The backend, the scrapers, and me. On mobile sites and security

castle4postAmid the bluster of all the web can do, there is the most important thing: Web forces choice. I’m not talking about “users” (that term oddly favored in illegal drugs and online services). Users have cheap and easy options from every corner of the web. I’m talking about the companies that create those web experiences. For companies, choices are expensive and difficult: like which data to surface, which business process to offer and how to deliver the two. And, perhaps most importantly, how to secure it all.

Most of our corporate websites have been built and secured through a decade of such decisions. And we have the infrastructure to prove it. We have, by now, layers of security to protect the website against threats of the past (remember SQL injection), present and — one can hope at least — future. Web security is getting better. Wonky studies find vulnerabilities in business websites are now down to their lowest level ever, dropping 30 percent in the past year. And down 95 percent since 2007. The desktop web is, at long last, the most secure part of the public-facing internet.

Enter, of late, mobile devices. (And tablets, and a whole bag of cool new gadgets. And those awful Google glasses.) For each, apps all around.

Business mobile apps and sites are not very useful without business data. The problem, of course, is that the company data is stored in a swath of database server tables spread across . . . read more . . .