What is API Management: Your Guide to What You Need to Know
As organizations rely more and more on APIs to run their operations, the need to manage API assets has increased dramatically.
Most companies rely on third-party solutions such as MuleSoft and Apigee to centralize their API assets in one place, but without proper oversight - those solutions can quickly fall apart.
Unless you have only a few APIs that are all the same and used by the same type of end-user, you need an API portal - a user-friendly platform that helps developers, business units, and partners consume your APIs in an accessible way - to run a successful API program.
By bringing API assets together in one place, API portals increase adoption rates and promote innovation.
The performance of your API portal is the key to your success.
Achieve Internet can help you confidently navigate the API world and alleviate the work needed to manage your APIs in a way that Mulesoft and Apigee fall short. The work you put into API management will mean nothing without a successful API portal.
This guide will help you understand the benefits and challenges surrounding API management to help you better navigate the API landscape.
What is API Management?
API management is the process of publishing, governing, and analyzing APIs in a secure environment. These platforms allow an organization’s internal and external APIs to have a safe, scalable space for monitoring and updating their APIs.
While there are many API management solutions on the market (all with varying features), the majority of them include:
An API gateway - API gateways act as a single-entry gateway for users, ensuring the enforcement of security policies and authorizations.
An API testing environment - Develop and test your APIs using a safe testing environment.
API monetization - Many management solutions enable the creation of an “API Store” where APIs can be productized to drive additional revenue for your organization.
API lifecycle management - API management grants you the ability to manage your APIs from design to retirement, ensuring a positive ROI and higher adoption rates.
API Measurement Data - Most solutions enable you to monitor APIs’ usage, transactions, data history, and other metrics to understand their performance.
An API portal - API portals provide developers and non-technical business users alike access to documentation, security, and administrative controls to get instructions on consuming your APIs.
Why Is API Management Important?
Aside from organizing your APIs in a central, easily managed, and secure platform - API management helps your organization respond to changing customer needs and accelerate digital transformation.
As businesses depend more on APIs to function, so does the need for effective management solutions to secure and accommodate the complex administrative requirements of APIs.
Let’s take a deeper look into the benefits of API management.
1. Provide a Secure Environment for Your User Base
Protecting your APIs and the users that access them from potential threats and unauthorized access is a primary concern for everyone seeking to manage their APIs.
API management platforms help organizations create standards and policies that ensure sensitive data is not breached or compromised.
Even though API management solutions provide a layer of internal security for your APIs, this might not be enough to safeguard your data from ever-evolving hacking techniques. There is still a need for external security - one doesn’t replace the other, nor is one enough.
To reduce security risks, organizations use specialized API security testing tools like APIsec that automatically write and execute thousands of tests, providing full coverage.
Rigorous security policies and procedures should be evaluated and updated regularly.
Integrating advanced access controls, logging, authentication, and authorization mechanisms is no longer optional - especially since API attack traffic keeps growing year over year.
2. Easily Manage Your API Assets as Your Organization Scales
As your business grows, it will very likely need to scale its APIs services across multiple endpoints and servers. In this scenario, the need for an API management strategy becomes a necessity.
For large corporations and institutions, it’s not uncommon for different departments within the same organization to develop multiple APIs to accomplish the same tasks, since they are working in isolated business silos.
Utilizing an API management platform allows you to consolidate all of your APIs into one easily accessible and manageable place, allowing for clear and transparent communications throughout the entire organization.
A core function of any API Management platform is the ability to build in the API documentation, technical reference manuals containing all the information needed to work with and integrate an API effectively.
Without proper documentation, both non-technical users and developers will not be able to use your API as intended.
That’s why your API management solution should provide the features that make it possible to generate clean, machine-readable documentation and supports regular, automatic updates of it.
3. Develop Additional Revenue Streams
With the API economy permeating every industry, APIs are becoming an increasingly important revenue stream - for instance, Salesforce generates half of their revenue solely through APIs.
This trend makes monetization one of the main reasons organizations seek out API management solutions.
While API management tools such as Apigee are geared towards power API users, the average developer, product owner, and business leader are going to rely on API portals to be the user-friendly extension of your API management tool.
Creating custom, tiered, or usage-based packages, offering access to microservices, and allowing data productization are just a few examples of how enterprises generate revenue through proper API management.
Read More: The Basics of Monetizing your APIs
4. Future-proof Your Business as APIs Evolve
Removing repetitive APIs, identifying gaps using analytics, and reducing vulnerabilities are just a few features that an effective management solution provides - but it also allows for a wider audience to engage your tech stack.
As the role of the citizen developer grows, the ability for every member of your team to have clear and easy access to your APIs will become a necessity for organizations that have high aspirations.
For the first time ever, non-technical users (or citizen developers) have the ability to shape the digital workspace with the advancements in technology, software, and applications.
API management platforms help enterprises create a flexible and innovative ecosystem for end-users of all technology skill levels to help them get the most out of their API assets.
The research firm, Gartner, predicted citizen developers of larger enterprises would outnumber professional developers by nearly 4:1.
Businesses often struggle to figure out how to enable non-technical users.
While API management offers tools to make your APIs more accessible, a great way to overcome this hurdle is to utilize an API portal, an ecosystem that - as opposed to a developer portal - makes your APIs accessible both to developers and business users alike.
Achieve Internet provides API portal development and digital transformation services for companies to help them gain an edge in the API economy.
If you are interested in learning more about our solutions, reach out today and schedule a free consultation with us.