Data Security for Healthcare: Top Methods, Challenges and Benefits of Implementation

Isn’t it strange that despite all the talk about data security in healthcare, often there’s little action taken? Imagine finding out about a data breach only after losing valuable information! This was the reality for Professional Finance Company, a healthcare debt collector in Colorado. They experienced a cyberattack that affected nearly 2 million people. Although no misuse of private information was found, the final outcome remains uncertain.

But the risk doesn’t stop at late detection. Data breaches can be expensive, sometimes even forcing businesses to shut down or pay massive fines. If you’re in the medical field dealing with patient information, securing that data isn’t just important—it’s absolutely vital. However, the complexity of data security can lead teams to take shortcuts. In this article, we’re going to discuss how to overcome the challenges of keeping health data safe.

Data Security: What Does It Mean in Healthcare?

Healthcare data security means protecting patient information. This could be personal details, medical history, or financial facts. The aim is to prevent unauthorized access, modification, or destruction of this data.

Let’s illustrate this with a scenario: a patient is moving to a new city and needs to transfer their medical records to a new doctor. In this situation, data security becomes vital. It ensures that the patient’s information remains safe during the transfer.

But how does this information move around in a healthcare ecosystem? Let’s break it down into steps:

  • Both doctors must use secure ways to send the patient’s records. It stops others from peeking in.
  • The new specialist must check who’s sending the records. This ensures it’s coming from the right place.
  • Only people allowed to see the records should have access. You can do this  by setting clear rules on who can see what.
  • The patient’s details must stay the same during the move. Checks are used to make sure nothing’s been changed.
  • Once the new doctor gets the records, they must store them safely. This keeps the data risk-proof both while it’s being sent and when it’s arrived.


Securing Patient Records: Why You Should Care 

We’ll kick off with a few statistics to appreciate the value of data-proof strategies in healthcare.

How Often Does Data Get Stolen? 

Reports say the number of information thefts each year has tripled. It went from nearly 200 in 2010 to over 700 in 2022. In 2022 alone, more than 52 million people had their health information stolen in these breaches.

What’s the Cost? 

According to a 2022 survey, the average cost of a healthcare data breach has hit double digits for the first time. It’s jumped to a record high of $10.1 million. That’s 9.4% more than in 2021 and 41.6% more than in 2020.

While these figures may seem overwhelming, they also highlight the urgent need for improved safety. Recognizing the benefits of data protection can inspire proactive steps towards enhancement. Here’s what a secure strategy can offer you:

Trust is key between patients and doctors. Good data security means patients feel safe sharing their information. This leads to better care.

Secure and up-to-date patient data helps doctors make better decisions. It lets them give personalized care and reduces mistakes.

Medical organizations have to follow data protection rules. For example, Americans have HIPAA, and Europe, the GDPR. These rules need strict data security to keep patient info safe. By keeping data safe, your company can meet the demands and avoid legal problems.

The healthcare sector is a common target for cyberattacks. Good data security helps protect patient info from theft and fraud.

Data breaches can cost a lot of money and harm an organization’s reputation. Prioritizing data security can help protect against these losses.

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The Three Pillars of Data Security to Address

Data security has three main principles: Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability. They are known as the CIA triad. We’ll explore each one.

Confidentiality keeps information private. To do this, we use:

  • Access Controls: Limiting who can see data based on roles or permissions.
  • Encryption: Scrambling data so only authorized users can understand it.
  • Authentication and Authorization: Checking user identities and permissions.

Integrity means keeping data accurate and consistent. In practice, this means:

  • Hashing and Digital Signatures: Using math (cryptographic algorithms) to make sure data hasn’t changed.
  • Change Control and Auditing: Tracking changes and looking for unauthorized edits.
  • Data Validation and Input Sanitization: Checking and cleaning data to prevent issues.

Availability means making sure data is accessible when needed. It entails:

  • Redundancy and Fault Tolerance: Using backup systems to prevent disruptions.
  • Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning: Making plans for dealing with outages.
  • Security Measures to Prevent Downtime: Protecting against threats that could cause downtime.


Techniques for Ensuring Healthcare Data Protection

You might be wondering about the best practices to protect information. Here’s what you should do: 

One key aspect is robust access keys. They allow employees to see only the data they need for their job, which helps reduce unauthorized access. Unique passwords that change frequently, combined with multi-factor authentication, also offer additional layers of security.

Encryption plays a role in protecting data, both when it’s stored and during transfer. Using encryption protocols like AES or RSA makes stored data unreadable to unauthorized users. To protect data from being intercepted while being sent, secure communication protocols like HTTPS or SSL/TLS come in handy.

Update Systems and Apply Patches Regularly

Systems upgrades and applying can help fix known security issues and make systems safer. A vulnerability management program can help find and fix security risks.

How frequently do you check your network to identify weaknesses and gaps? Creating action plans allows addressing risks and enhancing data security. A backup and disaster recovery plan safeguards information from loss during system failures or attacks. With regular backups and a well-designed disaster recovery plan, we can restore systems and details quickly after problems occur.

Another key step is setting up intrusion detection systems. Recent stats are concerning. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports 80% of healthcare breaches come from hacking. Unauthorized access makes up another 15%. You can find and stop unauthorized access attempts timely. Meanwhile, auditing access logs helps spot and investigate suspicious activities.

Negligent employees are a big problem. They cause 61% of healthcare data breach threats. Luckily, healthcare groups are improving. They’re getting better at spotting insider breaches. They’re also better at reporting these to the Office for Civil Rights. What kinds of incidents are we talking about? Employee errors, carelessness, spying on medical records, and even data theft by bad insiders. You can provide all-inclusive training about HIPAA and security standards. Technologies that monitor access to medical records also reduce these breaches.

Healthcare Data Security: Obstacles and Mitigation Tips

A report by Singapore-based Cyber Risk Management (CyRiM) highlights healthcare as a sector greatly affected by cybercrimes. Hackers usually target healthcare and finance industries, with 15% and 10% of attacks respectively. In the last two years, the healthcare sector lost $25 billion.

It’s obvious that medical firms face critical data security challenges. Below are a few of them and how to curb them. 

Interconnected systems, such as Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), often interface with third-party applications. While this integration enhances functionality, it can also inadvertently create vulnerabilities and expose sensitive information.

Solution: Maintain an inventory of connected devices, conduct vulnerability assessments, and implement network segmentation.

Even in the best of workplaces, disgruntled employees are a reality. This can potentially lead to insider threats, endangering the company’s security and potentially compromising sensitive details.

Solution: Remove previous staff from all your networks and educate current ones about the costly implications of leaking data.

Establishing a robust defense system can be a costly endeavor, often beyond the financial reach of smaller hospitals. Consequently, these institutions may find themselves lacking the necessary resources and expertise to ensure adequate IT security.

Solution: Use managed security services or collaborate with cybersecurity partners. Prioritize security investments based on risk assessments.

With the advancement of technology, cyber attacks are also evolving. Actors continually adopt new strategies to compromise healthcare information, making the digital landscape an ever-changing battlefield.

Solution: Create a proactive cybersecurity program with threat intelligence, penetration testing, and incident response planning. Stay informed about emerging threats and best practices.


The root of the problem lies in the foundation. If you’re developing medical software and don’t prioritize IT security, you could run into major issues. The choice of the vendor matters! How well do they understand healthcare systems? Do they comply with HIPAA rules? These aren’t questions to take lightly. At The APP Solutions, security is our top priority. We leverage AI and machine learning to create the safest networks possible.

Are you tired of unpredictable security? Do you want to nip potential threats in the bud? If so, get in touch with us.

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How InterSystems IRIS Technology Ensures Secure Data Management

Data management is important in developer community product documentation and education, just as in the healthcare industry, where it ensures patients receive the best possible care.

According to a recent report by Grandview Research, the global healthcare information systems market valued at $359.8 billion in 2021 is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.2% from 2022 to 2030. 

intersystems technology

InterSystems is one company at the forefront of data management and healthcare information systems. The company is well-positioned to benefit from the market’s growth with its innovative solutions and focus on the healthcare industry. In this article, we will shine the torchlight on InterSystems and all you need to know about them. And if you’re ready to build your healthcare software solution and need a reliable technology partner to help incorporate InterSystems? We can help.

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What is InterSystems?

InterSystems is a software company that provides data management and healthcare information systems to organizations and millions of people around the world. Founded in 1978, the company has become a global leader in delivering innovative solutions to various industries. Some of the industries using InterSystems include finance, manufacturing, and government. However, it is in the healthcare industry where InterSystems has truly made its mark.


What does InterSystems Do?

InterSystems provides a range of software solutions that help healthcare organizations manage their data more effectively. The solutions include everything from electronic health records (EHRs) to analytics and population health management tools. Healthcare organizations of all sizes use its software, from small clinics to large hospital systems.

One of InterSystems’ flagship products is its HealthShare platform. It provides various tools and applications that allow healthcare providers to share patient information securely, no matter where it is stored. This is particularly important in today’s healthcare landscape because patients often receive care from multiple providers across different organizations.

intersystems iris


The company develops and markets the InterSystems IRIS platform, a powerful, multi-model, multi-workload warehouse that provides real-time analytics and machine learning capabilities.

In addition to InterSystems IRIS, the company offers a range of products and solutions to help organizations manage and analyze their data effectively. These include:

  • TrakCare: a healthcare information system that helps providers manage patient data, clinical workflows, and administrative processes
  • Ensemble: an integration engine that provides seamless connectivity between disparate systems, applications, and data sources
  • Caché: a high-performance database that supports transaction processing and real-time analytics

What is InterSystems Iris?

InterSystems Iris is a high-performance data platform that combines transactional and analytical processing with native interoperability for the rapid integration of disparate sources. It is a multi-model, multi-workload database that supports SQL, NoSQL, and graph models.

InterSystems Iris enables developers to build applications with real-time analytics and machine learning capabilities and provides advanced features such as sharding, high availability, and scalability. It also includes a comprehensive set of data management, security, and application development tools. Some of these tools include a visual development environment, an object-oriented programming language called ObjectScript, and integration with popular development languages such as Java, Python, and . NET.

The platform is used in various industries, including healthcare, finance, government, and manufacturing, to build data-intensive mission-critical power applications and manage large volumes of data in real-time.

What Type of Database is InterSystems Iris?

InterSystems Iris is a multi-model database that supports multiple data models such as relational (SQL), NoSQL, and graph. With this, developers can choose the best model for their application needs.

intersystems database

In addition to its support for multiple models, InterSystems Iris also provides native interoperability, allowing for seamless integration with external sources and applications. Thus, making it a powerful platform for building intensive applications requiring real-time analytics and machine-learning capabilities.

Why is Data Management Important in Healthcare?

Data management plays a crucial role in healthcare for several reasons. 

  • First and foremost, it allows healthcare providers to access and share patient data more efficiently. This, in turn, leads to better patient outcomes, as providers are better able to coordinate care and make informed treatment decisions.
  • Data management is also important for research purposes. By analyzing large data sets, researchers can identify trends and patterns that can help them better understand diseases and develop more effective treatments.
  • Finally, it is essential for regulatory compliance. Healthcare organizations must comply with various regulations and standards, including HIPAA, GDPR, etc. Effective data management ensures that organizations comply with these regulations.

Need to develop HIPAA-compliant software for your healthcare organization? Reach out to us to get a free estimate for your project.

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InterSystems IRIS Data Platform 2022.3

InterSystems IRIS Data Platform 2022.3 is the latest version of InterSystems’ flagship platform. IRIS stands for Interoperable, Reliable, Intuitive, and Scalable, which are the key attributes of the platform.

IRIS Data Platform is a unified platform that enables organizations to leverage their assets for innovation, customer engagement, and operational efficiency. It provides a range of management capabilities, including data integration, transformation, enrichment, and analytics. 

Some key features of InterSystems IRIS Data Platform 2022.3 include

  • Multi-model database: InterSystems IRIS Data Platform 2022.3 supports multiple relational, object, and document-oriented models. With this, developers have the flexibility to use the most appropriate model for their applications.
  • High-performance analytics: Includes embedded analytics capabilities that enable organizations to perform real-time analytics on their data.
  • Integrated development environment: Platform 2022.3 includes an integrated development environment (IDE) that provides developers with comprehensive tools for developing, testing, and deploying their applications.
  • Cloud-native architecture: It is designed to run natively in the cloud, allowing organizations to deploy and manage their applications in a cloud environment.
  • Enhanced security: It also includes advanced security features, like encryption, access control, and auditing, to ensure that sensitive data is protected.
  • As an integral part of the InterSystems IRIS data platform, IntegratedML offers the same functionalities and advantages as conventional AutoML. It streamlines and expedites the development of machine-learning models.

health data managment

Healthcare Analytics Framework

The healthcare analytics framework is designed to provide a systematic approach to analyzing healthcare data. The framework typically includes several key components: collection, analysis, visualization, and reporting. Let’s look at each of these components in more detail.

The first step in healthcare analytics is to collect the data that will be used for analysis. The collection may include data from electronic health records (EHRs), claims, patient surveys, and other sources. The data is typically stored in a database or warehouse for easy access and analysis.

After being collected, the next step is to analyze it to identify patterns and trends. The analysis may involve statistical techniques such as regression analysis, predictive modeling, and machine learning algorithms to identify relationships between variables. Data analysis can also help to identify outliers or unusual points that may indicate areas where care can be improved.

Visualization is the process of presenting healthcare data in a way that is easy to understand and interpret at any given moment. It uses charts, graphs, and other visual tools to highlight key trends and patterns. It enhances total awareness of who or what is happening in the medical facility at any moment. It helps identify areas where care can be improved and can also be used to communicate insights to stakeholders.

The final step in healthcare analytics is to report the analysis findings to stakeholders. Stakeholders include healthcare providers, policymakers, and other stakeholders who can use the insights to improve healthcare outcomes. Reports include summaries of key findings, recommendations for improving care, and data visualizations.

Building Data-Intensive, Mission-critical Applications with InterSystems IRIS

Organizations of all kinds, from businesses to governments, use it to make informed decisions and drive innovation. As a result, the need to build data-intensive, mission-critical applications has never been higher. That is exactly where InterSystems IRIS comes in. Its powerful capabilities and easy-to-use platform make it perfect for building cutting-edge applications that rely on data to drive success.

untersystems iris integration


Whether you’re working in healthcare, finance, retail, or any other industry, InterSystems IRIS has the tools you need to harness the power of data and turn it into actionable insights. And the best part? You can try InterSystems IRIS
for free. With the InterSystems IRIS Community Edition, you can download and start using the platform immediately, with no functionality or usage restrictions.


As the demand for digital health technologies, including data management solutions, continues to grow, InterSystems is well-positioned to continue its success and significantly impact the healthcare industry. 

InterSystems’ technologies are changing how healthcare is delivered and managed, even if you are a healthcare provider or a patient. So, if you’re tired of working with multiple patient data sources, turn to InterSystems and experience the difference today!

Are you looking to integrate InterSystems into your business seamlessly? Here’s how The APP Solutions helps you. Our team of experts has years of experience working with InterSystems and can provide customized solutions tailored to your unique needs. 

We also understand that every business is different, so we take a personalized approach to each project we work on. While closely collaborating with you to assess your requirements, our team will identify potential issues and develop a comprehensive plan. Contact us today to learn more about our services and get started on your healthcare project.

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Why Data Security and Privacy Matters?

 Data security and privacy are getting a much-needed spotlight right now, as they probably should. Given the fact that companies gather a lot of sensitive user data to enable their services,  it is fair to say that security must be one of the top priorities.

But judging from the list of recent breaches like:

Data security in the enterprise sector is more of an afterthought than a top priority for many companies. 

Since companies are responsible for the safety and confidentiality of the user’s data and held accountable for everything that happens with it, it’s better to be in the know on this topic. 

In this article, we will explain why maintaining data security and privacy is more important than ever. 

Why data security and privacy is more important than ever?

Data Security and Privacy are two foundational elements of building trust between the company and the user. Proper data security can be considered a significant differentiating factor for many consumers, in light of breaches and violations. 

What is usually at risk?

  • Personally identifiable information (addresses, phone numbers, passport data),
  • Personal health information and medical records,
  • Payment card and banking information, 
  • Intellectual property, 
  • Social Security numbers, insurance information.

These are the types of information that require privacy and high-security standards.

According to an IBM cybersecurity study, 75% of customers won’t even consider buying a product if they have doubts that the company will keep their personal data safe and private.

This is reasonable behavior since the consequences of careless database maintenance (Equifax) go far beyond ominous finger-wagging,  into $1,4 billion in losses, coupled with the loss of customer trust. Or let’s remember that time when Facebook stored user passwords in plaintext. That wasn’t very nice. And these are just a few of the many examples. 

But these things don’t come out of anywhere. A breach, or any other security or privacy compromise, is simply the boiling point of a situation that was building up for some time. 

There are several reasons why data security has become an issue. 

How to make your IT project secured?

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Data Security Issues

Keeping up with explosive big data growth

It is a well-known fact that for the last couple of years we’ve produced more data than for the previous millennia. It is growing at an exponential rate, and it will keep growing.  

One of the reasons for this is due to the never-ending, and often winding quest, for gaining more insights into the market situation or the target audience than the competition. This process includes storing user data, including personal information, and also such things as behavioral data and all sorts of activity logs. This is a lot of data. Facebook alone has around 2,5 billion accounts, and who knows how much data one user produces throughout a single session from an analytical point of view.

Data growth is a big challenge. Keeping up with it,  whilst keeping it all together, is extremely hard. Companies need to maintain the entire infrastructure and keep it scalable, while data sources keep expanding, and the scope of the data follows suit exponentially due to various forecasting and predictions. And you need to keep all this data to understand the big picture and identify future opportunities. 

This factor slowly but surely turns data infrastructure into an absolute mess. And because of this, data security suffers. Security practices and tools become obsolete, blind spots occur, negligence happens, and voila – “you’ve got a breach.”

Growing operational complexity

The other side of constant data growth is the increasing complexity of the data processing operation. There are way too many moving parts to keep an eye on. 

Due to the enormous scope of the data processing operation, and multiple moving parts involved, the process oversight often becomes lax, and compliance with security standards often becomes obsolete or even worse – completely non-existent. The standard rule is “if it isn’t broken, it doesn’t need fixing” And so it goes. 

The reason why Facebook kept user passwords in plaintext is an excellent example of this mindset. Little issues pile up here and there and when the part breaks there is no place to go. 

The factors for growing operational complexity are as follows:

  • Transition to cloud computing and storages;
  • Use of big data applications and databases;
  • Disparate tools from multiple vendors that process sensitive data.

While the first two factors are under relative control due to being inside the organization, the plot thickens when it comes to applications from outside vendors. 

  • What if one of those tools is compromised? Like that time when Paypal had a data breach.
  • What if a third-party vendor is using your business data for its own purposes? Like Amazon, which uses vendor data in addition to customer data to perfect their service. 

However, these serious concerns are often ignored in favor of getting more results, faster. Guess what happens next? 

New privacy regulations (GDPR, CCPA, et al)

2018 was a landmark year in terms of data security regulations. After years of hesitation and stalling (for example, the last time the EU upgraded their data security legislation was in 1995, which is prehistory), the legislation finally caught up with technological progress, and now companies have to take responsibility to user’s personal data, privacy, and security.

  • In May of that year, the European Union  adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (you can read more about it right here);
  • Later in June, the State of California passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

Both GDPR and CCPA provide ground rules regarding what is acceptable and unacceptable with personal data and also clarifies what happens with those who want to play fast and loose with someone else’s sensitive data. They also describe a course of action in the event of a data breach or other security compromises.

One of the most significant innovations of this legislation is the Data Protection Officer, a person whose entire purpose is to keep an eye on the security and privacy practices within the company and impose high-security standards throughout the organization.

The other significant innovation of GDPR is fines and penalties for violating the compliance guidelines. For example, non-compliance with GDPR, in some cases, may result in a €20 million or 4% of global turnover, fine, which is no laughing matter. 

In conclusion

Whether we want it or not, we live under the constant threat of data breaches. Every week there is a news piece about some big company having a security issue that resulted in a massive amount of user’s personal data being exposed and sold on the black market. Reputations are blemished, trust is nil, and money lost. 

It is essential to understand the reason why these things are allowed to happen and realize how much is at stake when it comes to personal data and other sensitive information. 

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AppDepot: Interactive App Discovery Platform

Project Description 

AppDepot is a video interactive platform for apps and related tech discovery, that helps apps and related tech gain visibility, increase discoverability, and organically generate traction while engaging your consumers. 

We offer the fastest and easiest means to highlight the value; showcase the key functionalities; and render a great first impression of your app.

We have developed a highly effective and competitive application that will be able to pleasantly surprise users:

  • unlimited possibilities in creating a video using features such as: screen recording, embedding from YouTube, uploading from gallery, using device camera, with built-in video trimming features.

  • If the user has already created a YouTube video for their app, they can simply embed it in AppDepot via a link

  • AppDepot’s analytics will allow you to solicit feedback of your potential users while your app is still in development.

  • As soon as your application becomes available in the App Store or even during development, you can utilize AppDepot’s push notifications to notify your followers about important launch milestones.

  • AppDepot allows you, as the app owner, to manage the visibility of your content to other users (by utilizing the private mode option)

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Main challenges:

The app’s initial code was based on the serverless solution and our developers needed to implement new features that required full-fledged back-end development. After implementing various combinations of AWS services, we were able to successfully implement the following functionalities: sending push notifications, logic of payment and reward systems, as well as the option to embed from YouTube, etc.

Core app functionality in the initial code was created on legacy frameworks that complicated the work, so we have optimized the UI of the application using more modern and adaptive solutions.

Because of the presence of strong binding between the backend elements of the application a single change in one element caused undesired changes in several other elements. As a result, the scope of work increased.

Large amount of the initial code lacked explanatory comments.

Key Solutions 

  1. One of the unique features of the application is that its work is based on tight integration with AWS services (DynamoDB, S3, Lambda functions, Pinpoint). The application was developed only by iOS specialists, backend logic was implemented using specified services. We were able to access AWS powerful infrastructure using capabilities provided by Amplify.
  2. We have created our own library that allows users to publish YouTube videos on our Feed page. The mechanism developed by our specialists allows the app to receive a direct link to a specific video from YouTube and display it in the application. At the same time, we save space on customer’s Amazon S3, because we use direct links to videos stored in Google infrastructure.
  3. In addition, we utilized capabilities provided by iOS (In-App Purchases, Subscriptions, Sign In with Apple, Push Notifications).
  4. Using the UI layout framework “Texture”, we have achieved asynchronous UI rendering, which made exploring of videos fast and enjoyable for our users, at the same time optimizing the usage of Internet connection.
  5. We have developed a highly efficient mechanism of caching videos. It takes care of free space on our users’ phones. We clean app cache regularly.
  6. Our users don’t have to worry about data security. All data is stored on Amazon services (DynamoDB), and content is secured in S3 cloud storage, which is accessible only via protected links.

Tech Stack

  • App language:
  • Architecture:
    MVC & MVVM
  • UI:
    UIKit (SnapKit) & SwiftUI & Texture (AsyncDisplayKit)
  • Lambda functions:
    Ruby & Swift
  • Backend:
    AWS Amplify
    API generated by Amazon using GraphQL language

Team composition

  • PM
  • UI/UX Designer
  • 2 iOS developers
  • QA


    On the AppDepot platform users interact, build trust, and share their experiences or views about different apps featured on the platform, while enjoying personalized user and rich interactive experience.

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    By downloading our application you get:

    •  The opportunity to always be aware of new products and trends on the digital market.
    • Even if you are not tech-savvy you can still have a fun learning experience with AppDepot: just watch short videos and discover new things in the App world
    • Fun environment for personal/career development
    • Join AppDepot’s community. One idea breeds another, so AppDepot will help you spread your ideas and effortlessly find like-minded people.
    • AppDepot provides the possibility to learn about upcoming apps prior to their launch in the AppStore.

    Scan now to get started