September 7, 2021

    How DevSecOps Lowers TCO for Mobile App Development

    Developing mobile apps from scratch is expensive, and the costs associated with delivering them continue well after they’re published. In fact, the industry average for maintaining an app after release – including monitoring, new releases, bug fixes, and security updates, among others – is still 15-20% of the original cost every year. Since there are substantial upfront and ongoing expenses associated with delivering mobile apps, reducing the overall development costs of secure mobile apps should be a priority for every development team.

    In this post, we’ll look at the costs associated with a security incident and why DevSecOps enables organizations to efficiently and cost-effectively implement mobile application security.

    The True Cost of a Security Incident

    Security incidents are costly, and not just in a direct monetary sense. The loss of intellectual property, brand reputation, or customer data can all have an impact on a company’s revenue and business continuity. And specific to DevSecOps, security incidents can lead to untrusted inputs and missing binary protections, both of which could lead to reverse engineering your app.

    Clearly, releasing unprotected mobile apps can expose organizations to attacks by malicious actors and lead to costly negative consequences.

    Further Reading: How Mobile Application Security Impacts the Broader Security Posture of an Organization

    Yet many mobile app development teams are still cutting corners when it comes to mobile application security. This is largely the influence of the perception that integrating security measures into the development process can drive up costs and delay an app’s release.

    With the right mobile application security strategy, however, development teams can deliver secure mobile apps faster and more cost-effectively than ever before.

    DevSecOps Enables Mobile AppSec Efficiency

    Preventive measures are the best remedy when it comes to software quality and security issues. In fact, it’s already well-documented that the cost of bug fixes steadily increases toward the end of the software development process, with defects discovered in the maintenance phase costing 100x as much as those uncovered during design. Similarly, the longer a development team postpones the remediation of security issues, the more expensive it is to achieve an adequate level of application security.

    One of the reasons costs will increase if the development team delays fixing issues is directly related to time. Developers lose their contextual understanding of a particular section of code over time, which requires them to refamiliarize themselves with the code they wrote in the past before they can effectively fix a bug or security issue. In addition, fixing security issues will often take priority over other code changes, which can delay feature releases and impact the user experience. That’s why organizations are shifting left and preventing software bugs or security issues from reaching later stages of development in the first place.

    DevSecOps, where security tools are implemented directly into the development process, also improves development velocity. If mobile application security measures hinder development, this would require additional development resources and could even lead to loss of revenue due to a slower time-to-market. Security tools that fit seamlessly into development workflows, however, can ensure every new code change is secure without much additional effort from developers. That’s why developer-friendly security tools are crucial when adopting a DevSecOps approach.

    Lower Your Mobile Application Security Costs

    Many development teams view application security as an expensive additional time sink, but securing mobile apps doesn’t have to be costly. In fact, by implementing effective DevSecOps processes and tools, organizations can reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) for delivering secure mobile applications.

    AppSweep by Guardsquare is a mobile-first Android security testing tool — specifically built for developers by developers — that integrates directly within existing development workflows. Using AppSweep, organizations can shift security testing left to find and fix security risks early in the development process. This is crucial for minimizing the cost of application security in an ever-changing cyber threat landscape.

    With AppSweep, mobile app development teams receive reports with potential security risks and actionable recommendations for remediating these issues without sorting through numerous false positives. AppSweep was designed to help this process feel intuitive to developers; they can review security scans similar to how they would navigate their app in Android Studio or another IDE.

    Additionally, by leveraging a Gradle plugin, developers can integrate AppSweep into their existing development workflow or continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline. This allows for development teams to automate their mobile application security efforts.

    AppSweep can help developers ship code faster, reduce their app’s risk exposure, and lower the TCO for secure mobile app development.


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