Elevate Your API Security with Fine-Grained Authorization from Zuplo + OktaFGA

Zuplo and OktaFGA have teamed up to offer an integration that enhances your organization’s API security and simplifies access control. Buckle up because we’re about to show you how fine-grained authorization and gateway security is done right.

API Authorization: Understanding Fine-Grained Authorization (FGA)#

Fine-grained authorization provides detailed control over who can access resources within an application. It’s about who gets front-row seats, who’s backstage, and who’s stuck in the nosebleeds. Unlike the old school, coarse-grained authorization which simplifies when a user can access an application, fine-grained authorization allows for nuanced permissions. This means you can specify not just if a user can access a system, but what specific actions they can perform within that system.

For example, within a project management application, fine-grained authorization would allow you to define that a project manager role can create and edit tasks, a team member can only view and update tasks, and a client can only view the progress of their project. This level of detail is essential for maintaining security, especially when securing API endpoints.

Meet OktaFGA: Inspired by Google Zanzibar#

OktaFGA is a fine-grained authorization system based on relationship-based and attribute-based access control. OktaFGA integrates with an API gateway to enhance security and scalability. The API gateway acts as a single point of entry responsible for request routing, composition, policy enforcement, and providing additional capabilities such as authentication, authorization, monitoring, load balancing, and response handling for microservices. Additionally, the API gateway serves as a critical component for API management and routing requests to the appropriate backend service on demand. Inspired by Google’s Zanzibar system, used internally in Google Drive and YouTube, OktaFGA is designed to scale to billions of users and resources. Whether you’re a startup or a global enterprise, the flexible system grows with your application, enabling user collaboration and granular access control through intuitive APIs. Did we mention it’s developer-friendly? Because it totally is.

Benefits of Using OktaFGA for API Security#

  1. Granular Access Control: As your product grows, it’s important to continuously refine who has access to what resources. OktaFGA allows you to control user permissions with surgical precision, tracking and managing API calls to update your policies as needed.
  2. Centralized Authorization: If you’re sick of scattering your AuthZ logic all over your application code, centralize it with OktaFGA. All your authorization needs are in a singular location, simplifying security and compliance. By standardizing authorization rules and centralizing your decision logs, now you can manage and implement authorization for all new features and products from a single-pane-of-glass view. There are diverse API gateway solutions available in the market, each with unique features, deployment choices, and integration capabilities to address specific use cases and organizational needs.

Zuplo + OktaFGA: A Seamless API Gateway Integration#

Zuplo is a modern API management solution that is built specifically for developers, focusing on their productivity by building easy-to-use features. Zuplo can integrate with clients' existing API gateways to ensure holistic API security and provide API security at scale. Edge deployed, Zuplo integrates easily with various authorization providers, including OktaFGA, to handle and route API requests efficiently. This integration offers two policy options: one for OpenFGA and one for OktaFGA, with configuration options for each.

Setting Up Zuplo with OktaFGA for Backend Services#

Let’s get our hands dirty now. To get OktaFGA setup within Zuplo:

  1. Create a New Project: Start by creating a new project in Zuplo, which deploys to 300 edge locations around the world.
  2. Local Development: Run everything within Zuplo’s full local development experience, or from your favorite code editor (hello, VS Code!).
  3. Push to Git: Push your project to Git to go live, or run it directly from your browser.
  4. Add Routes: Add routes based on OpenAPI documents. Zuplo’s extensions make it easy to integrate with your backend APIs and backend services.
  5. Configure Your Client: Configure your client and paste it into the policy. It is also important to create separate API gateways based on use cases to reduce attack surface and prevent unnecessary exposure to endpoints. Voila! Now you’re rocking fine-grained authorization for your APIs.

Real-World Application: Dynamic Authorization in API Traffic#

Zuplo’s programmability combined with OktaFGA’s fine-grained control enables your developers to mock APIs quickly, perfect for developing new products. API gateways play a critical role in securing access to microservices, providing centralized entry points for managing and securing access to APIs, and serving as an intermediary for routing API requests. For instance, if you create mock data, set up utility functions, and handle requests, you can simulate real-world scenarios. This allows you to define policies for API key authentication and test with different user roles to ensure proper authorization. With this powerful integration, you can:

  • Define custom policies for folder or document permissions
  • Manage account-level and project-level roles
  • Control access with fine-tuned precision
  • Protect sensitive data by identifying and managing it effectively

Zuplo’s edge deployment ensures low latency and high performance, providing efficient authorization checks that are close to your users, no matter who or where they are! A web application firewall (WAF) helps in securing the API gateway from common threats such as cross-site scripting and injection attacks.

Wrapping Up#

With Zuplo and OktaFGA, you’re not just improving API security–you’re future-proofing it. This is scalable, low-latency fine-grained authorization at its best. By integrating these technologies, you can enhance your application security and streamline access control. Additionally, incorporating API gateway security is crucial in protecting sensitive data and mitigating potential threats.

Watch our 1-hour webinar to view a demo of this powerful integration and see how it can transform your approach to API security. Fine-grained authorization isn’t just a “neat feature” within Zuplo; it’s a critical component of a comprehensive security strategy for your organization!

Designed for Developers, Made for the Edge