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DevSecOps, a variant of DevOps, makes the software development workflow secure. Having a methodology for security helps organisations mitigate risks concerning the software development process.  

API makes computer-to-computer communication possible, but it can also allow cyber attackers to access business data. So, for any DevSecOps professional, securing APIs is crucial for a successful software development lifecycle. 

This article discusses how DevSecOps teams can approach API security for successful software development. 

What is API Security? 

API (Application Program Interface) security is the process of securing APIs owned by companies from malicious attacks and vulnerabilities. 

  • APIs are the code that lets two software components communicate and share data, making them crucial to the software development lifecycle. 

  • Modern-day businesses use APIs to connect services and transfer data. However, when exposed on the internet, APIs can create attack vectors for hackers to extract business data, affecting a company’s revenue and reputation. 

A recent survey states that 41% of enterprises were exposed to API security breaches last year. And according to another survey, API security incidents increased by 681% in just one year.  

As a result, many companies are requiring partners that can provide API security to prevent cyber attacks, like SQL injections, cross-site scripting (XSS), and protect sensitive business data from breaches. 

Overall, API security is vital to the secure and prosperous performance of APIs and the database testing and software they support. 

The Role of DevSecOps in API Security 

DevSecOps helps ensure enterprises that API security is integrated into every stage of the software development journey.  API DevSecOps combines API development, security practices, and operational efficiency. 

DevSecOps professionals redefine how a company creates, deploys, and manages APIs to develop an application, placing security considerations at the forefront without compromising collaboration and agility. 

Integrating DevSecOps with API security results in early vulnerability detection, rapid incident response, efficient API and software development, regulatory compliance, and a culture of collaboration. 

Best Practices for DevSecOps Teams

The following are some key DevSecOps best practices organisations should adopt for better API security and efficient software development lifecycle. 

Implementing API Authentication and Authorisation

Implementing API authentication and authorisation is about verifying who users are and what they have access to. Programmers who need to access the API’s configurable elements will need authorisation.

Furthermore, authenticating a user to an API is paramount because the API will use that user identity to decide whether a specific operation is permitted. 

Some key API authentication and authorisation best practices that a DevSecOps professional can follow are key management, transport layer security, JSON web tokens, etc.

Input Validation and Sanitization

Input validation and sanitisation is verifying whether user input meets specific criteria, such as correct format, type, or length, before processing or storing it. 

DevSecOps professionals can eliminate potential security risks, ensure data integrity, and improve user experience by validating and sanitising user input. 

You can follow different techniques to validate varied types of user input, such as password, email, username, etc. For example, to validate whether the input is a positive integer, check whether the input is a number and is greater than 0. 

Threat Modelling

Threat modelling involves identifying, quantifying, and prioritising enterprise systems and data risks. A DevSecOps expert can approach threat modelling in many ways, but one popular method is the STRIDE method. 

An effective threat modelling process will include these steps:

  • Identifying assets

  • Diagramming the system

  • Analysing threats

  • Performing risk management and prioritisation

  • Identifying fixes 

Regular Security Testing

Automating security testing will ensure consistent application of security checks and help reduce the risk of human error. With increasing code commits and deployments, it can be difficult for human testers to keep up with changes. 

Automated periodic penetration testing and code reviews will reduce the risk of security vulnerabilities without adding significant time and cost to the software development release management process.

Conclusion

Integrating DevSecOps with API testing can lead to successful API and database testing, reducing the security risk and improving software development performance. However, it can be challenging to implement API DevSecOps. 

Following the above-discussed practices can help enterprises make API security work well with DevSecOps. 

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