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Weekly Digest Online Security August 11, 2016

When you think of API security it is easy to let the technical details of securing APIs be front and center, but in reality, just doing APIs can bring a great deal of security all by themselves, when employed as part of an organization-wide API-first strategy–one that includes everyone, not just IT and developer units.

Going API-first when it comes to accessing all of an organization’s data, content, and other digital assets for use across ALL web, mobile, and device properties brings its own level of stability and resulting security to organizational operations. This process, aside from the technical benefits, can do a lot to help you get your house in order, which makes for a house that is easier to secure.

APIs are not the latest release from Microsoft, Google, or Amazon; they are an approach to delivering data, content, and other digital resources using existing and evolving Internet standards. The web concepts that support an API-first strategy are web-scale concepts introduced by, and evolved by, the entire Internet community, not just a single company or industry.

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This modern approach to web APIs allows for the consistent deployment and delivery of digital resources, which also employs a handful of common approaches to authentication, making sure resources are accessible but also secure. Using the web for API-first operations encourages the use of consistent authentication patterns across all digital resources, enabling internal, partner, or public access to the assets they need, across an organization, in a secure way–using the web.

Modern API operations employ these common approaches but also focus on who is accessing resources, introducing rich analytics on how digital resources are being put to use, or not used at all. The awareness that APIs bring to the table about what is available, how it is being accessed, and by whom, has transformed how organizations like Amazon, Twilio, and other API pioneers are striking a balance in their security operations and allowing them to keep things lockdown, but opened up in a way that drives consumption when it makes sense.

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This API-first approach to business operations centers around a common portal for hanging all available APIs, SDKs, support, and other resources required for successful integration. Publishing a “storefront” of available digital assets for internal groups, partners, or the public provides a required single point of entry, making it easier to lock down and define the boundaries of any digital business operation.

We haven’t even touched on locking down individual APIs yet. This is why API security is so important. Like APIs themselves, API security transcends the technical and helps bring consistency, awareness, accountability, and transparency to information technology and digital services operations. The web, and now the API evolution, is working to bring technology out of the shadows, helping us get our businesses, institutions, and government agencies houses in order–making them much easier to secure.

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