How Traceable Aligns to Forrester’s Eight Components of API Security

In today’s digital age, APIs are the linchpin of innovation, driving business growth and enabling digital transformation. But as their prominence grows, so does the challenge of ensuring their security. Forrester’s recent report, “The Eight Components of API Security,” offers a comprehensive look into the complexities surrounding API security and the importance of a holistic approach. In this blog, I’ll delve into our key insights from the Forrester report and discuss how  I believe Traceable is perfectly positioned to align with Forrester’s recommendations.

Our take on Forrester’s In-depth Analysis on API Security Trends

Escalating API Security Challenges

The digital landscape is rapidly evolving, and APIs are at the forefront of this transformation. A significant 31% of developers have reported the existence of public-facing APIs, while 35% have indicated the presence of B2B APIs. This proliferation of APIs has inadvertently expanded the potential attack surface for cyber adversaries.

Real-world incidents underscore the gravity of the situation. Major corporations like Optus and T-Mobile have fallen victim to breaches attributed to API vulnerabilities. Such incidents not only result in significant financial losses but also tarnish the brand’s reputation. The increasing frequency and severity of these breaches emphasize the pressing need for organizations to prioritize API security.

The Underestimated API Inventory

One of the most pressing challenges in API security is the lack of visibility. Many organizations remain oblivious to the sheer number of APIs they operate. This lack of awareness often leads to the existence of “shadow APIs” – APIs that are deployed without official sanction or oversight. Additionally, many existing APIs have outdated or even missing specifications, making them vulnerable to potential exploits.

Without a comprehensive inventory and understanding of all active APIs, organizations are essentially flying blind, leaving them exposed to potential security threats. The presence of shadow APIs further complicates the security landscape, as these APIs often bypass standard security protocols.

The Rise of Bad Bots Targeting APIs

The threat landscape is not static. As organizations ramp up their API defenses, cyber adversaries are evolving their tactics. 

Malicious bots are designed to exploit vulnerabilities in APIs, often abusing business logic to gain unauthorized access or disrupt services. Their automated nature allows them to launch attacks at scale, overwhelming defenses and potentially causing significant damage. The increasing prevalence of such bot-driven attacks underscores the need for organizations to adopt robust and dynamic security measures tailored to counter such threats.

The Limitations of Traditional Security Tools

While the digital world is evolving, many organizations continue to rely on traditional application security tools. These tools, although effective in their domain, might not be fully equipped to handle the unique challenges posed by APIs. 

APIs have specific vulnerabilities that differ from standard web applications. Relying solely on legacy security tools can result in significant blind spots. For instance, while a traditional security tool might effectively scan the source code for vulnerabilities, it might overlook potential flaws in the API’s specification or its functional definitions.

As APIs become central to business operations, there’s a pressing need for security solutions tailored specifically for API protection. Organizations must recognize that while existing tools provide a foundation, they might not be comprehensive enough for the evolving API security landscape.


How We Align with Forrester’s Eight Components

The Traceable platform is a broad based system designed to cover the entire landscape of vulnerabilities and attacks within and against your APIs. Traceable provides API discovery, protection from attack, pre-release testing for unknown vulnerabilities, and historical analysis of API attacks over time via the Traceable data lake. Forrester defines the eight components of API security in the report, “The Eight Components of API Security,”released on September 28, 2023. The eight components are listed below with my comments as to how I believe Traceable fulfills each requirement.

1. API Governance: Governance of API creation and deployment is often a detractor to the efficiency and effectiveness of the APIs themselves. The Traceable Platform is a key tool providing discovery, analysis, enforcement, and remediation of requirements that the organization places on the usage of APIs. Governance doesn’t have to be a heavy weight system, instead Traceable creates an environment where APIs can be released quickly and securely while both central and decentralized governance models can achieve their goals.

2. API Discovery: Traceable’s platform offers a comprehensive API discovery system that not only identifies APIs but also catalogs them, including shadow and orphaned APIs, and analyzes the risk posture of each API. The difficult part of API discovery is making sure you collect data from all appropriate points in your environment. Traceable’s collection options are the most robust in the market and include cloud mirroring, eBPF, in API code modules, and integrations with load balancers, network devices, services meshes, and much more. This ensures that no API goes unnoticed, providing immediate insights into potential exposure, risk posture, and real-time changes to the entire API ecosystem.

 3. Pre-Release Testing: Traceable’s API Security Testing is fast, easy, and seamless for both development and security teams. It supports organizations’ shift-left initiatives, providing remediation insights from runtime back to development, enabling developers to further harden their APIs. Scalable to accommodate an unlimited number of APIs and their varying complexity, Traceable reinvents the dynamic scanning of old with an API context informed and data rich scanning system. Traceable automates the discovery of unknown vulnerabilities and increases the velocity in which the flaws can be fixed by developers. 

4. Authentication and Authorization: We emphasize the importance of robust authentication and authorization mechanisms. Traceable’s approach ensures that APIs are only accessed by authorized entities, minimizing the risk of breaches due to authentication or authorization flaws. Our platform discovers, analyzes, verifies and protects all of your APIs from authentication and authorization based flaws.

5. API Security Policies: Traceable’s platform allows for the creation of tailored security policies, ensuring that each API is protected according to its specific context. These policies are designed to address API-specific attack vectors, ensuring comprehensive protection. Traceable provides robust capabilities to create specific policies based on any aspect of the incoming traffic or API specific context. Moreover, with Intelligent Rate Limiting, Traceable provides the capability to apply policies to rate limit APIs, ensuring that businesses can effectively manage their API traffic and prevent abuse.

6. Attack Detection: ​​Our real-time attack detection capabilities ensure that any malicious activity is promptly identified and addressed. With advanced threat management and analytics, Traceable allows organizations to stay a step ahead of attackers, diving deep into transaction data to pinpoint early signs of reconnaissance and enabling swift action before an attack escalates.

7. Attack Response: Traceable implements automated API protection directly in line with attacks to stop them in real time. Additionally, Traceable integrates its output directly with third party tools such as security information and event management (SIEM), security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR), ticket tracking systems and more. Traceable provides you with the most performant attack response model that fits the workflow of both your API developers and security operations teams.

8. Securing Third-Party APIs: As enterprises scale their use of SaaS systems, third party APIs are a growing concern. Traceable’s numerous options for API discovery collect and analyze APIs as they both enter and exit the corporate environment. Your API security platform must be able to integrate with the egress points of all data streams within your environment to ensure that API attacks are not leveraged as outbound data exfiltration, malicious attacks against third parties, as well as to be sure that internal systems and east west API communications are not abused to exhaust resources via external third party calls. Traceable discovers and protects all of your APIs bi-directionally.

The Bottom Line

API security is a multifaceted challenge that requires a comprehensive approach. Forrester’s report provides invaluable insights into the current landscape and the necessary steps for robust API protection. At Traceable, we’re committed to aligning with these best practices, ensuring that our clients’ APIs remain secure in an ever-evolving digital world. As we navigate this digital transformation, it’s imperative to stay ahead of the curve, and with the right strategies and tools, we can do just that.