Why do you need API security for your sales CRM?
Integrations have changed the way sales teams function. So many diverse capabilities like calling customers, designing email campaigns, and creating sales documents can be done from within the CRM. These third-party integrations work with the help of a platform called Application Programming Interface (API). While this can improve the customer experience, API security is also something you should keep in mind as sensitive information is relayed between the CRM and the applications.
If the API connected to your CRM is not secure, this information may be intercepted by hackers who try to steal sensitive data. Your applications could be susceptible to attacks such as cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injections which can lead to data breaches.
So API security is critical to the success of applications integrated with your CRM.
As per an Imperva study, a company manages an average of 363 APIs, and more than two-thirds of them expose their applications’ APIs to the public. This is done in order to allow partners and developers to leverage their software platforms and apps, but it also carries security risks.
Let’s address the topic of API security and the critical role it plays in third-party CRM integrations.
API – Meaning and Importance
In your enterprise, you are bound to use many applications like CRM, customer support software, and ITSM systems to manage day-to-day operations. An API program can make your life easy, by allowing these different applications to work in tandem.
It is basically a software-to-software interface that enables seamless integration of existing technologies in your organization.
APIs make web-based interactions easy as it helps speed up the rate of adoption without losing existing data.
Why is API Security Important?
When you use an API, data is transferred between different applications over the internet. This data could be confidential business information or personal data of customers. You can think of it as two applications talking to each other. If a hacker eavesdrops on this conversation, they can listen to private information and use it to their advantage.
As APIs are popular and so commonly used, it has become an easy target for hackers. APIs have only basic security measures such as a username and password. But this isn’t sufficient to safeguard your data from attacks. Hackers can use brute force attacks to guess your credentials and break into your API wall that you have built for your company.
To strengthen your API security, this basic authentication has been replaced with security tokens such as multi-factor authentication (MFA). However, there are more measures you can take to ensure your data is secure.
But when enterprises or businesses want to implement API security, we’ve seen them face a number of hurdles. One of the most common challenges is who takes on the responsibility of it.
According to a study by Ovum, 53% of respondents believe the IT department is responsible for securing APIs while 47% said the API development team is responsible.
To implement API security more easily and effectively, we’ve created a list of the things you need to keep in mind.
Things to keep in mind while integrating APIs into your sales CRM
As APIs handle personal information of customers, it is important to focus on security. Here are some of the measures you can take while integrating APIs into your CRM
Integrate with Continuous Integration (CI) System
You need to blend your security measures and unit testing so you can integrate them into your existing tools and processes. Security testing should become a step in your build pipeline.
Test security of each build
It is not easy to rely on manual testing as it is time-consuming and also relies on the relevant person making sure they add it to their workflow on a regular basis. Avoid deploying several different versions of code without conducting any security checks.
Return actionable results
To get results from automatic testing, you must act on your testing information. Along with taking appropriate action based on the result, you also need to assign the remediation effort to a team member. The team members can be API developers, a QA team, IT security specialists, and others.
Read API documentation carefully
Make sure you have a functional knowledge of the set of instructions required to implement the API. Examining the API documents will help you learn more about the usage restrictions, data input, data output, and other implementation details.
Monitor API access
Vendors should follow the best practices while selecting a solution to monitor API access to Freshsales and similar CRMs. It is good to select a partner that allows you to detect patterns in API activity.
Select well-tested APIs
It is essential to use APIs as it helps enterprises save costs. As APIs depend on third parties, they have a higher probability of downtime that leads to a satisfactory user experience. You can get well-tested APIs from popular sources and manage your applications and deliver a robust user experience.
Don’t ignore security
It is important to pay close attention to API security features owing to an increase in data theft and hacking. There are some APIs that offer more secure data protection and encrypted connection. Meanwhile, there are other types of APIs that are not secured and can make your business prone to security vulnerabilities. Make sure to implement APIs that follow strong security policies and protect your business and user information.
Scalable APIs are the key
Businesses need to implement a scalable API that will grow. This saves the companies from redoing their existing third-party integrations in case of selecting flexible options.
Authorization on the front end is vital
A majority of developers tie these API elements into other pieces of software. A multi-pronged approach from developers is essential to securing the code properly. Therefore, they need to focus on authentication.
Organizations have been shifting from simple password systems to multi-step authentication. They are especially focusing more on biometric solutions like fingerprints. After authenticating their identity, the person needs to pass an authorization check and gain access to different types of information.
We hope this guide has helped you overcome many of the security challenges you may face while integrating APIs with CRMs.
By having the right API integrations, your business can achieve the right workflows within their cloud platform. The benefits of APIs make it worth overcoming its challenges.
By asking the right questions and knowing which areas need attention, you can create a trusted and secure environment. Though APIs are targeted by hackers, you can take steps toward better security. This will protect sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.
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