Why do APIs need Zero Trust policies?

Why do APIs need Zero Trust policies?
Why do APIs need Zero Trust policies?

Those days are gone where building a castle and having a perimeter level security would suffice. Previously trusting everyone or anything inside the perimeter is no longer valid as attackers know how to disguise themselves as valid and authentic insiders where they can pose severe security threats.

Nowadays there is a new notion coming up that states whether insider or outsider, no machine or human entity can be allowed to be trusted unconditionally unless or until validated, authenticated, and authorized.

The reasoning for Zero Trust Policy:

The Zero Trust architecture is in extremely high demand due to its worldwide implementation in all the underlying network infrastructure such as application, cloud and data. And now, most of the time, developers see zero-trust as a useful security approach to APIs. This is because APIs are becoming a more common target, in part. After all, their identities and security systems are less sophisticated and almost all organizations have them when it comes to transferring large amounts of sensitive data.

As per RapidAPI's Developer Survey, 58% of top leaders think of taking part in the API economy is leading priority for them. This change is particularly drastic in some industries. Healthcare executives and 62% of financial services executives today value competition in an API economy.

Zero Trust's profile as a security model was sharpened after the pandemic forced a switch to remote work and received yet another vote of confidence this spring in President Biden's Cybersecurity Executive Order. Federal agencies will be required to combat cyberattack attacks.

In traditional perimeter-based security models, Zero Trust has based on the premise that location is not relevant, and users and devices cannot be trusted until they are authenticated and authorized.

The NSA Recommendation on Implementing a Zero Trust Security Model suggests four key concepts:

• Identify Critical Data / Assets / Applications / Services (DAAS).

• Architect from the inside out. First, it focuses on protecting critical DAAS.

• Create security guidelines and enforce them consistently.

• Set the full visibility of all activities at all levels.

DAAS is largely represented by APIs in today's modern applications. Therefore, to get security from a zero-trust security model, we need to apply these principles to our APIs as well. That goes well together because modern API-controlled software and applications are not contained in a fixed network, but in the cloud and threats are everywhere in the application and infrastructure stack.

The need for Zero-Trust Policy for API Security:

APIs are considered as a completely new network model; which is intertwined in complex approaches where the interactions of API occur both on the inside and outside of the company.

Public dealing with APIs—for example, customer banking—is typically a key vicinity of cognizance with regards to zero-trust. This is because of the apparent threat of publicity while APIs are documented and made to be public on the internet.

However, the bigger threat is located in non-public and inner APIs, due to the fact there may be a not unusual place, we wrongly assume that for the reason that they aren’t documented or located on a public network, they aren’t exposed. That is far from reality. But as posing threats turn out to be greater state-of-the-art of their look for and discovery of personal APIs, there may be accelerated threat of the dubious people having access to big quantities of sensitive records. Private APIs want equal layers of safety as public dealing with APIs.

APIs are, via way of means of definition, atomic in nature—which means they may be invoked independently, defined Setu Kulkarni, vice president, approach at NTT Application Security. That creates an actual undertaking for securing those APIs. Given that, essential attention for imposing zero-trust in APIs is to make sure that there should be proper security and administration in place to have any kind of API implementation. Every API feature name calls for now no longer simply authenticate, rather it requires additional authorization. Also, including zero-trust round consultation validation enables us to save unintentional records leakage.

Integrating Zero-Trust in APIs

The maximum scalable manner to put into effect zero-trust into the utility layer is to put into effect and undertake stable latest styles that make the adoption of zero-trust easier and cheaper.

While there may be no authentic manner to put into effect zero-trust in APIs, one famous method is designed as a significant authentication provider. This setup can validate to get admission to tokens which might be dispatched with each request—with the API then figuring out if or a way to provide get admission to a valid resource. However, this introduces new complexities and challenges, for the microservices environment.

An API-driven application can have thousands of microservices, making it difficult for security teams, architects, operations managers, and technicians to keep track of all this development and its impact on security. Adoption of zero trust principles ensures that every microservice Communicated with the least amount of privilege to avoid using open ports. and enable authentication and authorization for each API. The main aim of secure API integration is to assure that an open API doesn't compromise the complete data and subsequent application.

When integrating Zero Trust into the design and use of Web API, we need to consider these four areas:


Individual API transactions must also be decided to ensure that unauthorized users or devices are not believed, but not legitimate. For defending against such vicious attacks, constant monitoring and analysis of all end to end API transactions is needed. Implementing TLS security for all client and application transactions ensures extra safety and security.


We need to be completely sure of the users that are authenticated and authorized. With Zero Trust, all users are viewed as potential threats. Access to data and resources is restricted. until they are authenticated and authorized. Authentication allows mechanisms such as SAML to log in to multiple services through a single login. Since modern applications are based on microservices, software developers must enforce encryption between all microservices to protect themselves from attempts to internally violate their environment.


Development teams need to know exactly how to handle data. We need to know where the data is, what specific APIs are accessing it, and which users are requesting sensitive data. We need to ensure that only the data that the user needs and is authorized is sent and retrieved.

To be more efficient, it has become common practice to send more data than necessary and to rewrite an object's data at the same time and not selectively. These actions are based on trust that the user is doing the right thing. With SaaS-based applications storing massive amounts of user data, it becomes increasingly important to ensure that sensitive data is protected and continuously tracked, both at rest and on the move.


We cannot trust attackers to use our APIs as intended. Business logic attacks are more common. To counter such sophisticated attacks, we need to be more vigilant of API transactions for all connections. Having an end-to-end monitoring system helps us gather baseline information which in turn gives us the ability for detecting any anomaly on API usage so we can prevent any malicious attack.

Zero Trust Security: The Pathway to Infallible Security

Maintaining a strong and fool-proof security posture in a world full of integrations, cloud-based networks, and continually evolving technology seems to be impossible. Hiding amidst the huge network might be a single vulnerability or security threat that just needs to be seen or leveraged by the hackers.

However, adopting the right and reliable measures, such as Zero Trust Security Policy will surely pave way for an infallible security posture.

And, there are three core drivers of such a strong security implementation - the right software solution, the right expertise, and the right insights. At InstaSafe, we help you get all the “three right things” with minimum hassle and maximum results. So, take the first right step towards a reliable and robust security posture by scheduling your demo today!

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