API Governance is an important aspect of software development. However, it can also be a buzzword. What does it all mean? What makes it different from other forms of software governance? These questions and many more will be answered in this article.
What’s API governance?
API governance refers to managing and governing API use within an organization. It’s also called API Management. API governance is a subset in IT governance. This is the process, policies and procedures an organization uses for managing its information technology assets. IT governance is a way to make sure that IT activities align with business goals.
Why API Governance is Important?
API governance is essential because it allows you to manage the risks associated with APIs. There is a greater likelihood that your APIs will be misused in ways you didn’t intend. This can lead to negative consequences. You must ensure that any changes to your APIs are transparently made to avoid breaking existing integrations.
Take, for example:
- You would like to add a parameter to an API endpoint that allows users who aren’t yet logged in to your application to access certain resources (like their address books).
- This parameter is to be called “guest” and should be added as “guest=true” when users aren’t logged in yet. The team also decided that the new parameter would only appear as part of any request made to GET by an unauthenticated user. Anyone using the old version (without parameters) would still receive the same response. But there is a problem. The other engineers involved in this project don’t know if third-party applications rely on GET requests without parameters.
Are there other types of governance?
API Governance refers to the policies and management processes that are used in managing APIs.
There are many types of governance depending on the type of management or governance you want. Take, for example:
- Business governance is the management of an entire company.
- IT Governance (which deals with the management of IT operations) is another option.
- Finally, API governance is specifically concerned with managing APIs.
Who should participate in governance?
API governance covers many areas. It’s important to include all stakeholders. Developers, product managers, QA and testers, security specialists, legal counsel (especially if working with SOAP APIs), support personnel, and salespeople are all required. Marketers should also be included in the insights of your customers about APIs and the value they provide.
How can I implement good governance?
You can implement good governance when you have a solid plan.
Establishing a governance committee is one of the most important things you can do. It should also give clear responsibilities. Good governance structures will include representatives from other departments that may be affected by changes to your API program, as well as technical experts from your IT organisation. The latter should include representatives from marketing, sales and customer service.
A roadmap can help you get buy-in and support your efforts. It will show everyone what is in store for them over the next few months and years, so they can see how these changes are integrated into their overall plan for company growth. If security and data ownership are important topics, you might consider creating policies. These are important topics, but they also have complex issues. Don’t expect to get them all in one document.
What next after you have a plan?
Next, you need to put your governance strategy into action.
Monitoring usage and tracking changes in documentation are just some of the tasks. Support is also provided when needed. This also includes ensuring that you are properly monitoring performance and versioning.
API governance is an essential part of any company’s digital transformation strategy. It provides the foundation you need to manage your APIs and all associated data. This will also allow you to enable innovation across your entire business without exposing yourself to unnecessary risk or limiting your future development options. It’s all about making sure APIs are properly managed. This should be a top priority for anyone considering using Web services in their jobs.
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