Enforce product subscriptions in Azure API Management

In Azure API Management, products allow you to expose multiple APIs in a uniform manner towards your API consumers.  In earlier versions of Azure API Management, a product was the only way through which you could expose your APIs.  Nowadays, you can also create subscriptions that are scoped directly to APIs.

Lately, I was working on a project the heavily leveraged the concept of products.  We defined three generic products, that handled all front- and backdoor security.  Each API was linked to at least one of these products.  It was a very powerful solution, but we needed a way to ensure that only product subscriptions could be used.  Otherwise, we risked that all our security measures got by-passed.

We achieved this within our release pipeline, by dynamically injecting this inbound policy expression for every API.

    <when condition="@(context.Product == null)">
            <set-status code="401" reason="Unauthorized" />
            <set-body>Direct API access is not allowed.  Provide a valid product subscription key.</set-body>
    <otherwise />


Are you intensively using API Management products?  Maybe it’s worth checking if by-passing these products imposes a risk for your organization.  If yes, this might be your solution.  Do you have other ways to deal with this?  Don’t hesitate to let me know!

UPDATE: In the meantime, I blogged about another solution that leverages Azure Policy.


About me

Hi! I’m Toon Vanhoutte, a hands-on Azure architect – based in Belgium – with a big passion for teaching and helping people out. I’m happy to assist you during your Azure journey with high-quality advisory and I would love to teach you Azure’s possibilities via my tailored training courses.

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