Unified API vs iPaaS

Blog
Leen Security
June 13, 2024

The security world relies heavily on integrations to streamline operations, enhance productivity, and stay competitive.

Two prominent integration solutions are Unified APIs and Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS).

While both serve to connect disparate systems and applications, they differ significantly in architecture, implementation, and benefits. In this blog, we will explore these differences and highlight why Unified APIs are superior, particularly in the context of security.

Understanding Unified API and iPaaS

Unified API

‍A Unified API is a single API that provides access to multiple services and endpoints, abstracting the complexities of integrating with numerous APIs. It offers a consistent and standardized interface, making it easier for developers to work with various services without worrying about individual API specifications.

To simplify it further: A Unified API is like having a single super remote control that works with all your devices at home. Instead of juggling different remotes for each device, you just use one. It's much simpler and faster, letting you control everything effortlessly with just one remote.

Key features of Unified API

  • Single endpoint for multiple services
  • Consistent, normalized data format and structure
  • Simplified authentication and authorization
  • Unified documentation and support
  • Robust security controls and protocols

(Note: Leen offers each of the aforementioned features and more, while other unified API vendors may only address some, if any)

iPaaS

Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) offers a low-code, low-code integration builder that developers can embed within their apps and configure with a user interface.

To simplify it further: iPaaS is like having a big play mat where you can bring all your toys together. It helps you set up everything so your cars, blocks, and action figures can play in one big game. But you still need to move each toy yourself and sometimes it takes a bit of work to get them all set up and talking to each other.

iPaaS is like having a remote that can control multiple devices but comes with many limitations. It constantly requires configuring logic for each device and every new one you add to your home.

Key features of iPaaS

  • Pre-built connectors and templates
  • Drag-and-drop interface for creating integrations
  • Real-time data synchronization
  • Monitoring and analytics tools

Why Unified APIs are Better

  1. Simplified integration: Unified APIs provide a single, standardized interface, reducing complexity and allowing developers to focus on core product features. In contrast, iPaaS platforms require a mix of code and no-code to build integrations. These platforms also tend to be very prescriptive on the way integrations are developed and presented to customers- often leading to developer frustration.
  2. Consistent data handling: Unified APIs ensure data is presented consistently, simplifying handling and minimizing errors. iPaaS platforms can struggle with data consistency across different systems. (Note: Leen excels at data normalization and has built proprietary data models for each category within security that our customers love!)
  3. Reduced development time: Unified APIs streamline development with a uniform interface, speeding up integration. iPaaS solutions, while offering pre-built connectors, may need additional customizations and oversight.
  4. Cost efficiency: Unified APIs reduce development and maintenance costs. For instance, with Leen, developers receive sandbox environments to test our data models and APIs without signing any document or contracts. It’s that easy! On the other hand, iPaaS platforms often involve subscription fees and additional charges for advanced features
  5. Flexibility: Unified APIs allow product and engineering teams the flexibility to design the frontend for their integrations however they want to. This is very important for products with a strong visual identity. iPaaS platforms offer standard frontend templates that allow very minimal customization and can lead to integrations built in iPaaS products looking like they are out of place within a platform.

The two solutions take fundamentally different approaches to product integrations. At their core, unified APIs offer a compelling advantage –– they are designed to help organizations rapidly deliver a large number of category-specific integrations, whereas an embedded iPaaS focuses on facilitating the delivery of individual integrations one at a time, which can quickly becomes unmanageable.

Discover how Leen supports thousands of organizations, including Drata, Thoropass, Syctale and Opus Security, in scaling their operations through product integrations. These integrations help businesses move upmarket, differentiate their platforms, and boost customer retention. Schedule a demo with our team to learn more.