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From Data Trails to Governance Tales: The Critical Role of Transaction Logging in API Governance


APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are the backbone of software systems, enabling applications to communicate with each other seamlessly and for organizations to integrate with external partners to enhance service offerings and exploit business opportunities. As organizations increasingly rely on these APIs (or services), the need for robust API governance has never been more critical. API governance encompasses the strategies and policies that ensure services are secure, compliant, and operate efficiently across their lifecycle. At the heart of ensuring that an API is following API governance decisions lies API transaction logging, a vital practice that provides transparency over transactions and enables API compliance reporting.

API transaction logging captures detailed records of every operation performed through an API and includes a variety of data about the transaction such as:

who accessed it

Who accessed it (and where from)

what Icon

What data was exchanged

when it occurred

When it occurred

mechanisms used

What security mechanisms were used during the exchange

This not only bolsters security and API governance compliance efforts but also offers invaluable insights into service usage patterns and performance issues. By leveraging the power of API gateways to log transactions, organizations can ensure their services adhere to the API governance framework that has been laid out, maintaining the delicate balance between accessibility and security and ensuring API compliance with those decisions.

API Governance & Transaction Compliance Reporting

API governance processes exist to ensure that when an API is built that the right information is exposed, with the right security policies, the right design, and in line with API strategies. API governance processes should not slow the exposure of API functions, but ensure the correct security and privacy policies are reviewed concerning the exposed information and business functions. While API governance teams can make this process fast and approachable, APIs often then go to other teams to get exposed to partners and other consumers in the organization. Ideally, API governance teams need insight into how these services get exposed, what security mechanisms are configured, what operations are being used, and who is using them, enabling governance teams to ensure API compliance. This is where API transaction logging comes in, which can provide the data for API compliance reporting, and closing the loop between API governance and ongoing API compliance.

Solsys offers our SOLACE service to help design and specify enhancements to API transaction logging in API gateways, leveraging our years of API security experience to capture the critical items to give the most insight, after understanding the security mechanisms and architectures an organization uses to expose APIs. These transaction logs can be used for security insight and operational enhancement, but also play a role in auditing API activity and ensuring that API governance decisions and policies have been implemented and that APIs remain in compliance.. Essentially, providing API compliance reporting to the organization and API governance team.

Logging the information validated by the gateway and provided to an API for validation can show us a lot about the API behaviour, such as whether an API is allowing transactions with the levels of security required. For example, if your API governance requires client SSL certificates and a valid OAuth2 token to transact sensitive operations, the gateway logs can tell us if these were present and validated. Part of API governance should also involve a declarative configuration of API exposure, that tracks whether operations are sensitive and is explicit about the policies to apply at the gateway level. Doing this can allow logs to capture the correct information for API compliance reporting, and SIEM dashboards to automatically report on risks to business operations.

Challenges in API Transaction Logging

Depending on your organization’s API traffic, API transaction logs can be a significant volume. API logs also need to be readily accessible to everyone, not just the API governance team, but to operations, security, and the API teams that develop the gateway platform and the APIs that it protects.

This can be achieved with the correct tooling – leaving transaction logs on server disks or stuck in a data lake without the correct searchability won’t be helpful. Logs should make their way to your SIEM and a time series big data analytics platform with good searchability, such as Splunk Enterprise, for maximum benefit. Running an analytics platform like this as a service to the organization allows for gathering transaction data from multiple sources across IT, making automatic API compliance reporting, and other kinds of reporting, available to API governance, security teams, and even management.


  • Logging the correct data at API entry points can provide highly valuable insight into API traffic for API compliance reporting and other benefits for the API governance team.
  • This insight can help many teams in the organizations from operations to security, but especially allows API governance teams to ensure that APIs are compliant with the API governance policies and security decisions made during the API governance process.
  • Ensuring logs are made available in SIEMs and big data analytics platforms allows for automated API compliance reporting and operations reporting, helping to reduce the time taken to resolve issues (MTTR) and ensure ongoing API compliance.
  • Solsys would be pleased to demonstrate our SOLACE logging services to show how these logs can be captured and used in API compliance reporting to customers interested in improving their security and visibility into API traffic.

Solsys can be contacted at and we’d be happy to have one of our consultants discuss your API governance and API compliance needs!

You may also be interested in our eBooks about the Convergence of Logging & Security, and API Security Practices and Webinar, both of which go into some more detail on this topic.

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