Cloud APIs and How to Mitigate the Security Risks
APIs and insecure interfaces from the cloud are some the most vulnerable aspects of cloud computing.
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Due to its agile, flexible, and cost-efficient services, cloud solutions are inevitable for business operations and so are the unavoidable security risks and the probability of malicious attacks that you might have to endure. Cloud security threats are plenty. CSA’s nefarious twelves have listed and positioned Cloud API and insecure interfaces in the number three among the other persistent risk factors that are associated with cloud computing and the OWASP Top Ten report also acknowledged it as a primary security concern that demands intensive risk mitigation efforts.
Cloud Application Programming Interface (Cloud API)
A Cloud Application Programming Interface (Cloud API) is what facilitates the cloud services by enabling the development of applications and services provisioning the cloud hardware, software, and platforms. Cloud API is a gateway that provides access to the direct and indirect cloud infrastructures and software as the services. Cloud APIs are the means to interact with the cloud infrastructure to designate the computing, storage, and network resources for the concerned cloud applications or services. A key element in provisioning the cloud services cloud APIs are primarily based on the REST and SOAP frameworks. Along with cross-platform and cloud providers' APIs, there are also open APIs and vendor-specific APIs that helps to control the cloud resources and their distribution.
Insecure Interfaces and API
The APIs are provided by the cloud service providers to software developers to design the interfaces and through these interfaces, they can interact with the cloud services. Another layer built on the framework raises the complexity of the cloud allowing the vulnerabilities to enter in the cloud. The treats of clear-text authentication or transmission of content, improper authorizations, anonymous access, reusable passwords or tokenization can arise, hampering the cloud services and customer access, limiting monitoring and logging capabilities, creating unknown services, and API dependencies resulting in leading to the repudiation and denial of services.
Mitigating the Risk
The risk can be mitigated by adopting an effective security model for Cloud provider’s interface and employing strong authentication and access control mechanism in tandem with encrypted transmission along with a clear understanding of the dependency chain of the APIs. The added layer of protection by using cybersecurity technology is also a good idea to keep unauthorized access at bay. Cloud APIs are designed to facilitate data access and integration that has served as the pivotal factor to drive the cloud innovation. But this also brings a lot of vulnerabilities that can lead to serious security breaches and system meltdown. So before adopting the cloud model, carefully discern the security and design your cloud security policies well.
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