• Encrypting your data is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure API security.
  • REST is an architectural style, SOAP is a protocol, and GraphQL is a query language, as indicated by the “QL” in its name.

Application programming interfaces (APIs) have become necessary for every company’s IT infrastructure as businesses embrace digital transformation.

Securing APIs has taken on critical business importance in light of the growing threat of cyberattacks. Particularly given that numerous security reports claim that web APIs are highly susceptible.

Let’s explore API security best practices and collaborate to create a more secure and dependable digital future.

What Is API Security?

The practice of protecting APIs from misuse and cyberattacks is known as API security. It guarantees that API requests can still be processed while the service is busy and that they are authenticated, authorized, validated, and cleaned.

API security is important for both your internal APIs and any external APIs from third parties you might be using. Securing APIs is crucial because they communicate with the applications used by your business.

Developers can create client-side applications that are aimed at customers, partners, and other end users with the aid of APIs.

Data confidentiality and integrity must be protected during application and service communication, and API security protocols are essential for this.

By implementing these protocols, developers can safeguard private information, stop intrusions, and build a robust environment for secure API communications.

API Security in Action: SOAP, REST, and GraphQL Protocols

API security protocols are mechanisms and standards designed to protect the security and integrity of data transmitted and processed through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Let’s look at three significant protocols:


A REST API, also called a RESTful API, is a web API that complies with the restrictions of the REST architectural style and enables communication with RESTful web services.

These can be used to create web URLs that make data, content, algorithms, media, and other digital resources available for consumption through web, mobile, and device applications.


A client and an internet-based operation or service can communicate using the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), a protocol for sharing information encoded in XML.

While SOAP provides much more direction on the structure of the request and response, the message content, and how it will be encoded, REST is more of a style.

Web services at the enterprise level that require complex transactions and high security are built using SOAP.

  • GraphQL API

GraphQL is an API query language that enables you to streamline requests by specifying the exact data you need, resulting in faster communication than other API protocols. Facebook chose to reconstruct its native mobile apps using GraphQL.

Its advantages include strongly typed data, a single request endpoint, and the facilitation of schema-driven development.

Irrespective of the protocol used, strong security is crucial. By combining the right API protocol with the best API security practices, developers and organizations can build user trust, protect sensitive data, and ensure a safe and seamless experience for all stakeholders involved.

API Security Best Practices

APIs are gateways to valuable information, making them enticing targets for malicious actors seeking to exploit vulnerabilities. Let’s strengthen API security together using these best practices, safeguarding your digital assets and keeping your organization paralleled with the secured digital transformation. Let’s look at some API gateway security best practices:

  • Try to authenticate and authorize

This is an easy and well-known API security best practice. Users are protected from unauthorized access by authentication and authorization. You must carefully and thoroughly identify all relevant users and devices to restrict access to API resources.

The level of access that each user has to a particular piece of information is determined by authorization, which is crucial. User authentication is necessary for all applications that handle sensitive data.

Utilize industry standards like OAuth 2.0, OpenID Connect, and JSON web tokens to define access control rules or grant types that specify which users, groups, and roles can access particular API resources and authenticate API traffic.

  • Remove non-shareable information

Always hiding your API behind a gateway is our first piece of advice. API gateways thwart malicious attacks before they can reach their target by serving as “gatekeepers” between the client and the server.

Adding or updating these features is made simpler by an API gateway. Fortunately, there are many API gateway products on the market. Without a gateway, API providers would need to strengthen each endpoint with these features individually.

To ensure the greatest level of security against potential threats, always try to select an API gateway with advanced filtering features.

  • Encrypt data

One of the most crucial API best practices for security is ensuring API security encrypts your data. While all network traffic should possess encryption, special emphasis on encrypting API requests and responses is essential due to their likelihood of containing sensitive credentials and data.

To prevent hackers from intercepting, altering, or stealing sensitive data, HTTPS and TLS are used. You can avoid unauthorized access and data breaches by encrypting data while at rest, even if your storage systems are compromised.

  • Apply rate limits

Rate limiting lessens the likelihood of DoS attacks and API abuse. As a result, requests will be processed quickly, and no one user will be able to submit an excessive number of requests at once. So, it is truly an API security best practice.

You can ensure that your APIs are still accessible to authorized users while preventing attackers from deluging your system with requests by limiting the number of requests that can be made to your API within a given time period.

A more sophisticated technique is adaptive rate limiting, which dynamically modifies rate limits in response to user behavior, traffic patterns, and resource usage.

  • Remove sensitive information not for sharing

Given that APIs serve as fundamental developer tools, they often encompass keys, passwords, and other information that necessitate removal prior to being accessible to the wider public. But occasionally, this action is disregarded. Organizations should integrate scanning tools into their DevSecOps processes to reduce unintentional disclosure of sensitive information. This is a significant API security best practice.

  • Apply the least privilege principle

The least privilege principle should be used to authorize API access and API processes. Therefore, each authorized user is only permitted to access the bare minimum systems, services, and data required for their function within the business process.


In this digital transformation era and rapid technological advancements, developers, organizations, and businesses must adopt robust security measures to protect their APIs and the sensitive data they handle.

Undoubtedly, APIs have become widely used to establish a connection between users and services. Most businesses already have defenses in place against well-known attacks that could target APIs, including distributed denial-of-service, cross-site scripting, and injection.

Finally, consider the above points as an API security best practices checklist, essential for any company that values its reputation and, more importantly, its customers, even though it is impossible to eliminate all threats completely.

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