App Risk Management Strategies

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Steven Jobs once said, “there will be an app for that.” The man, with the launch of the iPhone, revolutionized the way we interact with software. Not only that but our overall demands when it comes to tech companies. Today, years after that momentous announcement, apps are everywhere — they’ve migrated from our computers, as software, to our cell phones, and now to our smartphones. Today, there really is an app for that. And, companies that don’t have one are losing out on revenue, and credibility. Not having an app hurts your brand. But, like all great things, all radical leaps, they also come with a bitter pill. Apps expose you to risk, which then exposes you to liabilities, profit loss, and a thousand other issues. In this article, we’ll discuss APP risk management. Not only what app risk management is, but how it works, and why you need it.

What is app risk management?

App risk management is a process of identifying and mitigating risks associated with mobile apps. It is essential for app developers to be aware of the risks that their apps might pose to the end-user and to have a plan in place to mitigate these risks.

And we’re not only talking about intentional risks – such as cyberattacks but unintentional ones. For example, a programming error might expose private data, or expose trade secrets. Accidents, sometimes are more damaging than attacks. A great example is an app by a rather well-known fast-food chain, that accidentally allowed users access to their customer database — all the user had to do is click a button and input a wrong password. The combination of those two things allowed a person access to key private data. Oddly enough, and luckily, attackers only became aware of the error once the company came clean and made the public aware of it.


The former example displays how some coding error, a fault in testing, could have disastrous results.

How exactly does app risk management work?

App risk management is an incredibly complex strategy that allows companies to safeguard their products. What are they safeguarding? Well, it’s not only user data – like bank accounts, social security numbers, photos, and thousands of other private information, including but not limited to financial and medical info – but also trade secrets. Companies have to preserve important technical data about their products. How they are built, proprietary tech, their supply chains, their employee ID, and thousands of other factors that might, if pilfered, create a great deal of chaos.

Identify the risks associated with the product

The first step in app risk management is identifying the potential risks associated with an app. This can be done by talking to stakeholders, reviewing documentation, interviewing customers, and performing a SWOT analysis.


SWOT stands for Strength-Weakness-Opportunity-Threat — this type of analysis mostly focuses on things you have control over and can actually manage or change. Even factors like who is on your team, your patents, your location, your vendors, your intellectual properties.

Aside from a SWOT analysis, you’ll also need to look at your pipeline and your overall supply chain. Today, supply chain attacks are at an all-time high. Hackers can get to you by way of your vendors, or your third-party suppliers.

For example, malicious software can be embedded into an app or service you use. That software isn’t aimed at getting info or harming the company it used to piggyback on — it’s aimed at infecting you. A classic example occurred in 2013 when Target – the retail giant – was attacked. How were they attacked? Crooks used stolen credentials from one of their vendors to access the retailer’s network and get customer payment information.


Implement app risk management strategies

Once the risks are identified they can then be prioritized based on their severity and the likelihood of occurrence. Security is expensive. That’s part of what risk management takes into account. In this stage, you’ll also implement crisis response plans for worst-case scenarios.

Monitor and adapt to changing risks

The next step is determining how to mitigate these risks. This can be done by implementing security measures such as encryption or data protection, or by altering the design of an app so that it does not pose any significant risk to users.

App risk management strategies

Here are a few strategies you can implement in your app risk management efforts.


Risk Avoidance

This is the simplest method to handle risk — simply don’t participate in activities or environments that may expose your app to a threat.

Risk Reduction

A risk becomes less severe, with fewer drawbacks, through actions taken by your organization. You accept but implement safeguards to mitigate your exposure to the threat.

Risk Transfer

The risk is transferred via a contract to an external policy — this is the case when insurance is bought, by the company, to mitigate its losses in case of an attack.


Risk Sharing

The risk is shared with other vendors or employers. Contracts are drawn regarding what liabilities or activities each part has to enact if the app is attacked.

Risk Retention

This method accepts the risk, acknowledges it, and understands that it is a necessary risk since it may prevent even more damning risks down the road.

Which one of these strategies best suits you? It all depends on your company and your threats. It’s important to understand that each risk is different and that what might work for one, honest necessarily work for the other. By properly auditing your organization and its exposure you can get an idea of which strategy best suits you.


The benefits of an effective application of security risk management.

The term “Application Security” is used to describe the process of safeguarding applications from unwanted access, hacking or other threats. The benefits of an effective application of security risk management can be found in the following areas:

The benefits of an effective application of security risk management can be found in the following areas:

  • Lower your company’s risk profile by reducing vulnerabilities and increasing awareness among employees.
  • Enhancing customer trust and loyalty by providing them with a secure experience.
  • Reducing operational costs associated with security breaches and downtime.