How to Keep APIs Secure in an Interconnected World
Accelerated migration to the cloud, the wide adoption of APIs, and emerging development practices lead to applications left vulnerable and an increasing loss of visibility. Ensuring app security and data integrity is crucial as businesses continue to rely on applications to connect with customers, partners and staff.
When APIs interconnect systems, applications, and services, no matter what your organization chooses to share publicly, your ultimate goal should be to establish a comprehensive web application and API security strategy that protects them over time. Understanding how to manage application and API security has never been more critical.
Prioritize & Engage Security Early
API security should not be an afterthought. Your organization has a lot to lose from a data breach due to unsecured APIs, so engage security staff early on during the design of the software development environment.. Yet, this mentality is the exception, not the rule. In 92% percent of organizations, security staff have limited influence on continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) architecture and, for all intents and purposes, are required to secure it as-is, according to Radware research.
In modern development teams, DevSecOps should become the cornerstone for prioritizing and carrying out application security related practices early in the development cycle.
Historically, security was “tacked on” to the software development cycle (almost as an afterthought) by a separate security team and was tested by a separate quality assurance team. This was manageable when software updates were released just once or twice a year. But as continuous deployment practices emerged, and the complexity of the environment grew bigger, the traditional “tacked-on” approach to security created an unacceptable bottleneck, or an equally unacceptable risk.
Integrating web application and API protection seamlessly into the application development lifecycle addresses security issues as they emerge. Much easier, faster and less expensive way to patch flaws by working milestones and “sanity checks” into the process. This enables “software, safer, sooner”—the DevSecOps motto–by automating the delivery of secure software without slowing the software development cycle.
Supervise the Unsupervised
API security is a microcosm for an organization’s ability to manage risk and safeguard customer data. even in these later phases of digital transformation, businesses incorporated APIs into their application environments without fully understanding the security risks.
It is imperative to understand how 3rd parties are accessing and leveraging your company’s data. You cannot manage what you do not measure, and APIs are no exception. Whether these are standard OpenAPI files or undocumented, home-grown ones – Enterprises need complete visibility into where APIs are hosted, who can access them, the sensitivity of the data being accessed and the scalability that is required.
To be on the safe side, always assume that any 3rd-party vendor/cloud provider/partner that is processing your data is not a security expert nor are they prioritizing API security. At the end of the day, you are accountable for it. Your customers trust YOU. Not them. In addition, ensure your organization understands where the boundaries lie between you and the IaaS provider when it comes to keeping data and applications protected. Make sure to discover, classify, and manage your APIs.
Additionally, take advantage of emerging technologies and concepts for application development lifecycles, including integrative security tools/Security Orchestration Automation and Response (SOAR) capabilities, Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) capabilities and open-source code. Surprisingly, many organizations have not. For example, one-third of organizations do not use automated provision and testing as part of their application/API development lifecycle.
Lastly, current solutions for APIs fall short on security. API monitoring and management tools are great at providing visibility and monitoring but poor protection. API gateways provide basic authentication and IP filtering, but they don’t provide comprehensive, automated protection against an expanding array of attack vectors and bad bots. Moving
beyond best-of-breed, point solutions towards comprehensive, adaptive Web Application and API Protection (WAAP) is now crucial.