With the enormous amount of consumer devices available to the market today, custom software development is increasingly relevant. As technology continues to evolve, the software that comes with it has to constantly adapt and improve. Studies have revealed, however, that there is a common weak point shared by many software developers, and that is correctly handling the security side of development.
Now more than ever, correctly securing software during the development process, and perhaps more importantly, upon launching a completed application, is crucial. Information security has been a running hot topic for some time now, and with good reason.
Applications often handle valuable and confidential data and consumers are asked to put their faith in the security measures of their applications. Furthermore, applications are installed on devices with large stores of valuable information, and it’s important that they cannot be exploited in order to access it.
Software security is a wide-ranging and complex issue, but we’ll examine the core varieties that must be considered and integrated into the development process.
1. Content Security
Content security is often the most well-understood variety of security among software developers, particularly in the form of content protection. Completed applications not licensed for open source use require a degree of content protection to prevent unauthorized users from copying the contents of the software.
Since content protection is necessary to protect a developer’s assets, it stands to reason that its well understood. Content protection is typically accomplished through encryption, DRM, or both. DRM (Digital rights management) is the most well-known solution, and when handled well can be an effective method of protection, however, when executed poorly, it can ultimately serve to drive end users away.
2. Application Security
Though similar to content security, application security primarily focuses on ensuring that a completed application has no vulnerabilities and cannot be easily exploited. Many applications manage valuable user data, and failure to protect said data can be devastating for the end-user and the developer as well.
Repeatedly testing software for possible security vulnerabilities, and quickly patching up any bugs is a vital step in achieving application security. Application security requires a unique approach for each stage of the development cycle and continues upon releasing a finished product.
3. Endpoint Security
Although security technology and practices have advanced significantly, the human element is still in play. Human beings tend to have a poor understanding of security and its importance, especially as far as technology is concerned. As powerful as security technology may be, its impossible to create a bulletproof solution while human interaction is on the table.
Consequently, the most effective way to manage an end-users application security is to do so automatically. Encryption, user authentication, and solid recovery options are just a few methods of improving security while also reducing a user’s direct interaction with the underlying systems.
4. The Security Network
Security features have to be looked at as part of an overarching system. Each point of security must exist, but also be capable of coexisting and working in tandem with all other security features. If any one feature fails to reliably function alongside another, the entire security network can become compromised.
Security is best understood as risk management. Accurately assessing and constantly revisiting possible security risks throughout the development life-cycle is integral to completing a secure program. Through assessment, it’s possible to develop a network of strong security protocols to protect both the end user, the content and the developer.
Regularly investing time in keeping up to date with advancing security practices is the best way to become part of the security solution.