APIs (Applications Programming Interfaces) are essential components holding the digital world together. Most software applications would not be able to meet their performance requirements without them.
APIs are programming interfaces that dictate the communication and sharing of data between applications. They speed up the development process and allow developers to implement different functionalities without writing code from scratch.
However, organizations need API management to ensure that APIs do what they are supposed to do. So, what is API management, and why is it necessary?
Introduction to API Management
API management can be defined as the process of creating and releasing APIs to the market while reporting on performance, analyzing collected usage statistics, controlling access, enforcing usage policies, and building a base of subscribers.
This is essential in helping organizations to make changes to their APIs to improve performance and efficiency. A platform for managing APIs has four components. They include;
- API Developer Portal: The developer portal is used by developers for easier access to API documentation. Using this portal, developers can locate APIs easily and communicate with other teams seamlessly.
- API Gateway: The gateway acts as an entry point for services and systems connected to the APIs. It ensures that the authentication and security of all APIs are enforced.
- API Lifecycle Management: This component provides organizations with the tools they need to manage their APIs from the time development starts to the time the APIs are retired.
- API Analytics: The analytics component is used to measure the performance of APIs to ensure that they all do what they are supposed to do.
Why is API Management Necessary?
1. Ensures Your User Base Has a Secure Environment
Every organization needs to not only protect its APIs but also API users from unauthorized access and cybersecurity threats that might affect performance. This cannot be achieved easily without API management.
A platform for managing APIs allows organizations to create policies and standards that protect sensitive data from being compromised or breached. However, organizations should be careful with their security layers since criminals are ever-evolving.
Apart from relying on the security layer provided by API management platforms, they should also implement an external security layer for their APIs. This does not mean that any of these layers is weaker than the other. They are all important and necessary.
2. Helps in Creating More Revenue Streams
APIs can be found in almost every industry. This means that they have become an important source of revenue for organizations. According to a report by Salesforce, about a third of revenue in businesses is generated by APIs or by API-related implementations.
This means that organizations are looking at APIs as one of their major sources of revenue. They, however, need a platform that helps them create more revenue streams with their APIs. This is where API management platforms come in.
They allow organizations to create custom packages and streamline access to APIs to ensure that API users have everything that they need. They also help organizations to evaluate their APIs in a bid to explore new revenue streams.
3. Helps Organizations Manage Their API Assets
Business owners expect their businesses to grow with time. When this happens, they need to find ways of scaling their services, including APIs, on different servers and endpoints. This can hardly be achieved without a proper API management strategy.
If you look at large organizations, you will likely find that different departments in the same organization have developed different APIs. Most of these APIs handle the same or similar tasks. This is common for organizations whose departments work in isolated silos.
With an API management platform, these organizations can manage all their API assets from a central location. This ensures that there is transparent and clear communication between all the departments in an organization.
4. Helps Enforce API Policies
Organizations need to enforce different types of policies and restrictions on the usage of their APIs. For instance, they need to monitor how their APIs are used and who uses them.
In addition, they need to ensure that users of their APIs have agreed to their terms and conditions before they (users) can even start using the APIs. Things such as time limits and quotas should also be enforced.
Organizations can meet these requirements using an API management platform.
As you can see above, API management is an important part of the API lifecycle. The right management platform is essential for organizations that want their APIs to meet their obligations.
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