APIs. We all love and use them, but it's time we get serious about addressing the growing operational and security challenges they pose. Even modest-sized companies have more than 10,000 APIs intertwined across their digital footprint. Trillions of data requests pass through them every year, inside your company, and out to hundreds or even thousands of business and application partners.
This proliferation of APIs has security, operations and engineering teams worried. And for good reason. API attacks and breaches are on the rise, and the massive, constantly morphing attack surface is largely outside of the control of the API consumers. There’s one major blind spot: the hundreds (or even thousands) of third-party APIs that have critical access to data and infrastructure.
The Risks of API Endpoint Sprawl
Managing vendor relationships is difficult enough. But throw in a sprawling, interconnected web of APIs with access, dependencies and privileges — that you can’t easily see or control — and the real pain begins. Reliance on third-party APIs can make your business vulnerable to:
- Vendor outages and rate limits. If an API stops responding, it can cascade failures to your applications.
- Compliance risk. Without visibility into what data leaves your network, you may be in breach of compliance standards.
- Slow remediation. If you can’t find it, you can’t fix it. Issues with third-party APIs often require significant technical acumen and can be time consuming and costly to fix.
- Missed SLA penalties. Your customers have high expectations of you, and problems with third-party APIs can snowball into problems with your product if they go undetected and unresolved.
- Improper third-party API configurations. A poor configuration can trip up business and application functions.
- Tedious API token assignment. Provisioning, rotating and monitoring API tokens isn’t just a pain, it’s a potential security risk.
Limitations of Legacy API Management
With so much infrastructure, application and technology sprawl, companies simply can’t stand up API observability, management and security on an app-by-app or relationship-by-relationship basis. It’s impossible to keep up. It takes multi-disciplinary expertise and quite a bit of detective work — often while application failures cascade from outages, and the unseen and unknown liabilities scare the daylights out of management.
There’s no shortage of API management solutions. It’s already a more than $5B market. To date, that market has tackled internal API use, including provisioning, managing and retiring APIs within enterprise boundaries. But they aren’t designed for operations and security teams who want to observe what’s happening, reduce risk and solve problems with APIs outside of their network.
One API Gateway Proxy with Lots of Opportunity
That’s just one of the reasons we built the Qpoint platform. You can deploy our simple API gateway anywhere and start seeing and managing critical connections, including third-party APIs, from a single dashboard.
In our early adopter testing, it’s clear that solving the third-party API mess delivers tremendous value — enterprises can’t deploy it soon enough. But the beauty of the Qpoint platform is that it’s single gateway opens up a world of possibility. Once you actually know and understand the critical intersections and connective tissue (like APIs) throughout your distributed applications and infrastructure, there’s tons of opportunity for new controls. Analytics. Compliance. Data protection. Identity. And more.
A single gateway can provide all of these. It’s exciting to see what controls — or “Q points” as we like to call them — enterprises will adopt as a modern means of managing distributed systems. What’s your Q point? What do you desperately need to see? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.