In a world where the rapid adoption of event technology is more prevalent than ever before, the security of your event app has become critical. Whether you’re an event organizer, an exhibitor, or an attendee, the safety of personal and business-related data is paramount.
Digital threats are evolving and becoming more sophisticated. Regulations are tightening around data privacy. As we step into 2023, ensuring that your event app is fortified against cyber threats isn’t just good practice; it’s an absolute necessity.
I want this guide to be your compass, helping you navigate the complex landscape of event app security.
This guide explores:
- Understanding Event App Security: Everything you need to know about event app security – the what, the why, and common security risks and threats. Jump to this section
- Essential Security and Compliance: Security and compliance that you absolutely need to be aware of, including international standards and regulations. Jump to this section
- Event App Security Best Practices: Detailing the measures to ensure robust security, including encryption, payment compliance, and user protection. Jump to this section
- Involving Key Stakeholders: Key stakeholders you should include and ensure they are a part of event app security, encompassing attendees, speakers, exhibitors, and more. Jump to this section
- Future of Event App Security: The future of event app security and key trends to keep a watch on in 2023, reflecting the evolving landscape of the industry. Jump to this section
Section 1 : Understanding Event App Security
What is Event App Security ?
Event App Security refers to the protective measures implemented within mobile applications on platforms like Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. It encompasses protocols and technologies designed to guard against unauthorized access, data breaches, and various cyber threats.
In layman’s terms, when you use the internet, you leave behind a digital trail that includes your personal details such as name, address, contact number, usage patterns, banking information, and more. If stored insecurely, this data becomes vulnerable to external threats.
Within the context of events, this vulnerability extends beyond personal information. It also includes business-related details and personal preferences, all of which can increase risk of unauthorized access.
Importance of Event App Security in 2023
You will likely need no further convincing after reading below.
January 2023 : T-Mobile reveals that it’s investigating a data breach potentially affecting 37 million user accounts.
A “bad actor” obtained data through a single API without authorization…some “basic customer information,” including names, billing addresses, emails and phone numbers
Tragically, this wasn’t the first time; in 2021, during a cyber attack, information from 76.6 million current and former customers had been accessed.
February 2023 – – A data breach of top background check companies owned by PeopleConnect, including Instant Checkmate & Truthfinder, affected over 20.2 million users.
We learned recently that a list, including name, email, and telephone number in some instances, as well as securely encrypted passwords and expired and inactive password reset tokens, of TruthFinder subscribers was being discussed and made available in an online forum.
May 2023 – PharMerica, a leading pharma services provider, discloses that over 5.8 million users were impacted by a breach.
We determined that the data contained personal information, including the person’s name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, medications, and health insurance information.
These instances are just a few of the numerous data breaches in 2023 that have been reported, not to mention the ones that go unreported. They pale in comparison to some of the biggest data breaches in history, like the 3 billion Yahoo records exposed from 2013-16, 530 million Facebook users exposed, and J.P. Morgan’s cyber attack in 2014 that laid bare 76 million households and 7 million small businesses.
As the use of mobile and other IoT devices continues to rise at an unprecedented rate, vulnerabilities in mobile applications pose critical threats to the security and digital well-being of both end-users and businesses.
Common Security Risks and Threats
While the nuances and technical details of event app security risks and threats can be complex, I’ll try to simplify them here. You may find some terms unfamiliar, but I’ll provide examples to help you grasp the concepts.
This should give you a solid base to discuss your event app’s security with your provider.
|Data Breach||Unauthorized access to app-stored sensitive information like personal details, credit card numbers, and business data.||User trust erosion, legal issues, financial losses.||Weak encryption exploitation|
|Malware and Malicious Code Injection||Adding harmful software or code to steal information, disrupt operations, or cause damage.||App functionality corruption, sensitive information theft.||Hidden malicious code in a rogue third-party library|
|Insecure Authentication and Authorization||Weak or incorrect user authentication and authorization, leading to unauthorized access||Unauthorized access to personalized functions or sensitive app data.||Bypassing login using hardcoded credentials|
|DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service ) Attacks||Multiple compromised systems are used to flood a targeted system with an overwhelming amount of traffic, rendering it unavailable.||Causes downtime and unavailability of services, loss of revenue, erosion of user trust, potential legal liabilities, and a damaged reputation||You event app flooded with traffic originating from thousands of different sources.|
|MitM (Man-in-the-Middle Attacks )||Intercepting data between the app and server, usually to eavesdrop or alter the data.||Sensitive information exposure, data integrity tampering.||Payment information interception during transactions.|
|Insecure Data Storage||Storing sensitive information without proper encryption or security.||Easy access to sensitive data if the device is compromised.||Storing plaintext passwords on the device.|
|Third-party Library and Tool Vulnerabilities||Exploitable security weaknesses in third-party app components.||Various risks, from data exposure to full app compromise.||Known security flaws in an outdated third-party library.|
|Insufficient Transport Layer Security||Weak or incorrect encryption during app-server data transmission.||Eavesdropping risk, data interception, and manipulation.||Vulnerable data transmission due to outdated SSL protocols.|
Section 2 : Security Compliance and Regulations
Compliance with regulations is not merely a legal hoop to jump through.
You should make it integral aspect of your organization’s security posture. Your understanding and adhering to applicable regulations is not just best practice; it’s an essential part of responsible business operation.
Here’s some broad points to consider for your event app’s compliance with regulatory bodies.
- Identify Applicable Regulations: Different regions and industries may have specific laws and regulations. Identify which ones apply to your app based on the geographical locations and sectors you are targeting.
- Understand Data Protection Requirements: Data protection laws like GDPR and CCPA mandate specific measures to protect user privacy. Know what types of data you are collecting and how it must be secured, used, and disclosed.
- Implement Proper Authentication and Authorization Protocols: Compliance often requires robust authentication and authorization methods. Ensure your app has proper mechanisms to prevent unauthorized access.
- Establish Transparent User Consent Processes: Regulations may require clear and affirmative user consent for data collection and processing. Provide easy-to-understand information on what data is being collected and how it will be used.
- Engage with Legal Experts: Consult with legal professionals who specialize in the relevant areas of law. They can guide you through the specific legal requirements and help you tailor your app to meet them.
- Regular Security Audits and Assessments: Regularly evaluate your app’s security to ensure ongoing compliance. Consider third-party audits to provide an unbiased view of your app’s security posture.
- Vendor Compliance: If you use third-party services or tools within your app, ensure that they too comply with relevant regulations. Their compliance (or lack thereof) could impact your app’s overall compliance status.
- Provide Access Controls and Logging: Implement proper access controls and keep detailed logs of who has access to what information. This is often required to demonstrate compliance in the event of an audit or breach.
- Implement a Robust Incident Response Plan: Regulations may require specific actions in the event of a breach or other security incident. Have a plan in place, and ensure all relevant stakeholders know their roles.
- Education and Training: Make sure that your team understands the compliance requirements and the importance of adhering to them. Regular training can help in maintaining compliance.
- Adapt to Changes: Regulatory environments are dynamic. Stay informed about changes in laws and regulations that might affect your app, and be prepared to adapt as needed.
Section 3: Event App Security Best Practices
Now that we’ve laid the groundwork, let’s explore the essential security measures to take.
Choose a Reputable Event App Platform
Selecting an event app platform is about more than just ticking boxes of event app features. Your vendor should not only meet the standard requirements but goes a step further in assuring security and compliance.
ISO 27001 and SOC-2 Certifications
Verify whether the platform, such as Nunify, complies with internationally recognized standards like ISO 27001 and SOC-2. These certifications provide assurance of consistent and effective security practices.
Nunify’s adherence to SOC-2 demonstrates the platform’s commitment to the highest levels of security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of customer data. It’s an assurance to you, the customer, that your data is handled with the utmost care.
Ensure Compliance with GDPR and CCPA
In a globalized world, your event may attract attendees across different jurisdictions. Compliance with various international regulations becomes crucial. For those involving European Union citizens, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) must be followed. This ensures the protection of personal data.
Similarly, for events operating in California, USA, adherence to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is vital. These laws enforce responsible data handling and individual privacy rights. Compliance demonstrates a commitment to privacy and security.
Check for Robust Encryption Practices
Encryption is a vital aspect of data security, both in storage and transmission. When data is stored, strong encryption protocols must be in place. This ensures that even if unauthorized access occurs, the data remains unintelligible.
During transmission, data can be vulnerable to interception. Platforms that provide robust encryption in transit protect this sensitive information. They guard against unauthorized access or tampering by encrypting the data as it moves between the app and servers.
Inspect Payment Security Compliance
When planning an event with financial transactions, payment security becomes a paramount concern. This involves more than just the secure handling of funds. It’s about protecting the sensitive cardholder data involved in each transaction.
Ensuring that the platform complies with Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards is crucial. These standards define the requirements for handling cardholder data in a secure manner. They outline the proper encryption methods, secure network configurations, and robust access controls needed.
Compliance with PCI standards doesn’t just protect cardholder data; it also builds confidence in your event’s financial integrity. It demonstrates a commitment to safeguarding personal financial information. This adherence to recognized best practices can enhance your reputation and contribute to a more successful event.
Focus on Configuration, Monitoring, and Support
Select a vendor that offers ease in configuration and real-time security monitoring. Configuration flexibility allows tailored solutions that meet specific needs, while continuous oversight detects and addresses potential threats.
Real-time security monitoring is another essential feature to consider. This active monitoring can prevent unauthorized access and other security incidents, providing an added layer of protection. Similarly, robust support with a dedicated team offers timely solutions, minimizing disruptions.
Finally, don’t hesitate to ask the platform provider for information on security testing, certifications, and adherence to best practices. Understanding the measures they’ve taken to secure their platform will give you additional confidence in their services.
Prioritize Privacy and User Protection
Look for a platform that emphasizes transparency in data practices. A commitment to user privacy builds trust and aligns with contemporary values.
When collecting user data, only gather the information necessary for the event. Adhere to privacy regulations to ensure that you’re meeting legal obligations.
It’s also crucial to manage user consent appropriately. Make sure that consent is obtained following the legal requirements, reinforcing your dedication to user protection and ethical practices.
Section 4: Involving Key Stakeholders for Event App Security
Security is a shared responsibility.
Each stakeholder has a unique role, and their engagement is vital for a successful event that respects privacy and security standards.
Engaging all the stakeholders in your event, including attendees, speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors, in the security process fosters a collective approach.
Speakers: Ensuring that speakers are aware of security protocols is vital, especially if they are sharing sensitive or proprietary information within the conference app. Clear guidelines and support help maintain integrity.
Exhibitors & Sponsors: Exhibitors and sponsors may seek to push the limits of data collection to leverage their event sponsorship. Set strict guidelines on what data they can access and be transparent about how data is handled. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.
Event Staff & Employees: In a broader organizational context, alignment with the security vision is necessary. Regular education and clear guidelines enable effective contributions to security. Staff, as the front line of security, must have proper training and clear procedures.
Event Vendors: Often overlooked, both online and offline vendors play a role. While online vendors may adhere to standard security, offline vendors are an unknown variable. Ensure they comply with your security standards, especially concerning data collection.
Section 5 : Future of Event App Security
The post-COVID era accelerated the adoption of virtual and hybrid events, introducing new complexities in security management. Ensuring robust cybersecurity has never been more critical and it will continue to become a norm rather than an exception
Further emerging technologies like AI-driven threat detection, biometric authentication, and decentralized blockchain technology are shaping the future. These create both complexity and oppturnity. AI and machine learning are being employed to predict and identify security breaches, while blockchain technology offers immutable security protocols that prevent unauthorized alterations.
The future will likely bring unexpected security challenges. Investing in adaptable and scalable security solutions and a reliable event tech platform, like Nunify, will be key.
In this dynamic environment, I have identified five key trends that are shaping the future of event app security.
5 Event App Security Trends for 2023
- AI and Machine Learning Integration: AI and Machine Learning are revolutionizing the way mobile event apps are secured. They allow for predictive threat analysis and real-time adaptive responses, identifying and combating new threats faster than ever before.
- Emphasis on Privacy and Regulation Compliance: The global focus on individual privacy rights is leading to stringent regulations such as GDPR. Compliance with these ever-evolving rules is becoming central to event app security. Transparency and ethical data handling are now paramount.
- Biometric Security Implementation: Biometric security, such as facial recognition and fingerprint scanning, is moving from the realm of futuristic technology to practical application. It offers a personalized and highly secure way of authenticating users, enhancing both convenience and security.
- Blockchain Technology Adoption: Blockchain technology promises to increase the integrity and transparency of data within event apps. By creating a decentralized record of transactions, blockchain ensures data immutability, making it a valuable asset in maintaining security.
- Balancing User Experience with Robust Security: As security measures become more advanced, there is a growing need to balance them with user-friendly experiences. The future will see the refinement of security methods that offer robust protection without compromising usability.
In our interconnected world, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of event app security in 2023. From selecting event app builders with ISO 27001 and SOC-2 certifications to involving all stakeholders, you must adopt a comprehensive approach. As the future of event app security unfolds with emerging trends, your commitment to robust security practices will define the success and trustworthiness of your events.
Allow this guide to be your roadmap, and take action TODAY – Cyber security of your event is not just a responsibility; it’s a promise to your attendees.