written by
5000fish Team

What Is oAuth2 (And How Does It Impact API Reporting)?

BI Problems and Solutions 5 min read
DashboardFox - Custom Reports from Major SaaS Vendors

Think about the last time you logged into your favorite SaaS application. Google Mail, Hubspot, Xero, Microsoft, odds are, behind the scenes, you were making what is called an oAuth2 connection, which to the average user, is, by nature, transparent.

But for developers, who build integrations with such tools, understanding the intricacies of the connection process is required.

oAuth2 authentication standard offers safe access to the data without revealing or exposing the user's personally identifiable information or credentials, thus protecting personal data. Services provided by third parties can submit requests on the user's behalf without having access to passwords and other sensitive data. oAuth2 authenticates your information while allowing you to authorize the operation.

This post will explain the fundamentals of oAuth2 and how it might be helpful for API reporting without becoming too technical.

What is oAuth2?

oAuth2 is a standard that enables a website or application to access resources maintained by other web applications on behalf of a user. oAuth2 stands for "Open Authorization." A delegated authorization framework for REST/APIs is called OAuth.

It gives programs scopes of restricted access to a user's data without disclosing the user's password. It offers various use cases that consider various device capabilities and decouples authentication from permission.

oAuth2 is a protocol for authorization, NOT for authentication. As a result, its main purpose is to enable access to a range of resources, such as external APIs or user data.

Access Tokens are used with oAuth2. An Access Token is a piece of information that symbolizes the end-authority user to access resources. There is no set structure for Access Tokens in oAuth2. However, the JSON Web Token format is often utilized in specific situations. This enables token issuers to include data directly into the token. Access Tokens may also have a deadline due to security concerns.

Simply put, oAuth2 allows apps to share data without disclosing the user's credentials.

Instead, it makes use of login and password tokens. Sensitive information like credit card numbers, medical records, bank statements, or passwords are kept remotely and provided with a token ID so that vendors and other parties may validate the token for transactions but do not have access to bank card numbers, pins, records, passwords, etc.

Why is oAuth2 Important to API Reporting?

The preferred way to gain API access is oAuth2 (think back to that small list of SaaS tools listed in the first paragraph).

oAuth2 enables authorization without revealing the user's email address or password to the remote application. Instead, a token that permits access to the user's account is provided to the external application. The user can revoke the token for one application without impacting access to other applications.

Your app will gain from integrating oAuth2 in several ways. You may use it to read user data from another application. It provides the authorization procedure for mobile, desktop, and online apps. It is a server-side web application that does not interact with user credentials and utilizes an authorization code.

Users now have more control over their data, allowing them to choose to authorize access to the features they wish to utilize in the applications they use. These advantages can all be helpful when discussing API reporting.

oAuth2 is important to API reporting because it's often required for security reasons. The user that logs generally has a "scope" or permissions with the product they're using. So for the API to return data, the permissions of that user logged in via oAuth2 are used. oAuth2 is vital for a person or admin with the proper permissions to the data needed.

There are some additional benefits to using oAuth2 as well:

  • This adaptable protocol depends on SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) to guarantee the confidentiality of data sent between web servers and browsers.
  • To protect data, SSL employs industry standards for cryptography.
  • Tokenization is used to restrict access to the user's data. For instance, a bank card number, four-digit pin, and the customer name are individually assigned "token" IDs rather than stored on Amazon's website. The merchant receives the tokens rather than the accurate data.
  • It offers robust authentication and is simple to install. In addition to two-factor verification, it is possible to cancel tokens in the event of suspicious activity.
  • OAuth2 uses SSO. Thanks to SSO, users may access various apps using a single set of login credentials. Productivity and morale suffer when users are irritated by complex login processes. It makes access easier, reduces risks, and allows users to choose where their data is shared by enabling SSO using oAuth2.

There are real-world examples of oAuth2's use for security. Hubspot just recently depreciated APIKey and forced oAuth2. Accounting platform Xero forces oAuth2, as does Google, Microsoft, and more large enterprises.

How DashboardFox API Integration Works

DashboardFox can fetch data from APIs and generate custom reports and dashboards. As such, oAuth2 is an authorization method fully supported by DashboardFox.

Because our software is deployed on-premise at our clients' business sites, connecting to an API means that setting up the API connection has to be done manually-- unlike a typical SaaS product where you can click a button and log in.

oAuth2 requires some setup related explicitly to private and public keys, the URI response pages, etc. However, it does not have to be too complex.

The concept of our integration includes the following:

  • Configure and connect to the API endpoint(s).
  • DashboardFox will query the endpoint, and the API returns a JSON package.
  • DashboardFox will convert that JSON package into related database tables.
  • Users can then set up a schedule to fetch new data from the API.

Once we have that data in a database table, you can build reports and dashboards without worrying about writing code using all the powerful features in DashboardFox.

We at DashboardFox believe you deserve the best things for your business, including API matters, so allow us to perfect this. You will get the best API integration experience you'll ever have.

Reach out to us by booking a meeting to discuss how we can align your needs to DashbaordFox or check out the other features of DashboardFox, such as data visualization, through a free live demo session.

What do you think about oAuth2? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

oAuth2 API API inegration API reporting