How To Build A DevOps Strategy With APIs

By   John Iwuozor
, Bora | May 09, 2022 05:09 am PST

Organizations are rapidly turning to APIs because they bridge the gap between independent applications and programs and, in turn, facilitate proper and consistent communication between them. APIs have become a fundamental part of every application, and it’s easy to see why many companies are developing their applications using APIs and DevOps.

APIs can become more secure and reliable by using management tools. Organizations must perform routine API audits to improve their development. This will significantly help in preventing attacks from malicious bots and hackers.

APIs can accelerate development, reduce time to market without compromising quality, and increase customer coverage and business value.

Steps in building a DevOps strategy with APIs

Building a DevOps strategy consists of adopting CI/CD platforms, training the right IT professionals, and integrating new application testing and release cycles.

Overcome compliance and security issues with API

DevOps is at the crossroads of IT and digital innovation. It plays a crucial role in securing the entire API lifecycle. In the race to scale APIs, many companies ignore other security threats.

So how do you optimize DevOps security issues with APIs?

  • Don’t secure APIs, protect the API lifecycle: API security works best when built into every lifecycle stage like QA staging, development, user acceptance testing, versioning, production, and even API retirement.
  • Scale user identity and access features: A key to API security for DevOps is scaling modern user authentication and access features. Examples include JWT tokens, OIDC, and OAuth. This can mitigate the risks associated with API users at multiple scales.

The second inevitable challenge is compliance. Almost every business faces regulatory, compliance, and governance oversight challenges.

So how do you optimize DevOps compliance with APIs?

  • Use an API management platform for automation: This can simplify policy management, authorization, authentication, logs, redacting, and other oversights activities.
  • Use API analysis to exceed benchmarks: set thresholds based on your compliance needs. This contains everything from limiting user API access based on geo-location to setting up custom alerts to detect threats.

Reduce the complexity of Microservices endpoints using APIs

There are more services, platforms, languages, teams, and moving parts than ever before.

So how does the DevOps team keep track of all these moving parts? By creating, at the highest level, a meditation layer to manage microservices access.

This frees DevOps teams from the complexity of managing microservices. It also adds more granular access to core services. This allows consistency across security, quality measurement, and other organization-specific values.

Centralizing core technology and applications can generally enhance CI and CD channel pipelines. This simplifies microservices management and endpoint complexity.

Improve seamless integration and continuous delivery pipelines with APIs

With a secure, single-interface DevOps ecosystem, you can focus your energy on improving CI and CD results using API functionality.

Using APIs at scale, you can now manage application functionality based on real-time deployment needs, such as:

  • Dynamic resizing.
  • Load balancing.
  • Real-time network changes.
  • Partitioning services to different clouds or databases.
  • Expose internal applications and services for third parties’ consumption.
  • Consuming third-party applications for CI/CD enhancements.
  • Monitoring of trends and usage rates of internal and external applications.
  • Adjust speed or access restriction according to usage habits.

In short, API management authorizes DevOps teams to make security, technical, and environmental adjustments faster. Additionally, APIs make it easy to monitor and manage all systems.

How to implement your application Security Using API?

Maintain continuous automated security

When you hear about DevOps, sooner or later, you will hear about a continuous implementation-continuous deployment (CI/CD). The process helps integrate the development and release processes better so that new features and applications are launched faster without compromising quality.

Set up a web application firewall (WAF) for environments that use APIs

A Web Application Firewall (WAF) solution is needed to ensure API security to inspect inbound and outbound HTTPS/HTTP like any other web application. A WAF provides specialized security features that complement API Gateways, making it essential for modern application environments.

Adopt evolving security solutions

Application environments and available tools are changing rapidly. If security solutions are designed to be rigid, it will be challenging to break from previous strategies and keep up with new developments.

Data Security

When companies focus on DevOps, APIs, and CI/CDs, sometimes they tend to stop protecting their data. Data security is even more important as applications and frameworks become more integrated and distributed in DevOps. Over time, complex interdependencies emerge that can span clouds, containers, APIs, and services.

Implementing a data-centric audit and protection (DCAP) solution is an excellent way to approach this complex ecosystem. This will help protect data stored in files, databases, and repositories.

The importance of APIs

APIs provide a secure approach to connecting and exposing resources. Therefore, when creating a new application or resource, a team can capitalize on these reusable components, eliminating the time and resources required to start each project from scratch.

For companies looking to bolster their DevOps environment with APIs, here are key considerations to get started:

Build automation

As teams build new applications, it is necessary to create recipes that allow the application to be reassembled correctly each time it is disassembled for changes and updates.

Test Automation

Most developers wait until the end of the code to create tests. Instead, developers should create tests before writing a single line of code using mock data. As a result, code can be moved much faster from development to deployment.

Version control

Effective version control allows developers to move code to a different set of teams, direct parallel development, and provide instant visibility into incompatible changes with what others are doing.

Deployment Automation

Like creating a recipe for how an app is built, you should create a recipe for how apps are deployed. The recipe should help determine which environments the applications should be deployed to, how they are promoted across environments (e.g., development, QA, security, production), and how the settings change based on the environment.

Dedicated Security

APIs required a focused approach to security to protect them across their full lifecycle. WAFs and other tooling are good for application protection, but they won’t defend you against dedicated API attacks. Those attacks are low and slow and cannot be detected by WAFs or API gateways. You’ll also want automated discovery to go with your runtime protection, so you know the full landscape of APIs in your environment.

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