OWASP standards and DDoS protection
Organizations developing APIs are faced with countless security risks. Especially when their APIs are released publicly. Consider potential threats like abuse, hacker attacks, deliberately created overloads, as well as data and privacy leaks.
API developers are facing massive challenges. It is important to protect internal systems against all of the above and to comply with the OWASP standards and DDoS protection measures, yet still ensure that the API is available to offer the service or product to its audience at large. Keeping the balance between safety and business continuity on the one hand and answering the demand for data and processes on the other is a continuous quest.
API Security, an ongoing process
The second challenge is the struggle of navigating a continuously changing technology and security landscape. These rapid changes in technology also cause threats, to which APIs are exposed, to change accordingly. API Security is therefore not a one-off exercise. It is a continuous process in which care must be taken that your API and the underlying technology always remains up-to-date. You need to keep up to make sure that attackers, like hackers or students, are kept at bay. If you snooze, you lose.
Unintended programming errors
When we consider the playing field, the usual suspects are malicious hackers. But, there is another group that potentially wreaks havoc, albeit without any evil intentions: API users with poor programming skills.
You could think of it as programmers creating infinite loops and overloading your API. This is a threat to the availability of your API, purely because of the way the API is being used. To combat this, there are technical methods to make your API resilient by using API Security. But that too is an ongoing process.
Determine the business value of your API
Many organizations struggle with the challenge of determining the added value of their API. Not everyone knows how to make money with an API, how to use an API to launch a new service, or how to use an API for their own benefit. It is important to determine upfront what an API could add to your organization and whether the API would be relevant.
Ruben van der Zwan, Yenlo’s CEO & Co-Founder, emphasized this with these words, “If your API doesn’t increase your revenue or decrease your operational cost: don’t do it.”
However, there is one exemption to this statement, which is the use of an API as a stepping stone to generate more revenue. For example, when it is used to create brand awareness, generate customer loyalty, or to optimise the B2B chain. In those cases the API serves a superior purpose and might be worthwhile.
What if you don’t work with APIs?
The answer is actually quite straightforward, we’re living in a society in which consumers have gotten used to the concept of instant satisfaction. Consumers nowadays live by the standard that ordered products are delivered instantly and could even cancel their order when delivery times are longer than expected. As this is the consumer’s mindset, organizations have no choice but to fall into step in order to remain in business. In the battle over the attention of consumers it is important to satisfy the demand for instant satisfaction and even exceed their expectations, e.g., by means of service or marketing. If you won’t, your competitors will.