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Maximizing CIAM Investments: A Layered Approach to API Security

I was happy to join a group of industry experts for a great discussion at The European Identity and Cloud Conference recently. Ingo Schubert (RSA), Ward Duchamps (Thales Digital Identity and Security), Mark Haine (OpenID Foundation) and audience questions from Martin Kuppinger and Mike Schwartz made the discussion incredibly insightful. We shared experiences securing application programming interfaces (APIs) and optimizing the return on investment from your Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) purchase. Throughout the discourse, a few pivotal themes emerged, reinforcing the importance of a layered approach to API security, and a keen understanding of multi-cloud security, schema detection, and managing API visibility and change control.

Layered API Security Approach

APIs, as Ingo Schubert rightly noted, are “the lifeblood of modern digital infrastructure.” As such, they are also an attractive target for cyber attackers. A layered approach to API security is necessary, involving securing the API endpoints, implementing robust authentication and authorization protocols, and employing monitoring tools to detect any anomalies and potential threats.

Multi-cloud Security and Schema Detection

As businesses lean towards a multi-cloud strategy, the security of APIs across various cloud platforms becomes even more critical. As Mike Schwartz emphasized, “a solid understanding of multi-cloud security is vital in maintaining the integrity of APIs.” Schema detection allows us to better understand the structure of the data being exchanged and helps identify potential security vulnerabilities.

API Visibility, Change Control, and Compliance Integration

API visibility is a significant facet of managing security. As I mentioned during the discussion, “knowing what APIs exist, how they interact, and their potential vulnerabilities is the first step to securing them.” With the rapid pace of changes in APIs, having a robust change control mechanism is equally crucial.

Moreover, integrating compliance measures into your API security strategy is no longer optional, considering the ever-changing regulatory landscape. Martin Kuppinger noted the increased importance of compliance integration due to landmark decisions like Schrems II, which has significantly impacted data transfer mechanisms between the EU and the US.

The API Security Adoption Journey

Improving the API security posture isn’t a one-time task but a journey. This journey should involve a thorough understanding of the current state, defining the desired end state, and charting a course to get there. The journey involves adopting best practices, integrating security into the API development life cycle, and continuously monitoring for threats.

In conclusion, the panel underscored the importance of a strategic and layered approach to API security. As I reiterated during the talk, “investing in CIAM and ensuring its proper implementation and integration is not only a smart business move but also a necessity in today’s digital landscape.” It’s integral to protect your data, maintain trust with your customers, and stay compliant with regulatory requirements.

Stay tuned for more insights as we continue to explore the evolving world of API security and identity management.


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