Must Have Skills for Effective API Security
Gartner reports that by 2022, APIs will be the most frequenttarget hackers will use to compromise data. API security, which shouldalways be a concern of enterprises, requires a certain set of skills.
These skills are necessary for developing and implementingthe solutions and strategies that can properly address the vulnerabilities andsecurity risks that are unique to APIs.
Having an expertise in certain products or brands is not asimportant as having a thorough technical awareness. Technical awareness givesyou a clear picture of what the product and technology landscape looks like andis more valuable for understanding and mitigating API security issues.
Designing For API-Led Connectivity
With API-led connectivity, you can methodically connect datato applications by employing reusable and purposeful APIs. These APIs haveto properly be designed and developed to execute the specific rolesassigned to them and fit into the security framework.
API Design Best Practices
There are well-crafted design principles that can helpmake APIs more convenient for developers to consume. These bestpractices, which can include prioritizing documentation, also improve developerexperience and reduce the likelihood of incorrect code.
Networking and Network Security
Areas of vulnerabilities increase as the capabilities ofnetworks and network infrastructure continue to drive both application and APIdevelopment. Knowing what is necessary for maintaining network security iscritical.
API Security Best Practices
Adhering to best practices for API security can help ensurethat API deployments do not result in security issues. This can entail beingcognizant of the risks of APIs and carefully monitoring add-on software.
General Authentication Mechanisms
Being serious about API security means having a solidunderstanding of the major authentication methods, such as Oauth2.0, SAML, SSO,basic authentication, etc.
General Authentication and Authorization Flow
Securing authentication and authorization requires a carefulunderstanding of API security strategies. Implementing access control using amodern API security strategy can be compared to the airport model, asexplained here, where multiple techniques work in unison.
Cyber Security Threat Awareness
In order to stop hackers, you have to know how theyimplement their attacks. This entails having working knowledge of:
- OWASP top 10 attacks
- Basic attacks
- Advanced attacks
- Attacks at different network layers
How Layered Security Works
Having secure APIs requires a multi-layered approach that uses a number of components. This includes gateway security, network/infrastructure security, and last-resort security that can automatically detect and block attacks that deviate from the norm. Knowing how these three layers interact with one another to provide protection is essential for effective API security.
Non-Technical (Soft) Skills
API development does not occur in a vacuum. Effective security requires communication with InfoSec, enterprise architects, developers, CIOs and CISOs. Security professionals will have to bring all of these different people together and get the most out of each of their skills to help secure the API environment. You need to be able to relay the purpose of the API and what data is exposed and articulate the data in a manner easy to understand for those who have to use and apply the information.
Effective communication is also necessary for the gatheringof API requirements.
Post development, API developers also have to communicate design and how to consume APIs. Visual communications, such as diagrams of different layers of security, system interactions, flow of data can help people understand the API. Visual tools can also be used to expose API definitions or communicate how to consume APIs, helping consumers test the end-user version of the API.
Empathy helps to provide insight. Not understanding theconsumer’s point of view can contribute to conflict between the technical teamsand users because the consumers want flexibility and greater access. You alsoneed to understand APIs from the viewpoint of hackers in order to know how tostop them.
Empathy is gained through experience. Being curious andseeking knowledge by asking pertinent questions can also help you understandanother point of view. How does the user interact with the API? How would ahacker interface with this API? What kind of information can a hacker get fromthe API? are examples of the type of thinking empathy allows.
You also have to keep in mind the future issues associatedwith APIs and what contingencies, plans or solutions need to be in place forwhat will happen to the API in the future. Long-range issues can pertain tomanagement, maintenance, the impact of personnel turnover, how to executeversion control and how to remain up to date with the latest in API security.
At Big Compass, we have the skills needed to ensure that theright solutions are in place for your enterprise’s API security. Contact us andlet us show you how we can protect your infrastructure.