API Security in ServiceNow

This guide emphasizes the importance of API security in ServiceNow, detailing best practices like managing API keys, enforcing role-based access control, implementing rate limiting and secure error handling, and advocating for regular security audits and secure API development.
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Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are vital components of ServiceNow, allowing systems to communicate and exchange data seamlessly. However, like any aspect of a network, APIs need to be secured properly to protect against potential vulnerabilities. This guide outlines the key practices for effective API security in ServiceNow.

1. Understanding ServiceNow APIs

ServiceNow provides several APIs, including REST, SOAP, and JSONv2, which can be used for a range of operations such as creating, reading, updating, and deleting records. The security of these APIs is paramount to maintain the integrity and confidentiality of data.

2. Managing API Keys

API keys are used to authenticate and authorize API calls. They should be treated like passwords and should never be exposed in unsecured locations. It's essential to rotate these keys periodically and revoke them when they are no longer needed.

3. Secure Connections

Always use HTTPS (SSL/TLS) for connections when dealing with APIs to ensure that the data exchanged is encrypted and secure.

4. Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)

Assign roles specifically for API access. This ensures that the principle of least privilege is applied - the API should have just enough permissions to perform its intended function and nothing more.

5. Rate Limiting

Implement rate limiting to prevent any potential abuse of your API, such as denial-of-service (DoS) attacks or brute force attempts.

6. Input Validation

Ensure that your APIs are validating input data to protect against attacks such as SQL Injection and Cross-Site Scripting (XSS).

7. Error Handling

Handle API errors securely. Don't reveal sensitive information in error messages, which could be used to exploit vulnerabilities.

8. Regular Audits

Regularly audit your API usage. Examine logs to identify any anomalies or suspicious activities. ServiceNow provides the System Log application for this purpose.

9. OAuth Tokens

When using OAuth for authentication, ensure that tokens are stored securely and are invalidated when not in use. OAuth provides more granular control than simple API keys and should be used where possible.

10. Secure API Development

Follow secure coding practices when developing custom APIs. This includes thorough testing and code reviews to identify potential security issues.


Effective API security is a crucial aspect of securing your ServiceNow instance. By understanding the key aspects of API security and implementing the practices outlined in this guide, you can help ensure the security of your ServiceNow APIs.

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