplify their work and boost their productivity. However, these are the very reasons why strengthening mobile app security is a top priority for enterprises.
Impact of Improper Mobile App Security
Businesses use a plethora of public and in-house apps to fulfill their diverse remote business operations. Downloading untrusted apps that do not have a strong security framework can land businesses in serious trouble.
Wondering how exactly can mobile app vulnerabilities affect businesses? Let’s see.
1. Risk of Corporate Data Loss
Several security incidents in the past have demonstrated the disastrous effects of businesses using untrusted or poorly constructed mobile apps. Hackers are much more sophisticated these days. It does not take time for hackers to invade people’s mobile devices and corporate networks by taking advantage of mobile app vulnerabilities. Any little flaw or loophole in the mobile app can allow hackers to spread malicious codes into the user’s device, thereby gaining unauthorized access to the device and the data on it.
2. Legal Complications
There are several governing bodies around the world that have laid strict data protection laws such as the GPDR, HIPPA act, PDPA, etc. Accidental exposure of sensitive customer information can incur plenty of legal penalties and lawsuits against your business.
3. Loss of Revenue
What follows after encountering an incident of corporate data loss is a stream of hefty fines, legal fees and huge investments in reinforcing the company’s security structure. According to a study, 29% of businesses that face a data breach face revenue loss.
4. Degraded Brand Reputation
Businesses not only have to endure the legal and financial consequences, but they also lose out on their potential and existing customers. No one wants to do business with a company that has a reputation for data breaches.
How Can Businesses Reduce the Risks Associated With Mobile Apps?
The best way for businesses to prevent themselves from falling prey to mobile malware and its devastating consequences is to ensure the maximum security of their mobile apps.
1. Timely App Updates
With every new version, app developers fix any loopholes or security threats that the apps may be vulnerable to. Businesses can prevent themselves from being targets of cyber attacks, by simply updating their apps on time. Modern-day MDM solutions like Scalefusion help IT admins schedule app updates within a specific maintenance window which helps to ease out the IT efforts.
2. Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentications add an extra layer of security for your business apps and resources. Whether you adopt a BYOD work environment, or you provide company-owned mobile devices to your employees, weak passwords can be easily deciphered by hackers. Multi-factor authentication ensures that hackers do not get access to your employees’ business apps by simply decoding the employees’ passwords.
3. Strong BYOD Security Policies
When it comes to BYOD security, the greatest responsibility that businesses are required to shoulder is secure access. If your business has embraced BYOD management, you must implement a strong BYOD policy that lays down ground rules for the usage of your business apps and resources. Containerization of your employees’ corporate data can help you push strong security configurations on the work profiles. Disabling copying of information from work apps to personal apps, disabling the download of untrusted apps, etc. can go a long way in keeping mobile app risks at bay.
4. Continuous Monitoring
Simply pushing app security configurations is not enough, you must keep a constant eye on the apps used by your employees. Monitoring app versions, app activity logs and configuring compliance alerts based on security incidents can help you detect security issues and resolve them before it is too late.
5. High-Level Encryption
Encryption is the process of converting your data into a coded form that can be decoded only with a specific key. This helps businesses prevent unauthorized users from accessing the company’s private data. This acts as s great backup strategy in case mobile malware manages to creep into your employees’ devices despite the security efforts.
Mobile App Security With MDM Solutions
Several high-performing businesses have identified Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions as efficient tools to help them manage and secure their apps. Businesses are rapidly adopting Android and iOS MDM solutions for their company-owned or BYOD smartphones and tablets to ensure overall corporate security, including mobile app security.
MDM solutions allow businesses to push a specific set of trusted apps on their employees’ devices. You can restrict your employees’ devices to a limited set of apps. This acts as the first line of defense, as it prevents your employees from downloading insecure or malicious apps unknowingly.
MDM solutions for iOS and Android allow IT, admins of companies, to push a plethora of apps from the Google PlayStore and the Apple App Store on multiple devices with a few easy steps. A single unified console enables IT admins to perform multiple IT management and provisioning tasks remotely.
Following are the app management benefits offered by most MDM solutions:
- Cross-OS compatibility to provision iPads, iPhones and Android devices from a single console.
- Over the air app distribution from Google PlayStore and Apple App Store
- Deploying apps to your Android devices from the Play for Work App inventory
- Apple VPP integration with MDM dashboard to push business apps on iOS devices
- Remotely update apps to the latest secure app versions
- Secure BYOD management by preventing data copy from work apps to personal apps
- Tracking app data usage to monitor suspicious activities
- Keeping a check on app versions and generating automated reports for the same
Mobile apps are here to stay. They shower immense benefits on businesses and make remote working a breeze. However, overlooking mobile app vulnerabilities can lead your business to great losses. By implementing the above-mentioned strategies businesses can minimize the security risks of their mobile apps.