Why API Security is an Essential Tool for CISOs  - Photo by Danial Igdery on UnsplashDigital transformation has ushered in a new era of devices, applications, and online services. Apps are given most of the credit. However, application programming interfaces (APIs), provide the underlying connectivity between software and services that make it all possible.

As any developer will confirm, APIs enable organisations to streamline workflows, develop new ways to support customers, and pursue new avenues to drive profit. But, despite the countless benefits, APIs also expand the attack surface, and attacks continue to rise.

Information security teams and business leaders alike are beginning to understand that APIs present new security challenges. These are unique vulnerabilities that traditional tools like API gateways and web application firewalls can’t address. For this reason, CISOs are betting big on dedicated API security solutions. Here are five reasons why are they doing so:

Data breaches are getting out of control

There are several reasons why API vulnerabilities are being exploited at such an alarming rate. According to Akamai, API traffic now represents over 80% of the current internet traffic. The average enterprise is managing over 15,000 APIs. It’s easy, therefore, to determine why they are involved in such a large share of traffic.

Moreover, two-thirds of IT leaders, architects, and developers claim they are concerned with the prospect of API sprawl. While traffic volume is an important element of API sprawl, the two are not interchangeable. Sprawl refers to the distribution of a company’s APIs across teams and environments. If security teams lack visibility into APIs in production, it can almost be guaranteed that rogue and shadow APIs represent a large percentage of what’s deployed.

Unfortunately, many companies continue to rely on obsolete security tools. They assume they don’t need dedicated API security because they have a WAF or API gateway. While these are important components of the API delivery stack, the truth is, neither is designed to provide the security controls and observability required to adequately protect APIs.

Gartner recently stated that “traditional network and web protection tools do not protect against all the security threats facing APIs, including many of those described in the OWASP API Security Top 10.” Ultimately, without adequate detection and response, security teams will struggle to identify and remediate API attacks.

Regulators are cracking down on data compliance

Data compliance regulations are becoming more and more important in the digital world. Data breaches are on a steady growth trajectory. It means regulators are increasingly focused on enforcing violations to protect the privacy of individuals and organisations. Companies have to be careful about how they store and process their data to ensure that data is not misused or leaked.

In order to stay compliant, businesses need to have a thorough understanding of what data is collected, how it’s collected, who has access to that data and how that data is used. It is important to also keep in mind that there are many different types of data compliance regulations that can be found in the US, Europe, and Asia. From patient records to financial data, there are clear guidelines on how to properly protect highly sensitive data.

The most notable are:

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
  • Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)

Automation is critical for success

According to the 2022 Global Risk Report, developed by the World Economic Forum, 95% of cybersecurity issues could be traced back to human error. As if that wasn’t enough of a reason to seek automated tooling, the volume of APIs in production is just too vast for manual efforts.

For example, manual efforts to discover, document, migrate, refactor and remediate requires 40 hrs of effort per API. Now if the average enterprise is managing roughly 15,000 APIs, that’s 600,000 hours of manual effort.

Beyond API discovery, modern anomaly detection is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). It should be coupled with other security products such as security orchestration and remediation (SOAR) and security information and event management (SIEM) platforms. They provide the missing link for comprehensive incident response.

Reputation is everything

Reputation is a key factor in the success of any business. It plays a crucial role in how people perceive your brand, and it can help you to build trust with your audience. To build a solid reputation, you need a tenacious security team with integrated solutions that protect sensitive data without interfering with business outcomes.

In this economic climate, sensitive data will continue to be an attractive target for cybercriminals. CISOs and their teams must eliminate blind spots, implement iron-clad access controls, and mitigate malicious threats and other cybersecurity risks. Failure to do so could have dire consequences for both the CISO and the longevity of the business.

Security is required across the SDLC

CISOs that are serious understand that API embedding security controls across the software development life cycle (SDLC) is the only way to ensure APIs are protected from code to production.

According to Noname Security’s 2022 API Security Trends report, only 11% of cybersecurity professionals are testing APIs in real-time. Just 28%, test their APIs for security flaws at least once a day. 39% reported that they’re testing no more than once a week. With the rate of code being produced, it’s easier than ever for vulnerabilities to slip through the cracks, especially if a business isn’t testing for them.

It is clear to see why CISOs are focusing so heavily on securing APIs as well as the business and technology risks companies of all sizes are facing. As a result, it is crucial for organisations to develop strong API security strategies and to implement innovative technologies and automation tools that can organisations identify and eliminate malicious threats.

Noname Security is the only company taking a complete, proactive approach to API Security. Noname works with 20% of the Fortune 500 and covers the entire API security scope across three pillars — Posture Management, Runtime Security, and API Security Testing. Noname Security is privately held, remote-first with headquarters in Silicon Valley and offices in Tel Aviv and Amsterdam.


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