Putting proactive API security first

Cyberattacks are becoming more frequent and more harmful, striking at the heart of businesses everywhere, anytime. Regardless of an organisation’s size, anyone is at risk, particularly when it comes to APIs, which play such a vital role in today’s digital ecosystem. However, with the right knowledge and tools, organisations can be in a good position to defeat them before they happen.

It’s coming up to the Winter break, and everything is beginning to slow down. But, unfortunately, bad actors don’t take holidays, and threats lurk seemingly around every virtual corner. Increasingly, API attacks have become a favoured method for cybercriminals: according to research, 95 per cent of organisations operating production APIs experienced an API security event in the year to March.

APIs now power the online world, transferring data between systems and enhancing access to applications and services in software architectures. Whether it is payment, healthcare, social networking, video, news, or weather – there is an API that can simply plug into your architecture. However, hasty implementation often leads to underpowered security, opening the door to cyber criminals.

In fact, Gartner projected that API hacks would become the most common form of cyberattacks in 2022. With billions of people using apps on their mobile phones every minute of the day, generating more traffic than desktops, there is a considerable surface area for potential attacks. So, what can we do to protect against these threats proactively? We’ve pulled together five top tips to help you stay ahead of the hackers.

1. Know your vulnerabilities and be aware of the stakes

As APIs become increasingly complex and siloed within the system infrastructure, organisations are more prone to cyberattacks as it is more difficult to know what to protect against. To remain secure, companies must shift to managing complexity while also shoring up areas of potential weaknesses. It is also worth noting that companies that do not have centralised visibility across multiple API platforms are especially vulnerable. It is shocking how quickly companies can be compromised, yet the damage can take months to repair and, in reputational terms, could last forever.

2. Protect at pace and use a range of tactics

In the cybersecurity game, speed – the ability to identify and react to threats as and when they emerge – is paramount. Organisations need to change security tactics to detect and respond to threats quicker than the pace of the attacks. This means tactics must evolve as the workforce changes and the corporate perimeter shifts. Draw on multiple solutions to protect your business. The modern, distributed enterprise carries multiple risk factors, so you can’t depend on one approach to defence. Instead, explore and deploy a variety of solutions to defend against any manner of attack.

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3. Keep your eyes open with a zero-trust approach

Taking a centralised view of the digital ecosystem ensures you can find vulnerabilities and be prepared to prevent or fight the threat. Ensure you have visibility of all potential threats and always be ready to react based on the harm they could do. One way to speed this process is adopting a zero-trust approach to security, whereby you treat every attempt at access as suspect. This ensures that the right people have access to the right resources and assets when needed. In addition, it defines control permissions, so your security perimeter is always defended.

4. Put your security first with a cybersecurity mesh

You might think your digital business moves fast, but threats move faster. Surprisingly, security is often handled as an afterthought resulting in a backlog of vulnerable applications needing remediation. Making security a priority inherent to the IT architecture and application design from day one can save a lot of headaches down the line. In fact, deploying a distributed cybersecurity mesh can identify threats in real-time, protecting data, devices and systems, whether inside or outside your network.

5. Invest in open platforms

With an open API management platform, your organisation can experience centralised data flow visibility and governance across multiple vendors, teams, and environments that change over time. This provides you with the opportunity to introduce new technologies to strengthen the ones that work and replace the outdated ones.

If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to integrate APIs with confidence and peace of mind. As they continue to play an increasingly important role within our digital ecosystem, with Gartner predicting the percentage of third-party APIs used in applications to grow 30 percent, it is vital that we employ every security strategy to protect our perimeter and keep hackers and bad actors out.

VP of Solutions Engineering at

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