As technology evolves, criminals evolve with it. Whilst this may sound like the premise of a cool heist movie, it’s the reality of the world that we live in. Today’s cyber criminals will look to get their hands on anything they can, including the information of your app users. This is why, outside of your legal obligations, you must ensure that your app is as secure as possible.
Unlike a house or physical property, you can’t build a wall or install CCTV to deter criminals. Instead, you need to take effective measures, like regular security audits, to protect your app and your customers.
Keep reading to find out everything you to know to audit and improve the security of your app!
What is a security audit?
A security audit is a thorough examination of your app from the perspective of security. The goal is to identify any areas of concern that may lead to security issues and put measures in place to reduce the level of risk. No app can be entirely safe, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take steps to secure your app.
Why should you conduct a security audit?
There are three main reasons why you need to conduct regular security audits for your app:
The legal side: In recognition of the threat posed by cybercriminals and the behaviour of certain businesses, governments around the world have created laws to protect the data of individual citizens. To have a successful app, you need to ensure that you are not in breach of these laws. In the event of a cyber-attack, you will need to prove that you took measures to prevent this event from occurring. Failing to do so could lead to expensive fines and the end of your app.
The business side: If your app is breached in some way, it will be tough for your business to survive – especially in the face of a major incident. Security is good for business, and regular audits are part of good security. For example, a cyber attack could lead to a huge loss of funds and expensive fines. Even with the help of insurance, recovery from these financial losses is incredibly difficult, so it pays to invest in securing your business.
The people side: Poor security and data breaches are also bad for your reputation. An app that has a public data breach or falls victim to a cyber attack will experience a massive drop in users, revenue, and trust in your brand. These factors can hinder your growth and the chances that your app will succeed. The best way to reduce the risk of these events occurring is to perform regular security audits of your app.
How often should you conduct a security audit?
There isn’t a set amount of time, however, you shouldn’t leave too bigger a gap between audits. Outside of any incidents (which will prompt an audit anyway), you should do a general audit every twelve months or so. Another factor to consider is that when you make updates, you will to ensure that your app remains secure after these changes. This will often act as a mini audit, so you can adjust your calendar accordingly.
How to perform a successful Security Audit
Like most things in life, there is a right way and a wrong way to things. The same goes for auditing the security of your app. Here is a basic step-by-step process that you can use as a template for your security audit.
Step One: Set the Scope
Before going any further, you need to determine the scope of your audit. Are you worried about a specific function or section of your app or are you searching for any and all security vulnerabilities? Setting a clear scope for your audit will make it easier to get the answers that you’re looking for. It can also help you and your team to stay on track throughout the audit process.
Step Two: Internal or external
Next, you need to decide who will be overseeing the audit process. Will you have someone in your team manage the audit or will you outsource your needs to an experienced third party? This is an important question that you need to answer. There are pros and cons to either side, so you need to give this decision the careful consideration that it deserves.
Step Three: Information Gathering
Now that you know who is running the show, you need to gather and assess the information that you need. If you are bringing in an external auditor, you will need to ensure that they have all of the access that they need. This could mean speaking to your staff, access to your back-end development, your source coding, and any other information that they need. This is the only way that they can get what they need to provide accurate feedback.
Step Four: Threat assessment
After an in-depth look into the areas of concern, the auditor will be able to assess potential threats and provide their findings. They will also determine how urgent these threats are so you can prioritise the actions that you need to take.
Step Five: Adress concerns
Now that you understand the threats facing your app, it’s time to take action. Work with the auditor and your team to put effective measures in place to address the threats and areas of concern that you’ve identified.
Step Six: Review
Finally, don’t forget to review the measures that you’ve put in place. This will help you to monitor their progress and ensure that things are working as they’re supposed to.
If you aren’t doing so already, it’s time to implement regular security audits as part of the management of your app. Doing so can help your app not only to survive but thrive as well! Get in touch to see how we could help with app development aftercare.