July 7, 2021

    Shifting Mobile App Security Left: Why Preventative Measures Are the Best Remedy

    Security incidents are costly due to potential loss of intellectual property, reputation, revenue, data loss, and more. Many companies have mobile apps that process sensitive data or valuable intellectual property that is worth protecting.

    That said, not every company puts security at the forefront of their mobile app development efforts. In fact, only 35% of organizations have implemented SecOps best practices despite 85% saying it’s an important goal for their company. There’s a clear disconnect between the need for greater mobile application security and the adoption of secure development practices.

    In this post, we’ll discuss what it means to shift security left and how this approach can improve the security posture of an organization.

    What It Means to Shift Mobile App Security Left

    Shifting security left means implementing security tools and techniques earlier in the development process. When developers have the opportunity to remediate security issues in the context of the work they’re currently doing, it’s a more natural workflow that can dramatically improve the security posture of an application at a much lower cost.

    Shifting security left aligns closely with the DevSecOps mindset, where many companies are integrating security throughout their entire development process to achieve a secure software development lifecycle (SSDLC). This involves leveraging security tools and techniques during the development, testing, deployment, and production stages, from mobile application protection to mobile application security testing and penetration testing to real-time threat monitoring.

    The Benefits of Shifting Security Left

    Although many app publishers believe there’s a trade-off between strong security and faster time-to-market, it doesn’t need to be that way. Shifting security left can transform development teams from reactively fixing security vulnerabilities to proactively protecting their mobile apps from the start. In fact, developer-friendly security tools like a mobile application security testing solution enable developers to scan for security issues earlier in the development process to more efficiently address vulnerabilities without impacting app delivery.

    Below are some of the benefits many organizations see after shifting security left.

    Lower costs for cybersecurity

    As mentioned earlier, the costs of a security incident are significant. The impact of a security breach can include:

    • financial loss
    • reputational damage
    • IP theft
    • data loss 

    Preventing these security incidents by adopting secure coding best practices can dramatically reduce the overall costs associated with cybersecurity. Shifting left and educating developers about application security can also help eliminate systemic security issues within the development process itself. This can prevent new vulnerabilities from being introduced – and reduce the costs associated with remediating them – in the future as well.

    Streamlined application security

    Automated security tooling integrated directly with developer workflows can also reduce the resources required by security teams to ensure apps are fully protected. This seamless approach to application security can not only improve the security posture of an organization, but increase development velocity and accelerate vulnerability remediation as well. That’s because it’s much easier for developers to prevent security issues from the start rather than figure out how to remediate a vulnerability within code that was written months ago.

    Collaboration between development and security teams

    By adopting a DevSecOps approach and shifting security left, developers can work in tandem with cybersecurity teams to make mobile application security a priority and foster a mindset of shared responsibility. In fact, security professionals can train developers to become “security champions” that bring the security perspective into every software design decision. This goes a long way towards closing the growing mobile application security gap — and is a smart way to overcome the security talent shortage.

    Developer-Friendly Mobile Security Tooling

    In the mobile app space especially, development teams are often pressured to ship fast and be the first to market. That means shifting left requires leveraging tools and automated processes that fit seamlessly into developer workflows without slowing development. As a result, this agility to develop secure apps and redeploy them quickly using an automated continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline is invaluable for preventing security incidents.

    Guardsquare’s developer-friendly mobile app security suite includes application hardening, runtime application self-protection (RASP) and more. ThreatCast enables organizations to monitor their mobile apps in real-time. Security teams have full visibility into cyber threats impacting the organization, closing the SSDLC feedback loop and giving developers valuable security insights to incorporate into their code going forward. Using Guardsquare’s comprehensive set of mobile app security tools, mobile app developers can shift left and launch more secure apps faster than ever.


    Want to learn more about integrating security techniques and tooling into your mobile development process?

    Read our recent whitepaper >

    Other posts you might be interested in