If you’ve ever tried to connect two web-based applications or programs, you’ll have heard of an API key.
More secure than username/password combinations, API keys work quietly in the background of your systems.
But some organizations manage, on average, 363 different APIs. Trouble is, if they’re broken, not secured or badly configured, they can cause all kinds of problems.
Enter API key management. Read on to learn what it can do for your business.
What is an API Key?
API stands for ‘application programming interface’. These keys are lines of code that let applications talk to each other.
By adding the API key, the programs don’t need to swap login credentials every time they need to work together.
If you use a platform like Zapier, you’ll add an API key every time you want Zapier to conduct a task for you using another application. API encryption makes the integration between these programs more secure.
Let’s use an example. Say you wanted to create a Cryptopia API key.
In the Cryptopia settings menu, you’d unlock the security options with an email code. Then you’d generate an API key.
You’d go to the partner application and paste that API key into the relevant box.
You can also disable API keys if you’re worried they’ve been compromised, or you no longer use those applications.
What is API Key Management?
Each application provides a form of API key management. This is the system that generates and monitors API keys.
It checks incoming requests for access by other sites or apps. But it only approves the requests accompanied by valid keys.
If you run a software company, chances are you’re already using some kind of API key management. This means users can generate API keys in your software solution to use in other applications.
But other companies need to use them too. If you’re connecting your email marketing platform to your website on WordPress, you’ll need an API key.
The best practice for API key management is to keep track of the API keys you need and use. Then you can deactivate or disable them when required.
Why Might I Deactivate an API Key?
Say a systems engineer is working on your system. He might inadvertently see the contents of an API key for a platform you use.
If you’re worried about any potential compromises, simply deactivate the API key. Generate a new one and reconnect it to any relevant applications.
API Key Management Best Practices
Need to include screenshots in training materials? Don’t just blur out the API key. Block it out entirely.
Only generate the keys you need and deactivate them when you’re finished. Don’t keep a list of the specific keys – just what applications need them and who has access.
Check usage of API keys. Follow up anything that looks suspicious. And never email API keys or you risk their security.
API keys are great for connecting different applications in a secure way. You’ll need API key management in marketing since it uses so many keys between email marketing or other automated scheduling platforms.
If you want to improve your marketing game, why not check out our blog and learn something new today?