How to Know Your Data Is Protected Within an App

Written by Heather Mueller on September 26, 2019

Posted in IT + Security

When considering new software subscriptions and apps for your team, what’s the first item you consider?

  • Features and functions?
  • Prices and package options?
  • Demos and free trials?

How about security?

If you’re assuming all software security is equally robust, you may want to rethink your approach to adopting new tools.


The app data security struggle

With so many tech companies at the forefront of record-high data security breaches, you’d think they’d adopt the strongest, most advanced data security measures. 

Well, a recent report put that theory to the test — and the findings are somewhat shocking. Based on the app features and security measures that developers prioritized in 2019, 98% of small businesses claim to protect their app users’ data. However, most companies have not implemented the basic measures required for online security and compliance. 

Less than half of small businesses encrypt their user data or implement two-factor authentication, and just 41% require strong user passwords for access to mobile apps.

These oversights leave company data less protected and more vulnerable than ever.

So, how can you be sure your company data stays protected within each app?

To help, we put together a quick list of the most important app security features. Whether you’re evaluating your current tech stack or considering new solutions, be sure these features are implemented to keep your data as safe as possible. 


1. Data encryption

Encryption is vitally important because it makes confidential customer and company data unreadable to outsiders. As the virus and malware experts at Norton describe it:

“Encryption is the process of helping protect personal data by using a ‘secret code’ to scramble it so that it cannot be read by anyone who doesn’t have the code.”

With vast amounts of information stored in the cloud and on servers, it’s imperative to protect information with encryption to ensure no one but you can read the information you store online. At a minimum, be on the lookout for industry standards including 256-Bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) for encrypting and decrypting email.

To learn more about Formstack’s approach to data encryption, check out these resources:


2. Password protection

Did you know that half of enterprise employees reuse passwords for work-related accounts? There’s only one sure way to break that habit. Change the requirements for staff passwords to make them stronger.  

When vetting new apps, look for the ability to require specific lengths and characters as well as safeguards to prevent employees from reusing existing passwords. And if your current software offers these app data security features, use them!

Strong passwords are essential for securing any kind of company data and documents, and become especially critical if you collect sensitive customer information such as credit card numbers and addresses.

Read More: 3 Essential Password Security Tips to Keep Data Breaches at Bay.


3. Security compliance safeguards

PCI, SOC, GDPR, HIPAA… depending on your industry, these and other acronyms should be familiar to whoever is responsible for selecting and managing your apps.

No, you don’t have to become an expert on every industry regulation or compliance requirement. But you do need to ensure that any technology you use complies with them. At a minimum, you could end up paying for software you can’t use. Worst case scenario, you’ll end up facing hefty fines for security compliance violations.

Before buying licenses or signing a new contract, check to make sure the app has security features in place that allow you to meet all requirements and regulations.

For further reading on the latest industry regulations, take a look at these blog posts:

The longer you wait to put the above measures in place, the greater your risk of compromised data. Our recommendation? Start by evaluating the security features of apps currently being used by employees. Then, put a process in place to vet future vendors before you commit to a subscription.


Looking for a strong, secure app for collecting data on the go? The Formstack Go app has everything you need to capture information at conferences or in the field — and includes the most advanced app data security features available today.