7 Reasons Why Cataloging Your API Inventory Matters

7 Reasons Why Cataloging Your API Inventory Matters

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Application programming interfaces (API) have become increasingly important as more and more businesses integrate technology into their operations. The need for better API security and comprehensive documentation for APIs is essential. However, an Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) study found that fewer than 10% of IT organizations fully document their APIs.

“The lack of visibility and lack of documentation highlights the security blindspot that APIs pose to organizations,” said Edward Roberts, Vice President of Marketing at Neosec, a sponsor of the EMA study.

Surprisingly, the study also found that 83% of respondents believed they would know if their APIs were being abused. However, Richard Taylor, CTO and Co-Founder at Approov Mobile Security, points out that “it seems that there’s an unrealistic level of blind faith that putting a WAF or gateway in front of the traffic will magically fix any abuse.”

Many forms of API abuse operate under the radar, using spoofed applications to make legitimate requests. It’s crucial to ensure that all APIs are cataloged to prevent unauthorized access and reduce security risks. The EMA report states, “It’s reasonable to infer that the tools organizations are using for API management and security are effective at protecting the APIs that they know about, but can do nothing for the ones where they are lacking visibility.”

Cataloging your growing API inventory can help identify vulnerabilities and secure your system against malicious attacks. Below, we’ll explore why creating an organized API catalog is so critical. We’ll also highlight the many benefits of developing (and maintaining) an API inventory over time.

The Growing Importance of Cataloging Your API Inventory

Organizing and cataloging your API inventory is essential for any successful API program. Not only does it allow you to keep track of the different APIs you have available, but it also enables you to monitor usage and detect potential problems. A well-maintained inventory also helps improve security by ensuring that only the most up-to-date versions of APIs are being used.

An organized inventory also lets you gain insight into how external parties utilize your APIs. You can use these insights to develop new features or optimize existing ones to ensure your APIs are as effective and reliable as possible. Additionally, having a complete view of all the APIs available in your inventory gives you a better understanding of the overall landscape of your API program.

Furthermore, cataloging your API inventory lets you quickly identify which ones are no longer necessary and remove them from your program. This ensures that resources aren’t wasted on outdated or redundant APIs and that only the most relevant and current ones remain available.

7 Benefits of an Organized API Catalog

An organized API catalog can provide many benefits to businesses and developers alike. Some of the top benefits are listed below.

1. Improved Discoverability

Having an organized API catalog makes it easier to find the APIs you are looking for. When APIs are well-cataloged, it is easier to search and browse through the different available APIs. Additionally, having a single source of truth where all APIs are indexed will help developers quickly find the right one for their needs.

2. Enhanced Efficiency

An organized API catalog can also improve operational efficiency by making it easier to create, maintain, and monitor APIs. This can reduce the time and resources needed to manage APIs and help teams get better results with less effort.

3. Standardization and Consistency

By having a unified system to organize APIs, teams can create standardized descriptions and metadata to describe each API. This allows for more consistent APIs, making it easier to maintain them and reducing the amount of time needed for development and maintenance.

4. Developer Collaboration

Having an organized API catalog can help facilitate collaboration between developers by providing a centralized system for teams to work together. This can make it easier to share knowledge and increase the speed of development.

5. Increased Reusability

When APIs are well-cataloged, they become easier to reuse in other projects. This eliminates the time wasted creating new APIs and makes it possible to quickly build new applications with existing code.

6. Better Governance and Security

An organized API catalog can help ensure that APIs meet all regulatory requirements and standards. This helps protect user data and keeps teams compliant with industry regulations. It also helps avoid shadow IT and risky zombie API endpoints from emerging over time.

7. Improved User Experience

An organized API catalog can make it easier for users to find and access the APIs they need. Having a single source of truth for APIs can help simplify the process for users and make it easier to navigate complex applications.

The Bottomline: Catalog Your API Inventory

In summary, cataloging your API inventory is essential for any successful API program. Keeping track of internal and third-party APIs is becoming more and more important as the number of APIs in use escalates throughout most organizations.

A complete API inventory enables you to manage your available APIs, monitor usage, improve security, gain insights, and optimize existing features. Furthermore, it lets you quickly identify and remove outdated or redundant APIs, ensuring that only the most current ones are supported.