Unified API Protection: Securing Today’s API Landscape

Today, a massive segment of organizations digital footprint is built around APIs, internal and external. As more and more IT managers realize and recognize the magnitude of the influence of APIs, it has become clear that new methods are needed to secure these APIs.

While many companies today use the term “API security” to describe their offerings, these solutions often only address a few of the many functions actually needed to prevent APIs from becoming a source of vulnerability that can be used as a vector. of attack. A new mindset, a new category, and a true end-to-end solution are needed, and that’s where Unified API Protection comes in.

However, it is first important to quantify why unified API protection has become so essential.

API: The Double-edged Sword of the Digital Enterprise

The impact of rapid API adoption on the business world has been mixed, introducing both functionality and risk. This dual nature breaks down as follows:

  • On the one hand, APIs have become a development tool of choice in response to application componentization, competitive business dynamics, and user expectations for seamless application experiences. APIs have brought speed and competitive advantage to businesses of all kinds as part of their developer toolkit.
  • On the other hand, APIs are highly visible and their well-defined nature has made them an irresistible target for attackers. Some companies implement APIs with no security practices or authentication in place and not compliant with required API specifications. In some cases, sensitive data is exposed in clear text, which puts compliance and overall data security at risk.

Organizations need a way to control their use of APIs, while reaping the benefits of speed and competitiveness.

Unknown, unprotected and unmitigated API risk

Initial efforts to protect organizations’ APIs tend to fail because the methods chosen cannot cope with the scale of API usage and associated risks today. Extending web application firewalls and API gateways or using API Gen 1 security solutions to cover an organization’s known API risk surface is not enough, in large part because:

  • Unknown and “phantom” APIs are not discovered by these solutions. Legacy approaches to API security often lack a way to discover APIs that are not officially known or are only visible through an inside-out or knowledge-based view and analysis. periphery of the company’s technology footprint.
  • Protection options may be inadequate. Legacy detection systems are often difficult to deploy, easy for threats to avoid, and difficult to scale. Since many of these solutions cannot natively discern and block threats in real time, they leave significant security gaps.

IT security teams trying to protect their organizations with these solutions can fall behind, perform too many manual tasks, and work at cross purposes with developers and security operations personnel. Using the modern API requires an equally modern solution, rather than a cobbled-together legacy version.

The answer: Unified API protection

After struggling with limited security offerings, it’s only natural that a new mindset is taking hold in IT security services: organizations today need to protect the entire API footprint of all security and compliance risks and threats. Unified API Protection solutions are designed to deliver this experience.

Unified API protection is different from fragmented or incomplete API security offerings because it is a methodology designed to address multiple types of risk and, more importantly, provide resolution. These solutions are based on three functional pillars:

  • Discover: Organizations cannot adequately protect their risk surfaces until they know the existence and location of every API in use, including “ghost” APIs. This requires both inside-out and outside-in sensing efforts.
  • Detect: Continuous real-time detection of API activity is essential. A complete system should be able to provide compliance and risk monitoring as well as advanced threat detection that integrates artificial intelligence and global threat intelligence APIs to find well-concealed attacks.
  • Defend: While some API security tools are limited to alerting security personnel to threats, a true unified API protection solution also includes native real-time remediation. Blocking harmful traffic and stopping even sophisticated and persistent threats should be part of the package, keeping organizations more secure with fewer manual actions needed or relying on third-party tools such as a WAF to avoid vendor blocking and lowest denominator security.

There are six individual steps associated with achieving these three pillars of Unified API Security:

  • Discovery from the inside out: “Know the unknown” and automatically detect phantom APIs.
  • Exterior-interior inventory: Detect all known and managed APIs and connections without their prior knowledge of existence.
  • Compliance monitoring: Ensure real-time compliance with standards and specifications.
  • Threat detection: Scanning for potentially malicious activity, including well-disguised attacks and abuse of business logic.
  • Threat Prevention: Defend data and infrastructure with alerts, stealth mitigation, and real-time blocking of attacks without relying on third-party tools.
  • Current tests: API protection should be part of development, shifting security to the left and preventing risky code from entering production.

Cequence Security’s solutions are designed to provide unified API protection and provide the comprehensive security needed to address the way APIs are operated today.

Continuous protection for ubiquitous API connectivity

By providing continuous, real-time, end-to-end discovery, detection and defense of API risks, Cequence Unified API Protection is able to enable IT teams to ensure secure business continuity without stress, worry or loss of efficiency.

This solution can:

  • Provide visibility into the full inventory of runtime APIs, including risk and compliance states.
  • Monitor suspicious and malicious traffic, as well as risky changes to any API.
  • Respond to threats in real time with stealth blocking, while reducing false positives and manual intervention.

The solution provides this state of API protection without hampering development or operations efforts, so the entire organization is united to work more securely, even as new APIs continue to roll out.

Ready to test unified API protection? Request a FREE API Security Demo and Assessment.

The post Unified API Protection: Making Today’s API Landscape Secure appeared first on Cequence.

*** This is a syndicated blog from Cequence’s Security Bloggers Network written by Varun Kohli. Read the original post at: https://www.cequence.ai/unified-api-protection/

About Sandra A. Powell

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