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Nancy Powaga
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October 29, 2019

Why IT Security Departments Love No-Code Platforms

Happy woman in sweater holding laptop above her head like a roof over gray background. Looking at camera

Picture this: After months or years of developing a business app from scratch, v.1.0 is finally ready for use. This app is large. It’s complex. And it requires maintenance and support from IT just to stay up and running. The app also houses some of your company’s most sensitive data.

Even if you have a team of expert developers on hand, this security arrangement still keeps you up at night. After all, building and securing an app requires an enormous amount of work and ongoing attention. With so many moving parts, it’s easy to overlook one or many important security elements. 

Many organizations still take this approach. It’s the way things have been done for a long time, after all. But in doing so, they expose themselves to a variety of security issues (e.g., backdoor attacks, unauthorized access, SSL issues, weak server-side controls, and more).

In an age of high-profile data breaches, it’s increasingly apparent that the vast majority of apps created from scratch using traditional development methods are rife with security vulnerabilities. Even back-end business productivity apps can be discovered and exploited by cyber criminals. This is a problem — particularly when considering that internal apps are direct doorways to business processes and intellectual property. Case in point? HipChat getting hacked in 2017.

But don't let this doom and gloom to discourage you from using apps in your workplace. Instead, reconsider how your company approaches app development. Enter no-code development. At AppSheet, we maintain that it’s far more secure to leverage no-code development than to build an app the traditional way through developers writing code. 

Let’s take a step back and review the basics of no-code development. 

As the name suggests, no-code development involves creating apps using a platform that provides and manages most of the underlying coding. No-code platforms are designed for non-technical employees which means that they have to be foolproof from a security standpoint. 

How is this possible? Let’s investigate. 

Why no-code development is more secure

Since you don’t have to worry about coding when using a no-code platform, you don’t have to worry about underlying security protocols, either, such as encrypting and patching your software. A no-code platform handles most of the heavy lifting for you, giving you secure building blocks to create a comprehensive digital tool that’s fit for purpose.

A no-code platform can work in close concert with IT, too. As such, you don’t need to worry about outsourcing your project to a third-party vendor or even removing development from your technical workers. Using a no-code platform, IT will still retain full control over data management, storage, and access policies. It’s even possible for IT to manage who can create apps as well.

5 ways no-code improves security

Because no-code development is fundamentally secure, there are a number of advantages that it delivers for an organization. 

Let’s explore five of them.

1. Centralized app management 

In addition to determining who has the ability to make apps on a no-code platform, IT can also control who can access them. No-code platforms give IT the ability to easily commission and decommission apps from a single centralized portal. That way, if a team member changes roles or moves onto another company altogether, IT can revoke access and prevent potential data tampering. 

2. Security reallocation  

App development takes a lot of hard work and often spans different roles and departments. For example, creating an app may require the ongoing contributions of a cyber security specialist who was hired for a completely different set of responsibilities. 

By creating an app using a secure no-code platform, you can reallocate your critical IT and security experts to focus on other pressing security issues instead of performing tasks like penetration testing on backend apps. 

3. Regulatory compliance 

If you’re in an industry that’s heavily regulated like finance and healthcare, your company will have to comply with a long list of rules when creating software — some of which may change periodically. For example, HIPAA IT compliance requires having a long list of elements in place like regular security audits, documentation, recovery, and so on. Developers in the finance industry, meanwhile, have to keep up with regulations from organizations like the SEC, CFPB, ECB, FINRA, and others. 

Using a no-code app platform can make it a lot easier to stay in compliance with various industry-specific security protocols. For instance, AppSheet’s backend is hosted on Microsoft Azure’s cloud infrastructure, providing a variety of compliance certifications like HIPAA, ISO 27001, SOC1 and SOC2. Country-specific security standards are also available, such as IRAP and GDPR. 

While you still have to do your due diligence to make sure you stay in compliance, you can rest assured knowing that the major pieces are baked into the foundation. AppSheet, it should be noted, works with companies to create industry-specific solutions that comply with all relevant regulations.

4. Less paper  

There’s little point in worrying about app security if your business is still using paper, which could theoretically be accessed by anyone. Paper can get lost, stolen, or misplaced, resulting in a data breach or security violation.

No-code app development provides a clear path to migrate away from paper in a way that is cost-effective even for small organizations. 

5. Reduced shadow IT 

Centralized app management also reduces shadow IT, which happens when technologies are used without the company’s knowledge or consent. 

Shadow IT typically occurs when employees aren’t given the tools they need to do their jobs and instead resort to unauthorized third-party services. For example, using a personal Dropbox account to share information can be considered a type of shadow IT because there’s no way for IT to track or manage the information inside of it. In such a scenario, an employee might upload a file (e.g., a contract or a confidential document) to a personal account and hold onto it long after they leave a company. 

No-code app development: the secure way forward

No-code app development gives IT departments plenty of reasons to smile. A no-code platform will provide your business with a secure way to create and deploy apps in conjunction with your own IT team. Let the IT no-code romance begin!

For further reading, head to the AppSheet Security Center.

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