Agile Mobile Application Development - More Important Now Than Ever

There are close to 2 million mobile applications on the Android Play Store and iOS App Store each. What's more interesting is that more than 300,000 of these apps were added in the past year alone. Agile mobile application development is more important today than ever before.

Today, app marketplaces offer businesses the opportunity to reach customers within a few clicks at major app stores, something which wasn't as seamless in the PC era. The industry is seeing a drastic transformation in the way consumers interact with businesses and the way they consume so much information that is available today. As the customer becomes more powerful, it becomes, even more, essential to please them at all points of time, and that brings us to agile mobile application development.

What is Agile Mobile Application Development?

Agile basically means swift or having the ability to move quickly and easily. Applying that to application development, agile mobile application development is a method of building apps that characterized by the division of tasks into short phases of work and frequent reassessment and adaptation of plans.

The objective is to simplify the process of mobile application development so that the resulting apps are adaptable after release.

Those days are over. Just a single mobile security provider now must analyze thousands of apps for security holes that attackers might exploit.

Agile Mobile Application Development - More Important Now Than Ever

Why is Agile Mobile Application Development Essential Today?

Recently, Gartner analyst Van Baker said in his blog that traditional practices will not work for mobile application development and companies must instead adopt agile development. Earlier, most of the enterprise application development teams used to use traditional practices for developing desktop applications. Today, most of these do not work with mobile application development due to device diversity, network connectivity, changing consumer demand and multiple other factors.

The rapidly changing mobile landscape is putting tremendous pressure on dev ops teams to adopt rapid and agile development practices to constantly iterate their mobile applications according to the changing needs of their users. Hence, it's imperative to employ agile development to quickly iterate on improving the mobile app.

Advantages of Agile Mobile Application Development: 

- Customer satisfaction by rapid, continuous delivery of useful software.
- People and interactions are emphasized rather than process and tools
- Increased and constant interaction between customers, developers, and testers
- Reduced time to market
- Quick and regular adaptation to changing circumstances.


Are There Problems With Agile Mobile Application Development?

Well, the fact is, where there is good there's also some bad. One of the biggest issues that have come up because of agile mobile application development is the lack of quality testing, especially in terms of security and privacy.

Earlier development cycles used to be longer and updates were pushed typically once in 6 months or so. Today, most applications have a very short cycle and push regular updates in as little as 2 weeks. Mobile applications and put together and hit the stores, with the next version already going into production.

Often most developers and businesses focus on time to market and security takes a back seat. This adds up to hundreds of thousands of mobile apps — most of them only sketchily tested for security, if at all — floating around the edges of enterprise networks, loaded onto employees’ personal devices or even living on corporate devices. With more and more enterprise data going mobile, doomsday is inevitable.

Disadvantages of Agile model:

- Difficult to assess the effort required at the beginning of the software development life cycle
- Lack of emphasis on necessary documentation and testing for issues like security
- Customer perspective is often the key driver of the project, this can be difficult to determine

Secure + Agile Development = Success in the Long Run

There is no denying that agility is essential for businesses to survive today. But if you have to be a player in the long run, it is imperative to apply good security practices into the development lifecycle. We understand time to market is most crucial today and a missed opportunity could make or break a business. Hence, even at Appknox, we provide Continuous Integration tools to our customers which they can build into their development lifecycles so that they can ensure complete security without compromising on their time to market.

As more and more consumers share data, as businesses it is essential we take good care of them. In order to exist for long, it is important to imbibe secure coding practices in your application development process. After all, no one wants to end up on the front page with a security hack that lead to a great loss of money and reputation.

Published on Feb 24, 2016
Subho Halder
Written by Subho Halder
Subho Halder is the CISO and Co-Founder of Appknox. He started his career researching Mobile Security. Currently, he helps businesses to detect and fix security vulnerabilities. He has also detected critical loopholes in companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, and others


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