How APIs can save marginalised telecom firms

Mind Commerce has predicted that by 2018, 68% of all web and mobile applications will utilise APIs, generating global revenue worth $157 billion for the Telecom Network API market.

In order for telco's to remain at the front of the game, telco's will need to create and nurture a developer community to drive API adoption.

TRP: How can telcos maintain security when sharing their APIs?

AR: It's essential that the security of transmissions, the authentication of devices and users, as well as the traceability of transactions, are taken into account when securing and sharing APIs. In order to do so, organisations will need to tighten the API net, to prevent hackers slipping through and data slipping out.

When organisations open their APIs, they will require a centralised way of locating and managing the data; so rather than monitoring each stage of the journey, they will need the capacity to manage the complete lifecycle of information.

API gateways provide enterprises with a platform for deploying and managing APIs, internally and across the firewall, regardless of protocol or authentication mechanism.

In addition, the gateway will give the organisation a clear vision of how developers are using their code, internally and externally, allowing them to fix issues quickly and prevent bottlenecks from disrupting the data transfer process.

TRP: Can the same technology be applied to cloud services and the internet of things?

AR: To put it simply…yes! API technology is driving and empowering the IoT revolution linking all our devices in a new internet ecosystem, from the connected car, to controlling our heating via our mobiles to monitoring our sports performance on fitness bands.

It's inevitable that over time, an increasing number of businesses will open and share their APIs; mainly to remain competitive and keep up with the changing market. However, with more sensitive information and business critical interactions being handled, security, management and access control have become must-have capabilities.

API gateways standardise the API development and delivery capabilities that are needed to control existing applications. API gateways also provide new business services via cloud, mobile and partner channels.

TRP: What are the security risks when connecting multiple devices?

AR: Securing, locating and managing the flow of this information has proved increasingly challenging. When you consider confidential information is for a short period of time, exposed in cyberspace, the risks associated with hacking, data loss or data corruption multiply quite considerably.

Not only does human error play a factor, particularly when it comes to data loss, but hackers will also know how to find the weak spot between two different devices. Many will exploit this knowledge in order to get their hands on valuable information or steal valuable belongings; like collecting customers' credit card details or even controlling a car.

Just recently the Telsa connected car for example, was in the media spotlight when its iOS interface was exposed as being vulnerable to hackers. Because the car was effectively protected by only a single password, a potential hacker could easily locate the car and even open it from a remote location.

The consequences of incidences like this can wreak havoc on a business– from long term brand damage to hefty monetary fines.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.