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API Management: a key to secure IoT solutions

As Gartner predicts that there will be 30 billion connected objects in 2020, each with its own IP address, which will be very thrilling as well question of worrying about security at the same point in time.

Today, certain vertical industries, particularly the automotive, home automation and utility sectors, are early adopters in the IoT space. For example, a utility consumer can use a mobile app to view details about their energy usage and pricing, as well as view the temperature of their home, using information sent from their thermostat out to a Web API in the Cloud. A car owner can use a mobile app to remotely lock/unlock their vehicle and activate the air-conditioning five minutes before they sit in.

Within the transportation industry, an organization can remotely monitor its fleet to ensure its drivers are not driving longer than permitted. Connected cars, smart meters and home automation appliances all use Web APIs to provide information to the consumer and manufacturer, enabling them to interact with the service provider. This trend is growing to the point that cars, smart meters, and other sensors will soon outnumber mobile apps as API consumers.

Without question, API management must be a central part of overall IoT development strategy. Without API management, IoT application could be susceptible to any number of security or reliability issues.

What is API Management?

API management refers to the overall process of publishing, promoting, and overseeing APIs in a secure environment. It is a collection of solutions such as gateways and security, with each solution having its own disaster mitigation plan.

API management services act as a proxy between the API and the end user. They usually provide a combination of API key and authorization controls, usage reporting and analytics, documentation, developer communities, and payment information.

Why API Management?

Businesses should use an API Management solution for API creation and maintenance, data integration, security, and performance. The solution will also provide analytics to give business statistics on how many calls APIs receive and from which app. This is particularly important to charge the developer for usage of API. The solution should allow publicizing API to energize the development community to create innovative apps fueled by data too.

The analysis is a particularly smart reason to have API management in place. For example, an analysis could show you if API capacity is being taxed so that user can respond in time. Additionally, in an emergency that requires API to stay up and running; an effective management strategy could address the challenge by implementing throttling, prioritization, or scaling.

Without effective API management, an organization’s APIs could potentially become sabotaged or compromised, damaging the brand’s reputation and exposing its users to potential criminal attack. With IoT, the dangers are even greater; consider the risk to cars or homes. For example, if a rogue user accessed an automotive firm’s API, the unauthorized person could have the ability to remotely unlock or lock a car – without the owner’s permission. This scenario could herald the blending of car crime with cybercrime – a frightening scenario. To avoid this exposure, the organization would need to have clear policies around who can access the API and define who has permission to remotely lock and unlock the car, using identity standards such as OAuth. In short, if an organization does not have an effective API management strategy it lacks visibility into how its APIs are being used and therefore puts its business and its users at risk.

Key Capabilities of API Management

Security protects APIs, messages, and backends with configurable policies such as OAuth, API key verification, XML/JSON threat protection, access control (IP whitelisting and blacklisting), and SAML assertions.

Protocol transformation which enables the transformation of enterprise data and services into usable, scalable, and secure APIs? Edge supports the transformation of existing backend services to APIs with more than 30 out-of-the-box policies that let API developers configure rather than coding their solutions. Configurable policies include SOAP to REST, XML to JSON, JSON to XML, and XSL Transformation.

Support for Java, JavaScript, Node.js, and Python which extend the programmability of the API management solution for developers who prefer coding over configuration. Through the use of callout policies, code written using these standard languages executes as part of the request pipeline like any out-of-the-box policy.

Versioning is supported at multiple levels. Backend service versions can be “hidden” behind the API facade. Versioning can be applied at the URI level, following best practices and internal corporate standards. Additionally, all artifacts (policies and configurations) are stored in XML and can be placed into versioning systems.

How Faststream helps in API Management?

Developer portal – To attract and engage application developers, to discover, explore, purchase, test and adopt APIs.

API Gateway – To mediate traffic between backends and clients, and between company’s APIs and users.

API lifecycle management – To manage the process of deploying, developing, designing, publishing, and versioning APIs.

Backend as a Service (BaaS) – Enable developers to build extensible apps with modern features including user management, social graphs, data storage, push notifications, and performance monitoring.

An analytics engine – Offering insights for business owners, operational administrators, and application developers, and enabling them to manage all aspects of a company’s APIs and API programs.

API monetization- To enable API providers to package, price, and publish their APIs so that partners and developers can purchase access or take part in revenue sharing.

Benefits of Faststream Solutions

User management enables registration and login, roles and permissions, groups, third-party authentication such as Facebook, Twitter, and other OAuth-enabled accounts.

Scalable REST data storage provides the ability to store information in a NoSQL format and has an auto-generated REST API in front of that data, therefore making the data readily consumable by developers.

Push notifications including Apple Push Notifications Service, Google Cloud Messaging, and Windows Push Notification Services.

Security features are available via configuration of standard policies. This policy-based security architecture provides a configurable model that enables enterprise-grade security to protect the business from threats, backend overload, and service issues.

Out-of-the-box policies mitigate the potential for backend services to be compromised by attackers or malformed request payloads and protect against JSON and XML threats.

To learn more about API management solution for IoT contact us at info@faststreamtech.com for no obligation consulting.

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