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2023 API Security Trends for Manufacturing

Dan Murphy
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Manufacturing is an industry in flux. The sector has been acutely affected by inflation, supply chain challenges and labor shortages in recent years, while also grappling with rapid developments in technology. It is no stretch to state that a manufacturer’s ability to leverage technology is a key determinant in its success and failure – now and into the future.

Application programming interfaces (APIs) have revolutionized the industry, allowing companies to close supply chain gaps and increase collaboration within their vendor ecosystem. Manufacturer’s that have excelled at developing and deploying APIs are thriving but can only continue to prosper with vigilance in risk management and mitigation.

In light of the high stakes involved with this emerging work, we’ve just released our 2023 API Security Trends report. Similar to last year’s research, we’ve surveyed over 600 CIOs, CISOs, CTOs, and senior security professionals from UK and US-based organizations across six industries. 100 of these respondents were from healthcare organizations. This blog post will outline the most prevalent API security issues in the manufacturing industry, how those issues harm production and which solutions are emerging on the horizon.

Common Security Incidents in the Manufacturing Industry

Noname Security conducted research within six specific sectors: healthcare, financial services, retail and eCommerce, government and public sector, manufacturing, and energy and utilities. Among these fields, manufacturing appears to be leading the way in terms of digital resiliency, posting the only year-to-year decrease in API security incidents. However, risks abound, and more will reveal themselves as the sector transitions deeper into digital advanced manufacturing practices.

A Shift in Top Attack Vectors

Noname’s 2022 research found dormant and zombie APIs were behind the most API-related security incidents within the industry. Manufacturing leaders clearly took note, as such issues tumbled down the rankings in 2023. Instead, web application firewalls earned the troubling distinction of top attack vector. Manufacturers should expect these concerns to persist considering firewalls ranked second in 2022 as well.

Visibility Improves, but Practices Lag

Most respondents reported possessing a full inventory of APIs within their businesses, a massive uptick from 2022. This contributes to three-quarters of those polled stating that API security has become a higher priority for their business over the past 12 months. However, real-time security testing decreased between the two samples, indicating a potentially false sense of safety within the sector.

Impact of API Flaws on Manufacturing Sector

If industry leaders are beginning to understand the breadth of risks APIs face, they must also grasp the tangible impact that security flaws pose to their bottom lines. Both customers and regulators are displaying actions that convey their attention to API security, creating a sink-or-swim situation for businesses expanding their digital presence.

The Customer is Always Right

When a consumer feels the brunt of an attack vector, they take their business elsewhere. Nearly half of manufacturer’s surveyed attributed customer churn to API security incidents, along with fees associated with developing and implementing solutions. These factors explain why more than one-third of sector leaders labeled API security as a business enabler.

A Heightened Focus on Regulation

Over 80 percent of survey respondents felt that APIs help them maintain regulatory compliance, the highest among all sectors polled. The importance of understanding, and conforming with, government requirements was underscored by a high volume of reported fees generated by gaps in data privacy compliance.

Keys to Success

Manufacturing organizations partnering with API industry leaders like Nonameare charting a course toward sustainability in the digital space. Promising trends and best practices are emerging that will allow companies to not only weather the storm of a transition toward technological-based practices but come out on the other side as a stronger, higher-performing entity.

Posture Management is Essential

In a sector that exchanges sensitive data across APIs through credit card transactions, as well as personally identifiable information like social security numbers, threat detection and remediation must be consistent and dynamic. Investing in API security services, like discovery and posture management, will protect the manufacturing industry from the threats of today and those that develop tomorrow.

Test, Test and Test Some More

While real-time testing was reported to decrease slightly from 2022 to 2023, daily testing rates shot upward. This is an important first step, but the frequency of security testing within the sector simply must improve across the board. Businesses cannot prevent customer churn and regulatory fines if they do not know what threat actors are trying to accomplish within their organization.


While challenges like inflation and supply chains will wane with time, API security threats will only increase in prevalence and impact as the manufacturing sector embraces the digital revolution. Industry leaders should not only guard against attacks, but embrace the benefits of a robust, secure API inventory. Beyond economic gain, survey respondents even reported employee sentiment being affected by the success and failure of APIs. It is critical that sector leaders find partners and solutions to thrive in the API space before the industry at large leaves them behind.

I encourage you to read the report to uncover the most common challenges, risks involved, level of competency within the industry, and emerging solutions to the challenges associated with the manufacturing sector.

Click here to download the full report – 2023 API Security Trends for Manufacturing.