Developments in integration and APIs have provided businesses with huge benefits. Together, they provide businesses with newfound opportunity to unlock new revenue sources by making data more accessible rather than being stacked disparately at the edge or in on-premise sites.
However, as with any business strategy there are risks, and integration technologies must be used wisely. This rings particularly true when customer data is involved. So, how can organizations reap the rewards of APIs while ensuring consumer data is secure?
Record-breaking year for data breaches
To achieve business success, organizations need to deliver growth from digital transformation and make decisions based on large volumes of sensitive customer data. However, 2019 was the worst year ever for data breaches and, what’s more, today’s consumers are increasingly savvy about their data. More than ever, organizations need to be make sure that the way they handle and process customer data complies with contractual agreements.
That said, while mass data breaches are regularly dominating the headlines, the biggest cause of worry is no longer hackers. Rather, organizations need to look beyond the papers and ensure the data they’re processing is done in accordance with the purposes for which their customers believe it is being used.
Since GDPR was implemented, almost €400 million of fines have been levied. In January 2019, for example, France fined Google €50 million for breaching the transparency and consent requirements in connection with the way they processed personal data for ad personalization. Then, in September, Twitter admitted that it, too, had processed personal data in a manner that may have been in breach of regulations.
In both cases, it seems reasonable to speculate that the over-enthusiastic use of data by developers, exposed through APIs, may be at the root cause of such incidents. So how could this and the subsequent reputational fallout have been avoided?
Unlocking new sources of revenue
According to UK ICO guidelines, there are six lawful bases for processing data to which businesses must effectively manage and deploy their APIs if they are to ensure compliance. This means having complete, end-to-end visibility and security for B2C, B2B and B2B2C transactions, spanning across all data sources whether they be applications, devices, on-premise or in the cloud.
Failing to comply could cause severe reputational damage. For example, in the event of a data breach, individuals may be personally liable for up to £500,000 per incident. In this context, how can organizations trust developers to simply “do the right thing”? Perhaps more importantly: how can organizations ensure they have the necessary systems in place to control the way APIs expose sensitive data?
Luckily, integration and API platforms offer a solution, ensuring that the whole API lifecycle, from requirement to retirement, can be properly managed. This helps to minimize the likelihood that the power APIs provide is abused. From there, policy engines ensure the usage scope of every API can be defined and enforced while reverse invoke technology removes the need to open firewall ports, reducing the chances of hacking.
Integration and API platforms enable users to swiftly onboard partners and exchange documents with API based standards. With partner ecosystems more critical than ever, this proves invaluable as companies look to differentiate their offerings and compete effectively. In essence, coherent integration ensures that organizations can transact and share data with partners while platform technologies ensure they are created and managed effectively.
With access to this information, businesses can ensure the timely and accurate transaction of daily, crucial business documents while streamlining their supply chain, accelerating order-to-cash and increasing customer satisfaction.
Securing data with APIs: Improving efficiencies
APIs provide companies with newfound opportunity to accelerate their business outcomes. However, given the access to large volumes of sensitive information, they need to be leveraged responsibly. Businesses must therefore be open and transparent around the way they interact with consumer data, with the alternative leading to financial and reputational fallout.
Integration and API technologies enable businesses to avoid these risks, streamlining partner onboarding and providing full visibility and control over APIs. This will ultimately allow a company to manage their APIs effectively and efficiently, while ensuring any contractual and regulatory obligations are adhered to.