API security for small businesses

Here at Creative Network Solutions, we are Manchester’s leading IT support and network services experts, and we offer a wide range of network and security solutions for businesses of all sizes. This includes API security. But what does this inovle?

What does API stand for?

API stands for Application Programming Interfaces, and these are integral to modern technology environments, especially those online. These allow the easy connection between cloud based services as well as on-premises services. This means that they provide direct access to applications and data alike, which can lead to serious vulnerabilities.

What are the considerations for API security for small businesses?

There are a number of important considerations to bear in mind when considering the security of your APIs. These include:

  • Discovering all APIs- it may sound obvious, but many companies and businesses are not sure of exactly which APIs are running, and without this knowledge it is almost impossible to form an effective strategy for defence. As a result, you should be sure to understand all of your APIs, document them, and add them to the security protocol.
  • Using strong encryption- API encryption is essential for protecting your network and data. When using APIs, it is crucial that you the API endpoint supports only the secure transport layer security versions 1.2 and 1.3. Any older versions of this transport layer security should be blocked, as these are less secure and they present a security risk. By doing this you can ensure end to end encryption, using the encrypted HTTPS protocol at the beginning.
  • Authentication- Authentication should be required for APIs to grant user access, and it is often important for access to be restricted to only authenticated users. As a result, when a user request is initiated, an API key should be supplied. This is very useful for validating users’ identities and confirming their access authorizations.
  • Testing- As part of their role APIs expose HTTPS endpoints, and as a result this can lead to security vulnerabilities. These endpoints are likely to be probed and tested by cyber criminals looking for easy access, and as such it is essential that these be tested and included in vulnerability scans. This can help identify any security issues, so that these can be rectified, before an attacker can exploit them.

What are the benefits of effective API security?

There are a number of advantages and benefits to securing your APIs. These advantages include:

  • Protecting data- API flaws have led to the exposure of personal information of citizens around the world, at great reputational cost to the companies involved, as well as great individual damage to the people affected, who may have had their identity stolen, or became the victim of fraud.
  • Preventing disruption- API flaws have also been involved in a number of high profile disruption attacks on large multi-national companies. Effective API security can prevent this disruption.

For more information or advice about API security, why not ask the experts today, here at Creative Network Solutions.