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API management

An application programming interface (API) is an intermediary program that allows developers to connect different pieces of software and ensure their interaction. Every time the user interacts with the application, it sends data to the server over the Internet connection. The server receives this data, interprets it, performs certain actions and sends back a response. The application then interprets the response and presents it to the user in a way they can understand. This entire process happens through an API.

API management consists of a set of tools and services that enable building, analyzing, operating and scaling APIs in secure environments. Today, developers, businesses, and organizations often create open APIs that allow others to integrate their products and services. As the number of APIs continues to grow, so does the need to monitor and manage them in a secure and scalable manner.

Why is API management important?

APIs expose companies’ data and make their services available through applications. Organizations also use APIs to add a digital layer to interactions with customers, employees, and partners. As a result, API management is extremely important because it gives developers and organizations the ability to secure, scale, manage, analyze and monetize API programs.

The various benefits of API management include:

  • The ability to make data-driven decisions through business insights gained from API analytics;
  • Protecting the organization from security threats affecting the API;
  • The possibility of creating detailed API documentation that can be used to attract developers and inform users;
  • Centralized visibility that allows enterprises to see all their API connections in one place, thereby reducing security vulnerabilities, reducing the number of duplicate APIs and identifying gaps that developers need to address;
  • The ability to monetize APIs, share revenue with partners and monitor billing in real time;
  • Creating a positive user experience for users of the API;
  • Improvements in API agility and the ability to quickly create new digital assets and
  • The ability to create a flexible, agile, adaptive and innovative ecosystem where all people, processes and technology can work together.

In addition, API management allows an organization to optimize existing systems by updating legacy security protocols to match modern standards. API management software can also translate complex data from legacy systems into modern message formats. A large number of companies use applications and the APIs that support them, which have thus become an integral part of their digital strategies.

In order to get the most out of APIs, it is necessary to successfully socialize and monetize them, which is not possible without a robust API management system. These systems enable service management and easy access to all possibilities through variously designed intuitive user interfaces. The essential benefit refers to the ability to quickly and efficiently deploy and reuse integration components. By managing APIs on a single and visible platform, enterprises can easily share API documentation and coding standards between teams, reducing development costs and time to market.

Access control

API management platforms also help make existing services much more secure by tracking API usage and enabling the integration of state-of-the-art security protocols, including OAuth, JWT, and OpenID. Businesses can encrypt all of their data and require access control signatures to ensure that only the right users access their data. By monitoring API activity in real time, organizations are also able to identify potential vulnerabilities in operating systems, networks, drivers, and API components, monitoring potential data leaks and providing the insight necessary to strengthen API security.

Why is API security important? A hacked API, used to connect services and transfer data, can lead to data leaks: according to Gartner, 90% of web-enabled applications will have more attacks in exposed APIs than in the user interface. APIs expand the space of potential attack positions, a possibility that developers and application security managers can easily overlook.

Easy integration

APIs have changed the way web applications are developed, and today it is hard to imagine a software project without third-party integrations. Web and mobile solutions have become essential for businesses of all types and domains, and as the number of software products increases, it becomes increasingly important for companies to optimize their development process. APIs are exactly what help developers speed up the development process, improve security, and gain access to out-of-the-box features without having to develop them themselves.

When choosing an API, pay attention to its documentation and choose a provider that provides extensive information about its API, instructions for its integration and use. Good documentation should include pricing, implementation details, and limitations, so there are no surprises for your development team or your business during and after integration. Make sure your API is well tested, because API errors can cause a whole host of different problems, from losing some of the functionality to a complete downtime, where every second costs money. Make sure the QA culture at the provider’s company is strong so that you get a well-tested API.

Built-in support for monetization

API monetization is how businesses can use APIs to make money, either directly or indirectly. There are different models of API monetization, from pay as you go, to monthly/yearly subscriptions to buying API transactions that are used over a period of time. Monetization is essentially creating a business plan for your APIs.

At this point, we should also consider other indirect benefits brought by the decision to invest in API, such as interaction with partners and suppliers with whom contact has not been established before and the addition of customers from new segments. Also, internal APIs can improve productivity and other employee performance or help speed up internal processes.

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