API monitoring can be used to track APIs for availability, functionality, speed and performance issues, and often can be facilitated with automation.
Availability: API monitoring checks to see if API-connected resources are available, working properly and responding to calls. With the increasing interdependence of applications on other apps and services, API monitoring is often extended to monitoring the availability of the resources your APIs rely on as well. API monitoring can alert administrators about any breaks in the chain of dependence and allow IT teams to act appropriately to ensure that their website or app remains online.
Performance: Even if an API returns calls correctly, its application performance may not be up to standard. How quick are the responses? Is the HTTP response code optimized? Are the response times degrading? Does the API’s performance vary in different environments, such as in development versus production?
Any of these performance metrics, whether caused by the APIs you call, backend services, or even other APIs down the line, will affect performance and require some kind of performance monitoring of the site or app. API monitoring will alert you to these degradations with notifications and let you respond.
Data validation and multi-step processes: Your API may be available and responding to requests, but it could send back incorrect data or data formatted in unexpected ways. Monitoring for data validation ensures you’re getting the right responses in the correct format, which is especially important for multi-step processes once you’ve received the initial response. Data validation will let you know if these processes are working as expected.
Monitor for integrations with third party and partner APIs: Apps and services such as Slack and other web applications and web services often rely on both managed and third-party APIs, and frequently users can’t tell the difference between the two. An API monitoring solution can give you visibility into the performance of third-party and partner APIs (such as those of AWS, credit card providers and others) in addition to those you manage. This way, you’ll not only be able to hold partners accountable, but also know who to contact should any issues arise.
Monitor for feature changes: When you have functionality that depends on the performance of an external service, you’ll want to ensure your app remains compatible with the service. Whether the changes are a result of new releases or bug fixes, API monitoring can alert the end user if the base code stops working with an API-driven service following a change or upgrade.
Monitor for security: The more an organization opens its network to outside connections, the higher the opportunity for malicious actors to take advantage of any vulnerabilities. When you use an API, you’re assuming that API is secure and that the security settings are maintained. You’re also assuming the risk of any other APIs that feed into it. API monitoring ensures authentication and ensures the security of APIs connected to your apps by searching for anomalous behavior that could signify a security breach and identify threats in real time.