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How to Secure Privileged Access in the Cloud

In times of increased cyber threats, securing privileged access is a critical step to establishing security assurances for business assets in a modern enterprise. The security of most or all business assets in an organization depends on the integrity of the privileged accounts that administer and manage IT systems. Cyber-attackers are targeting these accounts and other elements of privileged access to rapidly gain access to targeted data and systems using credential theft attacks. Protecting administrative access against determined adversaries require you to take a complete and thoughtful approach to isolate these systems from risks.

Privileged Access Management (PAM) combines the most current and comprehensive defence strategies against malicious third parties executing cyber-attacks with increased efficiency and the support of greater resources. Constantly updated and evolving Privileged Access Management manages to be efficient in terms of protecting your data, including cloud security.

Establishing Cloud Security with Privileged Access Management

Since it is quite difficult to be protected against the vulnerabilities and risks of cloud technologies with standard safety precautions, data access security should be established via innovative approaches such as Privileged Access Management. This is one of the most effective ways to create a more productive security ecosystem for digital services such as cloud technologies. Some of the steps to establish cloud security via Privileged Access Management include:

  • Use of Zero Trust

All cloud service providers utilize management consoles to manage accounts, configure services and troubleshooting. Cyberattacks commonly target these consoles in order to access various data. Cloud-based service providers should carefully monitor users with privileged access rights and privileged access requests. Authorized accounts must be taken under control in order to prevent attacks and data leaks via various controlling tiers such as privileged session manager.

Modern privileged access management starts with an assumption that every user is a remote user for an organization. Zero trust building blocks of continuous authentication and verifying the user, context-based privileges are required to secure modern privileged access.

Zero trust follows the principle of “never trust, always verify” policy and least access/privilege model that focuses on identity-based authentication and access controls to ensure bad actors cannot use easily compromised credentials to gain privileged access, move around the network, and extract sensitive and valuable data. As organizations move to adopt zero trust, we are also finding organizations adopting a zero standing privilege posture, where no one has access rights or privileges permanently assigned; rather, access is granted just in time for a limited duration to reduce the attack surface and eliminate the potential for malicious actors accessing any infrastructure, even if they are able to compromise existing credentials.

  • Use of Multifactor authentication

Virtual servers, data storages, and other cloud resources are common targets for cyberattacks. Malicious third parties may try to utilize automatic provision tools in order to initiate attacks and cause downtime. Therefore, service providers should establish strong security systems and applications such as two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authorization in order to prevent unauthorized access to cloud automation command files and provision tools. The use of multifactor authentication for all privileged user access to cloud environments should be mandatory, and this likely could have prevented the initial compromise of Code Spaces’ console. Many providers offer a variety of different forms of multifactor access, including certificates on the endpoint, hard and soft tokens from leading multifactor providers, and SMS codes – which are not as secure, but still better than nothing at all.

  • Use of APIs

Cloud applications commonly use APIs in order to halt and initiate servers or conduct other environmental changes. API access authorization data such as SSH keys are generally coded built-in to the applications and placed in public storages such as GitHub. Then, they become targets for malicious third parties. Therefore, enterprises should remove built-in SSH keys from applications and make sure only the authorized applications to access through areas with encrypted infrastructures that act as digital safe, such as dynamic password controller. Such Privileged Access Management steps ensure efficient protection of cloud technologies, which are so hard to be protected via only legacy security software or firewalls.

Security is always best deployed in layers. While traditional security controls are necessary at the perimeter, we need to constantly think about how to prevent malicious privileged access, assuming that the bad actors are already on the inside and may already have access to credentials. Privileged accounts, credentials and secrets are found in devices, applications and operating systems allowing organisations to secure the infrastructure and applications, run business efficiently and maintain the confidentiality of sensitive data. In the wrong hands, privileged credentials can be used to cause catastrophic damage to a business. This is why they must be protected, managed and monitored.

For more information about Privileged Access Management, download the Whitepaper below:

Which Are the Best Practices For Securing APIs?

APIs play an essential role in the modern enterprise, and their value will continue to grow as new applications, and IoT devices are created. APIs make integrations and connecting ecosystems much easier for developers, which has added benefits for enterprises and their customers. But with a growing number of smaller application “pieces” trying to communicate with each other, APIs (your own and those from third parties) are becoming increasingly challenging to secure.

For that reason, organizations should, use a layered security approach that includes security controls such as authentication, authorization, encryption, denial-of-service protection, and ongoing monitoring. This layered approach combines several methods to protect your APIs. While each individual approach within this multi-layered approach covers a specific focus area, the unified effect increases the chances of stopping API breaches. But before presenting some API security best practices, let us introduce the main API security issues that can put your business assets at a risk. Negligence with API security can cause massive repercussions, especially if the application’s user base is too high.

Top security issues in APIs:

  • Broken Object Level Authorization

APIs tend to expose endpoints that handle object identifiers, creating a wide attack surface Level Access Control issue. Object level authorization checks should be considered in every function that accesses a data source using an input from the user.

  • Broken User Authentication

Attackers often compromise authentication tokens or implementation flaws to assume other user’s identities temporarily or permanently due to incorrect implementation of authentication mechanisms. Compromising a system’s ability to identify the client/user, compromises API security overall.

  • Excessive Data Exposure

Looking forward to generic implementations, developers tend to expose all object properties without considering their individual sensitivity, relying on clients to perform the data filtering before displaying it to the user.

  • Lack of Resources & Rate Limiting

In most cases, APIs do not impose any restrictions on the size or number of resources that can be requested by the client/user. This can impact the API server performance, leading to Denial of Service (DoS), and also leave the door open to authentication flaws such as brute force.

  • Insufficient Logging & Monitoring

Insufficient logging and monitoring, coupled with missing or ineffective integration with incident response, allows attackers to further attack systems, maintain persistence, pivot to more systems to tamper with, extract, or destroy data.

As said above, the most critical API risks are data overexposure, lack of resources, no security configuration, insecure user-level authorization, and broken objects. Clearly, it is essential to ensure the security of the API so that application user data remains safe and the application is secure and trustworthy.

Here are eight best practices to ensure APIs are shielded and do not lead to critical security exposures.

1. Identify vulnerabilities

The only way to effectively secure APIs is to know which parts of the API lifecycle are insecure. Of course, that’s easier said than done, especially as the organization’s use of APIs scales. It is important to consider the whole API lifecycle, since APIs need to be considered software artifacts on their own and, as such, must follow a complete lifecycle, including maintenance and retirement.

2. Use strong Authentication and Authorization

Many publicly available APIs have a major issue of zero or insignificant authentication and authorization. Many APIs are the entrance to the database of the organization, so it is essential to strictly control the authentication and authorization so that the database is not exposed. Poor or non-existent authentication and authorization are major issues with many publicly available APIs. For authentication, developers can use a powerful token-based tool known as OAuth. It is a framework that authorizes the information to be shared with a third party without disclosing the user credentials.

3. Identify vulnerabilities in the API

To make an API effective against security threats, it is essential to know which parts of the API cycle are insecure and vulnerable to security risks. It might be pretty challenging to comprehend this, as a software organization might use thousands of APIs at a time. The best way to identify a vulnerability is by rigorous testing. The vulnerabilities must be identified in the initial development phase so that rectifying them becomes comparatively easy and quick.

4. Don’t expose more data than necessary

Some APIs reveal far too much information, whether it’s the volume of extraneous data that’s returned through the API or information that reveals too much about the API endpoint. This typically occurs when an API leaves the task of filtering data to the user interface instead of the endpoint. Ensure that APIs only return as much information as is necessary to fulfill their function. In addition, enforce data access controls at the API level, monitor data, and obfuscate if the response contains confidential data.

5. Encrypt data

This cannot be stated more strongly or more often: All data, especially personally identifiable data, should be encrypted using a method such as Transport Layer Security (TLS). Developers should also require signatures to ensure that only authorized users are decrypting and modifying data.

6. Use an API gateway

API gateways act as the major point of enforcement for API traffic. A good gateway will allow organizations to authenticate traffic, as well as to control and analyze how APIs are used.

7. Adopt a zero-trust philosophy

In the perimeter security model, what’s “inside” is trusted and what’s “outside” is not trusted. The network is not that simple anymore, which is why a zero-trust model makes sense, especially with remote users. With a ZTM, the security focus shifts from location to specific users, assets, and resources.

8. Use Tokens

Access tokens allow an application to access your API. Once the authentication and authorization process is completed, an access token is provided. Tokens enable you to create trusted identities and assign tokens to those identities to control access to the API.

As mentioned before, APIs have become an integral element in creating modern applications, especially for smartphones and modern IoT devices. Since using an API means pulling the information from the outside source to your application, it poses a significant security risk. Too often, APIs are developed with the functionalities in mind, not the security, that’s why organizations must take API protection more seriously and dedicate effort to ensure end-to-end security.

Why API Security Is Critical In the Digital Business Era

Nowadays we are living in the era of digital business, and companies all across the world compete with one another to make the most of digital technology. Small companies also strive for being part of this trend, since it’s the need of the hour. In this context, every single aspect of digital security or cybersecurity is of critical importance for any business organization. In this article we will discuss one of the very relevant aspects of digital security, namely API security.

What is API?

Simply explained, API (Application Programming Interface) is connected with the development and deploying of applications. As a matter of fact, API works as an intermediary or a digital gateway that enables systems as well as applications to communicate and share data in a simple and easy manner. This is why APIs are central to the development and deployment of applications. But then, in the cyber world, everything that we use – every device, every application, every technology – would come its share of security risks. This applies to APIs, as well.

APIs are rich targets for security breach because they are not intended for direct access by users, but often granted access to all data within the application environment. Access is then controlled by granting specific permissions to the users making the initial requests that are translated into API calls, and having the API inherit only those permissions. This works fine until an attacker manages to bypass the user authentication process and access the downstream app directly via the API. Since the API has unrestricted access, the attacker gets visibility into everything. Just like a web application, APIs are subject to application vulnerability exploits to gain unauthorised access, steal sensitive data and launch damaging attacks.

Why API Security Must Be a Top Priority

APIs are critical to enterprises, empowering internal applications, integrating disparate systems, and providing data whenever needed. Without API, the digital economy would collapse. Business leaders must do more to protect API and the data communicated through them.API development has drastically increased in the past few years, fuelled by digital transformation and the central role APIs play in both mobile apps and IoT. This growth makes API security a top concern. In its How to Build an Effective API Security Strategy report, Gartner predicts that “by 2022, API abuses will be the most-frequent attack vector resulting in data breaches for enterprise web applications.” To protect yourself against API attacks, Gartner recommends adopting “a continuous approach to API security across the API development and delivery cycle, designing security into APIs.”

Given the critical role they play in digital transformation—and the access to sensitive data and systems they provide—APIs warrant a dedicated approach to security and compliance. APIs are the connective tissue linking ecosystems of technologies and organizations. They also allow businesses to monetize data, form profitable partnerships, and open pathways of innovation.  Additionally, APIs are hard to defend because they are highly exposed to the outside world. The amount of data that passes through the application layer makes it attractive to malicious actors. Furthermore, API hacking does not require advanced technical capabilities. Even relatively inexperienced attackers can use basic tools to discover and exploit API traffic to perform credential stuffing attacks, exfiltrate databases, change account values, or conduct denial of service attacks on critical applications.

Machine Learning and API Management tools

As discussed above, to tackle these intelligent cyber-attacks, there must be a comprehensive security solution which not only requires security capabilities, but also anomaly detection ability. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are excellent tools for the development of such comprehensive and intelligent capabilities and can be used to manage challenging and emerging security threats. With the self-learning cognitive capabilities of AI and ML, security models can be developed for identifying and flagging anomalous behavior and malicious data trends. It will lead to a blocking of API attacks and abnormal behavioral patterns under various environments and circumstances. Thus, it adds continuous learning capability to APIs and anomalous behavior is flagged without prior knowledge of attacks and written policy.

With API management tools in-place, an API consumer’s behavior and resource utilization data are easily available. Organizations must understand real-time consumer behavior from existing information such as platform logging. There are machine learning capabilities which help us to classify positive against negative patterns. We must have proper tools and services in place to have these machine learning models. These models need to be trained on multiple APIs across different service providers.

Whether on your corporate network or in the cloud, securing your APIs is critical to your organisation’s overall security posture in a digitally transformed world. APIs are incredibly powerful tools that can help an organization advance its business goals and better integrate with customers, vendors and business partners. However, these tools also open up the organization’s technology infrastructure, requiring careful security measures to protect sensitive information and systems. Organizations using APIs should carefully assess the state of their API security controls and implement an ongoing API security program.

For more information about IAM in the era of digital transformation, check out our whitepaper below:

PATECCO Customer Success Story

Integrating One Identity, Service Now and Microsoft Azure.

Situation: А German energy supply and solutions company, has a started a project for the implementation of a PAM solution. They have chosen One Identity Safeguard as PAM tool. This innovative privileged access management solution provides a secure way to store, manage, record and analyze privileged access. It combines a secured and hardened password safe, and a session-management and -monitoring solution with threat detection and analytics.

The Challenge: The energy company has also an Azure Environment as part of their IT Infrastructure. During the implementation some challenges appeared – they wanted to get the Configuration Items (Server objects) to be integrated into the Safeguard solution. The sources of these CI`s were two – ServiceNow and Azure Environment. The customer’s requirement was to have our Event Based Interface to these two source systems. In this way the energy company has achieved its main goal: automation of the Data import to the Safeguard solution which leads to less human administrative interaction with the System. Before the Interface, Objects were manually imported which resulted in less efficiency and productivity.

Response:  PATECCO responded, drawing on 20 years of professional experience in IAM and PAM field. Its team of proficient IT experts provided comprehensive solution based on the latest technologies. The first step was to create a strategic plan and then to build an Event Based Interface, using the Safeguard API to get the Configuration Items into the system. Both Interfaces are using state of the art technology for the Microsoft Azure Technology Stack. The Interface works roughly like:

  • When a new Server Object is created in the Azure Environment or in the ServiceNow Configuration Management Database (CMDB) this Server Object will also be created in the Safeguard PAM Solution.
  • The same mechanism applies to any modification of Server Objects.

Results: In just a few months, the energy supply and solutions corporation has achieved major results related to less manual interaction and elimination of human errors. The Event Based Approach makes sure that only Server Objects are processed which are recently created or modified, instead of always process all Server Objects. In its work with PATECCO, the energy company will continue to emphasize on the technical, organizational, and financial benefits related to saving time and money, better scalability, minimized incidents of human error and the most important one – secure and controlled access.

How to Protect the Data and Privacy In the Cloud

The era of the cloud is in its progress. It is a constantly developing innovation that includes a broad set of public, private, and business process outsourcing capabilities. Cloud computing relies on sharing computer resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications. Nowadays, organizations use cloud services for data storage and doing their daily operations. Despite of various advantages like scalability, flexibility, productivity, security is the major concern for cloud computing. One of the main security issues is how to control and prevent unauthorized access to data stored on the cloud.

There are various techniques able to control unauthorized access to data. One such technique is RBAC (Role Based access Control) model. RBAC method controls the access to data based on roles given to individual users within an organization. Besides, RBAC model provides flexible control and management using two simple mappings.  First is User to their role in the organization and second is Roles to accessible data to that Role.

  1. Implementing a strong RBAC policy

Implementing a strong RBAC policy helps for building up a strong visibility strategy and provides a better security solution for accessing data on cloud. Roles in RBAC are mapped to access permissions, and all users are mapped to appropriate roles and receive access permissions only through the roles to which they are assigned.

Controlling the access through roles gives benefits to organization and simplifies the management, as well. Typically, role-based access control model has three essential structures: users, permissions and roles. A role is a higher level representation of access control. User corresponds to real world users of the computing system. User authorization can be accomplished separately; assigning users to existing roles and assigning access privileges for objects to roles. “Permissions” give a description of the access users can have to objects in the system and “roles” give a description of the functions of users.

2. Management and Automation

Unifying an organization’s security infrastructure not only eases management, but also helps ensure that consistent security policies are applied wherever applications run, data is stored, or infrastructure is built. Moreover, it enables the automation of security lifecycle management processes and helps ensure compliance. These capabilities allow organizations to manage cloud and on-premises infrastructures similarly by leveraging the same level of visibility and control. Centralized management and automation help organizations meet risk management and regulatory compliance objectives. Effective security management and automation consists of  three primary elements: visibility, control, and compliance.

  • Visibility

The ability to consistently see all applications, networks, infrastructures, security events, and logs in a multi-cloud environment is a cornerstone of a security posture assessment. Such assessments are both a starting point and an ongoing process of security management.

  • Control

Control refers to applying configuration changes and populating the security infrastructure with the relevant resource-related information pertaining to the multi-cloud security posture. Besides, the control framework should extend to the native security functionality provided by each cloud platform. This allows administrators and operators to apply security changes throughout the infrastructure.

  • Compliance

Maintaining a consistent security posture and automating security operations significantly increases an organization’s ability to maintain regulatory compliance. In addition, centralized security management, automated workflows, and shared threat intelligence help enterprises quickly react to emerging threats.

PATECCO Cloud Access Control tools for data and privacy protection

PATECCO Cloud access control tools offer a greater flexibility whilst maintaining the levels of security essential to their business. Cloud access control provides secure deployment options that can help enterprises develop new customer experiences, enable effective collaboration and improve speed to market – all while increasing IT efficiency

1.Cloud Access Control: REST API

PATECCO MIM 2016 REST API. This fully functional CRUD tool acts like a convenience gateway between your applications and MIM Portal providing the following benefits:

  • Faster response times due to the integrated cache.​
  • Offers better support for different clients and increased productivity through automation.​
  • Increased level of security by easy integration with API Gateways (Axway Amplify, APIGEE and etc.).​
  • Supports Push Notifications providing easier integration with SIEM or other Event based tools (Azure Event Hub and etc.) adding additional flexibility to your applications.​
  • Cloud ready. Installed on Azure provides easier access for your cloud apps and transforms. Microsoft MIM 2016 infrastructure for Data Stream compatibility.

2. Cloud Access Control: Microsoft PIM

PATECCO offers clear migration path from an On-premise Identity System to the Azure Premium AD and Microsoft Privileged Identity Management (PIM).

  • Analyse and transform current RBAC model to a one based on Azure AD and protect the roles with Microsoft PIM.​
  • Transform and organize Azure AD logs to Events integrated to the Azure Event Hub infrastructure.​
  • Transform and adapt current workflows to the newest cloud native Azure Logic Apps infrastructure and handle all needed customizations through Azure Functions.​
  • Provide level of support for the legacy infrastructure through Azure Active Directory Sync or through our own PATECCO PAM tool. ​

3. Cloud Access Control: Azure AD Domain Services

  • PATECCO offers clear migration path from On-premise Active Directory to Azure AD Domain Services
  • Azure Active Directory Domain Services (Azure AD DS) Provides managed domain services with a subset of fully compatible traditional AD DS features such as domain join, group policy, LDAP, and Kerberos/NTLM authentication.
  • Azure AD DS integrates with Azure AD, which itself can synchronize with an on-premises AD DS environment, to extend central identity use cases to traditional web applications that run in Azure as part of a lift-and-shift strategy.
  • Use of Azure AD Application Proxy feature which provides the ability to securely access internal apps from outside your network.

For the different kind of organizations throughout the world, cloud computing has become a key element of their ongoing IT strategy. Cloud services give organizations of all sizes access to virtually unlimited data storage while freeing them from the need to purchase, maintain, and update their own networks and computer systems. Microsoft and other cloud providers offer IT infrastructure, platform, and software “as a service,” enabling customers to quickly scale up or down as needed and only paying for the computing power and storage they use.

However, as organizations continue to take advantage of the benefits of cloud services, such as increased choice, agility, and flexibility while boosting efficiency and lowering IT cost, they must consider how the cloud services affect their privacy, security, and compliance posture. It is important for the cloud offerings to be not only scalable, reliable, and manageable, but also to ensure  your customers data is protected and used in a transparent manner.

Why Are APIs so Important to Digital Business?

Application programming interfaces (APIs) are strong foundation for highly connected enterprises. They are everywhere, global and pervasive. APIs are accelerating daily business transactions, expanding customer demand and supporting mission-critical, go-to market strategies. Conversely, accompanying the exponential adoption of APIs is the urgent need to maintain a thorough API security strategy that blocks potential daily threats generated by huge volumes of transactions and data sharing between you and your external customers or partners.

What are actually the APIs?

APIs are tools that let you easily expose your unique data and services in web apps, mobile apps and other connected devices. They become the standard way of connecting applications, data and devices, providing services directly to partners and creating new models for doing business. API Gateway is able to provide security and peace of mind in this API-connected world.

APIs are important to digital business, because they simplify how two different programs communicate with one another. They are also driving a new wave of innovation which is based on shared services leveraging DevOps. In this way APIs enable companies to grow their business more quickly and to accomplish any business goal by increasing efficiency through business transformation.

Which are the basic API Platforms?

The best breed of API management platforms consists of three basic building blocks. Assembled together, these will ensure that all APIs exposed by the platform are secured and governed and that there is full visibility on their consumption.

API gateway. API gateway is a valuable security enforcing component. It acts as a single point of entry for all consumers, insulating them from multiple service providers, geographical locations, etc. API Gateway could manage, deliver, and secure enterprise APIs, applications, and consumers. It provides core services such as security (for example, authentication and authorization), connectivity with a range of different protocols, virtualization, scalability and elasticity, high availability, and manageability.

API manager. API manager is a platform for managing the lifecycle of APIs. This includes the processes of creating, publishing, promoting and governing APIs in a secure and scalable environment. The API manager enables API producers to engage partners and developers and help them onboard, manage, and test their Apps. API providers can publish, document, promote, and support their APIs, and app developers can easily find, consume, and get support.

API analytics. API analytics provide real-time insights into the business and optimize the delivery and value of APIs. They leverage the collected API data to generate predictive analytics dashboards analyzing trends and outliers. API Analytics and reporting includes both engineering focused metrics such as performance and uptime, but also tracking customer and product metrics such as engagement, retention, and developer conversion. There are a variety of methods to perform such analysis which includes basic SQL and Excel to purpose built API analytics platforms.

Which are the benefits of API Management?

1. Centralized Visibility

The API connections throughout your organization show up in a centralized panel. You know what’s going on with your published APIs and third-party APIs in your network. This governance helps you avoid security vulnerabilities, cut down on redundant APIs, and identify gaps your developers can address. This top-down view proves particularly useful if you’re looking for large-scale unusual behavior, such as a developer attempting to bypass API limitations to access unauthorized data.

2. Better developer and end user experiences

Managed APIs enable organizations to not only make their digital assets more easily available to developers, but also collect analytics and generate insights about how and by whom APIs are being used. These insights help organizations to iterate their APIs, so developers are increasingly empowered to create better experiences for end users. Well-managed APIs help business to iterate not only quickly, but also intelligently.

3. Fewer security worries

An API management platform provides a common plane to apply security precautions while still allowing individual teams and developers to work relatively autonomously. Robust API security capabilities include authentication mechanisms to control who can access APIs, intelligent security algorithms to combat bots, and tools to enforce traffic quotas and other policies.

4. Multi-cloud acceleration

Modern IT ecosystems are heterogeneous mixture of modern SaaS and cloud services. Businesses need the agility to freely connect these systems and to locate applications and data where they will be most useful. For that purpose, APIs abstract this complexity into an interface that developers can easily use to connect and leverage apps and data across clouds or across hybrid deployments. Besides, API management platforms provide control over and visibility into this process.

5. Better software connectivity for enhanced productivity

Many organizations use integrated software solutions, such as one umbrella software that houses their marketing and sales efforts and HR and finance processes. For those who have more disparate software solutions – particularly smaller businesses that have been adding solutions as they grow – APIs can increase connectivity and communication between software to streamline operations and improve efficiency.

Investing in an APIs could bring better business results, because they are a tool that has created more flexibility and allows companies to be more proactive and responsive to internal and external needs. Overall, organizations who need more agility or greater communication capabilities have turned to an API strategy to help create a stronger company business. API Management accelerates the changes in digital transformation by providing you with the capabilities you need to bring systems together, protect these integrated solutions, enhance customer experience, and unlock new business opportunities.

More about API platforms you can read in PATECCO previous articles here and here.

PATECCO issues a new E-guide: Best Practices in Identity and Access Management

After the successful edition of the White Paper: PATECCO Privileged Access Management Services, the company issued a new E-guide. This is the third edition of PATECCO’s E-gudes from the series: PATECCO Best Practices in Identity and Access Management. You can read updated information about the main tactics to get Identity and Access Management right, how Cloud Security enables innovation and security and in what way Identity Governance and Intelligence protects your business. PATECCO shared interesting facts about the importance of API in the Digital Transformation and how Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning ensure successful business transformation.

Are you ready for reading? Just click on the image below and download it for free.

PATECCO Third E-Guide for Best practices in IAM.







Why APIs Are So Valuable in the Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is a great opportunity for the businesses to replace the old models with modernized ones, helping them conquer new global markets. Keeping efficiency, productivity and agility with the help of such digital strategies has become critical for all kinds of organizations. That’s a reason to say that an essential aspect of digital transformation is the use of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). In this article, we’ll explain the core advantages of APIs which contribute for the better business processes and progress.

What is actually API?

As Gartner says – APIs are the basis of every digital strategy. An API defines in what way the software components interact with one another, what data format is used, allowable usage and other parameters. Two of the most common use cases are data and functionality sharing. For example, OAuth provides websites with a way to encourage users sign-up without making them go through a registration process.

According to Axway, APIs are a simple concept: they connect data to create new digital experiences. Basically, APIs allow you to integrate systems and devices – both internally and externally. This is a key element of any digital transformation. For example: you can reach customers based on their location, collect data to improve your services, and perform real-time updates. You can create new combinations of seemingly incompatible devices, such as water heaters, thermostats, and smart phones, and turn them into brand new products, services, and data sources. Those appliances by themselves do not communicate, and this this is where APIs act as the mechanism to facilitate data interactions.

The role of API in the Digital transformation:

APIs are critical to any digital transformation. They can change the entire process of creation new business models. By using APIs there is much more agile development process. Besides, there is more speed, more flexibility and more backend services. What’s important for a business is not simply having a good idea. What is critical, is how agilely the company can adapt that service to changing consumer preferences. A new service can change as it is being developed, and it can change even after it is in the market, thanks to APIs.

We like to talk about APIs in plural, because you can do great things when you integrate several. With connected APIs, you can automate processes, and reduce labour intensive which results in speed and convenience.

The great thing about APIs is that they can be published to a community of external developers. Public transportation companies, for example, can share their schedules with external parties (Google Maps, and many others) through an API, so that their own riders are ultimately better served. Technically, this information can be combined with other information that is accessible through APIs, about restaurants, weather, sport events, and museums to create entirely new value added services. Security is an important consideration, as not everybody and everything should be able to access all APIs. Thanks to solid Identity and Access policies, your enterprise internal systems and processes can be fully safe and secure.

When connected to devices, APIs can produce valuable data streams that you want to be stored, in a way that they are easily accessible and transportable. Storing your data in the cloud will relieve your staff from having to manage basic infrastructure.

The use of API also creates seamless user experience for your customers. It makes it possible for your services to be easily accessible on channels that your customers usually interact with, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, chatbots, virtual reality or anything with an interface. The API management solution makes your APIs highly visible and consumable and allows your customers to access your services anywhere and at any time.

The success of the digital transformation depends on continuous evolution. And the driving mechanism behind the continuous change is using a smart API strategy. Since software drives the progress of every business, APIs have become both engines of innovation and the source of competitive advantage, as well. They enable the business to offer new products, better customer experiences, and more efficient business processes.

If you are curious to get to know about a certain API use case, check out PATECCO previous article about FIM Query Service.