Major Use Cases and Capabilities
Major Use Cases
API Discovery and Risk Posture
Maintaining a comprehensive API inventory is a basic prerequisite for any security architecture - you cannot protect what you do not know, after all. It is also the only way to ensure that APIs handling sensitive data are identified and compliant with industry regulations - including both your own and third-party ones.
Account Takeover and Breach Prevention
API security is vital in preventing account takeovers and data breaches through a combination of robust authentication and authorization controls, rate limiting, and input validation to thwart unauthorized access. Encryption of data in transit safeguards sensitive information, while continuous monitoring helps identify suspicious activities before they lead to a breach.
Cloud-native Application Development
API security is crucial for cloud-native application development as it ensures the safe interaction between microservices, which are the backbone of modern distributed architectures. It protects sensitive data and services from external threats and internal vulnerabilities, a critical aspect given the distributed and scalable nature of cloud-native systems.
Regulated Industry Compliance
Strong API security ensures compliance with stringent regulatory standards like GDPR, HIPAA, or PCI-DSS that mandate the protection of sensitive data handled by regulated industries, such as personal, financial, or health information. API security helps maintain the integrity and confidentiality of this data, maintaining trust with clients, avoiding legal penalties, and maintaining brand reputation.
Digital Business Continuity and Availability
APIs are integral to the functioning of modern digital services and applications. API availability is essential for maintaining operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and ultimately, the ongoing success and resilience of a business. A compromised API can lead to service disruptions, directly impacting business operations and customer trust.
Secure by Design Development
Secure by Design is a principle that integrates security measures into the software development lifecycle from the outset. It encourages the adoption of best practices like automated security testing and adherence to security standards. This "shifting left" is essential for creating secure APIs with vulnerabilities identified and mitigated early in the development process.
API Design and Testing
These functions cover the earliest stages of the API lifecycle such as API contract design, transformation of existing APIs, or modernization of legacy backend services, as well as creating and managing policies that govern API performance, availability, and security.
API Discovery, Classification, and Inventory
Without a comprehensive, accurate and dynamically updated inventory of all APIs across all corporate IT environments (on-premises, cloud-native, hybrid, Kubernetes, etc.) any security program will not be able to provide consistent visibility, governance, and protection across the entire API attack surface.
Traditional API gateways do not scale well for modern distributed architectures and must be augmented with modern service management capabilities such as the Istio service mesh, which provides native connectivity, monitoring, and security that scale for hundreds and thousands of microservices.
Developer and CI/CD Tools
Exposing APIs for consumption, providing documentation and collaboration functions, onboarding and managing developers and their apps are among the functions we are looking for here, as well as integrations into existing continuous delivery pipelines of modern application development projects.
Identity and Access Control
Supporting multiple identity types, standards, protocols, and tokens and providing flexible dynamic access control that is capable of making runtime context-based decisions. This does not only apply to the APIs themselves, but management interfaces and developer tools as well.
API Vulnerability Management
Discovering existing APIs and analyzing their conformance to API contracts, security best practices, and corporate policies is the only truly proactive approach towards API security. Intelligent prioritization of discovered vulnerabilities by business risk assessment improves both developer productivity and overall security posture.
Analytics and Security Intelligence
Continuous visibility and monitoring of all API transactions and administrative activities allow for quick detection of not just external attacks, but infrastructure changes, misconfigurations, insider threats, and other suspicious activities.
Integrity and Threat Protection
Securing APIs and services from hacker attacks and other threats requires a multilayered approach to address both transport-level attacks and exploits specific to messaging protocols and data formats.
Strong Internal Security
Administrative and developer access to the management console must be secured, with role-based access control implemented across the whole platform and delegated administration capabilities added for scalability and decentralization. Multi-factor authentication and audit trail for all activities are recommended.
Hybrid, Multicloud Deployment
Supporting heterogeneous distributed environments including cloud, containers, microservices, and serverless platforms to be able to provide consistent visibility, analytics, and protection across the entire corporate IT is a critical success factor for any API security solution.