API management best practices: How to balance API risk vs. opportunity

For every opportunity that your APIs create, there may be a risk you need to manage. If you do it right, you can tip the scales in the right direction and create connected omnichannel experiences that improve everything.

Boost revenue. Avoid hacks

The more connected we become, the more APIs there are. They’re integral to business, and reputations are risked on their abilities and security capabilities.  

APIs make up over 83 percent of Internet traffic. Why? Quite simply because APIs are revenue drivers. They accelerate innovation, enhance business efficiencies, and open new revenue streams by providing a standardized way of integrating disparate systems without customization.  

APIs are open to attack. 

In 2021, LinkedIn suffered API attacks resulting in personal data from 500 million users going on sale twice in as many months. The second attack hit 92 percent of the company’s users. The same year, Microsoft Exchange Server suffered a complex attack organized by a state-sponsored group—using APIs to help kickstart further breaches. 

Broken, exposed, or poorly configured APIs are an easy target for malevolent actors. With the API vista expanding to include microservices with cloud, external apps, IoT, and mobile apps, the opportunities for hacks grow.

APIs help accelerate innovation, improve business efficiency, and forge new lines of revenue by offering a standardized way of integrating disparate systems, without the need to change them.”


- Dr. Matthias Biehl, API Strategist, Software AG 

Answering uncomfortable questions 

APIs empower organizations to create connected omnichannel experiences that improve customer, employee, and partner experiences while providing a competitive edge.    

As cybercriminals continue to take advantage of vulnerabilities in APIs. Industry leaders want to know: 

  • How can access be provided to critical systems of record without opening the organization up to a potentially costly hack? 
  • Is it possible to have comprehensive visibility or a bulletproof strategy without control over API initiatives?   
  • As competitors rapidly introduce new API-based tools and apps, will customers jump ship? 

There is no escaping the fact that APIs have become the new attack frontier. A robust and properly managed security strategy is paramount regardless of where an enterprise is on its API maturity curve.   The strategy should include data governance and API protection, enhanced visibility, secure connectivity, and complete lifecycle management. This delivers world-class security and enables personalized, omnichannel customer experiences.  

Not all API management solutions are equal 

No security is fool proof, but minimizing the risk and reaping the benefits of APIs with the right API management strategy is possible. Adopt a solution that: 

Strengthens API security

The best API solutions support all core authentication standards with an easy-to-use UI, advanced user-based security, and automated deployments for high-quality releases.    

On top of these basics, centralized views and powerful API management are essential for monitoring, customizing, and controlling cloud-native applications. This is critical, as API threat detection is compromised when the complete inventory of APIs across the organization is not always visible. Left unmonitored, these so-called “zombie APIs” present a significant security risk.    

Acts as one-stop mission control 

The ideal API solution allows organizations to connect to and get value from existing systems without having to rip and replace legacy investments. It equips the team with a single platform to run everything while surfacing previously inaccessible data and insights— unlocking new revenue streams.     

Provides comprehensive, end-to-end lifecycle support and governance

APIs allow businesses to open new avenues to reach customers and partners. Given the high exposure of an API-first digital strategy, it is vital to have a centralized governance and end-to-end lifecycle management model for all APIs and microservices.    

A centralized management model should cover everything from business process analysis to API design and development, dependency management, and integrating applications, data, partners, files, and IoT devices. It also provides visibility into who’s using the APIs and how they perform and flags any issues.  

Conclusion: Making API magic 

Learn more about balancing API risk with the opportunities they present. Introducing the webMethods API Management platform, winner of Best in API Management at API World 2021, and a Gartner Magic Quadrant leader. The platform of choice for industry leaders.   

Find out how you can unlock advanced security, enhance customer experiences, and drive new revenue streams by exploiting existing data.  

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