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As organizations grow, their digital architecture must shift to meet the increased business demands. And while companies have quickly adopted to stay ahead of the curve and future-proof their digital estate, sprawl has become an increasing problem in recent years. 

The traditional enterprise landscape uses more than 500 APIs, most of which are built in various environments. These environments might have different security standards, which creates an environment that bad actors love to take advantage of. 

The importance of best practices

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Organizations that do not prioritize cybersecurity have a lot to lose for taking a lax stance. Every company that deals with customer information must prioritize cybersecurity initiatives, especially finance and healthcare industries. These two have even more at stake due to external regulations like HIPAA. Governments have also taken a firm stance to create customer protections, and violations of these laws can incur hefty fines. 

While a company can potentially handle the financial consequences, the damage to customer trust and perception is far more difficult to solve. Customer trust is challenging to build and shockingly easy to lose. It just takes one data breach, and it's gone. 

This situation puts IT leaders in a challenging position: their teams face the call to achieve more with fewer resources as quickly as possible. At the same time, IT teams are responsible for ensuring all APIs in the digital estate are secure – which can be time-consuming.

Additionally, APIs are now acting as a launching pad for automation. These automation projects enable everyone in the organization to participate in no-code, innovative projects that drive business goals. 

MuleSoft has developed everything you need to create an API security strategy, helping challenges IT teams face when enforcing API security measures. We cover the five core steps to combat these challenges, guide your organization to develop a comprehensive API security strategy, and demonstrate why your strategy must be developed as soon as possible. 

5 best practices for your API security strategy

The five steps each build on one another to develop a comprehensive strategy.

API protection

API protection defines permissions and controlling how much access an individual has when they access an API.

API governance

IT teams are taking a proactive approach to API security through standardization. 

API data security

By controlling what data is accessible within an API, IT teams can employ an additional layer of protection by ensuring that the API does not release all data to every user that accesses it. Imagine an API is an island with a buried treasure (PII) somewhere in the middle of the ocean.

API governance would dictate the security patrol of the island to keep away bad actors looking for the PII treasure. At this point, the island would implement API data security practices to ensure that everyone who comes to the island has access to the parts they are supposed to access. 

API discovery

You can't secure what you can't find. Shadow APIs. 

API security testing

The ongoing testing to identify API vulnerabilities.

Take steps toward security

It's absolutely no secret that IT teams have a ton on their plates, and one of the most critical tasks to focus on is developing a comprehensive API security framework. Following the five steps above can help safeguard your organization from losing consumer trust, and set up your organization for success in the future. Learn more information about the top five API security best practices in our whitepaper.