Mobile App Developer? Be Aware Of User Privacy

Mobile app development is on the rise, with new apps released daily. The mobile app industry is attracting all sorts of businesses, with some companies being entirely app based. The main fuel of  the growth in app development is the use of tablets and smartphones. However, there’s one thing all mobile app developers need to ensure; user privacy.

Why is user privacy an issue for the success of any mobile app?

Mobile apps depend on customer data. Data may include photos, personal email accounts, phone numbers, locations, contacts and more. If data isn’t secure, it may lead to breaches and identity theft. If you’re planning to develop an app or you’re working on one already, implement the following tips to keep user data secure. These tips are the solutions towards remaining compliant with data privacy policies as well.

mobile app development - developers reviewing app designs on desktop and mobile device

1. Select A Security Lead
Mobile app development may be a solo project or with the help of a development team. If working with others, consider appointing a team member to be the app security lead. This role will be key to ascertain security in each stage of the app’s development. If possible, also consider hiring professional support to help with app security. This should be based in your local city or country. For instance, if developing an app in the the United Kingdom, you may consider local IT support in London from experts like Mustard IT and other professionals who specialize in this type of service.

2. Evaluate Information You Plan To Collect / Retain
Mobile app users must know any information you’re collecting and where it might be used. Be transparent from the start. Inform users about any third parties that may use a person’s details. Only collect information you’ve stated you will collect.

3. Understand How Mobile Apps Differ
There are several mobile operating systems. They all utilize different application programming interfaces (APIs). An API has a variety of security features and permission handling. Know your code and adapt to it. APIs can be prone to hacks, ensure you secure yours. Modify your app to allow legal access to data only.

4. Don’t Rely On One Security Platform
Mobile use and application development is constantly evolving and prone to new cybersecurity threats and hacking. As a result, the need for strong data security is an emerging issue. This has brought forth the development of platforms that help developers enhance user privacy. As a mobile developer, it’s essential to understand the platforms available and educate users on utilizing them to keep data safe. However, make sure to utilize a diverse range of security platforms.

5. Develop Safe Credentials
Does your mobile app require usernames and passwords? If yes, how do you ensure information isn’t prone to cyber-attack? Multi-factor authentication can assist greatly here. This allows a user access, only after providing more than one factor via a mobile app. If a third party steals someone’s password and username, they won’t be able to access an app, as they won’t be able to provide the other info to authenticate access.

6. Encrypt Your Data
Data privacy is a key concern to users across the world. Many companies have been fined heavily due to breaching privacy laws. One permanent solution is data encryption. This refers to the transformation of data to a code or another form. This is done to ensure information is restricted to a specific group of people (people with a key or password). Many industries use data encryption, resulting in more trust to their clients.

7. Avoid Storing Passwords In Plain Text
If user passwords are stored in plain text, they are more susceptible to malicious attacks or hacking. If an app keeps getting hacked, it may be removed from app stores or the company in charge of data privacy may terminate it. Additionally, this leads to a bad reputation and you may lose customers and revenue.

8. Stay Engaged With Users
Once you release the mobile app, keep in touch with app users. Keep security libraries updated. Take note of responses from your customers and act upon any bug reports quickly. Fix errors or vulnerabilities efficiently, to keep hackers at bay. If an app user reports cases of attempted data theft, act on these to minimize cases of cyber theft.

Mobile app development is a growing industry. There are still challenges when it comes to data privacy. There are numerous cases of data breaches. The good news is there’s a remedy for this. As a mobile app developer, firstly be aware of the importance of security in the process of developing a mobile app. From there, implement the above tips to maintain user privacy.

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