Is your API an asset or a liability?

This article was originally published on VentureBeat.

A touchy API topic is data ownership and liability, regardless of whether the APIs are open or protected. Obviously, depending on your business model and needs, you will choose to expose the APIs and the underlying assets to your developers, partners, public developers, your consumers, or others that I am forgetting. While almost everyone talks about the API business relationships, the liability concern brings the legal relationship to the forefront.

[Image courtsey: jasonlove.com]

liabilityAPIs are considered a contract between the data supplier (or API provider) and the app provider. If you have different API providers that publish APIs from a central place, and multiple third parties use that API catalog to build apps for their consumers (end users), then it becomes complicated. While you can fix some of this by writing detailed contracts and making the app providers and end customers agree to the terms of usability before they use those APIs, as a provider, you are also responsible for implementing controls around your APIs to mitigate most, if not all, of the risks involved.

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Enterprise IOT: Mixed Model Architecture

– By Andy Thurai (@andythurai)

This article was originally published on VentureBeat.

Recently, there has been a lot of debate about how IoT (Internet of Things) affects your architecture, security model and your corporate liability issues. Many companies seem to think they can solve these problems by centralizing the solution, and thus collectively enforcing it in the hub, moving as far away from the data collection centers (not to be confused with data centers). There is also a lot of talk about hub-and-spoke model winning this battle. Recently, Sanjay Sarma of MIT, a pioneer in the IoT space, spoke on this very topic at MassTLC (where I was fortunate enough to present as well). But based on what I am seeing in the field, based on how the actual implementations work, I disagree with this one size fits all notion.

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How to effectively build a hybrid SaaS API management strategy

– By Andy Thurai (@AndyThurai) and Blake Dournaee (@Dournaee). This article was originally published on Gigaom

Summary: Enterprises seeking agility are turning to the cloud while those concerned about security are holding tight to their legacy, on-premise hardware. But what if there’s a middle ground?

If you’re trying to combine both a legacy and a cloud deployment strategy without having to do everything twice a hybrid strategy might offer the best of both worlds. We discussed that in our first post API Management – Anyway you want it!.

In that post, we discussed the different API deployment models as well as the need to understand the components of API management, your target audience and your overall corporate IT strategy. There was a tremendous readership and positive comments on the article. (Thanks for that!). But, there seem to be a little confusion about one particular deployment model we discussed – the Hybrid (SaaS) model. We heard from a number of people asking for more clarity on this model. So here it is.

Meet Hybrid SaaS

A good definition of Hybrid SaaS would be “Deploy the software, as a SaaS service and/or as on-premises solution, make those instances co-exist, securely communicate between each other, and be a seamless extension of each other.”

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Taming Big Data Location Transparency

Andy Thurai, Chief Architect & CTO, Intel App security & Big Data (@AndyThurai) | David Houlding, Privacy Strategist, Intel (@DavidHoulding)

Original version of this article appeared on VentureBeat.

Concern over big government surveillance and security vulnerabilities has reached global proportions. Big data/analytics, government surveillance, online tracking, behavior profiling for advertising and other major tracking activity trends have elevated privacy risks and identity based attacks. This has prompted review and discussion of revoking or revising data protection laws governing trans-border data flow, such as EU Safe Harbor, Singapore government privacy laws, Canadian privacy laws, etc. Business impact to the cloud computing industry is projected to be as high as US $180B.

The net effect is that the need for privacy has emerged as a key decision factor for consumers and corporations alike. Data privacy and more importantly identity-protected, risk mitigated data processing are likely to further elevate in importance as major new privacy-sensitive technologies emerge. These include wearables, Internet of Things (IoT), APIs, and social media that powers both big data and analytics that further increase associated privacy risks and concerns. Brands that establish and build trust with users will be rewarded with market share, while those that repeatedly abuse user trust with privacy faux pas will see eroding user trust and market share. Providing transparency and protection to users’ data, regardless of how it is stored or processed, is key to establishing and building user trust. This can only happen if the providers are willing to provide this location and processing transparency to the corporations that are using them.

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Don’t be stupid, use (cloud) protection!

– By Andy Thurai (Twitter: @AndyThurai)

This article originally appeared on PandoDaily.

Looks like Obama read my blog! The White House got the message. Politicians now seem to understand that while they are trying to do things to save the country, such as creating NSA programs, they cannot do that at the cost of thriving and innovative businesses, especially cloud programs, which are in their infancy. Recently, Obama met with technology leaders from Apple, AT&T, Google and others behind closed doors to discuss this issue.

While American initiatives, both federal and commercial, are trying to do everything to fix this issue, I see vultures in the air. I saw articles urging nationalism among Canadian companies, asking them to go Canadian. In addition, they are also trying to use scare tactics to steer the business towards them, which is not necessarily going to help global companies in my view.

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Snowden gone, ripples remain!

– By Andy Thurai (Twitter: @AndyThurai)

[Original version of this blog appeared on PandoDaily magazine.]

Though Snowden is long gone now, the ripple effects that he created are going to remain for a long time to come. If you haven’t done so already, I suggest you read about the NSA surveillance programs PRISM and XKeyscore before you continue with this article.

Essentially, these government programs are creating nervous times for my Canadian, European and APAC customers who are using US cloud providers. Given the very strict data residency and data privacy requirements to protect their citizens’ sensitive data in these parts of the world, through “guilt by association” alone, the latest incidents have implicated most corporations that move their data across boundaries. One thing is certain: these programs that are exposed because someone came out in the public. Just because a specific country’s cloud provider hasn’t been accused yet (or not found guilty) doesn’t necessarily mean that they are not doing the same thing. There is a chance that they might be doing it and have not been caught yet.

Unfortunately, the cloud community spent years alleviating the fear of moving data to the cloud by entities. Those days, the fear was about hackers and disgruntled employees/partners accidentally or willfully exposing their data. Now they need to fight an uphill battle of convincing the entities not about hackers, but about legal entities and governments.

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Ole for APIs…

Video of my speech from API Days Madrid here.  It starts after the first minute after Guillaume finishes his Q&A.

For the first time in my life, I was in Spain (Madrid) last week. What a lovely country and people. Great food too! It amazes me how people can speak multiple languages and entertain the clueless tourists like me by switching to English so quickly :).

ole

In any case, I was there to attend the API Mediterranean event. Can you believe that? This is proof that API has gone to the nook and corner of the world! It was attended by about 100 practitioners. The representative companies included Intel, Kin Lane the API evangelist, WSO2, 3Scale, Layer 7, FaberNovel, API Cultur, Webshell.io, MailJet, and many more. The enthusiasm and eagerness from participants were undeniable. Eduardo was a great host.

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Congressional committee excitement!

I am very excited and honored to be testifying in front of a congressional panel tomorrow, May 23, on Capitol Hill. The panel will discuss how modern technologies can help in the healthcare field. It is interesting to see the list of big name congressmen and senators who are interested in hearing about modern technologies and how healthcare IT can leverage it. I guess mobile devices revolutionized everybody’s thoughts.

I will let you know how it goes and whether or not we are close to revolutionizing the world. In the meanwhile, tune in to CSPAN to watch me but no cat calls please 🙂

 

5 Practical Steps to Building an Enterprise Class API Program

When it comes to building API programs, everyone seems to think in terms of technology, platforms, scalability, security, execution, hackathons, etc., but people tend to forget the most important thing. What do you think it is – TTM (Time to Market)? Additional Revenue? Newer Partners? TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)? Usability? IT approval? or Something else?

If you want to know what that is and how to effectively build an Enterprise class API program, please attend this webinar that I am co-presenting with Mashery and CapitalOne. Every customer seem to have an aha! moment after our conversation.

This live webinar is at 1 pm EST on May 22 (this Wednesday). You can register here http://tiny.cc/0ywexw.

ZDnet observation about Chief API Officer

Joe McKendrick of ZDnet wrote a blog commenting on my article Chief API officer. You can read it here.

He makes a couple of valid observations which deserves some clarification.

“CMOs may also help reinvent the business as a cloud provider in its own right — even if the business is something other than technology.” – I agree. This is due to the fact that IT is already crunched for capital and struggling to come up with money to spend on new platforms.  CMO not only has more money but can just shift the spending habits from spending on other marketing and revenue generating channels to this newer channel which has more potential.

“And CEOs and CFOs may like this new direction, since the CMO’s job is all about creating new business.” – I agree. I have seen this time and again. There are customers, Aetna is a prime example, who run (or endorse) the API programs out of the CEO office. Watch out for my follow up article where I discuss this in more detail.

“Is this a good thing? Enterprise technology has become incredibly complex, and it takes very technically proficient individuals to understand and guide the business to invest wisely and avoid costly security errors. Plus, many of the consumerish services being adopted by marketing departments are relatively simple compared to the programming and administration that goes into enterprise IT systems.” – This is debatable. First of all, we are not trying to create a new trend, just trying to embrace the trend. That is IT spending being supported by other organizations that are cash rich as opposed to cash strapped IT operations. Plus, when you invest just purely on the opex model, as opposed to capex model, their expenses are relatively cheaper (on a yearly/ usage model basis, not on a TCO basis which is another big debate). Ultimately, what I am suggesting is that while embracing this trend, provide the other organizations with a more mature, robust, and secure solution that will have an oversight and governance of a mature corporate IT unit even though it is owned, operated, measured and managed by people outside corporate IT.

 

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