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10/23/2020 12:08:03 PM
5 mistakes businesses make in application development
Application Development,Mistakes,Speed,Security
App Developer Magazine
5 mistakes businesses make in application development

Business of Apps

5 mistakes businesses make in application development

Friday, October 23, 2020

Mayur S Shah Mayur S Shah

Mayur S Shah, Director of Platform Marketing at WaveMaker discusses prioritizing speed over security in application development and 5 mistakes that you need to avoid and address.

5 Mistakes Businesses Make While Prioritizing Speed Over Security in Application Development

Earlier this year, the Democratic party in Iowa announced its plans to use a smartphone app to calculate and transmit their caucus results. One would think that by using technology to improve the speed of governance, what could possibly go wrong? A lot, apparently. The app’s failure on results day was attributed to reporting and coding issues.

While security was the matter of concern from the day of its announcement, the inevitable happened. Data and security breaches happen almost every minute. University of Maryland researchers find cyber attacks every 39 seconds. The last decade has seen many data breaches, putting personal information of billions of users in the hands of dubious entities. Every enterprise, from Yahoo to Facebook and Target to Home Depot has come under attack and this is likely to continue. Research finds that cybersecurity breaches will result in over 146 billion records stolen by 2023.

Poor security is putting enterprises, governments, and citizens at risk every day. Yet, in a hurry to “leverage” technology, companies bring unsecured applications to market all the time. In essence, they sacrifice security for speed. While prioritizing speed over security in application development take into consideration the following mistakes that you need to avoid and address:

#1 Treating security as an after-thought

The need to be tech-powered is rapidly increasing. In order to leverage the potential of big data, analytics, predictive maintenance, etc. and to gain a competitive advantage, you feel the need to rush into rolling out tech initiatives; speed is of the essence. As a result, technology teams of today build applications under intense time pressures, forcing application teams to code faster and deploy sooner. In the race to build working software applications, teams make the mistake of treating security as an after-thought. You can often see teams deploying first and securing next, introducing many vulnerabilities into the application.

#2 Not investing the time and skill needed to integrate security features

Security in your application is a feature that is too important to learn on the go. While building the application itself, you must set guardrails to ensure high detectability, minimum exploitability, and damage. Application teams need to be given time to build resilient applications with all the necessary security integration into the application. Prioritizing speed often means that applications are pushed to production without taking the time to secure them. Without in-house teams or experts on-call, this becomes all the more challenging.

#3 Not considering security across the application development lifecycle 

Most websites use JavaScript and it is common client-side web technology. However, security is a critical aspect here. Hackers can access or modify elements on web pages, leaving your applications vulnerable to attacks. Executed in the browser, at runtime, it is often outside the security perimeter, with website owners having little by way of preventive control. Rushing to deployment by relying only on browser-side security can lead to exposure to several vulnerabilities. Therefore, security needs to be a server-side responsibility and must be considered across your application development journey.

#4 Not protecting authorization and authentication

Authenticating your application and authorizing what users can access is an important part of application security. Without this, you are leaving your attack surface wide open. Your application needs to support standards-based authentication, able to filter requests, carefully handle authentication failures, and enable anonymous usage securely. It must also offer role-based access control preventing users who aren’t authorized, from using certain features. Moving to the market with ambiguous authentication, improper session control, insufficient logging might not seem like a probable risk until you’re attacked.

#5 Not covering all risks 

Security threats are evolving faster than anyone can keep track of. The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), a community of application developers and security professionals, identifies the top ten security risks each application team must mitigate. This includes risks across injection, data exposure, misconfiguration, security deserialization, and so on. 

Automating security with low-code application development platforms

Integrating security into your application development process does not have to slow you down. By using a low-code platform you can accelerate development and enable security procedures at the same time. While promising accelerated development, what an ideal low-code application development platform offers is a visual development environment and code-customization with 2-way workplace sync with IDEs. It also enables auto-generation of code, ensures extensibility and re-use with prefabs, and allows for full integration with CI/CD pipelines. 

One of the important features of a low-code platform is built-in security, one that ensures automation of the development of application-level security features. A perfect platform provides a configuration for the prevention of security vulnerabilities such as XSS and CSRF and ensures in-built encryption, robust authentication and authorization systems, along with enterprise-grade auditability and traceability.

While speed may be the name of the game, rolling out your applications without considering security would have little positive impact if they fail to function and are not secure. One of the best ways to integrate security across your application development lifecycle is to leverage the benefits of low-code platforms that are designed for professional development, those that have built-in, application-level security features. While your application development plans may be time-critical, security cannot be an afterthought because sacrificing security for speed may make it longer for you to mitigate the risks than achieve your application development goals. 

This content is made possible by a guest author, or sponsor; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of App Developer Magazine's editorial staff.

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