Mobile app development standards

SBA Mobile AppSmartphone and tablet users will download 70 billion apps this year, according to an estimate by ABI Research. And the total global mobile app market is expected to be worth $25 billion by 2015 reports TechCrunch.

If you have an idea for a marketable app or are currently developing one, then the world may just be your oyster. But before you take your app to market and get it accepted by an app store, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wants to ensure that your security policies are up to scratch and that you have taken the right measures to protect the data that your users share with you.

Why? Apps and mobile devices often rely on consumer data – including contact information, location, photos, and so on – all of which can be vulnerable to data breaches, digital snoops and regular theft. In fact, MarketsandMarkets cites the risk of data theft through delivery of phishing and spyware in mobile apps as the biggest downside to the growth in available apps.

The FTC offers the following 12 tips to help developers approach mobile app security:

1. Appoint a security lead

Your development team should include at least one person responsible for considering security at each stage of your app’s development. If you are a solo entrepreneur, then that person is you.

2. Review the data you intend to collect and maintain

Don’t collect or keep data that you don’t need. If you don’t need user’s contact info, don’t collect it. Likewise, don’t keep user data any longer than you need to – including location data.

3. Understand the differences between mobile platforms

Each mobile operating system uses a different application programming interface (API), which includes different security features and permission handling. So don’t just assume one size fits all; adapt your code accordingly.

4. Don’t rely on a platform alone to protect your users

Platforms may offer features to make security easier, but it’s up to you to understand them. Use them properly, and explain them to your users in everyday language.


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