OAuth as part of Authentication under REST API

OAuth is a widely-adopted, open-standard authorization protocol that enables applications to obtain limited access to user accounts on an HTTP service. It works by delegating user authentication to the service hosting the user account and authorizing third-party applications to access the user account. OAuth provides a more secure and efficient method for handling API access, as it eliminates the need to share password credentials.

In the context of Nected, integrating OAuth enhances the security and flexibility of API interactions. This integration allows Nected users to securely connect with external services and APIs without compromising their credentials. By leveraging OAuth, Nected provides a robust framework for managing authentication and authorization, ensuring that API access is both secure and compliant with modern security standards.

This guide will walk you through the process of setting up OAuth in Nected, detailing each step from initial configuration to managing OAuth tokens. Whether you are looking to integrate third-party services or secure your internal APIs, this documentation will serve as a practical and technical resource to streamline your OAuth implementation in Nected.

OAuth in Nected:

Nected supports various OAuth 2.0 grant types, each catering to different authentication scenarios. Understanding the differences in configuration requirements and security implications for each grant type is crucial. Here, we'll discuss the three grant types available in Nected: Client Credentials, Password, and Authorization Code, focusing on their unique fields and security aspects.

1. Client Credentials Grant

  • Usage: Ideal for server-to-server authentication where the client is also the resource owner.

  • Fields Required:

    • Header Prefix (Optional): Prefix for the authorization header (e.g., "Bearer").

    • Token URL: Endpoint for obtaining the token.

    • Client ID: Unique identifier for the client.

    • Client Secret: Secret key known only to the client and the authorization server.

    • Audience (Optional): Intended recipient of the token, typically a resource server.

    • Scope (Optional): Comma-separated list of permissions requested.

  • Security Implications:

    • This grant type is considered secure as it does not involve the resource owner's credentials.

    • Best suited for trusted applications where the client application needs to access its own resources.

2. Password Grant

  • Usage: Suitable for cases where the user’s credentials are available to the client application.

  • Fields Required:

    • Header Prefix (Optional): Prefix for the authorization header.

    • Token URL: Endpoint for token acquisition.

    • Client ID: Identifier for the client.

    • Client Secret: Confidential key for the client.

    • Audience (Optional): The intended recipient of the token.

    • Username: Resource owner's username.

    • Password: Resource owner's password.

  • Security Implications:

    • This grant type is less secure as it requires the user's credentials.

    • Should be used cautiously and only with highly trusted clients, as it exposes sensitive user information.

3. Authorization Code Grant

  • Usage: Commonly used for applications where the client is a web application.

  • Fields Required:

    • Authorization URL: Endpoint for user authorization.

    • Header Prefix (Optional): Prefix for the authorization header.

    • Token URL: Endpoint for obtaining the token.

    • Client ID: Unique identifier for the client.

    • Client Secret: Secret key for the client.

    • Audience (Optional): The intended recipient of the token.

    • Scope (Optional): List of permissions requested.

  • Security Implications:

    • This is the most secure grant type as it allows the application to obtain tokens without exposing user credentials.

    • Ideal for third-party applications where the client does not have access to the user's credentials and consent is required.

Each grant type in OAuth 2.0 serves different use cases and comes with its own security considerations. In Nected, choosing the appropriate grant type depends on the application's architecture, the level of trust with the client, and the need to access user-specific data. It's crucial to understand these aspects to implement OAuth securely and effectively in your Nected environment.


Before proceeding with the OAuth integration in Nected, it is essential to ensure that you have the following prerequisites in place. These prerequisites are necessary to create a seamless and secure OAuth setup within the Nected environment.

  1. API Access: Ensure that you have access to the APIs that you intend to secure with OAuth. This includes both Nected's internal APIs and any third-party APIs you plan to integrate.

  2. Developer Tools: Access to necessary developer tools such as a code editor, API testing tools (like Postman), and a secure environment for handling OAuth credentials.

  3. Security Credentials: Depending on the third-party service you are integrating with, you may need to have client IDs, client secrets, and other relevant OAuth credentials. These are typically obtained by registering your application with the third-party service.

  4. Authorized Redirect URIs: For web-based OAuth flows, you will need to specify one or more redirect URIs. These are the endpoints to which the OAuth server will send responses after the user authorizes your application.

  5. Network Access: Ensure that your development environment has network access to both Nected and any external OAuth services you are integrating with.

  6. Familiarity with Nected's API Authentication: Understanding Nected's current authentication mechanisms, such as Bearer tokens and API keys, will be beneficial. This knowledge will aid in understanding how OAuth will integrate with the existing system.

Having these prerequisites in place will set a strong foundation for a successful OAuth integration in your Nected environment, ensuring a secure and efficient authentication process.

Integrating External Services with OAuth in Nected:

Integrating external services via OAuth in Nected enhances the platform's capabilities, allowing secure interactions with a wide range of APIs. While this section uses Zoho as an illustrative example, the steps can be adapted for integrating various other third-party services that support OAuth.

Configuring the External Service:

  1. Create an Account on the External Service:

    • Eg - For Zoho, sign up for a Zoho Developer account. For other services, follow their respective account creation process.

  2. Register Your Application:

    • Access the API Console of the external service (e.g., Zoho API Console).

    • Start creating a new application, selecting the type that best fits your use case.

    • Provide necessary details:

      • Client Name: Name your application as it will appear in Nected.

      • Homepage URL: Use your Nected instance URL.

      • Authorized Redirect URIs: Input https://app.nected.ai/oauth/redirect. Adapt this step based on the redirect URI requirements of the service you are integrating.

  3. Obtain OAuth Credentials:

    • After registration, note the Client ID and Client Secret provided by the external service.

2. Setting Up the Authenticated API in Nected

  1. Enter Credentials in Nected:

    • In Nected, go to the external OAuth integrations section.

    • Input the Client ID and Client Secret obtained from the external service.

  2. Configure OAuth Endpoints:

    • Set the Authorization and Token URLs as provided by the external service. Eg - For Zoho, these would typically be their standard OAuth endpoints, i.e.:

      • Authorization URL: Typically, https://accounts.zoho.com/oauth/v2/auth.

      • Access Token URL: Usually, https://accounts.zoho.com/oauth/v2/token.

  3. Implement the Authorization Flow:

    • In Nected, set up a redirection to the external service's authorization URL, including necessary parameters like the Client ID and Redirect URI.

  4. Handle the Authorization Response:

    • Configure Nected to capture the authorization code and exchange it for an access token using the service's token URL.

    • After initiating the OAuth authorization request in Nected, the user is redirected to the external service's (e.g., Zoho) authorization page.

    • The user must approve the access request on this page. Once approved, OAuth access is granted automatically, and Nected receives an authorization code.

    • Nected then automatically exchanges this code for an access token, typically without further user intervention.

  5. Access the External API:

    • Use the access token in Nected to make authenticated requests to the external service’s API.

    • Implement token management strategies for token storage and renewal.

    • With OAuth access granted, Nected can use the obtained access token to make authenticated requests to the external service’s API.

    • Nected manages the caching of tokens and automatically fetches a token if needed.

    • For secure token management, including storage and renewal, Nected handles these aspects automatically, ensuring that non-expired tokens are used for each API execution.

  6. Testing and Validation:

    • Test the OAuth integration thoroughly in Nected.

    • Ensure that Nected can successfully communicate with the external service’s API.

This approach, exemplified with Zoho, provides a framework for integrating a variety of external services into Nected using OAuth. The process ensures secure API connections, leveraging OAuth for robust authentication and authorization across different platforms. Adapt these steps to suit the specific requirements and API documentation of any external service you wish to integrate with Nected.

Security Considerations & Troubleshooting OAuth Issues

When integrating OAuth in Nected, it's essential to prioritize security and be prepared to address common issues that may arise. This section covers key security considerations and provides guidance on troubleshooting typical OAuth-related problems.

Security Considerations

  1. Secure Storage of Credentials:

    Always store OAuth credentials (Client ID, Client Secret) securely. Avoid hardcoding these in plain text within your application code.

  2. Use HTTPS:

    Ensure all OAuth transactions occur over HTTPS to prevent interception of sensitive data.

  3. Validate Redirect URIs:

    Only allow known and trusted Redirect URIs to prevent redirection attacks.

  4. Token Security:

    Access tokens should be treated with the same level of security as user credentials. Store them securely and ensure they are not exposed to unauthorized parties.

  5. Scope Limitation:

    Limit the scope of access tokens to only what is necessary for the application. This minimizes potential damage if a token is compromised.

  6. Regularly Update and Audit:

    Regularly update your OAuth implementation to incorporate security patches. Conduct periodic audits to identify and rectify potential vulnerabilities.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

  1. Invalid Redirect URI:

    Ensure the Redirect URI in your OAuth request matches exactly with what is registered in the external service (e.g., Zoho) and Nected.

  2. Invalid Client ID or Secret:

    Verify that the Client ID and Client Secret are correctly entered and match those provided by the external service.

  3. Access Token Issues:

    • If access tokens are not working, check their expiry and ensure they are being refreshed as needed.

    • Verify that the token URL and authorization URL are correctly configured.

  4. Scope Errors:

    If you encounter scope-related errors, ensure that the requested scopes match those supported by the external service and that they are correctly formatted in your request.

  5. User Authentication Failures:

    For issues related to user authentication, verify the user credentials and ensure that the correct authentication flow is being used.

  6. SSL/TLS Errors:

    Ensure your application is configured to trust the SSL/TLS certificates of the OAuth endpoints. Misconfigured SSL/TLS can lead to failed connections.

  7. Logging and Monitoring:

    Implement logging to capture OAuth-related errors and monitor these logs for unusual activity or repeated failures, which could indicate security issues.

By adhering to these security best practices and being equipped to troubleshoot common issues, you can ensure a robust and secure OAuth integration in your Nected environment. This proactive approach is key to maintaining the integrity and reliability of your OAuth implementations.

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