API security in 2024: Predictions and trends
As technology continues to advance at an unprecedented pace, so does the complexity of API (application programming interface) security. With the proliferation of APIs in modern applications and services, organizations will need to develop a better understanding of their API environments and the risk APIs represent to operations.
In 2024, we anticipate several key trends and predictions that will shape the landscape of API security.
1. Innovation in the API security market will accelerate
In 2023, API attacks on businesses have significantly increased, signaling the vulnerability of this attack surface. The API security market is currently in its early days, but as API security climbs the business agenda, we expect to see significant innovation in this space.
Agile cybersecurity vendors will focus in 2024 on building solutions that offer visibility into the API attack surface. We will likely see multiple newcomers who offer purpose-built solutions as well as traditional vendors expanding their product portfolio.
2. Evolving API security attacks
While methods such as port scanning to identify network vulnerabilities are not likely to go away, we expect in the following year the number of targeted application-level attacks will rise.
Malicious actors will be after specific banks or financial institutions by opening accounts or using applications to infiltrate systems and disrupt app behavior. Hackers know that most organizations have solutions for network-level security, leaving APIs exposed and vulnerable to attacks.
Traditional perimeter defenses are no longer sufficient to safeguard APIs as hackers become more sophisticated in how they gain authorized user access. Organizations will need to priorities inside-the-perimeter defenses which continuously monitor API traffic to detect suspicious user behavior.
3. Beyond perimeter defense: The rise of inside-the-perimeter threat detection
The rapid rate of change of APIs means organizations will always have vulnerabilities that need to be remediated. As a result, 2024 will usher in a new era where visibility will be a priority for API security strategies.
Preventing attackers from entering the perimeter is not a 100% foolproof strategy. Whereas having real-time visibility into a security environment will enable rapid responses from security teams that neutralize threats before they impact operations or extract valuable data.
For example, traditional perimeter-based solutions only monitor requests and not responses. If an attacker is posing as a customer, their requests will appear as legitimate. Visibility can be achieved through a multi-layered security approach including both perimeter and inside-the-perimeter defenses. Full fidelity of APIs is necessary to isolate unknown attacks as hackers find innovative ways to remain undetected by traditional solutions.
4. API governance will become more critical
API governance will become the cornerstone of API security.
Despite businesses embracing APIs to enable new service delivery or increased efficiency, organizations suffer from a lack of visibility into their digital assets which stems from underdeveloped governance procedures. Robust API security strategies require CISOs to work with application development teams to build API governance processes and structures.
To identify attacks or remediate incidents CISOs and their teams must have visibility into their API environment and existing vulnerabilities. Processes will need to be set up to increase effective cross-discipline collaboration, enable API discovery, and set basic policies and standards for how properties should be operating.
Ultimately robust API governance should turn discovery findings into valuable KPIs and metrics that organizations can use to assess progress when it comes to their security posture.
5. Regulatory data privacy drives the need for self-managed solutions
With the widespread use of APIs, especially in sectors such as financial services, regulators are looking to encourage transparency in APIs. This means data privacy concerns and regulations will continue to impact API use in 2024. In response, organizations are becoming weary of having third parties hold and access their data to conduct security analyses.
We expect to see a shift in 2024 where organizations will demand running security solutions locally within their own environments. Self-managed solutions (either on-premise or private cloud), eliminate the need to filter, redact, and anonymize data before it’s stored. This shift will help organizations maintain control over sensitive data and meet compliance requirements.
6. Rise of security data lakes in API security
API security solutions must be scalable to adapt to the needs of both small and large organizations. In 2024, we expect to see the adoption of proven data lake technology. This technology enables data to be stored in a security-centric schema and accessed through standard SQL queries. Organizations can set data retention policies to balance accessibility with resource utilization and costs.
7. More automation and integration
We anticipate in 2024, automation will play a greater role in API security solutions. API security solutions will offer automation capabilities for building custom threat detection and alerting rules, facilitating real-time threat detection and response. Integration with SIEM and SOAR solutions will become more seamless, allowing for swift incident response.
As attackers continue to evolve, organizations must adapt to the changing threat landscape by implementing advanced inside-the-perimeter threat detection, context-rich alerts, and attack surface management. These trends, along with a focus on on-premises solutions, scalability, and automation, will help organizations stay ahead of API security challenges in the years to come.