How to Shop for an API Security PlatformConsider Domains, Features, Ease of Integration, Scalability and Vendor Support
As APIs become more prevalent, there is an increasing need for companies to ensure that their APIs are secure. API security platforms have become an essential part of any organization's cybersecurity strategy, but with so many options available, it can be difficult to know how to choose the right one. In this article, we'll discuss how to evaluate API security platforms and what factors to consider in the decision-making process.
The first thing to consider when evaluating API security platforms is the capabilities they offer. Gartner refers to these as the API security domains. The key domains to look for include:
- API discovery: Discovery is the process of automatically identifying and inventorying both managed and unmanaged APIs across your organization's network and cloud environments.
- Posture management: This helps you understand the scope of your API environment and identify any security vulnerabilities that may have been overlooked. This includes classifying sensitive data to ensure you are adhering to regulatory compliance.
- Runtime protection: Runtime protection monitors API traffic in real time, identifying and blocking any suspicious activity. This feature uses machine-learning algorithms to detect and prevent attacks such as broken authentication and authorization, SQL injections, cross-site scripting, and API scraping.
- API security testing: This domain is about testing your APIs for vulnerabilities and security risks before production. Automated scans that simulate attacks on APIs will help you identify any security vulnerabilities.
When evaluating API security platforms, it's important to look for a robust solution within each of these domains and ensure that they meet your organization's specific needs.
The next factor to consider when evaluating API security platforms is the ease of integration. The platform should be easy to integrate with your existing infrastructure and should not require significant changes to your existing applications or systems. For example, the API security platform you choose should be able to easily integrate with your existing SIEM, SOAR and ITSM tools for seamless incident response. Look for API security platforms that offer robust API documentation and support for popular programming languages and frameworks.
Also consider that API security platforms can extend the usefulness of existing investments in API gateways and web application firewalls, or WAFs. You can keep those inline controls but extend them with the right API security context so they can now act on real API security issues. Find out if the platform you are evaluating can do this.
API security platforms must be designed for scalability, particularly if you have a large number of APIs or if your API traffic fluctuates significantly. When evaluating API security platforms, consider the platform's ability to handle high traffic volumes and scale rapidly during peak traffic periods. Look for platforms that offer load balancing, failover and auto-scaling capabilities to ensure that your APIs remain available and secure at all times.
Any conversation about scalability would be incomplete without mentioning flexibility. Though they are two distinct concepts, you have to take into account if the platform can run in on-premises, public and hybrid cloud environments.
Finally, when evaluating API security platforms, consider the level of support offered by the vendor. Look for platforms that offer comprehensive documentation, online forums and responsive support. You should also consider the vendor's track record and reputation for customer support, as well as their ability to provide timely security updates and patches.
When evaluating API security platforms, it's important to consider the domains they address, the features offered, the ease of integration, the scalability of the platform and the level of support provided by the vendor. Then, you can select an API security platform that meets your organization's needs and ensures the security of your APIs.
To help you get started, this API Security Buyer's Guide provides a comprehensive overview of all aspects of API security, including API discovery, posture management, runtime protection and API security testing. It also discusses use cases for API security, such as protecting user data and preventing malicious attacks. By following this guide, you'll be able to evaluate API security vendors to ensure they have the right capabilities to protect your APIs.