Mobile Application Security Testing for Startups

Any startup company developing mobile or web applications go through a great deal of ordeal to deliver these projects. There is always so much to do, always a deadline to meet, and always a crunch of resources (financial and human). While combating all these challenges, it is easy for entrepreneurs to overlook some mission-critical tasks and one of such tasks is Application Security Testing.

Onboard the right resources: For any startup, it is extremely essential to get a good start to the testing culture. So where does this process begin? Well, it starts right from the hiring process. Look for candidates who are curious about technology, are insightful and show willingness to accept and adapt. The candidate should have a passion for testing and should appreciate the challenges involved. It is equally essential that you have a testing team with diverse skills, including platforms, languages, hardware and software.

Identify the target Platform: Keep in mind that the testing matrix can be quite big and complex. Choose your platforms carefully if you have limited resources and time. Ensure that your app works perfectly well on a few selected platforms. Also, as there will always be a limited testing budget and rapidly-evolving application, manual testing is a better approach (until your product stabilizes) as it can help find real bugs and can be altered quickly with the changing features.

Do not miss out on Usability: For a startup planning to launch a mobile application, usability testing is one of the most vital tasks. Evaluate the page layout and color schemes. Ensure that the layout is intuitive. Users should be instinctively drawn to the main features of the application. Important features such as Search, About, Help and other instructions should be easily visible and accessible. If the application is to be launched in non-English speaking markets, ensure that your application shows consistency in terms of messages, symbols and text. Usability testing should be done once the application is ready, but before it is made available to end users or paying customers.

Data testing is important: Data test must be a part of the test strategy and include data archival and deletion in the scope of testing. Even the most basic of applications must be tested for different carriers and operating systems, as the performance can greatly vary. For any mobile application, keep in mind the screen size discrepancies. Also, check your application for performance at different battery levels and when the user gets a message, call or MMS. The displayed messages must be concise, clear and actionable.

Learn from others’ mistakes: While developing and testing your mobile application, look at similar apps and find out, as a user, what you like and what you don’t. You can use this knowledge to include additional features and avoid mistakes. Also find out user reviews about competitor’s applications and take advantage of their weak spots. There are also some free tools available that shows the developers how well their application functions in real-world conditions. The tools score the application based on download, installation and usage, and reports the issues.

Secure applications gain customer confidence: For a startup, security testing can be daunting, and can become highly complex. However, availability, authentication, authorization, integrity, confidentiality and non-repudiation are some of the most basic testing concepts. Keep in mind that security testing can be challenging. However, investing in security testing will eventually gain customer confidence. Some of the free security testing tools and resource include Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), Paros Proxy, Wireshark, Tamper Data, Burp Suite and SQL inject Me.

An unsuccessful first launch will cost you a lot of money and reputation. Ensure a successful launch and make a name for yourself by planning well and Testing well!