• Thu. Dec 1st, 2022

How companies can reduce the risk of mobile app vulnerabilities

ByCindy J. Daddario

Jun 10, 2022

Enterprise mobility is the reality of today. Businesses around the world rely heavily on mobile devices to keep their remote teams connected. Mobile apps of all kinds have gained traction as businesses adopt various apps for project management, team communication, document sharing, and more. This heavy business reliance on mobile apps is what has brought it to the radar of hackers. According to a article, 83% of applications have at least one security flaw. With security vulnerabilities in mobile applications such as the ParcMobile incident that revealed the account information of 21 million customers or the malware found in CamScanneran app with over 100 million downloads, mobile app security should be at the forefront of managing a mobile-centric enterprise environment.

Mobile application security is a measure taken to ensure that mobile applications do not have any vulnerabilities that could make them vulnerable to malware or fraud. If mobile apps are poorly built or have security flaws, they can be easy targets for hackers to infect them with malicious code. Every business today uses smartphones and tablets for a variety of business operations. Some companies even allow their employees to use their personal devices for work as part of the BYOD management to simplify their work and increase their productivity. However, these are the very reasons why strengthening mobile app security is a top priority for businesses.

Companies use a plethora of public and internal applications to carry out their various business operations remotely. Downloading untrustworthy applications that do not have a strong security framework can lead to serious problems for businesses.

Wondering how exactly mobile app vulnerabilities can affect businesses? Let’s see.

1. Risk of corporate data loss

Several security incidents in the past have demonstrated the disastrous effects of companies using untrusted or poorly built mobile apps. Hackers are much more sophisticated these days. It doesn’t take long for hackers to invade people’s mobile devices and corporate networks by taking advantage of vulnerabilities in mobile applications. Any small loophole 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 established strict data protection laws such as GPDR, HIPPA, PDPA, etc. Accidentally exposing sensitive customer information can lead to numerous legal penalties and lawsuits against your business.

3. Loss of income

What follows after encountering a corporate data loss incident is a flood of hefty fines, legal fees, and huge investments in hardening the corporate security structure. According to a study29% of businesses experiencing a data breach suffer a loss of revenue.

4. Damage to brand reputation

Companies not only have to suffer the legal and financial consequences, but they also lose their potential and existing customers. No one wants to do business with a company known for its data breaches.

The best way for businesses to avoid falling prey to mobile malware and its devastating consequences is to keep their mobile apps as secure as possible.

1. Timely app updates

With each new release, app developers patch any security flaws or threats that apps may be vulnerable to. Businesses can avoid being the target of cyberattacks by simply updating their applications on time. Modern MDM solutions like Scalefusion help IT admins schedule application updates within a specific maintenance window, making IT efforts easier.

2. Multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentications add an extra layer of security for your business apps and resources. Whether you’re adopting a BYOD work environment or providing company-owned mobile devices to your employees, weak passwords can be easily cracked by hackers. Multi-factor authentication ensures hackers can’t gain access to your employees’ work apps by simply cracking employee passwords.

3. Strong BYOD security policies

When it comes to BYOD security, the biggest responsibility companies have to take on is access security. If your company has adopted BYOD management, you need to put in place a solid BYOD Policy which sets the ground rules for using your business apps and resources. Containerizing your employees’ corporate data can help you implement strong security configurations on work profiles. Disabling copying of information from work apps to personal apps, disabling downloading of untrusted apps, etc. can go a long way in keeping mobile app risks at bay.

4. Ongoing monitoring

Simply pushing application security configurations is not enough, you need to keep a constant eye on the applications used by your employees. Monitoring application versions, application activity logs, and setting up compliance alerts based on security incidents can help you detect security issues and fix them before it’s too late.

5. High Level Encryption

Encryption is the process of converting your data into an encrypted form that can only be decoded with a specific key. This helps companies prevent unauthorized users from accessing private company data. This is an excellent backup strategy in case mobile malware manages to infiltrate your employees’ devices despite security efforts.

Several successful companies have identified mobile device management (MDM) solutions as effective tools to help them manage and secure their applications. Businesses are rapidly adopting Android and iOS MDM Solutions for their company-owned or BYOD smartphones and tablets to ensure overall enterprise security, including mobile application security.

MDM solutions allow companies to push a specific set of trusted applications onto 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 professionals, business administrators, to push a plethora of apps from the Google PlayStore and Apple App Store to multiple devices in just a few simple steps. A single unified console allows IT administrators to perform multiple IT management and provisioning tasks remotely.

Here are the benefits of application management offered by most MDM solutions:

  1. Cross-OS compatibility to provision iPads, iPhones and Android devices from a single console.
  2. Live app distribution from Google PlayStore and Apple App Store
  3. Deploy apps to your Android devices from the Play for Work app inventory
  4. Apple VPP integration with MDM dashboard for push business apps to iOS devices
  5. Remotely update apps to the latest versions of secure apps
  6. Secure BYOD management by preventing the copying of data from work apps to personal apps
  7. Application data usage tracking to monitor suspicious activity
  8. Control application versions and generate automated reports for them

Mobile apps are here to stay. They offer immense benefits to businesses and facilitate remote working. However, ignoring mobile application vulnerabilities can lead to serious losses for your business. By implementing the aforementioned strategies, companies can minimize the security risks of their mobile applications.