Security Challenges in Low-Code / No-Code Platforms

There were times when application development required demanding nights of planning, designing, testing, and fine-tuning written code. To meet the growing demand for rapid application development, companies now realize that DevOps can scale collaboration between developers and IT operators. One of these ways is low-code, no-code technology. With an expected increase of $13.8 billion by 2021 as the low-code development market is evolving rapidly.

In recent years, low-code platforms have emerged in the technology world with the promise of faster application development through visual tools that replace code for writing. No code falls under the umbrella term “low code”, which means software designed and created without code. Think of platforms like WordPress or Wix.com that have web design tools.

Let’s jump into the most common Security Challenges that surround these platforms.

Lack of Transparency

Probably the biggest challenge when it comes to low-code technologies is that companies have no control over what employees develop. Without the transparency in the IT aspect, it can be difficult to manage what is being built, and companies are losing track of their low–code security risks.

Most of it has to do with non-code processes that are simplified, transferable and accessible to untrained staff. In traditional software development, experts and developers work together on code throughout the Secure Software Development (SSDLC) lifecycle.

To avoid this problem, organizations must actively focus on open visibility when developing applications. For code-free workplaces, this can be done through cloud solutions. With cloud-based platforms, there is greater workflow integration, which opens up opportunities for visibility and tracking.

No Way for Data Supervision

When talking about data management, a common question to ask is: who has access to the data and how is the data restricted or used. After all, data is a valuable asset for any company and is at risk of being misused for malicious purposes. The level of control that organizations allow varies from platform to platform.

When it comes to data, it can refer to data with lower risk of exploitation. For example, if an organization has a code leak for the triage system, this is not really a problem. Organizations, large or small, on the other hand, often have critical data that is used in business operations that hackers can exploit. Think customer address books, unique business software, sensitive banking information and more. Surrendering to the data breach can get the company into great trouble.

For example as a media management and storage tool, Dropbox enables users to share, grant or restrict data and track changes. However, in the world of data management, there are more sophisticated tools that provide more in-depth logging, re-sharing, and access control (selective assignment of access levels) that are not found in many codeless business applications.

Lack of Audits or System Providers

As the constructors and owners of low code enterprises are companies themselves, they have also taken precautions to protect their digital assets. Companies that receive help from these suppliers have no access to program code or controls. It then becomes impossible for them to fully examine these systems in order to identify or detect software errors.

Customers who wish to perform security controls must do so within the limits of the available resources. For example:

  • Third party security audits
  • Take a black box style test
  • Statutory certificates and agreements
  • Get cybersecurity insurance

To reassure customers, low-code providers have started to follow clearer encryption methods. Again, the level of transparency or presentation of the code for security reviews depends entirely on the platforms chosen.

Business Based Logical Mistakes

Low-code business solutions have built-in permissions and various control functions, usually based on insight and previous analysis of customer preferences. This makes it easy for you to build secure applications.Problems arise when you look at software development from a business perspective and ignore the IT aspect. This is not uncommon either. Because building applications is much easier now, this can be seen as more non-technical work and fewer code conflicts. However, there are always security risks associated with any technology.

When this happens, people get lost in their creativity or business with low-code or no-code platforms and end up making mistakes. Business logic problems cannot be identified with tools because they are primarily caused by human error.

In Conclusion

It is widely known that no-code platforms have their own benefits based on convenience and ease–of–use. On the other hand the platforms pay that price of conventionality with questionable security methods. The bottom line is that cybercrime protection at the code level and secure encryption procedures must be applied, especially when citizen developers lead the development of the program.

POOJA is a Passionate Security Enthusiast, CEH, ECSA, ISO 27001 Lead auditor, Ex-PCI-AQSA, CISSP, Security Researcher, Security blogger, and Author at GBHackers On Security.

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