Stop the Hack in its Tracks – 7 Steps to Secure Mobile Apps!

Secure Mobile apps should be a top priority for every mobile app developer. While security is often overlooked in mobile app design, every developer believes their app is most secure, and at the same time are afraid someone is going to hack their mobile app platform.

Stop the hack - 7 Steps to Mobile App Security.

Stop the hack – 7 Steps to Mobile App Security. Image Copyright: everythingpossible / 123RF Stock Photo

In either case, as a mobile app developer we need to ensure that adequate precautions are programmed, sufficient vulnerability testing for mobile app is performed and allow security to be an integral part of the design. Here are some simple and yet highly useful steps to follow.

To give you some context, many of the below items are essential for HIPAA compliance and SAX/PCI compliance.

Step 1: Make mobile security an integral part of your design. Think wholistic end-to-end mobile security, starting from the user to the backend infrastructure. Consider authentication, password complexity, data transmission, data storage, data processing, third-party integration, storage of images, videos, documents and infrastructure setup.

Step 2: Authentication and password complexity protects your mobile app at the end-user level. This makes the process easier for users while making sure there are no loop-holes if a device is being used. If critical data is not protected, devices can be lost.

Step 3: Storing data including username and passwords locally on the device. This is a situation that seems so easy to overlook while being the easiest to protect. Make sure authentication credentials are stored in either “Device KeyChain” or “Managed Storage.” Both these methods encrypt critical information when they are stored on mobile devices. For other app data, determine if they need to be encrypted before being stored locally.

Step 4: Sending data back and forth from the server aka mobile transport layer needs to be fully secure. The easiest way to achieve this is to setup https (secure http) using a SSL certificate. Make sure the certificate is properly created covering all ciphers schemes.

Step 5: Server side code vulnerabilities are one of the easiest to make but very difficult to find. You need specialized vulnerability tools to identify and fix such issues.

Step 6: Data storage is probably already secure. The best way to secure data is to encrypt it during storage. This is called data-at-rest encryption. This increases the server resource requirements in order to encrypt and decrypt at run-time. But it’s still worth it.

Step 7: This is the one area that involves people and therefore most risky if you don’t have good procedures. All admin credentials need to be changed at periodic intervals. When an employee leaves, make sure to delete their credentials. And finally document all processes.

If you follow these seven steps, you can stop the hack or at least greatly reduce your chances of getting hacked.


For help with your “Mobile App Development” project, call us at +1 949 284-6300 or email us at [email protected] Alternatively, you can  Schedule a free consultation (https://sunverasoftware.com/schedule-consultation.html)  .

 

Top 5 Mobile App Development Tools For iOS

Choosing the best Mobile App Development Tools is always a challenge. Apart from the straight forward basic development tools like XCode for iOS development from Apple, there are a number of other tools to consider if you are serious about mobile apps.

Xcode  8 and Xcode 9

Xcode is the cornerstone for iOS mobile app development. Apple Xcode Mobile App Development ToolPublished and maintained by Apple, this tool is has everything to get a project going.  Their latest version  Xcode 8 includes everything one needs to create amazing apps for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. The IDE features a visual designer to ensure your layouts mimic exact device displays.

Further their cross-device auto-layout modes allow programmers to design once and publish across multiple devices with great ease and simplicity. Of course, as things become complex Xcode is powerful enough to allow one to get creative.

Apple iOS, Watch and tvOS simulatorSimulator (Part of Xcode)

Xcode’s iOS Simulator is one of the best tools to perform 90+% of tests and validations. This tool allows almost all types of tests except hardware integration testing or device to device communication testing. Simulator (Watch) allows Apple Watch testing. One can launch a number of simulators to test all device form-factors.

 

ImageOptim

Optimize images faster

 

Every mobile app will have static picture and images. Even if you don’t have large number of images, use ImageOptim to optimize images before including them in your build. Even if
you compress by 25%, you save download time which can mean “not losing” customer who want to use your app. Consider this – Compression of 25% can save over 1 to 2 seconds. This simple tool greatly helps develop great mobile apps.

 

 

Bitbucket or Github

One thing is certain – sooner or later you are going to make mistakes or some catastrophe is going to strike your code. So be prepared and save yourself trouble, frustration and time to recover your lost work. We highly recommend using online (or a central repository) source code control software.

Bitbucket for mobile app developmentGithub for mobile app development

 

PromoMyApp (OK this is the 6th)

DISCLAIMER: This is a Sunvera Software platform to promote mobile apps.Promote Your Mobile App
Once you have a mobile app, the biggest challenge it to promote it to your audience. PromoMyApp takes
the content from your mobile app and then makes it discoverable. In addition to publishing optimized pages to Google Webmaster and Bing Webmaster Tools, the platform is working on a video publishing to YouTube and Facebook. For more information on PromoMyApp visit promomyapp.com or email [email protected].

 

 

 


For help with identifying the right tool set for your “Mobile App Development” project, reach out to us at +1 949 284-6300 or email us at [email protected] Alternatively, you can  Schedule a free consultation (https://sunverasoftware.com/schedule-consultation.html)  .

It’s Going to Cost What? (Mobile App Development Cost)

Lady Retail Shopping with Mobile AppWhy is it so hard to get an accurate cost on a mobile app project? After all, most mobile app development cost are pretty straightforward.  Say, if you need to price out a new website, you can simply estimate the number of pages, hours and cost per hour. Done.

But pricing out mobile app development cost is more challenging. People ask me, “why is that?” The short answer: there is a lot going on “behind the curtain” that you never see. Only your developer does. And I’d like to share the key pieces you should know about.

  1. iPhone, iPad App: The actual mobile app that your users will install on their iPhones and iPads. Instagram or Yelp app.
  2. Admin Console: A browser based web portal to administer your system. Tasks such as locking users out or unlocking them, financial reporting, usage reports, uploading content including images, videos etc. to make them available to your mobile user. For example: Instagram or Yelp support teams use to manage the entire system from their desktop browser.
  3. Client web portal: In some cases, your users will want to administrate some functions from a desktop browser. This then becomes very critical. A client portal is also needed when you have a tenant-landlord model of apps. For example: Yelp desktop browser access for businesses to manage their accounts.
  4. Data Storage: Cloud based storage of data, images, offers, information, bills, invoices, etc. Your mobile app will need to access this data for everything it does. For example Instagram or Yelp stores all pictures, business information and user info in a data store on their servers.
  5. Hosting and Database: Most (90%) of apps have some hosting component. Even basic simple apps will want to store registration information including emails to do some email newsletter marketing. This cost can run into millions depending on how much traffic you are targeting.
  6. Security: Specialized apps like in healthcare or fintech will need extra layer of security for app, app transport and data-storage.
  7. Third-party integration: Sendgrid, MailChimp for email sending, Salesforce, Zoho, Microsoft Dynamics, SilverPop for CRM, Stripe, Autorize.NET, PayPal for Payment processing, etc. Each of these services have a setup/service fee that you will have to budget for.

The diagram below shows how they connect.

diagram

 

If you are truly interested in estimating your true cost, multiply 3x of whatever your mobile app developer or  mobile app development company tells you.

 


For help with your “Mobile App Development” project, call us at +1 949 284-6300 or email us at [email protected] You can  also Schedule a FREE consultation (https://sunverasoftware.com/schedule-consultation.html)  .

What matters most in mobile app development?

Over the last few years of working with clients and meeting prospects for mobile app development in Orange County, CA, we kept hearing the same things over and over again:

  • Where do we start?
  • How much does it cost?

So here you go:

Let’s go thru cliche talk first: The best place to start a mobile app development project is always at the users’ doorstep. Meet each prospective user, converse with them, understand their needs, and discuss the solutions.

Of course no-one has time to do this and of course your idea is the best. So start with a simple and thoroughly written definition of the problem and proposed solution. Draw up a simple wireframe like below. There is no need for a tool.

Mobile App Development Wireframe

Ok, for costs, read our other post on mobile app development costs. It never costs as much as you fear, if you are able to define your requirements properly. Do remember that mobile app development costs consists of iPhone app development, Android app development and any backend portal development costs. We have seen requests with the same verbal one-liner – “oh…I need a video site like YouTube.” That confuses us and the quote annoys you.

Try the above and then ask a development company for advise (or a quote.) You will be happy you did your homework.

For more information reach out to our President Ram Iyer ([email protected]) Or our Operations Director Rick Johnston ([email protected].)

Top 3 Mobile App Developer Qualities

(Updated: 15 May 2017)

mobile app developer

Selecting mobile app developers is hard. It is almost same as selecting a painter for your house or a mechanic to fix your car. In addition to delayed project and lost monies, you will have to live with your decision for foreseeable future. A wrong decision could cause you to lose your business or even costly law suites.

So what should you look for in a mobile app developer. (BTW – Quora has a number answers but most of those are self-serving ads – plugs. Check here.)

Domain Expertise

The single biggest factor in any successful project is two types of domain expertise – business domain and technology domain. Business domain is your (customer’s) domain – like healthcare with HIPAA, retail commerce, financial expertise, etc. Whereas technology expertise is backend tech stack, frontend UI, hosting and deployments.

Must Have Domain Expertise For Mobile App Development

  • iOS Development
  • Android Development
  • Combination of Node.js, MongoDb, Microsoft .NET, MS SQL Server, MySQL
  • Linux, Windows Deployment
  • Github or Bitbucket

Among others the following expertise may be required

  • Device Specific Abilities
  • Video processing
  • Audio processing
  • Geo abilities
  • Bluetooth

Development Process and Team Approach

You want your developer to have a team to support. A team is not just set of mobile app developers. You also need non-technical people in the team like project manager, designer, test engineer, documentation person. A good team will ensure your project is discussed and many-many thing that you never thought of are identified and handled properly.

Adherence to Cost and Budget

You want your mobile app developer to not only not cost you a lot of monies, but also be cost conscious and ensure they are following best practices. At the same time, you don’t want your team to hire newbies and therefore produce a mediocre product. They have to ensure your product is done right, well thought and is able to scale up to load as needed.

For more information how Sunvera can help you, please contact [email protected] or call 949 284-6300.

 

 

iOS vs Android – Which Is Better?

Can you afford not to consider losing out from choosing the wrong platform for your next big mobile app development project? When it comes to all things mobile, iOS vs Android is the only initial question. As a mobile app development company, one should always consider the pros and cons of choosing the right launch iOS vs Androidplatform. Once successful, you can always expand to the other platforms.

So how do you choose the right platform?

iOS vs Android

Let’s start with some comparisons as users see it – some obvious and some not-so-obvious differences.

iOS

IOS logo

Android

Android Logo

Types of devices

iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple Watch, Apple TV

Android Phone, Android Tablets, Android Watch, Custom gear and devices

Market share (USA)

43.5%

55.3%

Market Share (Worldwide)

12.5%

86.8%

Customer Loyalty

Very high customer loyalty. Customer do not switch easily.

No specific loyalty to manufacturer, many customers switch depending on availability and price.

Capabilities

All devices are standard with front/back camera, microphone, speakers, bluetooth, gyro, magnetometer, accelerometer.

All devices are standard with front/back camera, microphone, speakers, bluetooth, gyro, magnetometer, accelerometer.

Screen Sizes

iPhone: 4in to 5.5in.

iPad: 7.9in to 12.9in.

Manufacturer dependent. Several options available including standard sizes.

Native APIs

Native APIs are extensive and good.

Native APIs are extensive and good.

Third-party APIs

Third party APIs available but need Apple approval.

Third parties are encourage to provide APIs including by device manufacturers and third party providers.

External Hardware

Most Apple accessories are expensive.

Typically, Android accessories are inexpensive. You can also fined similar items from multiple vendors.

Ease of programming

Objective C is very powerful and Swift is easier. Both Objective-C and Swift can co-exist.

Java is mainstream and easier to learn. Android Java is customized for Android OS.

Release to Store

Apps have to be reviewed by Apple and can take up to two or three days.

Apps are simply uploaded and published. No need for Google approval.

App store promotion

Store promotion can be setup via ASO (App Store Optimization) including sponsored placements.

Store promotion can be setup via ASO (App Store Optimization) including sponsored placements.

Both iOS and Android are so similar functionally, yet different in so many ways when it comes to individual character, performance, usability and affordability. This unity in diversity makes it harder to decide which direction to go when developing a mobile app.

Two most important considerations are:

Market share of your immediate target market

Your immediate market is your core group of users. although most US markets are iOS heavy while rest of the world is Android, this core group may be tilted towards iOS vs Android unevenly. iOS also gives you an advantage by making sure you are addressing a clear target market as opposed to Android.

Our advice is to go choose iOS  for your mobile app development project if you are looking to target the US.

Programming, implementation & testing

Developing mobile apps is always tricky. One never knows if your app will succeed or fail. You can minimize risks by reduce time and cost of development, testing and release. If you consider iOS vs Android development environments, iOS offers a good eco-system to accomplish all the three. iOS environments allow a tighter control on development allowing you to quickly setup a good XCODE development environment.

You can also ensure full range of testing with iPhone, iPod and iPad devices. Android on the other hand is slightly harder to test because of hundreds of devices including custom device manufacturer builds.

Conclusion

If you are considering iOS vs Android, there is no escaping with a single device rollout. Choosing the right first platform will lower your cost of development, reduce development time thus allowing you to go-to-market quickly with less headaches.


For help with deciding between “iOS vs Android – Which is better?”, reach out to us at 1 949 284-6300 or email us at [email protected] Alternatively, you can  Schedule a free consultation (https://sunverasoftware.com/schedule-consultation.html)  .

Why We Love Mobile Apps? A look at mobile app or mobile web.

Between endless debates about mobile app or mobile web, the real benefits are lost. Let’s start with some statistics on mobile usage…Mobile Apps Rule

  • There are over 2.2 billion (with a ‘b”) smartphone users in the world.
  • 48% Buy from Smartphone on Amazon.
  • Majority of emails (above 60%) are opened on smartphones.
  • And, U.S. annual mobile ad spending will reach $72 billion by 2021

That means there is no escaping mobile.

But the big question is why mobile apps?

Mobile apps give you capabilities that take user experience beyond normal. For example – video capture and viewing, proximity, maps & directions, voice controlled “bots”, Health & Fitness, Financial & Payments, and many more. More examples here on Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_content. Native experience is invaluable to users.

So where do mobile apps fail?

Mobile apps fail when the service they offer aren’t properly thought thru, all-in-one complex solution that are not properly conceptualized, over engineered and badly implemented.

How to make mobile apps “Loveable”?

At Sunvera, we have had the opportunity to develop apps for our customers (MedHero, Savezees, Altura Strategies) that are well thought thru and accomplish a great deal with super simplicity. Our goal has always been to make life easier for users and that leads to super simple apps with high degree of task-accomplishment.

By focusing on real user-needs and avoiding fluff, bloat and the itch to be all-in-one solution, one can develop apps that people will love. Combine that with great graphics and you have a winner at hand. Then mobile app or mobile web app becomes an irrelevant discussion.

Finally, no app is going to sell by itself – find a way to market, promote (see promomyapp.com) and sell your app to your target audience.

Go forth and build apps that people love.

 

How to pick an iBeacon technology mobile app company?

Picking a iBeacon Mobile App Developer can be tricky and stressful. Not to mention, there are not many developers with the expertise and deep rooted understanding of app development let alone ibeacon technology.

Let’s start with “What is an iBeacon?

iBeacon is an indoor positioning technology from Apple Inc. that expands the location services of iOS 7 and beyond devices. The technology enables small low-powered, low-cost transmitter devices to send out messages to the nearby devices. With this technology, an iOS and Android device can send a push notification and take actions based on iBeacon trigger.iBeacon and mobile devices

For more information on iBeacons refer to sunverasoftware.com/ibeacon-development.html

What is special about iBeacons?

iBeacons are simple one-way bluetooth transmitting devices. They fall into the same group as IoT technology. In reality they are simpler to program from a computer science point of view. However, like in all cases simpler a device or process, harder it is to get it right.

What we do with iBeacons is far more important than the ability to program them.

How to identify a good iBeacon mobile app developer?

Our first advise is to start at the basics. Find a developer who knows who is strong in implementing a solution and not just provide you with code. Implementing a solution involves the following steps:

  1. Design and architect a solid solution with customers as primary focus. This means we need to make sure all of customer workflows are properly documented. Use cases written and great customer UI/UX are validated.
  2. Choose the right set of technologies. Of the many technologies – in particular case of using iBeacons it is important to develop mobile apps using native programming languages. Objective C and Swift for Apple iOS and Android Java for Google Android platforms. Backend portal and API will depend on individual project.
  3. Ensure your mobile app development company know ins and outs of publishing the apps on Apple iTunes Store and Google Play Stores.

And lastly, when in doubt always seek expert advise. There is also tons of information on Apple Developer Portal, Google Developer Portal and StackOverflow.com.

 


For help with your “Mobile App Development” project, call us at +1 949 284-6300 or email us at [email protected] Alternatively, you can  Schedule a free consultation (https://sunverasoftware.com/schedule-consultation.html)  .

Best platforms to scale mobile app to 100,000+ users

Originally answered by Ram Iyer, President of Sunvera Software on QUORA in response to:

If you had to develop a new mobile/web application that had to support 100,000+ users what language would you use?

I am assuming you are looking for technology stack – here is the run down…

Determine if you app needs mobile specific abilities – pictures, videos, gyro, bluetooth, etc. If so – definitely go native. I know cross-platforms can support all of these and in some cases may even be easier. But over the long-term, you will benefit from going native. Your ultimate goal is to scale mobile app to 100,000+ users.

  • IOS: Objective C or Swift
  • Android: Android Java

For your backend, you need to determine if you are going to have a lot of image processing or video/audio processing, could be geo coordinate processing and may be real-time chat like functionality. Once you know those you can choose from a variety of platforms.

Stack choices

  1. Node.js, MongoDB, Nginx, Socket.IO, etc.
  2. ASP.NET/MVC5, MS SQL Server, etc.
  3. LAMP

Again depending on your need, pick a stack that you are comfortable with.

Finally, you need to see if you are going to do all yourself or may be assemble a team (if you don’t have one) or out-source. In any case make sure your team is familiar and comfortable with the stack. You could end up spinning your and your teams wheels if you pick something unfamiliar.


If you have a project that needs to scale very high (upwards of 3 million visits), call us for a FREE consultation. For more information how Sunvera can help you, please contact [email protected] or call 949 284-6300.

To Keep Your Job, Know These 3 Things About Mobile App Development

Many times we walk into client meetings and immediately get asked, “What are the three most important things in rolling out a mobile app development project?” Of course, each client is different so we respond accordingly. However, we started to notice a common theme in our responses when we were dealing with decision makers.

So we decided to create a 3-point guide for developing mobile applications.  Mobile apps are typically task-based, life-style, entertainment or game oriented applications that use very specific smart-phone abilities like GPS, Gyro, Bluetooth, Picture, Video, Audio, Camera and human-interactions.

What is really possible with mobile devices?

Mobile Features - GPS, GYRO, Video, Audio

Mobile Features

To create an effective mobile app, we need to be using not only core mobile abilities but also peripherals that interact innocuously with mobile devices. Core abilities include the GPS, Gyroscope, Camera, Audio recorder, Picture, Video and Audio player, Gesture, Touch and Tap interfaces. Peripheral interfaces include iBeacons, iOT, Wireless, Bluetooth, etc. And finally understanding usage of in-app notifications, Text-messaging, VOIP calling is critical to mobile app success.

A clear understanding of which ones to use and when to use them; is very critical to any mobile app.

See categories list at Apple.com

Apple App Store Categories

What are App Types?

There are several categories and sub-categories for App Types. And the list between Apple iTunes and Google Play stores is exhaustive and confusing. To identify correctly, you need to have a thorough understanding of your user personas.

Checkout the Apple list here https://developer.apple.com/app-store/product-page/. This has a profound impact on your app discoverability. Choosing the right category will have a profound effect on your app store performance.

How do we make people download our app?

Drive Downloads

Get more downloads

Making people download your app comes down to grass-roots marketing and promotion. We have seen crappy apps get tons of downloads while great apps languish with very little activity. Here are some of the things to consider – building an email list to run traditional email marketing, Google Adwords, SEO for App web pages, Social-media marketing among others. Which ones to execute will depend on your own marketplace, user interests and domain.

Focusing on these multidimensional aspects of mobile apps will make your app truly great and will lead to success.