Industry talking to customers What's this? How secure is mobile app prototyping? Published: May 3rd, 2019 By: IT World Canada When developing mobile apps, there are a lot of advantages to working with prototypes in order to facilitate proper feature implementation and functionality. There is an entire market of tools and companies devoted to working with developers on creating prototypes that can affect practical advantages for teams of developers. Although there are many advantages at your disposal if you decide to work with such a service as a developer, there are some security concerns that come along with it, as well.Mobile app prototyping requires sharing a lot of data with a third party and consulting with other teams of professionals on the deepest inner workings of your software. Being able to work with a trusted service that is capable of providing security along with functionality is key. There are many ways that companies use security measures to securely create mobile app prototypes, and understanding what these companies have to offer is a good step to ensuring that your mobile app prototypes are secure.Along with understanding the different features of the businesses which offer prototyping services, there are a number of steps you can take as a developer in order to ensure as much security as possible. Things like using secure file sharing systems to facilitate secure data sharing with your prototyping team can add plenty of extra security to protect your software from tampering. Using other privacy software solutions, such as VPNs, can also help with secure mobile app prototyping.Secure solutions The first and most obvious way to protect against the various vulnerabilities of prototyping is to work with a company that is trustworthy and uses many of its own effective security methods to protect your software and intellectual property. The best prototyping services also employ things like permissions and authentication requirements to ensure your prototype only gets seen and used by the people who need to.Good examples of services with full security features would be Invision, Flinto, and Justinmind. These companies have teams of security experts who work to ensure adequate security during the prototyping process. They also utilize encryption to protect sensitive data and file transfers. One thing to keep in mind for these services is that they offer different price points with different features, and the effectiveness of each plan will depend on the kind of prototyping work you need.There are many different areas that affect security in prototyping; such as a number of users to allow access for, how you facilitate this access, and which parts of the prototype features you want to allow for different users. All of these things introduce variables to app security that can be hard to manage. For this reason, using a trustworthy service is key.Don’t just go for the cheapest option when it comes to security.Now, finding a good company to work on your prototyping is a great first step, but there are also a lot of steps we can take as developers in order to add extra levels of security to the prototyping process. The main thing to make sure of is that we understand the risks, and plan our security measures accordingly. If we make sure to consider app security whenever we deal with sensitive data, like in prototyping, then we’ll be that much more prepared against malicious actors and threats.Authentication methods Different methods of authenticating a user’s identity and privileges is one of the major backbones of security architecture. The authorization allows you to control what different users who access your system can and cannot do. This gives you a lot of control and transparency when it comes to the inner workings of your system, and is one of the essential methods of preventing illicit changes and access being given to the wrong people.Incorporating authorization logic into your design can be a complex process, which could fill an entire article in and of itself, but there are some important rules of thumb to keep in mind. The main thing to think about when designing authorization mechanisms is that authorization needs to be confirmed server-side, rather than client side. Creating role-based access control will also allow you to grant permissions for specific users relative to their actual role.Centralized software validation When incorporating methods of authentication and validation, it is important that these mechanisms are automatic and centralized. This avoids major possibilities of software tampering during testing. Without an automatic and centralized mechanism of validation, there is more of a possibility that whatever system you have in place could be tampered with. This is a good way to ensure compliance with business requirements.Especially with multiple rounds of testing, and third parties being involved in the development cycle, avoiding data loss or even damaged software can be a hassle. Centralizing the process of validation allows you to minimize some of the variables at play when it comes to keeping this kind of work secure. Many good prototyping companies will work with you to make sure you feel comfortable with the security of your prototyping process.Lock out sections of your prototype Employing permissions and authentication methods to validate the users that access your system is an important part of security in mobile app prototyping. Locking out parts of the prototype for different teams or user roles is an extension of this concept, which gives you even more control over which users get to see the right parts of your prototype. Controlling user access and permissions in this way is a great way of keeping different aspects of your development process secret, and also helps identify potential leakers or bad actors.For example, if a certain aspect of your software becomes corrupted or compromised, locking out different parts of the prototype for different teams narrows down the possibilities of where the incident occurred. This allows you to identify potential problems sooner, and expedite the practical advantages that prototyping allows. This is one of the oldest and most effective methods for operational security.Use a VPN to protect connections and file transfers Since you’ll be transferring a lot of different files, and providing access over a variety of different networks, employing a VPN for added security can be a good extra step for making sure your mobile app prototyping is secure. Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, use powerful encryption and secure protocols to redirect your connection through special servers for added security. This allows users to control many aspects of their connection, as well as keep their data and identity secure while connecting and transferring files over the internet.There are many different VPN services available on the market, and they are all designed for different price ranges and feature requirements. For protecting secure mobile app prototyping, a good VPN designed for businesses is essential. One of the best options on the market right now is the Avast Secureline VPN.Avast Secureline VPN uses military-grade AES-256 bit encryption with IPSec and OpenVPN on UDP protocols. These are very secure standards and come with a host of other security features that will help you protect data and files stored on personal or work devices, and ensure secure file sharing. If you’re curious about the service, check out this Avast Secureline VPN review.