API Security

API management for IoT

API management for IoT

API is the core of IoT as it’s what makes IoT devices use the internet for communicating and conducting allotted operations efficiently. Communication API in IoT plays an important role as it empowers IoT devices for seamless information exchange. 

However, the API abundance can be a challenge for the organization as it takes a lot to enforce effective security policies for APIs. So, let’s move about the Internet of Things API and key API security practices to adopt in this post.

Learning Objectives

What is Internet of Things?


Abbreviated as IoT, it is an inventive approach framed to let devices/applications connect or communicate using the internet for sharing precious data back and forth. It’s a huge set-up of linked applications, resources, devices, and end-users that share information regarding their operations and surroundings.

The system functions on concepts of data analyses and automation while dealing effectively with sensors, cloud messaging, sensors, and AI. IoT devices are best known for their unmatched performance, upscale utility, and better control. 


What is an IoT API?

In general, API is the term referring to standard framework collection, protocols, and resources dictating the generic web and mobile application. It defines the communication rules that every application component must follow while exchanging information with each other.

APIs that are used in the creation of IoT solutions are known as IoT APIs. They are the web services application programming interfaces. They work in a similar fashion and make seamless data flow, with HTTPbeing the medium. Using the IoT API lets developers design advanced applications that are easy to integrate with other web services.

IoT APIs make the end-user experience exceptional in multiple manners. For instance, they can log in to the websites easily and bring a good number of applications on board.  

Internet of Things

API Types in IoT

APIs in IoT are highly diverse to support IoT development by all means. The key API types 

are as mentioned next.

  1. SOAP

SOAP APIs are crucial for IoT devices development as they make building a communication bridge between the servers and the clients. The API supports only XML-based data transfer.  

  1. REST

IoT REST APIs useful for HTTP data transmission and for empowering IoT devices to stay associated with the rest of the world. These APIs are driven by architectural principles and boast features like interfaces simplicity, instant resources identification during the request, and manipulation of particular interfaces. 

  1. JSON and XML

A bit older than SOAP APIs, JSON and XML IoT APIs are based on a simple approach and consume limited bandwidth.


The important role of APIs in the IoT 

What makes API crucial for IoT and any other device/software is the fact that they support effective utilization of pre-existing functions to ensure smooth software processing while keeping developers free from the need of reprogramming again and again.

The world of IoT is too complex demanding continual contact between multiple agents involved. API usage makes the task achievable as integrating assorted IoT components with each other is 100% possible.

API usage empowers the IoT world and makes innumerable as fresh development and integration opportunities are rendered.  

IoT APIs serve as amazing technical development resources as unmatched flexibility is granted.  

Speaking of cybersecurity, APIs are essential as developers can use them to gain control over access requests. This limited and controlled access keeps the DDoS attack possibilities less than expected.

Considering all this, it’s easy to conclude that the world of IoT will be on the brink of fall, with less productivity, and higher security risks if APIs are not involved.


How API management helps the IoT Developers?

IoT is a trending technology and is going to stay here for a little longer than one can expect. However, its effective utilization depends upon the degrees of API management as if that’s not happening, enterprises and end-users are going to have a tough time with IoT devices. Here is how:

  • In the case of IoT devices, efficient management and handling can empower developers to decide which API should be used and when should he or she revoke the access. Developers are allowed to set single or multiple connection criteria for apps and IoT devices.  
  • The continual API monitoring is a crucial aspect in the process that further supports early detection of any unforeseen caveats and failure possibilities.
  • It presents a clear picture of API utility and usage for IoT.
  • The deeper insights into the developer experience with the API can be earned as one compares the standard experience and delivers an end-user experience to spot the gaps. 
  • IoT development requiring emergency API utilization is fully supported as it grants details about API scaling, use quota, and throttling. 
  • API version update is easier than ever with good management standards being maintained as new version updates are offered timely.
API benefits

API vendors for the Internet of Things

Seeing the surge in API usage in IoT, certain vendors are bearing the responsibility of offering tailor-made communication API that meets all the IoT API standards.

  • Withings API

With Withings APIs developers involved in the development of measurement devices can be benefitted hugely as the API can share the collected data over the internet. Most commonly, the collected information by this API vendor is ECG and EKG, body weight, and sleep cycles.

  • Garmin Health API

Perfect choice for developers involved in developing the IoT appliances operating in the health care and activity industry, Garmin Health APIs can monitor around 30 types of activities. Data related to total sleep hours, steps walked, stress level, heart rate, and many more.

Garmin Health API
  • Google Assistant API

This API is capable of being integrated into IoT devices easily and supports operations like voice control, natural language processing, hotword detection, and many other facilities. It guides developers through-and-through during the management and conversation stint. Using the API, developers can easily make IoT devices voice-controlled by phones, displays, watches, TV, laptops, and Google Home Devices. 

Google Assistant API

Direct search about details like weather, traffic, news, light, task management, and many more other details can be made.

  • Apple HomeKit

The APIs coming from this vendor serves as a doable platform for connecting Siri and iPhone with the Apple-based home devices and appliances. Accessible with the help of Apple iOS8 SDK, the APIs can make devices like lights, garages, doors, TV, and many more to be controlled directly via voice.

Apple HomeKit


IoT API security

The increased number of cyber-attacks and risks is a serious concern for anyone offering a service or product. IoT devices are also not out of the reach of threat actors. In fact, IoT devices of all applications bear the highest cyber risks as they operate using internet connectivity. If adequate and viable IoT API security practices are not practiced, multiple security risks will engulf the IoT devices.

Out of 80% of organizations that have used IoT devices in any form, 20% have already encountered cyber attacks, says Gartner’s recent report.

To stay safe from this danger, it’s crucial to back-up API with efficacious security practices. 

Below mentioned methods can enhance security for the API.

  • API authentication must be activated from the beginning.
  • Robust API protocol with military-grade encryption and identity tokens should be deployed.
  • User and device authorization should be enforced. 
  • Web API IoT should feature traffic throttling triggers to put a cap on DDoS attacks
  • Web APIs should be regularly monitored and their use cases should be audited to spot any vulnerabilities in the infancy stage and develop a pro-active remedial action.

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