Harlow Technologies Blog
Low-Code App Development Platforms – Are They Secure?
Businesses in all industries are creating custom applications, but most don’t have the in-house skill to build one from scratch. As a result, we’ve seen a dramatic rise in the use of low-code app development platforms. Companies are looking for quick, versatile ways to create programs that work for them.
At the same time, we’re also seeing a sharp increase in foreign cyberattacks – something that concerns businesses of all shapes, sizes, and industries.
This brings us to a key question: low-code app platforms are simple and effective, but are they secure against the latest threats?
The short answer is that they do have potential security vulnerabilities, but a trained professional can negate these concerns and make even no-code applications safer. Today on the Harlow Tech blog, we want to dive deeper into low-code solutions and the importance of secure application development.
About Low-Code App Solutions
What exactly are no- or low-code development platforms? Essentially, they are dev platforms that offer all the necessary ingredients for software development – without the need for trained developers.
These no- or low-code platforms typically offer:
- Drag and drop interfaces
- Prebuilt functions
- Customizable templates
Think of these platforms as made-to-assemble furniture. All the pieces and tools are in the box, so even if you’re not an experienced crafter, you are equipped with everything you need to quickly build something great.
The simplicity of these development tools is bringing custom apps to more businesses, thereby increasing productivity and personalization like never before. At the front of the low-code platform pack stands Claris FileMaker: a cross-platform relational database
application that makes custom but secure application development possible for all kinds of organizations.
We have an abundance of resources on Claris FileMaker, so we won’t dive too deeply into what makes this the best option for many companies. What we will explore today are the possible threats to platforms like FileMaker – and what we can do about them.
Potential Threats to No or Low-Code Platforms
The bottom line is that no- and low-code development environments make software design accessible to the average person – but this also makes protecting them a little more challenging.
Developer teams are working on new ways to meet evolving risks head-on, and every custom app team will need to stay on top of the best security practices. The primary security risks include:
1) Low visibility
When any developer uses a platform from a third-party (rather than building code from scratch), there’s less visibility. The team might not know what the source code looks like or how vigorously it’s tested and defended, which could leave vulnerabilities.
However, businesses can mitigate this risk by learning more about the low-code vendor’s practices. Customers are allowed to request a software bill of materials, ask questions
about the source code, and seek materials on security practices. This can help them understand where vulnerabilities may lie and how to address them.
2) Shadow IT
Shadow IT is a term used to describe the use of software apps and services that are not backed by a real IT department. Because low-code platforms are made to be used by anyone, they aren’t managed by a crew of IT professionals, and that in itself poses a risk.
When anyone is allowed to mess with an app’s code, the risk of exposure and cyber breaches is higher. As a result, even companies that turn to low-code platforms often outsource secure application development services from experienced third parties. This tends to be the safer, easier way to ensure a low-code app is adequately protected.
3) Insecure code
In the development world, “insecure code” refers to code that is not properly guarded against accidents and security vulnerabilities. This can become a common problem when an app’s code is shared across different organizations, as is often the case with low-code platforms.
The solution to this problem is typically to scan and test all codes to ensure insecure code elements are not replicated. We recommend working with a consultant that specializes in your low-code platform of choice. More than general developers, these custom app consultants will be well-versed in the risks of insecure codes and vulnerabilities in low-code platforms.
Combatting No-Code Platform Security Issues
The best way to ensure completely secure application development through a no- or low-code platform is to plan ahead. Rather than reacting once a data leak or cyberattack occurs, use your preparation process to anticipate security risks before launching the application.
Prior to giving any employee access to the app’s code, consider:
- What your security audit process will entail
- How you will scan code for vulnerabilities
- Who will have access to the low-code app development platform
- How your team will track data, dependencies, and risks
If you’re working with a small team that has little to no experience developing applications, one of your first steps should also be to look for a custom app consultant. You need someone in your corner that can help with the coding, but more importantly, ensure secure application development and plan for risk mitigation in the future.
The Wrap Up
No one understands the mixed blessing of low-code development tools like us. They’re easily accessible, versatile, and simple, which is great for the average business. However, they’re also not always up-to-snuff in terms of cybersecurity – and that can be a problem.
If you’re planning to code your own app through a low-code platform, take time now to understand how you will address and prepare for vulnerabilities. Your business will reap the rewards of your preparation in the years to come.
Concerned About Your Low-Code App? Contact Harlow Technologies Today
Our team specializes in low-code app development via Claris FileMaker. We’ve spent nearly three decades providing building custom business solutions and learning the ins and outs of secure application development, and we’re here to help your organization.
If you’re looking for more than just quick security shortcuts, give us a call at 1-866-852-4HTI. You can also send us a message online. We look forward to making your low-code application safer, more productive, and customized to you.