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Bubble.io Security? A Review and Best Practices

Bubble.io Security? A Review and Best Practices

Last updated
September 17, 2023

You want to start developing your app on Bubble, but security concerns you? Bubble.io is designed to protect your app and user information, but there are many aspects to consider and also best practices and strategies you can implement for safeguarding your app and its sensitive data. From compliance standards to risk assessment, we'll navigate through essential concepts to help you understand more about Bubble's security capabilities.

  • TL;DR

Bubble.io prioritizes security with comprehensive built-in features, a foundation on Amazon Web Services, and adherence to industry standards. For business owners, this means a secure platform with protective measures in place. To enhance your app's security, you should consider implementing key practices to safeguard your user’s and business operations’ data effectively.

Bubble.io's Security Features

Overview of Bubble.io's built-in security features

The Bubble platform offers a comprehensive suite of built-in security features, designed to provide users with a robust and reliable environment for their digital applications. Some of the core security aspects that form the foundation of Bubble's commitment to safeguarding user data and applications include:

  1. Compliance with industry standards
  2. Vulnerability testing and monitoring
  3. Point-in-time data recovery
  4. Extensive logs for transparency
  5. RDS AES-256 encryption
  6. User-defined privacy controls

Learn more: Bubble.io Review for 2023: An In-Depth Analysis of +15 Key Aspects

For business owners: How to approach security

Security starts with following rules and regulations, this is what we call compliance. Apps must 

adhere to those regulations in order to handle user’s data responsibly. You might have heard of GDPR and CCPA – these are examples of rules that apps must follow to treat data and to ensure that the user’s privacy is respected. 

Then, there’s privacy. When users share their data with apps, they trust them to keep it confidential, and not share or exploit it without their consent. In addition to user data, remember to secure the data of your business operations. While your users' information is pivotal, the internal data behind your business operations also holds immense value. You should implement security measures that protect your app's infrastructure, transactions, and sensitive business records. 

Security involves the technical measures put in place to uphold both compliance and privacy.

As a business owner, you'll have to make decisions on two fronts. First, the required security your app must have in place to comply with the regulations in the regions and sectors where your user base resides, or that apply to your specific industry. These regulations outline how your app handles critical tasks like data collection, storage, processing, and sharing. It's essential to stay informed about the legal obligations that guide your app's operations. 

The second aspect is optional security and privacy, which gives you the opportunity to go beyond the basics and provide added protection for your business and your users. This can be influenced by various factors such as your users' expectations, your communication and marketing strategies (like highlighting privacy features as a selling point), and your unique business preferences. 

Insight from a developer’s point of view

  • What do you think about Bubble’s capabilities when it comes to security? 

The best thing about privacy is that Bubble has everything you need integrated! You don’t need to worry about extra tools. 

  • What security-related tools, techniques, or practices do you use while building apps on Bubble?

The first and most important thing to point out is that Bubble doesn’t store passwords, not even as a developer or app owner, you are able to see what each user password is, so, in case you are using this for many sites or you are worried about your password being leaked, this is not an option within Bubble.

The second one is that Bubble has these features called privacy rules. These rules enable you to “hide” and only show certain information depending on who is seeing/requesting that info.

For example, just because you are not seeing something doesn’t necessarily mean that it is not visible: you can always right-click on your computer, click inspect, and on the developer tools you will see all of the site’s info, and if the page is loading some information, you can always access it through the developer tools, without the need of actually seeing it within the page. That is where privacy rules come into play. You can assign privacy rules to each and every data type and assign who is able to see it, for example, a user’s phone number. You can always state that the phone number is only visible to the user who created it and to the app admins, therefore, no matter where you load the user, if you do not comply with any of these rules, you won’t be able to access the user’s phone number, not even though the developer tools.

  • Are payments secure in Bubble?

Absolutely! 99% of the Bubble apps out there use Stripe for payment processing, and Stripe is a very robust payment platform with safety mechanisms in place, so again, the connection between these two platforms makes it super safe when entering a credit card or a bank account, however, it is important to always revise and double check with your developer which information you want to always keep safe, because the developer may not know, but something as simple as the user's name might be something that you want to prevent from the entire world to see.

Is Bubble.io Secure for Business Applications?

An examination of the security measures implemented by Bubble.io

  • Rigorous vulnerability testing and monitoring

Ensuring the integrity of your applications is a top priority for Bubble. To this end, a combination of automated code testing and vulnerability assessment techniques, including thorough scans for vulnerabilities outlined in the OWASP Top 10, is employed. This kind of proactive approach is crucial because it helps identify potential weak spots before malicious actors can take advantage of them. Furthermore, the implementation of continuous monitoring technologies guarantees that any emerging threats are addressed promptly.

  • Point-in-time data recovery

Mistakes happen, but Bubble has your back with its point-in-time data recovery feature. This means that you can access historical versions of your data, allowing you to restore critical information in the event of data loss or errors. This safety net provides users with the peace of mind that their data is not only secure but also recoverable.

  • Log visibility

Transparency is a fundamental aspect of security. Bubble equips users with extensive logs that chronicle the activities of their applications, even those that occur in the background. These logs empower users to review the actions and operations undertaken by their apps, contributing to enhanced traceability and the ability to detect and address anomalies.

  • Data Encryption

Data protection extends beyond operational hours. Bubble leverages AWS RDS’s AES-256 encryption to safeguard data even when it's at rest. This robust encryption mechanism ensures that sensitive information remains secure from unauthorized access, providing users with the confidence that their data's confidentiality is maintained throughout its lifecycle.

  • User-defined privacy

One size doesn't fit all, especially when it comes to data privacy. Bubble acknowledges this by allowing users to define their own privacy rules. These user-defined privacy rules act as an additional layer of protection at the application level, giving users granular control over who can access their data and under what circumstances.

Amazon Web Services infrastructure

Bubble is built on the solid foundation of Amazon Web Services (AWS), a reputable and industry-leading cloud infrastructure provider. This partnership not only ensures high performance and scalability but also brings a strong focus on security. 

Together, Bubble and AWS shoulder the responsibility for an extensive list of security concerns including:

  • Physical threats mitigation: Both Bubble and AWS are dedicated to safeguarding server parks against break-ins, power outages, fires, natural disasters, and other physical threats. This ensures the uninterrupted availability and security of user applications.
  • Software updates and patches: The seamless integration of Bubble and AWS extends to the regular updating and patching of software with the latest security updates. This ongoing maintenance shields applications from potential vulnerabilities.
  • Proactive vulnerability testing: Bubble and AWS conduct continuous vulnerability testing, including assessments based on the OWASP Top 10. This proactive approach identifies potential weak points and swiftly addresses them before they can be exploited.
  • Data protection and encryption: Users can rest assured that their data is in safe hands, with Bubble and AWS working in tandem to maintain AWS RDS's AES-256 encryption, ensuring the confidentiality of data even when it's at rest.
  • Data backups and recovery: The collaboration extends to data recovery strategies, with both entities ensuring that point-in-time backups of apps and databases are continually saved. This ensures that data can be restored in the face of unforeseen incidents.
  • Compliance: AWS is compliant with certifications such as SOC 2, CSA, ISO 27001, and more underscores the dedication to maintaining the highest standard of security within the digital ecosystem.

Compliance

It's important to recognize that while collecting and sharing user data can serve legitimate purposes, it's wise to carefully consider your approach. Prioritize transparency and responsible data management to foster trust and maintain a positive user experience. 

  • GDPR compliance

One of the most notable regulations is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), introduced by the European Union in 2016.  GDPR holds jurisdiction regardless of where a software platform is physically located, as long as users access it from the European Union. This means that companies worldwide need to align their practices with GDPR when serving EU users. Non-compliance can lead to substantial fines, which can reach up to 20 million Euros or 4% of the global turnover for the preceding financial year.

While Bubble ensures its GDPR compliance, this doesn't inherently extend to your app. While Bubble's platform is designed and operated within GDPR regulations, your app functions as a standalone product – a Data Controller that must also be developed and documented in compliance with GDPR.

The scope of GDPR compliance extends beyond your company to include the digital services you incorporate. Any third-party services you utilize must be also GDPR-compliant. 

Also, You Need Some Documentation in Place: When collaborating with third-party vendors that process data on your behalf, GDPR mandates the establishment of a Data Processing Agreement (DPA). This agreement outlines the responsibilities and commitments of both parties concerning data protection.

Moreover, having a Data Breach Notification Plan is essential. This plan details the steps to follow in case of a data breach, including notifying affected users and relevant authorities. While not typically public, it's a crucial behind-the-scenes requirement that demonstrates your preparedness to handle potential data breaches,

  • Other compliance standards: COPPA, HIPPA, CCPA

Privacy for children's data: If your web application is targeted at children or involves processing children's data, you must be aware of regulations like COPPA in the US, which demand specific privacy policies tailored to children's data protection.

CCPA-compliant cookie policy: Under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), businesses are obligated to implement a cookie policy that discloses their data collection practices. First, while websites can load cookies, they must offer users an easy method to opt out at any time. Strictly necessary cookies – essential for website functionality – do not require consent. While informing visitors about their use is advisable, it's not mandatory. Like GDPR, CCPA prohibits the collection of consumers' personal data for purposes beyond those disclosed to the customer. 

Managing health data: It's essential to note that Bubble is currently not compliant with the American Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). When considering apps involving health data, it's advisable to opt for platforms and solutions explicitly designed to adhere to these regulations. Dealing with health data goes beyond legal obligations; it's an ethical responsibility. Individuals trust that their medical information remains private and protected. You should not use Bubble to develop apps requiring HIPAA compliance.

Financial data: For those venturing into stock trading platforms or online banking, there are intricate security measures and protocols specific to financial operations. Some key regulations include PCI DSS ( safe handling of credit card information),  GLBA (applies to financial institutions and mandates protection of consumers' personal financial information), MiFID II (Related to investment services in the European Union), and more. Bubble isn't automatically compliant with these highly specialized regulations.

Risk Assessment: Potential risks and how they're mitigated

When it comes to app security, it’s usual for people to think immediately of hacker attacks. But there are other equally significant factors to consider that can impact your app's security:

1. Database leaks

Database leaks involve unintentionally exposing data to unauthorized users. To address this risk, it's essential to establish proper privacy rules for all private data types. You must ensure that only authorized users have the privilege to access sensitive data (later in the article we'll explore the principle of least privilege, which further elaborates on this).

2. Data exposure in app code

Even though Bubble is a no-code platform, the final app consists of underlying components like HTML, CSS, JSON, and Javascript. These files can potentially be accessed by tech-savvy users. To mitigate this risk, ensure sensitive data like API keys are not inadvertently placed in the app code. Regularly review your codebase to identify and remove any accidental data exposure.

3. Omissions in security settings

Bubble provides a range of app-level settings to enhance security, including HTTPS encryption for data in transit (TLS), safeguarding your Development environment with a username and password, and controlling collaborator access levels. It's imperative to review and configure these settings diligently to ensure protection.

4. Unauthorized account access

Unauthorized access to user accounts is a potential vulnerability. Mitigate this risk by implementing a secure sign-up and login process. You can enhance security by enforcing a password policy that encourages strong passwords and incorporating two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of user verification.

Security best practices with Bubble.io

General practices:

Rule of least privilege

The principle of least privilege is a foundational security concept crucial to software development, and it revolves around the idea of granting users precisely the access and permissions they require for their tasks, and nothing beyond that. Incorporating the principle of least privilege into your app's design is a proactive step that promotes a secure and efficient environment.

Applying the principle of least privilege in your Bubble app involves the following:

1. Data restrictions with privacy rules: Ensure that users can only view or modify data relevant to their specific roles. For instance, regular users should not be able to access administrative-level data or configurations.

2. Feature/Page access: Tailor the user interface to display only the features and functionalities that align with each user's role. For instance, a site moderator might have options to delete comments, whereas regular users do not. Logged-out users might not have access to certain pages.

3. Workflow permissions: Ensure that only the necessary users can initiate specific workflows, especially those that could modify data.

Application rights

While the collaboration feature allows you to manage administrative privileges for individual users, application rights set the overarching access level for anyone attempting to enter your app's editor. By default, Bubble enforces strict application rights, which is generally secure unless you've made changes to this setting. When considering sharing your app publicly, it's essential to weigh the benefits against the security implications.

You'll find the application rights setting within Settings - General:

Private App: Only you and authorized collaborators can access the app editor.

Everyone Can View: Anyone can access the app editor and view its contents and data, but they lack the authority to make any alterations.

Everyone Can Edit: Open access allows anyone to access the app editor and make changes freely.

Keep your Bubble account secure

Your Bubble account holds significant importance in terms of security. Consider this: all the diligent security measures you implemented within your app can potentially be bypassed or removed if someone manages to access your Bubble account.

1. Use unique passwords: Avoid recycling passwords across different accounts. Each account should have its distinct password to prevent a domino effect if one account is compromised.

2. Create complex passwords: Design passwords that are a minimum of 12 characters long and have a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols. This helps against attackers using brute-force methods to crack passwords.

3. Update passwords regularly: Change your passwords every 3-6 months. This practice diminishes the window of vulnerability for unauthorized access. 

4. Consider using a password manager: You can use a trustworthy password manager to generate and securely store intricate, distinct passwords. This way you won’t need to memorize multiple passwords, but you remain well-protected.

5. Enable two-factor authentication (2FA): Activate two-factor authentication for an additional layer of protection. 2FA requires a second verification step beyond your password, adding an extra hurdle for potential attackers.

Configure privacy rules

Establish well-defined privacy rules for your app's data. Privacy Rules serve as crucial guardians for the data stored in your app's database, which resides on a server. These rules act as instructions to the server, ensuring that data is transmitted to the browser or written into the database only under specific conditions. 

This ensures that only authorized users can access and manipulate specific data, maintaining user privacy and preventing unauthorized access. It's important to recognize that once data reaches a user's device, it's no longer inherently secure. 

Clean up test pages

Test pages are often created during the development process for experimentation and troubleshooting. However, keeping these test elements can lead to clutter, and unnecessary resource consumption, and may raise security concerns too. Each test page represents a potential point of vulnerability, they might inadvertently expose sensitive data or contain insecure code or configurations that malicious actors could exploit.

Secure sensitive data

  • Encryption: Encrypt sensitive data before storing it in the database. Encryption transforms data into a coded format that requires a decryption key for access.
  • Access control: Restrict access to sensitive data to only those users who absolutely require it. Implement stringent access controls and privacy rules that ensure authorized users can view and manipulate this data.
  • Secure transmission: When transmitting sensitive data, ensure that it's transmitted using secure protocols, such as HTTPS.
  • Regular auditing: Periodically review and audit the security measures protecting sensitive data. This involves evaluating encryption methods, access controls, and overall data handling practices.
  • User consent: Obtain explicit user consent for collecting and storing sensitive data. Clearly communicate why you need this data and how it will be used to build user trust.

API and workflow security

Bubble's versatility shines through its ability to connect with other apps and services. This allows you to freely exchange information both ways, but keeping things secure is vital. Bubble's tools for APIs might seem complex, but they come with built-in security. They're designed to automatically handle security concerns and have strict settings by default. This minimizes the chance of accidental vulnerabilities. 

The API Connector is your tool to send requests to other apps or systems, and API keys act as passwords that let your app interact securely with specific parts of other systems. Your API keys should be kept safe and hidden, just like any password. Never expose them in your app's code or share them outside your team.

The Workflow API is a controlled gateway that enables external sources to interact with your app's internal functions.  While this feature opens doors to expanded functionality, it's vital to tread carefully. Allowing external systems to trigger your app's workflows can potentially create vulnerabilities.

Some considerations to keep your Workflow API secure:

1- The principle of least privilege we mentioned before applies here too. Grant access only where necessary. Limit permissions to the minimum required level for external triggers.

2- Determine who can access the Workflow API through authentication. Choices include:

No one - Selected clients and workflows - All clients.

3- Restrict authorizations. Select which API workflows to expose, and what functions are accessible. Use privacy rules to govern the data that the workflow can access and conditions for more precise authorization.

Read more about API security here.

For Business Managers: Implementing practices within a team or business structure.

As a business manager, ensuring the security of your digital applications is a shared responsibility that extends across your entire team and business structure.

1. Educate your team

Begin by ensuring that your team is well-informed about security best practices. Offer training sessions to familiarize them with potential risks, such as phishing attacks, data breaches, and social engineering. When your team understands the importance of security, they become the first line of defense.

2. Enforce strong password practices

Encourage the use of strong and unique passwords for all accounts. Consider implementing a password manager to help your team generate and store complex passwords securely and ask for your team members to enable 2FA.

3. Define an incident response plan

Develop a clear incident response plan that outlines the steps to take in case of a security breach or data breach. Assign roles and responsibilities within the team, and ensure everyone knows how to react fast to mitigate potential damage.

4. Perform regular security audits

Conduct regular security audits to assess your app's vulnerabilities and overall security posture. These audits help identify weak points and areas that require improvement, allowing you to take proactive measures.

5. Stay Informed

Stay updated about the latest security trends, threats, and regulations. Subscribe to security news sources and consider attending workshops or webinars to expand your knowledge.

Conclusion

So, if your question was, will Bubble’s security suit my business needs? You should know that Bubble.io takes care of various important security aspects that might not be immediately obvious. Their security infrastructure operates silently yet powerfully, safeguarding your app from many threats. It covers everything from physical server protection to encryption layers and continuous monitoring, just like the safeguards major industry players have in place. 

Bubble provides a comprehensive security package as part of its pricing structure and ensures strong protection for your app and user data. So, for most projects, you can feel confident about Bubble's security as long as your app is developed correctly. However, if your app needs to follow specific rules or has unique security demands, don't assume that Bubble covers them automatically. Before you start, research to make sure Bubble is the right fit for your requirements.

Also, the ultimate responsibility lies with you. While Bubble.io sets the groundwork, you play a crucial role in defining the level of protection for your business, your users, and the data you collect. To ensure you're making the most of these capabilities, reach out to a Bubble.io expert. Their insights and assistance can help you align the security measures with your business needs, ensuring you peace of mind. 

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FAQs

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