5 steps to secure Enterprise Mobile Application development

Rather than regular apps, enterprise apps are more at risk because of the confidential nature of data that is exchanged and stored in the workforce apps as well as consumer facing apps. Hence, the most crucial challenge in developing enterprise mobility solutions is to provide the highest levels of network security that make the applications robust and immune to data tampering.

Secure remote access

With a host of mobile devices in the market, enterprises offering BYOD facilities to the employees have to tackle multiple endpoints that have different operating systems. On top of it, if the device is personal, there can be consumer apps installed on the mobile. It is therefore necessary to make the communication between the device and the enterprise server (cloud) as secure as possible by setting up a private, encrypted connection. This connection should be unbreakable regardless of the network type being used – public or private.

Data leakage protection (DLP)

When the employees use more than one device (statistics say that in the present day scenario, every employee uses at least 3 devices in total for personal and work related tasks), cloud-based apps sync all information on all devices when connected to the network. In this case, all files stored will be replicated on each device. If the file format of a workforce app is compatible with that of a consumer app, opening the restricted access file in an unknown app causes data spillover or data leakage.

To prevent this, all files of the workforce app should be stored in application directory with due encryption, rather than in the device library. This ensures that the important confidential files will not be accessible by unauthorized apps.
Several DLP policies include blocking of copy-paste actions to prevent sharing of data from workforce apps.

Remote wipe functionality should be used prudently to erase data related to workspace apps or the entire device as required by the intensity of the security breach, if any.

Identity and access management (IAM)

IAM is the process that manages the authorization of access to the enterprise server data. It is basically a role management function that identifies the user asking to sign in, validates credentials, and allows access to modules for which the role bearer has permissions. IAM includes access control policy, role definition, and single sign on settings.

Policy Management

The policy management engine determines the long term security protocols for enterprise mobility solutions. It holds the configurations for all devices registered under the BYOD scheme, and stores access tokens, passwords, apps, PINs, etc. to ensure that the mobile device accessing the enterprise server is authorized and only accesses the information that is visible to the role assigned to its owner.

Change monitoring and incident response

Change monitoring is a part of policy management, wherein every change to the system data on the enterprise server is logged in the form of authorized and unauthorized change. The sequence of the changes can explain whether the change is friendly or malicious. Depending on this, an incident response should be triggered according to processes and mechanisms that have been decided beforehand. The success of the incident response team largely depends on the speed of logging of changes, and the tools to counter the attack, if any. After an incidence occurs, measures like remote data wiping and restoring data from uncorrupted backups are undertaken.

To sum up…

Network security is of prime concern in enterprise mobility solutions because of the confidential nature of data in workforce apps. A robust security can be achieved by:

  1. Providing remote access point-to-point secure connection between the device and the enterprise server regardless of the type of network being used.
  2. Encrypting data stored on the device and limiting file storage to application library.
  3. Providing role-based access through identity and access management.
  4. Implementing policy management protocols.
  5. Logging changes in real-time and generating appropriate incident response when an unauthorized change is identified.