and API protection
are two terms often used interchangeably in cybersecurity. However, these terms refer to distinct yet overlapping concepts. You can secure your APIs all day along but clever hackers will always find a way to launch attacks on perfectly coded APIs. This is why organizations need to protect APIs in addition to securing them. API security
focuses on the principles and methods used to secure an Application Programming Interface (API)
from malicious exploits, unauthorized access, and other potential cyber threats. It involves a broad range of practices such as authentication, authorization, encryption, and input validation to safeguard the API. The goal is to ensure that only authorized entities can interact with the API and that they can only perform actions that align with their granted permissions. API security is about managing the risks associated with exposing APIs, which are the critical interfaces that connect systems, services, and data.
On the other hand, API protection encompasses API security but also extends beyond it. While API security is more focused on preventing unauthorized access and malicious attacks, API protection involves a more holistic view of maintaining the integrity, availability, and performance of APIs. In addition to API security, it includes two other key components:
- Discovery – Detecting all APIs using both inside-out and outside-in methods to know exactly where we need to apply API security tools.
- Threat Protection – Once threats are detected, stop them in their tracks natively without relying on a third-party solution such as a WAF. It includes measures to protect against threats such as Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, rate limiting to manage the number of requests an API can handle, and continuous monitoring to detect any unusual activities or anomalies.
Furthermore, API protection includes managing the API lifecycle, versioning, and deprecation to ensure that the APIs continue to serve their intended purpose without disruption. It also deals with the quality of the APIs, ensuring that they are robust, reliable, and efficient. API Protection takes into account not just security but also the overall health and performance of APIs.
In summary, while API security is an integral component of Unified API Protection, the latter takes a more comprehensive approach. Unified API Protection considers all aspects that could affect the usability, reliability, and performance of APIs. It is essential for organizations to focus on both API security and API protection when developing and managing APIs to ensure they deliver their intended functionality securely, reliably, and efficiently.
This is why, for a business to thrive in today’s interconnected digital world, a holistic approach that encapsulates both API security and API protection is critical.