API Security: 9 Essential Best Practices

API Security: 9 Essential Best Practices

27 September 2021

With data-centric projects becoming the focus in the modern-day, APIs are now a major asset. Acting as doors for the secure data of companies, this beneficial technology comes with its own sets of challenges. For starters, how can you leave the door open for your employees, when you want it closed shut against hackers.

Trust Nobody

First of all, trust nobody. This goes for every employee, every IT professional, and even yourself. Do not give anybody information they do not need to know. Make sure your email subjects are hidden. Your emails should be premade messages and locked. IP addresses should also be hidden.

Use an IP Blacklist and Whitelist. This lets you restrict access to your systems. Only give IT leads and yourself as admin roles. Have a role for each department assigned. Make sure no excess information is given to a regular user.

Ask for Authentication

Regardless of who is calling your API, always check their identity. Use complex passwords and API keys. Make sure users only have access to their passwords. Enact strict privacy rules in all your policies. Authentication is often the first road bump for any would-be hackers. To keep them away, ensure that all your assets are in order.

In addition, authentication lets you have confidence in the people that log into your computer. This leads to an overall reduction in stress.

Encrypt Your Data

Make sure all incoming and outgoing data is encrypted. Your IT professionals should have strong encryption tools in place for all communication channels. One-way encryption (TLS) or superior two-way encryption (two-way TLS) is the industry standard way to keep them updated.

Limit Messages Sent

Protect yourself from DDOS attacks by limiting the maximum number of messages sent per second. Your backend system’s bandwidth should be kept safe from these malicious threats. In addition, make sure API access is limited only to certain members. Full API access is given only to IT leads. Not even yourself, as the most secure PCs, should be the only place with access.

Set your throttling quotas and limits as strictly as possible. That practice can prevent severe damage to your API structure.

Validate Your Data

Check all incoming data for any threats. If a message sounds too good to be true, it most definitely is. Data with large files, attachments, or messages that claim “gifts” of some kinds are worthy of suspicion. Refuse such content and have an IT team deal with it. XML and JSON validation are some methods used. Radar API would benefit from such an advancement.

Build a Strong Infrastructure

Make sure that your network’s software is always up-to-date. Keep your security software updated, have constant stress testing, and keep a close eye on any issues. A strong infrastructure must be carefully planned from the development stage to maintenance. Building a website using limited code is admirable.

A strong firewall is the best initial defense for incoming attacks. Organize the wall with two layers. The first should act as a DMZ. This performs basic security protocols, message checking, SQL injections, and HTTP blocking. The second layer advances the data to where it needs to go via LAN. Keep your connections closed as much as possible.

Implement API Gateways

A central API Gateway can streamline all the mechanisms in this article. Centralize all of your needs into one secure place. No need to spend excessive amounts of budget on an entirely original API. Find a trusted and reliable security provider. This can save you a ton of time, money, and resources. All of this means you can get your business up and running fast. The API gateway controls all aspects of your network.

Delegate Responsibilities

A solid API needs good delegation capabilities. Authorization and authentication should be standards. Mechanisms such as OAuth are essential tools for streamlining the login process. Instead of a set password and username, one can use “access tokens” instead. By using a third-party authorization system, they can protect consumers. This is useful for customers who prefer not to disclose their credentials.

Additionally, it helps reduce liability. With no need of inputting information, businesses no longer need to worry about security concerns. There is no data to protect since tokens are predetermined by the business itself. OAuth is used as a delegation and authorization tool.

Constant Vigilance

Keep a close eye on all activity within your API’s infrastructure. Take note of patterns or repetitive actions. Have notes nearby ready to be filled with audits and logs. Be concise in your record-keeping and don’t get bogged down in excess details. Your logs need to be readable and easy to figure out when something’s wrong. An accessible UX design is preferable. This reduces the need for complex training.

Keep your API infrastructure updated with the latest security software as well. To make things accessible and easy to navigate, use a monitoring dashboard. To improve your watchdog habits, have dual monitors. You can work both in tandem.

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