Summary: As API-related cyber threats increase, organizations often adopt a tool-focused approach to API security. While these tools can be helpful, relying solely on them can lead to a lack of comprehensive visibility, insufficient executive oversight, and widening gaps between teams. This post highlights the importance of moving beyond a tool-focused approach and presents a solution in the form of the API Landscape Assessment offered by Process Tempo + Neo4j. With the assessment, organizations can catalog APIs at scale, score them, and visualize, analyze, and report on them, fostering better collaboration between development and cybersecurity teams, improving executive oversight, and and ultimately enhancing their API security strategy.
API-developing organizations are facing an increasing number of cyber threats, with API-related attacks and breaches expected to double by 2024. In response, many organizations have adopted a tool-focused approach as the market has become saturated with them in recent years.
While security tools are helpful and we advocate for their use, it's important to remember that an overemphasis on them can create a false sense of security and leave organizations vulnerable to attacks.
The Problem(s) with Being "Tool-Focused"
Lack of Comprehensive Visibility: The Importance of Seeing the Big Picture
Establishing comprehensive visibility is critical to effective API security. Unfortunately, being tool-focused can delay or block API-developing organizations from achieving this goal. Individual tools provide detailed information on specific areas, but they do not offer a holistic view of an organization's API landscape.
Without comprehensive visibility, it becomes challenging to identify potential vulnerabilities and risks across the entire API environment. As a result, organizations may find themselves struggling to keep up with the evolving threat landscape, leaving them vulnerable to attacks and unable to answer basic questions such as, "How many APIs do I really have?"
Insufficient Executive Oversight: The Risks of Poor Leadership
A lack of comprehensive visibility can also lead to insufficient executive oversight, creating a dangerous gap in an organization's security posture. Executive oversight is critical for understanding an organization's overall security posture and developing a comprehensive strategy for managing API-related risks.
Without a clear understanding of the API landscape, executives may struggle to develop an effective security strategy or make informed decisions about resource allocation. This can result in security measures that are disjointed or insufficient, leaving organizations vulnerable to attack.
Widening Gaps Between Teams: The Risk of Isolation
Finally, a lack of comprehensive visibility nsufficient executive oversight can lead to widening gaps between teams. When teams operate in isolation, maintaining their own data, tools, metrics, and objectives, the result is a fragmented security strategy that leaves gaps in an organization's defenses.
As the gaps between teams grow wider, it becomes more challenging to coordinate efforts around API security. This can lead to redundancies, missed opportunities, and increased risk of cyberattacks. By prioritizing comprehensive visibility and executive oversight, organizations can bridge these gaps, foster collaboration, and develop a more effective API security strategy.
Resolving API Security Challenges with Process Tempo + Neo4j
API security is a critical concern for organizations that develop and use APIs. However, being too tool-focused can create challenges in establishing comprehensive visibility, executive oversight, and teamwork. To address these challenges, organizations can use Process Tempo + Neo4j to implement the API Landscape Assessment process.
Step 1: Catalog APIs to Provide Comprehensive Visibility
By converging data from various API tools, gateways, API platforms, and other systems into a graph data warehouse, organizations can create a true API catalog that serves as a comprehensive system of record for their APIs. This catalog provides a standardized repository of API information, which can be mapped and connected to specific departments, teams, and individual API owners.
For example, an organization may use different tools for API management, monitoring, and security, resulting in siloed data. By cataloging APIs and converging data from these tools into a graph data warehouse, the organization can create a unified view of its API landscape. This enables organizations to establish comprehensive visibility into their API landscape and identify potential vulnerabilities and risks across their entire API environment.
Step 2: Score APIs for Effective Executive Oversight
With rich API datasets mapped together within the API Catalog, organizations can score APIs based on their individual security, management, or strategy requirements. This provides executives with the necessary insights to develop a comprehensive security strategy and make informed decisions about resource allocation. For example, executives can use API scores to identify high-risk APIs that require additional security controls, such as encryption or access controls. They can also better understand which teams or departments may be producing more high-risk APIs, for example, and push resources to further support those teams.
Step 3: Visualize, Analyze, and Report on APIs for Effective Teamwork
By using graph analytics to visualize, analyze, and report on APIs, organizations can overcome the challenges of isolation and teamwork. This provides development and cybersecurity teams with on-demand access to up-to-the-minute data, fostering collaboration and enabling them to coordinate their efforts around API security.
By leveraging graph analytics, data from the API catalog can be auto-populated into pre-built dashboards designed to track the remediation effort. This provides stakeholders with up-to-date information to identify areas that require improvement and prioritize resources accordingly.
For example, development teams can use the API catalog to understand the data being accessed and used by each API, enabling them to design more secure APIs. Cybersecurity teams can use API scores to identify high-risk APIs that require additional security controls, such as penetration testing or vulnerability assessments. With graph analytics, stakeholders can gain a better understanding of the API landscape and prioritize their resources effectively.
The API Landscape Assessment
By implementing the API Landscape Assessment, organizations can establish comprehensive visibility, provide essential executive oversight, and close the gaps between development and cybersecurity teams. This approach provides a more effective API security strategy, enabling organizations to identify potential vulnerabilities and risks and take proactive steps to mitigate them.
By cataloging APIs, scoring them, and visualizing, analyzing, and reporting on them using graph analytics, organizations can develop a more holistic view of their API environment and enable effective collaboration among stakeholders. Using this approach, organizations can reduce the risk of cyberattacks, improve collaboration between development and cybersecurity teams, and enable more effective resource allocation.
Download the overview of the assessment below and click here to schedule a meeting to` get started with the API Landscape Assessment from Process Tempo + Neo4j.