Consider these API management questions as they relate to your business:
- Do you know where all your APIs are and that they’re secure?
- Do you know where and how your APIs are used and by whom?
- Do you understand the value each of your APIs is producing?
Unfortunately, as I shared in a recent API talk, many organizations have to answer ‘no’ to at least one, if not all three, of these questions.
Research from Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) underscores this issue: they found only 10% fully documented their APIs. This gap creates a blind spot where APIs, which have become one of the biggest cyberattack surfaces, are at increased risk.
You might recall an API breach in late 2022 where a hacker accessed the personal data of 37 million T-Mobile customers. This data breach came on the heels of another significant breach the company endured in 2021.
It’s these kinds of variables that are driving the need to capture, secure, and manage APIs from one place. Here’s how to navigate this road to universal API management.
First: Collect all your APIs
When it comes to capturing all of your company’s APIs, there are three routes you can take:
- Put all your existing APIs through a common proxy to bring them together
- Add a piece of code on the same platform where your APIs are hosted to monitor them
- Move your organization into a single development platform where all APIs are produced
Using a proxy allows you to look at and manage your APIs from one place. But it also creates a single point of failure, which can drive up latency and cost.
A single development platform does bring some degree of uniformity to the API infrastructure. However, developers are often resistant to the idea. They want the agility to use tools that help them to do their job as fast as possible, and in larger organizations it can be near-impossible to force everyone onto a single platform.
The agent option offers the benefit of being non-obtrusive and working with what you already have in place. It is dependent on the capabilities of individual gateways, but in our view it’s a best-of-both-worlds option because it allows developers to keep their tools of choice.
Second: Validate and secure your APIs
Once you’ve discovered all your APIs, the next step is to categorize and secure them. You can approach this process in four ways:
- Manually or automatically scanning all of your available ports and addresses to identify API calls
- Using validation that performs a semantic check on APIs, ensuring they meet all corporate standards and are free of issues (also called linting)
- Ensuring there is a common tracking/reporting place from which you can pull all API usage metrics
- Using an edge or lightweight gateway to enhance the security of your APIs without having to build security measures into every API
Rather than zeroing in on any single approach, many companies are using these processes together to create a more comprehensive API identification and security plan.
This recent discussion is helpful in understanding how an API marketplace helps teams to have APIs they can trust.
Third: Get your APIs to market
There’s a sentiment around APIs that you’ve heard from us before: the value is not in creating APIs but in their usage.
For many years, API developer portals have been built for internal audiences. These platforms provide documentation around APIs, as well as code snippets for how to use and implement APIs in their development process.
With API marketplaces, the conversation shifts from one of the internal audiences to internal and external partners.
There are public API marketplaces where businesses can share their APIs externally and charge for their use.
Then there are private API marketplaces where businesses can create a branded storefront and “package” their APIs in a way that makes them easy for developers to find and consume.
Benefits of rounding up & securing APIs for centralized management
API monetization is a big benefit of collecting and securing APIs in a single marketplace. But there’s another more immediate benefit to this process: IT teams can better manage their complex API landscape.
Through Amplify Enterprise Marketplace, you can discover all of the APIs your company has – regardless of where they’re deployed – to find out which ones aren’t secure.
You then have the option to host APIs through a gateway product that efficiently adds security measures like API keys and subscription services. Built on a universal API management platform, Marketplace offers a scorecard around usage for all your APIs.
Monitoring API use is not only beneficial in the sense that it ties APIs to business revenue; it also helps IT teams understand where to invest their technical resources. This is especially critical considering the ongoing costs associated with APIs, from maintaining to supporting these digital products.
By taming that complexity and offering a solid developer experience, you’ll be able to leverage your valuable assets to bring business results.