As businesses mobilize their customers and employees, they need to develop innovative mobile applications that safeguard user trust. But secure mobile development and manual security testing can be expensive and time-consuming—a bigger challenge in slowing economies. However, the latest innovations in security automation for mobile teams can drive down security costs by half while speeding release time, getting quality mobile apps to market faster to grow revenue faster.
With mobile dominating all digital time spent online versus the web, businesses cannot compromise the safety of their mobile users and mobile data. Security automation integrated throughout the development process empowers developer, QA and security teams’ efficiency, enabling faster release cycles with built-in security. This approach powers success for digitally enabled businesses that depend on mobile apps to generate revenue, engage customers and tap new markets.
A single security vulnerability within a mobile app can instantly damage a business’s financial stability, brand reputation and customer trust. Even highly respected brands like UnderArmour and British Airways experienced serious issues after their mobile apps were breached. Business leaders should consider the benefits of adding security automation directly into the development pipeline to drive quality and protect users in a cost-effective manner.
Faster, Lower Cost Developer Cycles
Suppose a business creates a 12-week plan to develop, test and release a mobile app software update with a labor budget of $60,000 per week. The development team creates a schedule to write the code in 10 weeks and allocates a two-week period for a manual security pentest. After developers finish writing the code, they must wait for the pentest results to point out any security issues. When testing uncovers security issues, devs, security analysts and QAs must determine which issues need to be remediated. Then the devs can fix the issue, retest to ensure it is properly fixed, then release it. Most of the time, finding any issues delays the release by weeks or months, delaying the expected revenue generation and other business benefits by weeks or months, in turn.
Instead, businesses can take a cost-effective approach by running security automation continuously through the development life cycle. Dev teams can write code, allow security automation to run during off hours, and have tickets with built-in remediation info sent back to devs the next day. This can remove weeks of testing and remediation delays to ensure teams release on time and on budget. Businesses can cut costs further by establishing common coding, testing and remediation policies in advance and then deploying an automated policy engine to focus on just those security requirements and issues relevant to the policy to operate at the fastest pace possible.
Integrating automated security testing into development tools enables DevSecOps teams to build, test, fix and release faster with security built in. Not only does this strategy increase the security and quality of the mobile app, it drastically lowers development costs by improving team efficiency.
Faster, Lower Cost Security Testing Cycles
Every organization with a mobile app has different security requirements. Those with low-risk mobile apps may outsource their security testing once or twice a year. Those in highly regulated industries like healthcare and financial services may have internal security analysts and test as often as every release and event outsource pen testing quarterly. Whether testing internally or externally, security testing costs can become a major pain point for companies looking to manage their finances efficiently.
The average cost of a full-scope, two-week outsourced manual pentest costs around $15,000 to $20,000 per test. If an organization tests its mobile app on a quarterly basis, its pentesting costs jump to $60,000 to $80,000 per year. Internal pentesting teams can potentially be cheaper, but organizations still need to pay for analysts’ salaries and the tools and resources they need to conduct tests. Whether a business has an internal security team or relies on outsourced manual pentests, leveraging security automation can significantly reduce costs.
Businesses with internal security teams can use automation to test builds immediately after devs release code. By continuously assessing code quality from start to finish, security teams can eliminate their testing time and speed up release cycles. Businesses that outsource security testing can use security automation to cut costs by reducing the frequency of full-scope manual pentests. Instead of testing on a biannual or quarterly basis, continuous automation can help reduce the testing frequency to once or twice a year with comparable coverage.
The most efficient approach possible is the hybrid security automation approach of guided testing that combines daily automated security testing as mobile apps are built with periodic human security analysts for coverage of the parts of the mobile app that automation can’t cover. Guided testing starts below $20,000 per mobile app for unlimited automated security testing integrated into DevSecOps toolchain with four periodic guided tests per year, slashing outsourced quarterly pentesting costs by more than 75%.
Mobile apps play an important role in helping businesses generate much-needed revenue, but running fast and cutting corners without security built in ultimately places the business and users at risk. So business leaders should take extra steps to keep them secure, and securing mobile apps can be achieved without breaking the bank. By incorporating security automation and innovations like guided testing into the mobile app development process, businesses can maximize the speed of delivery while simultaneously reducing costs and improving quality.