Almost all significant companies leverage Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to automate repetitive tasks and save time and money. As per a study of the use of RPA in finance departments, Gartner believes these departments can save 25,000 hours of avoidable work per year at the cost of $878,000. Research by Deloitte, on the other hand, confirms intelligent automation, i.e., use and orchestration of RPA and AI technologies, can curtail business process costs in the range of 25-40% on average.
Explicitly, IT leaders love RPA solutions and are eagerly deploying it to expedite enterprise operations and improve the efficacy of service offerings. The RPA market globally is expected to cross $13 billion by 2030, with intelligent automation adoption on the rise.
According to a survey by Deloitte on intelligent automation, 74% of the respondents admitted to having implemented RPA achieving an average cost reduction of 32% in targeted areas.
There is no denying RPA plays a significant role in facilitating better human-to-machine integration and helping organizations, and innovators tackle challenges posed by legacy systems head-on. The way Summit Credit Union, a mortgage lender based in Madison, Wisc. did! It managed to increase its NetPromoter score, which measures customer satisfaction, from 7.25 to 8.25 by improving turnaround times on the end-to-end process.
RPA is changing the game; provided you get it right
Indeed RPA has already secured its place in the intelligent mix of solutions being offered, but the risks associated with RPA are a massive concern for all. Data leakage and fraud are being touted as the top risks associated with RPA, primarily because bots handle sensitive data and move it across systems and processes. If left unchecked, unsecured data can be detrimental to organizations.
Naved Rashid, Associate Principal Analyst, Gartner, points out, “Without proper security measures in place, the sensitive data, such as RPA bot credentials or customer data that RPA handles, can be exposed to attackers. Proper governance and security frameworks are essential to mitigating these risks.”
Information security leaders are busy curating robust action plans to tide over different challenges and secure RPA.
Here’s what you can do to ensure successful and secure RPA implementations.
Ensure accountability and authentication
While everyone was in a rush to deploy RPA projects during the pandemic, the one thing many overlooked was ensuring accountability for RPA bots. With no proper differentiation between bot operators and bot identities, sensitive data was at risk and vulnerable to data breaches. A two-factor human-to-system authentication, in addition to standard password authentication, can help to a large extent to mitigate security risks.
Especially local governments and public sectors are often bigger targets due to their large attack surface and the failure to prioritize cybersecurity. In 2022, public sector data breaches cost more than $2 million, highlighting the financial and reputational damage they can cause.
Educating employees about cyber hygiene should be the first step during RPA implementations. Staff members often expose organizations due to following reasons:
- System outage risks due to insecure passwords
- Infected software
- SQL injection
- Cross-site scripting & forgery
- Lack of data encryption.
Privileged access abuse is a significant concern, as the risks resulting from access abuse by bots & AI are no different from those arising due to humans.
Conduct audits for data security
Constant data monitoring and simple safety measures can go a long way in addressing these concerns. It includes limiting the access provided to RPA bots depending on the situation and their expected task. For instance, in the case of an RPA script, why give the ‘write’ access to RPA bots that copy values from a database and paste them into an email when ‘read’ access is enough to do the task? Apart from this adopting this minimal privilege approach, IT security teams must revisit naming standards and assign a unique identity to every bot and process.
Those who understand the importance of a safe and secure RPA system have an Orchestrator and a tool to track execution logs to ensure security and compliance. Modern organizations emphasize operational security and use different methods, including threat modeling, to identify system flaws.
Ensure secure RPA development
RPA development continues to evolve to address new threats and vulnerabilities. IT leaders and information security analysts must have clear communication and proactive dialogues to establish regular cadences between the security and the line-of-business teams and create a robust risk framework. They must review logs and test RPA scripts periodically, leaving no room for gaps.
The key lies in designing secure robots to reduce potential avenues of attack and ensure bot security even in complex IT environments. A single, centralized configuration for all the input files, along with limited and authorized access to data and services, can help immensely.
Establish a robust governance framework
A well-designed governance framework takes care of every aspect of RPA implementation projects, from raising awareness about RPA-related risks to defining clear roles and responsibilities to facilitate efficient management. Dedicated team members must be assigned to manage different tasks, and rules, requirements, and security regulations should be elaborated.
Stringent security policies must be in place, and manually changing permissions should always be discouraged.
Experts insist on replacing hard-coded access rights from robot scripts with an API call as part of their multi-layered security regime to minimize risks related to attacks. Many favor implementing Zero Trust to ensure the necessary security controls and procedures are devised and enforced for data validation and user access. Organizations often track sessions of RPA administrators in real time to monitor them and terminate the session if needed.
Several data protection tools and technologies are easy to integrate and designed to protect your organization from internal and external attacks. Alternatively, you can choose an RPA partner to help you enforce suitable security measures and tread with you in your automation journey.
Scale your RPA journey with Trigent
RPA is synonymous with efficiency, savings, and greater ROI. Our technology experts at Trigent help you drive growth and lead you to greater efficiency gains. We have helped enterprises from diverse verticals like finance, retail, and healthcare and have empowered them to transform processes and operations at scale. We can assess the RPA maturity of your organization and identify models that can help you get started.