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A non-developer’s guide to authorization APIs

Published by Emre Baran on September 17, 2023

The full article is available on TechBullion.

In the rapidly evolving landscape of digital security, the ability to meticulously manage and monitor access is more crucial than ever before. As the digital realm becomes more interconnected and sophisticated, exponentially growing threats make breaches not just a possibility but an impending reality for those not adequately protected. At the heart of this safeguard is not just recognizing who a user is but strictly defining and overseeing what they can and cannot access.

This is where authorization comes into play, emerging as a linchpin in today’s advanced technological frameworks. Authorization APIs not only provide a robust mechanism for control but adapt to the intricate tapestry of modern software designs, particularly with the rise of microservice-based architectures.

Demystifying authorization

Before delving into the world of Authorization APIs, we need to clarify what authorization means. Authorization defines and enforces a user’s rights, ensuring they can only perform actions or access data pertinent to their role. It’s the crucial second step to perform in a software application, following authentication, which verifies a user’s identity.

Consider the dynamics of an e-commerce platform. Sellers, buyers, and administrators each have different roles, and the Authorization API ensures each role accesses only its specific functions. Similarly, in an HR system, while system admins create and manage user roles, they shouldn’t see personal employee data or sanction leaves, a task designated to the HR staff.

The mechanics of authorization APIs

In an era where decoupling and modularity reign supreme, authorization APIs emerge as internal system interfaces. They evaluate and enforce access permissions for authenticated users. Separating authorization from application logic, they shield against unintended consequences of changing business logic on user access rights. Centralizing the authorization logic guarantees uniform implementation of these access rules across all services.

The full article is available on TechBullion.


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