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How API Gateways Can Help Your Business

Leverage Self-Service to Modernize EDI for Success

An API gateway is an API management tool situated between a client and a group of microservices that supports requests and facilitates the delivery of data and services. 

Its primary role is to act as an entry point for interactions between an organization’s applications, services, data, and internal and external business customers. It also performs other functions to support and manage API usage, including analytics and authentication. The majority of APIs are deployed using API gateways, which enable companies to manage common business tasks used across a wide system of API services, including statistics and rate limiting.

How Does an API Gateway Benefit Businesses?

Fundamentally, an API service takes a remote request and delivers a response. However, it’s rarely that simple. Companies can face many potential issues when hosting heavily used APIs.

  • It’s important to safeguard APIs from problems such as overuse. Inefficient users, erroneous code that results in overuse, and even malicious code can overuse your API services thereby running up infrastructure costs and delaying or denying service to other users.  Authentication of users, volume throttling, and rate limits are important techniques to curb overuse.
  •  Companies need to understand how business users make use of their APIs for the purpose of adding analytics and monitoring solutions.
  • Companies might have used a microservices architecture, wherein a single request could require calls to multiple applications.
  • Companies need to connect to the billing system if they have monetized APIs.
  • With time, companies probably will add additional API functions, and they must also be easily accessible.

The challenge for companies is being able to continually offer their business customers a simple, valuable experience even with these complexities. API gateways help those companies decouple the client interface from back-end implementations. When a business customer raises a request, the API gateway can be used to break it up into many requests, route them to the correct places, generate a response, and monitor the process. 

Benefits of API Gateways

By adding one or more API gateways, companies can accomplish the following goals:

  • Increase Flexibility: API gateways are easy to configure. Developers can encapsulate the internal structure of an application in a variety of ways in order to use back-end services and collect the results.  
  • Ensure API Authentication: By adding another security layer, API gateways protect companies from errors and data breaches by authenticating API calls. Authentication can include decryption, encryption, validation, and other security functionalities.
  • Simplify Services Delivery: API gateways can handle API calls for requesting and retrieving data and services, reducing the volume of requests and traffic, streamlining the API process and improving the user experience, especially for mobile applications.
  • Extend Legacy Applications: Companies that rely on legacy applications can leverage API gateways to manage those apps and extend their functionality. This serves as an alternative to a more complex and costly migration.
  •  Facilitate Rate Limiting: An API gateway helps companies monitor traffic coming from different sources and limit how many API requests customers can make in a specific time period. That protects the system from being flooded with requests and prevents the possibility of it crashing.

At its core, an API gateway is a highly configurable reverse proxy specialized to support the business transactions that embody the API functions you publish. As companies rely more and more on APIs to drive digital businesses, the API gateway is the go-to interface for enabling clients to engage with their system and handle requests in a convenient and centralized manner.