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Building a Secure
API Ecosystem Starts
with API Discovery

Nicole Jones

Nicole Jones|May 2, 2024

Struggling to find and test all your APIs? API discovery is crucial for ongoing application security. Learn how to overcome challenges and secure your API landscape.

When it comes to application security, we spend countless hours protecting our applications against ever-evolving threats— We patch vulnerabilities, implement robust authentication, and try to stay vigilant. Yet, we still don’t have a full picture of our attack surface at any given time.

The problem comes from not having a reliable way to continuously define and inventory our attack surface given how quickly software changes. This blog aims to explain why API discovery is no longer a “one-and-done” but an ongoing security imperative.

Warning Signs You're Not Aware of Your Entire Attack Surface

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Fragmented Visibility: Do you struggle to get a complete picture of all APIs within your organization? Are there whispers of "shadow APIs" or undocumented APIs?

  • Repetitive Security Efforts: Are you constantly reinventing the wheel when it comes to API security assessments?

  • Slow Development Cycles: Does finding and integrating with relevant APIs become a roadblock for developers?

If you recognize any of these signs, you're likely facing an API discovery problem. Let's dispel some common myths that might be holding you back from addressing it.

Debunking the Myths

  • Myth #1: We Don't Have That Many APIs. Even small organizations have a surprising number of APIs, both internal and external. Complexity grows quickly, and manual tracking becomes unsustainable.

  • Myth #2: Our APIs Are Well Documented. Documentation is ideal, but it often lags behind development, and APIs can change over time. Discovery tools ensure you have the latest information.

  • Myth #3: Security Testing Covers It All. Security testing might identify some exposed APIs, but it's a reactive approach. Discovery offers a proactive way to find and secure all APIs.

The Costs of Inaction

Ignoring API discovery comes at a significant cost:

  • Wasted Resources: Duplicating security assessments and developer time spent searching for APIs leads to inefficiency and delays.

  • Poor API Governance: Without proper discovery, enforcing API security policies and managing access controls becomes a challenge.

  • Potential Security Breaches: We hate to state the obvious, but undiscovered APIs create a vulnerable attack surface. Hackers thrive on finding hidden APIs, potentially exposing sensitive data.

Securing Your API Landscape

The API landscape is constantly evolving. Here's how to stay aligned with software development:

  • Invest in API Discovery Tools: Automated tools can scan your network or source code to identify all APIs, documented or not.

  • Embrace a Centralized Inventory: Maintain a comprehensive catalog of all APIs, including ownership, functionality, and access controls.

  • Promote API Security Awareness: Educate developers and IT teams on the importance of secure API design and development practices.

By prioritizing API discovery, you gain a holistic view of your API ecosystem, enabling proactive security measures. This mitigates risks and fosters innovation by empowering developers to find and utilize valuable APIs quickly and securely.

Ready to explore your API landscape? Sign up for access to StackHawk's API Discovery Powered by HawkAI! Now in beta.

Nicole Jones  |  May 2, 2024

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