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How to create an efficient and highly secure FinTech app

Nisha Gopinath Menon
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June 21, 2022

Fintech applications play a crucial role in managing the finances of millions of individuals across the world. From disbursing and receiving payments to handling investments and providing consumers with a safe and secure platform to maintain their financial accounts, a fintech app has become irreplaceable for all in the last decade.

The fintech industry is known for its futuristic ideas and its quest to implement new-age technologies into their systems for convenience and security. These days, fintech apps have adopted machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data science to provide businesses and consumers with the best user experience. The ever-evolving technology of fintech apps has led consumers to believe that online transactions are safe and beneficial for long-term usage.

While the fintech industry is the creative brains behind leveraging modern technology and creating efficient applications to facilitate businesses, the software industry ensures that the market has a user-friendly, fast, and secured fintech app for use. At CognitiveClouds, we have enjoyed developing ambitious fintech applications that are steadily changing the face of online banking and transactions, and we are here to share our secret with you.

  1. Planning application security before development

Before deciding on the technology, you want your fintech app to incorporate and define your product and its purpose. Research the market for competitors, and check if your fintech application is viable and offers undeniable benefits to the consumers. Conducting interviews for focus groups and one-on-one interviews with users is a preferable way of collecting information about what your customers need in your fintech application.

Making a checklist of must-haves for your fintech application can be helpful while writing codes and creating a user interface. Besides, you must decide how to secure the application and its stored data. Creating a security policy for all members involved in the project is essential to ensure a safe developing environment while handling sensitive information. Creating a secure infrastructure before developing the application is the second-most important step that must be followed. For example, you need to choose a safe and renowned cloud merchant that abides by all modern cyber security standards if you want to host the application on the public cloud.

  1. Security Authentication

There are several ways to implement various security authentications to avoid storing payment card information on your application.

  • Opting for 2-factor authentication is an excellent option for improving your application security. It includes using a one-time password (OTP) being sent to your authenticated mobile number for you to access your account in the application. Another way of implementing 2-factor authentication would be to opt for a push notification that shows users into the app by tapping on it.

  • You can also program your fintech application to freeze suspicious logins and monitor all transactions. The system can block queries for high-risk transactions and alert the employees and the users about the actions to inspect the activities and avoid fraud.

  • An effective addition to the security of the fintech app would be to force users to create complex passwords using an extended character set and a virtual keyboard. They can also remind them to change it periodically to avoid theft and hacking.

  • The mark of a secure fintech application begins when it logs all user activities, including IP Addresses, geolocation, device data, and other important information that can help trace the user’s activities in case of any malicious actions.

  • Lastly, your fintech app should not be without a payment blocking feature to avoid theft and fraud. This mechanism blocks any suspicious activity from the user’s end, such as unusual withdrawals.

  1. Secure Code

While programming the fintech application, create proper algorithms to trace all flaws in the code. This is one of the most crucial components of the application since all customer information is saved on the server, and any bugs in the app can upset its security authentication. To ensure that, scanning and testing the source code for any vulnerabilities and breaches is necessary, along with checking if the code is agile and easily portable between different operating systems and mobile devices.

Some of the steps you can take to secure your app's source code are:

  • Input Validation: Including an input validation is a security step taken by developers to prevent hackers from injecting malicious code into the main source code for hacking crucial consumer data.
  • Monitor data sent to external networks: All data must be reviewed to ensure no sensitive information is being extracted and misused. Many fintech applications don’t allow an exchange of data with external networks since it is considered a security hazard.

  1. Secure Workflows

It’s pretty normal for employees working on the fintech app to mistakenly click on URLs that may threaten the code, lose the device that contained all the information, or with no fault of the employees; the system might misconfigure. To avoid any malpractices with the data and to secure the fintech application, developers should follow these steps:

  • Create a Backup: Backing up all the critical files, customer databases, and code is crucial, and a great save in times of urgency. Conduct a full system backup on a secure server or drive every 3-6 months to ensure that all essential files are copied.

  • Separate the workflows and development environments: Creating boundaries for each workflow and department prevents data from getting into the wrong hands or being misplaced. It is recommended that only the appointed application developers and the company authorities must have access to the data at the initial stages.

  • Formulate NDAs to protect your intellectual property: NDAs or Non-Disclosure Agreements are essential for onboarding employees or contractors into the development environment involving sensitive data and risk.

  • Implement the ISO 27001 Certificate: The ISO 27001 Certificate dictates the global information management and security standards.

  1. Testing

Thorough testing at regular intervals is vital for a successful, bug-free, and secure development of your Fintech application. The primary testing should be conducted on your application’s networks- servers, devices, and domain name system (DNS). The most cyber-threat-prone components of the network are the ones that are exposed to the public. Therefore, firewalls, routers, and servers must be tested for malware regularly. Additionally, testing your operating system and storage is necessary since that is where sensitive data will be stored and fetched for the application.

Another type of testing, known as Internal Testing, consists of HTML, JavaScript Execution, testing local storage, CSS injection, and Clickjacking (an attack that tricks the user into clicking on a webpage element masquerading as another element). Internal Testing occurs from the customer’s side, and it involves running the program on the browser to ensure there is no security breach. The final testing segment ensures that the tools, servers, and infrastructure for developing the fintech application are thoroughly tested and ready for use.

  1. Data Encryption

Data Encryption refers to translating data from plaintext (i.e., unencrypted) to ciphertext (encrypted) using data encryption algorithms. Most organizations encrypt their data using these algorithms, out of which the AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) is commonly used and preferred. Encryption ensures data protection and prevents it from being stolen even if sent to various other users. The best part about data encryption is that users can only access the data with the help of the encryption key and decrypt it by using the decryption key.

Conclusion

While data security is paramount while developing a fintech application, don’t forget to educate your employees and customers about its importance. Besides the regular cleanse and security check conducted by developers, many initiatives and precautions can be taken by clients while using the application to protect their financial data. Not utilizing a finance application on a public network, use authorized app stores to install fintech apps, and not save their usernames and passwords inside the application.

Fintech requires the most exceptional security measures to safeguard clients' data and win customer trust. CognitiveClouds has significant experience developing an efficient and highly secure fintech application. We have provided the latest solutions to the industry’s most renowned organizations and pride ourselves on prioritizing data security throughout the development process. Write to discuss your next fintech project.

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Nisha Gopinath Menon
Bangalore