When we talk of APIs, the discussion is generally towards public APIs. These APIs are generally available to the public to try out within acceptable API limits as set by the API provider. On the other end of the spectrum are Private APIs, that are equally important and organizations tend to gain more by effective introduction of private APIs that expose their internal assets across the chain of applications. Two more trends “Consumerization of IT” and “BYOD – Bring Your Own Device” are placing the focus back on private APIs in Enterprise IT.
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A recent article at GigaOM, highlighted how BYOD is unstoppable and is forcing enterprises to provide applications to their users that in line with the consumer apps and take advantage of the latest features available on Smart phones. While this is a welcome trend, it presents significant challenges to traditional enterprises. Some of the issues that come up include clean separation of personal data from company data on employee phones and data security.
What is interesting to note is that creating an API layer to the organization’s data/systems is discussed as the solution that can make BYOD a reality. The API Management layer will deal with security i.e. who has access to what applications and data. Not just security, but the API layer can take care of the logic and data, thereby allowing the enterprise to deliver functionality on a variety of devices and operating systems. The article goes a step further and boldly states that the “API border is the new security parameter”.
While at the high level, the approach is pretty much how an enterprise would go about if they have several backend systems, the BYOD movement might just bring APIs to the forefront in organizations that have so far resisted them. What do you think?