APIs need a modern Web Application and API Protection (WAAP) solution that provides protection across the entire attack surface.
Organizations today deal with multiple public clouds in addition to private data center footprint and applications. It’s not just HTML content that web applications send a browser for display; they expose APIs that allow clients to deliver a rich application experience to end-users. It could be a mobile application or even B2B communication with no intention of the information being displayed to a human user.
With APIs, there is a risk of a new and much larger attack surface. Given the crucial role they play in digital transformation and the access to internal sensitive data and systems they provide, APIs call for a dedicated approach to security and compliance. The technology stack used to build the APIs affects how it is being secured.
Now, traditional solutions that protect against the typical attacks like SQL injection and cross-site scripting is no longer sufficient. Web Application and API Protection (WAAP) solution, which provides protection across the entire attack surface, has become necessary when deploying a web application and exposing APIs.
API Protection for Cloud Security Strategy
There are ways to tackle some of the API security concerns within the application itself. There are controls within the applications – controlling access to the API using API keys, validating inputs, and implementing rate limits – that can diminish some of the risks of having APIs exposed to malicious actors.
A few of these solutions are even included in many open source and commercial off the shelf (COTS) web applications being used as building blocks for creating, deploying, and maintaining the new web applications for business needs.
But, depending on applications and developers to provide security can be risky. Consistently making security a top priority is challenging, especially when a DevOps team might not have ample cybersecurity skills. Also, having multiple application teams implementing their own approach to application security can leave the security team in the dark.
Security across Multiple Environments
With digital transformation initiatives, the development of new APIs is on the rise. It becomes essential to review new APIs for appropriate security measures.
Implementing the right kind of security in cloud environments is not enough; it is crucial to ensure the policies are deployed and enforced universally, both in and outside of the cloud. All configurations everywhere need to be centrally applied, tested, and updated.
All threat intelligence should be centrally seen and correlated so threats can be identified, and a universal response can be initiated automatically.
A security platform that includes WAAP, along with common management, analysis, and orchestration interface is necessary. The universal security platform needs to be positioned anywhere the applications are being developed, deployed, and managed to secure application APIs successfully.
The platform should also be able to block threats with either WAF or another API gateway. It provides an additional security layer, but it will only be used if that layer can be managed, monitored, and maintained by the security team directly without interfering with the other priorities driving application development.
Blocking threats before they even reach the application also preserves application resources that would otherwise be used in detecting invalid or malicious connections.