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May 1, 2021
What you’ll need to kick-start using APIs in payroll
Thinking about setting up an API integration to connect your payroll to other systems? Here’s what you need to know to get APIs to work for you.
Why use APIs in the first place?
It’s common knowledge that different providers have different specialties and strengths. For example, if you go to a craft beer pub, although the mango IPA is delightful, chances are the wine might not be so great. It’s a given! (And we’ve tried it, believe us.) Likewise, a company that focuses on timesheet management software might not have the best benefit solution – if any.
APIs allow you to use the best-in-breed software from various companies or brands, connect them together, and access them all in one place. The advantages of this include:
Greater visibility of data, as you can see all of your analytics and insights in one place.
Reduced administration time from logging in and out of systems and entering the same data multiple times.
Minimise errors and discrepancies in the data across your systems.
Employees enjoy a joined-up experience across their payroll, leave, benefits, timesheets and more.
With APIs, you can use the best software from different providers and access them in one place.
What you need to consider before you start integrating
Some integrations just sing “We go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da ding!”, but other products might need some encouragement before putting on leather trousers and perming their hair. That’s where APIs come into the picture: connecting products from different providers so that you can get the best of both worlds.
Understand what requirement your API will fulfil
Make sure your chosen solution(s) meet all your needs. No one wants to get half-way through an implementation, to suddenly find out your API isn’t the answer to all your prayers and you need to go for another option!
Try asking yourself the below before starting work:
How will this API work?
What requirement will it fulfil?
Who will maintain work on it if required?
Is there a better solution in the market?
Is the API the best option, or should we be looking at new software instead?
Some APIs are super easy to set up, but not all APIs are built the same. Before going down the path of APIs, you’ll want to put aside enough internal resource to implement it. Ask your provider what resource is required from your side to ensure the API is implemented correctly.
Like with Sandy’s outfit transformation, great things take time. Speak to your provider about realistic timelines. Establishing this upfront will allow you to feed this back to key stakeholder and gives you the ability to operate with a workaround if required.
Testing is a crucial element of successful APIs. Make sure you have a robust plan in place to not only test the effectiveness of APIs, but also contingency plans on the slim chance testing doesn’t go according to plan.
You work in a department that holds the most secure data in the company. Therefore, you’ll want to know it is handled with care. But what should you looking out for when establishing an API connection?
Hashed passwords. Passwords should only ever be sent as SHA-256 hashed strings and never plain text.
Network security. The API Firewall should allow only the required HTTP methods and TCP ports.
SSL communication with trusted RSA 2048 bit Certificate. Communication should always take place over an encrypted secure channel between endpoints.
Auditing and logging. Ensure use of all functions, authentication attempts and API methods are logged in a systematic and independent manner, with secure access to logs to protect against injection attacks and unauthorised users.