Secure the Password
A username/password combination is the most common way to gain access to software products. You can and should advise your customers on how to choose good passwords, but that advice works both ways.
For instance, we all might agree that writing passwords on a piece of paper near the computer is a bad idea, but storing them unhashed in the database is the same as writing them down, and many companies do just that. Anyone who compromises your server not only has access to your customer’s data, but might also get their password if you’ve not taken basic measures to secure it. Since many passwords are reused, a password breach on your site might translate into access to customer email or social media accounts.
Guard Personal Information
Passwords aren’t the only secure details your software may need to retain. You may find yourself storing street addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and other details that might transform a casual data breach into a significant disaster for your customers.
Here, too, encrypting data may prove useful. Unfortunately, in cases where your site or app requires said data to function, encryption may impose a usability barrier if it must be decrypted to query. In some advanced cases, it might be prudent to store some information such as medical data with specialized services for that purpose.
Be Careful What You Handle
It may seem easy to process and store credit cards locally rather than working with an external provider. Unfortunately, doing so is complicated and opens your business up to many additional security threats and regulations.
It is better to partner with external services in these instances. Not only do they comply with necessary regulations, but they also provide simple interfaces to ensure that data is transferred securely, and only what is necessary is retained in the local database. Additionally, when regulations change, your partner changes with them. After all, your first concern when testing software products shouldn’t be changes to credit card or medical regulations, but the growth and improvement of your app or service.
None of the above mitigation replace a solid security audit. But, in reality, most criminal acts aren’t elaborate heists. Instead, they’re simply a matter of someone slipping through the mistakenly unlocked door, thus gaining sudden and complete access. If customer trust is important to your business, security testing should not be neglected in the product development cycle.