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Ten Steps To Building Secure eCommerce and FinTech Applications

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Ed Ossawa
Senior Contributor

PM on FinTech projects.

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Nowadays, all websites and applications are at high risk of being attacked, and cases of data breaches are not isolated either. Poor security level is the main reason these issues occur. In fact, according to the latest data, 92% of all applications have major security flaws that can be easily exploited, and damage caused to a product or service can be unmeasurable. Therefore, taking care of app security should be a top priority to protect your business as well as customers. 

Application security is crucial for any industry. However, this aspect is of paramount importance for FinTech and eCommerce companies as they deal with large amounts of confidential customer data along with all their financial activities. Application security has to be your focus right from the ideation process. Thus, it’s imperative to know how to build a secure application, which we will be discussing below.

How to Create a Safe and Secure eCommerce Application 

To build the most secure application and protect it from viruses, malware, financial hacks, and theft, you should consider the following steps. 

Step #1: Come Up with a Detailed Plan

First of all, you have to figure out which parts and data of your application will be the most vulnerable and sensitive. Respectively, you need to figure out the main ways these parts can be protected from potential threats. The most effective and popular measures to protect confidential data are to use an app firewall, install an SSL certificate, and refrain from transmitting data in cleartext. 

Step #2: Ensure Secure Connection

Since FinTech and eCommerce are all about financial operations and payments, it’s essential to pay extra attention to protect these processes. It’s recommended to integrate some external payment systems such as PayPal. All transactions will be highly secure and safe as services like this adhere to all security standards. For instance, an eCommerce app won’t interact with customers’ bank details directly. Therefore, the possibility of a data breach will be eliminated. 

Step #3: Protect Code

Writing secure code is the next integral step toward getting a safe and protected application. It’s crucial to make the code portable between all OS and devices to allow engineers to adjust the code in case of a data leak. Also, make sure you implement access control policy and include input validation as it prevents penetration of malicious code into your application. To make sure you end up with a secure app, you should conduct test attacks to see whether they are successful or not. 

 

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Step #4: Ensure Security of Infrastructure

Infrastructural security is one of the aspects you should pay extra attention to when building a safe application. You can achieve this by putting into action perimeter defense and making sure all routers are configured accordingly to prevent potential attacks. Also, update and maintain operating systems regularly as these are the foundation of infrastructural security. 

You should restrain from downloading any applications or services on the server unless it’s absolutely necessary. Protecting your application servers is essential, and all web files have to be located on a separate drive than other system files, logs, and operating systems. Content Security Policy can be implemented as an additional security level that prevents attacks and data injection.  

To keep customer data safe, it’s highly recommended to use an HTTPS SSL certificate. Otherwise, a customer will get an alert before going to your web page or application. 

Step #5: Protect Workflow

The human factor can also be the reason for weak security. Employees should be extremely careful while working on the application as simply clicking on an unsafe URL can cost the product and compromise its security. Make sure you provide your employees with the safest workplace possible and maintain security measures and NDA for your team. If it’s possible, you should implement the ISO 27001 certificate, which is considered the best one for information security. 

Step #6: Conduct Testing 

Conducting regular security tests is obligatory to protect your app from hacking and data leaks. First of all, it’s paramount to check network security, test all servers, network devices, routers, firewalls, DNS, operating systems, and databases. Integral testing from the client’s side is needed as well to ensure no breaches occur. Server security testing should also be a part of the process to check if proper frameworks and tools are in place. The overall system and components have to be regularly checked by a specialist. 

Five Rules of Cost-Effective QA and Testing of FinTech Apps

Step #7: Implement Multi-Factor Authentication

A quite simple but significant and effective way to protect an application is to implement multi-factor authentication (or simply MFA). This authentication method makes access safer as it requires providing some specific data to log in the app. MFA will come in handy in case a device was stolen to prevent any unauthorized access to a profile. 

As an alternative, two-factor authentication is just as effective. In this case, identity is confirmed with a password and additional component (security question, fingerprint, or message with verification code). It’s essential to choose the most appropriate authentication type that will be suitable for your app. 

Step #8: Block Suspicious Payments

Make sure your application has the payment blocking feature. It’s necessary in case of suspicious activity such as withdrawing an unusual amount of money at an uncommon place. This feature is obligatory for a FinTech project to protect customer data as well as money from stealing. 

Step #9: Educate Customers

The last but not least step is making sure your customers are aware of the main security measures. Your efforts to create a safe application won’t be effective if users don’t follow the basics. It’s your primary task to inform or remind customers that: 

  • it’s crucial to download the app only from authorized app stores;
  • it’s recommended not to save username and password in the app;
  • it’s better not to use the app with a public Wi-Fi network;
  • it’s ideal to use a VPN and antivirus to reinforce protection. 

Don’t forget to remind your customers about the importance of a complex password that will serve as additional protection for their personal data.  

Step #10: Get Professional Assistance 

 To build a highly secure app, the best practice is hiring a team of accomplished developers with extensive experience. You should remember that a security breach can cost way too much for you. Therefore, it’s better to invest in professional help and steer clear of incompetent freelancers. It will help you avoid all potential risks and protect your customers as well as product. With professional assistance, you can be sure that the application is as secure as possible. 

Final Thoughts

The tips provided are aimed at helping you on your way to creating a highly secure application. As mentioned before, the importance of application security is unparalleled. Your main task is to channel all your resources and efforts toward security reinforcement to protect your product and customers. 

If you are just considering launching a brand new eCommerce or FinTech application, you should think about app security in advance. It’s worth noting that creating a secure application requires expertise and years of experience. It won’t be possible with the help of freelance developers as they lack specific knowledge in this field. So the smart decision would be opting for the help of experts that will implement the latest security practices and expertise.

Do you need help building a dedicated/extended Team or getting ad-hoc resources for your software development project fast and cost-effectively?