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Application Security Explained- Why You Can’t Ignore It in 2020

4 min read

The mobile app market seems to be at its peak, but experts say that this is just the beginning. The birth of 5G internet service, coupled with the increase in Smartphone usage, affirms that the global app industry is poised to be the key marketing medium for the next decade and beyond.

On the positive side, this steep increase in mobile app development continues to stir a spike in digital engagements. But parallel to this is the increase in web application attacks leading to loss of data and finances. Not to be taken lightly, Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report 2020 shows that web app attacks accounted for over 40% of data breaches this year.

This means that as a developer, there is a dire need to keep your application security best practices checklist up to date at all times.

What is application security?

Application security refers to a dynamic set of approaches that aims at preventing the loss of data embedded in an app. These measures include considerations employed during actual app development and the necessary actions taken while the app is in use.

Worrisome Statistics

The issue of application security is a hot topic today more than ever before. The reason is in the statistics. The most recent data shows that:

  • Over 300,000 new malware permeate the mobile app industry every day
  • There is an app attack every 39 seconds
  • 75 records are lost to black hat hackers every second

If the stats above are not convincing, here are a few more reasons why you can’t afford to ignore application security in this era.

Importance of Application Security

Increased Demand for Safety of Confidential Information 

Today, the hacking industry is estimated to be a $300B industry. Cybercrime watchdogs predict that this industry will cost the globe a whopping $6 trillion annually by 2021. Undeniably, these figures are enticing and could explain the increased illegal demand for Personal Identifiable Information (PII).

Most Smartphone users are now aware of these pitfalls and are more hesitant to provide personal credentials when interacting with apps and other internet users online. That being said, the first step to a successful app marketing strategy is ensuring that your market’s data won’t be exposed even in accidental scenarios.

Think of regulatory fines 

If you think that mobile app security procedures are expensive, think again! Most of the data breaches today are due to vulnerable servers, loosely secured data, and phishing attacks. Applications used in businesses, companies, government offices, and organizations are yet another attack vector for black hat and grey hat hackers.

Successful web application attacks due to exposure of personal data have caused businesses and firms huge losses. A good point in case is the credit agency- Equifax- which was slapped with over $575 million in regulatory fines for failing to secure its network, consequently exposing the personal and financial data of close to 150 million people.

Application Security and System Security- Are They the Same? 

A common misconception is that system security, and application security are the same things. Both of these terms revolve around the prevention of data breaches and are often used interchangeably. However, the differences between these 2 disciplines are obvious.

Application security refers to preventing data breach by protecting application front ends and source codes, usually at the software level. App security employs technologies, such as source code analyzers, web application firewalls, and Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs).

On the other hand, network security are the procedures put in place to prevent the loss of data and protect the systems at the network level, for instance, on the servers, routers, switches, and wireless networks.

Essentially, app security is one of the small but critical components of network security. While there exist differences between application security and network security, both of them make an integral component of the policies, procedures, and responses that constitute an overall information security system.

If anything, effective oversight of these 2 relies on almost the same process. First, you need to beware of your environment and the challenges that it presents. Second, you must understand the areas in your app or network that pose the biggest security threats and device ways to neutralize the security risk. At the same time, it’s critical to understand the level of value that the security offers and how it can be maximized.

Conclusion

The mobile app industry is growing rapidly and constantly revolving to open up staggering advertisement opportunities for digital businesses. While there’s a need to create apps that solve problems, it’s vital to ensure that the app won’t expose the users’ personal and financial information to potential attackers. Considering the increase in mobile cyber-threats and loss of data and finances so far, any reputable developer will want to keep testing their mobile apps and improving the current security posture.

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