Put simply: APIs are pivotal to digital innovation. Acting as silent partners to applications and enabling crucial functions to support user experience, APIs aren’t necessarily a household name, but that doesn’t make them any less essential.
Most end users don’t think about what it takes to enable the basic functions of their digital devices. They simply autofill an address into a Maps application or click an email address on a website to start a new message. Yet, should their details fall into the wrongs due to an API security breach, users take notice. Of course, they are more likely to point the finger at the brand or organization than the API themselves as the issue, ensuring brands suffer both financial and reputational damage.
Cybercrime is rising aggressively, and criminals have their sights set on APIs as their gateway to critical data. They count on organizations and end users to overlook weaknesses or lose track of the APIs they have in use. It’s alarmingly easy for APIs to fall off the radar. At the time of writing, there are 3 million API repositories on GitHub, and the average enterprise uses almost 1,200 cloud applications.
APIs connect user interactions with backend data, giving them privileged access to everything companies and users hold dear. To avoid becoming another statistic, organizations cannot afford to overlook their API landscape.
Securing APIs can feel like a big hill to climb. Thankfully, taking a holistic approach to API security increases the reliability and approachability of your strategy.
Being at the bleeding edge of technology and innovation is a temptation many find hard to refuse. The speed of development and innovation is rapid enough to make your head spin, and it’s easy to get caught up in the rush of excitement. It’s crucial to remember to look at the bigger picture.
That doesn’t mean to avoid being an early adopter – or an adopter at all. It does mean keeping your business goals in mind when you evaluate new solutions and being discerning.
Foundational to a holistic strategy is first to know what you need to secure – after all, how can you protect what you don’t know you have? That means taking a moment and working hard to identify and map your APIs and endpoints. With a clear view of the APIs and endpoints you employ, you can make better business decisions for monitoring and securing your network and data.
The complexity of API security lies in a piecemeal or slapdash approach. It’s true that there are many layers, technologies, and contexts to consider (not to mention many APIs). Yet, by ensuring that risk mitigation is BAU across all business segments and every stage of development, implementation, and maintenance, you reduce the burden of manual processes.
API security should be a part of the continuous lifecycle of apps – both those developed in-house and third-party tools used on your network. Develop strong security principles – and adhere to them – to ensure peace of mind and confidence that your APIs, data, and network are safe.
Developing a new strategy can be daunting, but hopefully, you’ve seen that taking a clear and methodical approach can ease the burden for your organization. API security is not a one-and-done approach and instead requires an ongoing practice of visibility through monitoring and reporting.
Organizations are using a suite of applications to keep their business running and with those come the potential for hundreds of APIs. Starting by mapping your environment, aligning implementation with business goals, and developing a risk-aware culture ensures you won’t become another statistic.
Stefanie Shank. Having spent her career in various capacities and industries under the “high tech” umbrella, Stefanie is passionate about the trends, challenges, solutions, and stories of existing and emerging technologies. A storyteller at heart, she considers herself one of the lucky ones: someone who gets to make a living doing what she loves. Stefanie is a regular writer at Bora.