Articles & Thought Leadership | 5 min read

API vs. Inline Security Solutions: Benefits of API Email Security


Lauryn Cash
Lauryn Cash

Secure your enterprise email with API email security. Learn how API security can protect your organization from email threats.

API vs. Inline Security Solutions: Benefits of API Email Security

Since nearly all companies rely on email for business communication, it’s necessary to have a security strategy. Without email protection, it won’t be long before BEC, financial fraud, and other types of attacks such as malware make their way into an organization, or a severe data breach causes a loss of time, money, and intellectual property. However, robust email security can be challenging to implement.

You can take two approaches to email security: API or inline. One way to think of it is that API email security sits alongside an email service, checking each message for threats simultaneously when they come in and out. As its name suggests, inline solutions are more directly involved in the flow of mail.

So which is the best enterprise email security solution? Here’s an overview of inline vs. API security to help you decide.

API Security vs. Inline Security Solutions: How They Work

An API, or application programming interface, is a software function that facilitates data sharing from one application to another. While APIs have been around as long as there’s been software, they’re now more popular than ever. Web service APIs power many of the cloud services and mobile apps we use daily, facilitating the passing of data from one service or app to another.

API email security solutions use an email server’s APIs to scan messages before they arrive at a user’s inbox or leave the outbox. If any threats are detected, actions can be taken. On the other hand, inline security solutions are placed between an email server and the internet. Before a message can go in or out of the server, the inline security solution will intercept the message. After processing, the email will resume its route back through the mail server and eventually to a user’s inbox.

The first thing to notice when comparing the two is that API security solutions are much easier to implement. Most API solutions should integrate with an email server or cloud service with little effort. It should primarily be a matter of authenticating the API and then letting it do its job. This process can take as little as 5 minutes.

On the other hand, an inline solution can involve changing public DNS and MX records for the mail server so that requests route to the inline service first. If there’s ever an issue with an inline solution, mail will not deliver until the problem is fixed. Inline email security solutions can also take weeks and months to implement effectively, including ongoing maintenance to upkeep.

Benefits of API Email Security

Since API email security solutions don’t require the complex setup of inline solutions, they offer a faster deployment. For most IT and security organizations, that’s a significant benefit. But reduced complexity and easy deployments are not all that API solutions have to offer.

API email security provides advanced threat detection. Powered by AI machine learning models, API security provides targeted protection specific to each organization. Unusual patterns, emerging threats, and compromised accounts are identified quickly. These features make it much easier to respond to several potential email security threats, such as vendor or executive impersonation, phishing, and other social engineering schemes.

Another advantage of the API security approach is centralized management. All administrative tasks are handled in one place rather than being shared with the email server. Consolidating all enterprise email security functions into one place makes real-time monitoring and reporting possible.

Who Can Use API Security?

With flexibility, easy integration with mail services, and targeted protection, API security is a natural fit for organizations of all types and sizes.

Large enterprises will appreciate the ability to get up and running quickly. Inline solutions require complex integration with email servers or cloud email apps. AI-powered targeted protection is also essential to organizations that are susceptible to executive impersonation or other social engineering attack techniques.

Small and medium-sized businesses will find API email security much easier to manage. As well as  the potential of being significantly less expensive than an inline solution, which can be costly to set up and maintain. API security also scales well as companies grow.

IT departments and security groups will find API security solutions familiar and easy to work with. Since many other modern security solutions use APIs for sharing data, API email security solutions effortlessly integrate with existing tools.

API Email Security With Armorblox

In the early days of email, inline solutions were often all that security professionals had to work with. Today, many organizations have moved their email to the cloud, and APIs are available. API email security is the modern solution that prevents the attacks legacy and native solutions miss.

Armorblox offers robust threat detection with our API-powered email security. We are harnessing the power of large languag models, such as GPT, natural language understanding, and AI to provide modern, comprehensive email security.

Find out why CIOs, CSOs, and Security Operations teams turn to Armorblox for targeted, innovative email protection.

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