According to Gartner, 90% of large organizations globally will have adopted RPA in some form by 2022 as they look to digitally empower critical business processes while recalibrating human labour and manual effort. But, automating a process does not ensure security. If you're considering RPA, make sure you understand the underlying security implications.
RPA bots handle sensitive and privileged data, migrate it across systems from one process to another. Without robust security, it can cost millions to organizations.
The primary concern associated with RPA is data leakage and fraud. Lack of proper security measures can make sensitive data such as RPA bot credentials or customer data exposed to attackers. RPA needs adequate governance and a detailed security framework to mitigate risks. Enterprises can follow this four-step action plan from Gartner to manage the security risks in RPA projects.
Where do RPA security risks start?
Risks associated with RPA usually start with oversight. If you are looking to cover your security hygiene with RPA, you are more likely to create issues. If routine password hygiene or access management is already a hassle in your organization, you will face many unforeseen problems when you automate tasks with RPA. At the same time, we attribute many security risks to the human element. Moving a task to a software bot will not prevent human error, however, someone still has to implement and manage that bot.
What are the significant RPA risks?
The significant RPA risks for organizations are compliance and operational risk; experts say that compliance risks typically involve poor RPA governance created by implementation methods bypassing established software development lifecycle. Best practices are addressing network security, data privacy, and enterprise architecture. Operational risks include regulatory preparedness intended to establish guardrails and day-to-day controls supporting scalability and business continuity.
The fundamental appeal to RPA is the modern low-code or no-code paths to implementation. Writing your RPA bots from scratch or sourcing commercial open source tools can help you start with minimal development effort. A collaborative approach will help you tackle long-term security issues. It is essential for organisations to partner with RPA experts to avoid unnecessary invisible security risks.
Persisting RPA risks:
A fragmented approach to launching automation programmes is the core source of compliance and operational risk. IT and business leaders have to work together to select the right RPA solution effectively to structure and manage a Center of Excellence that can support a model in which IT addresses network, data, and regulatory concerns. In contrast, the business focuses on identifying where to apply RPA and contributing to the design and development through citizen developer skills.
How to prioritize security in RPA tool selection?
When researching RPA solutions, pick one with a strong business commitment to making its solution secure and reliable. During this vetting process, it is critical to look for vendors with crucial safety features such as multi-factor authentication, robust access control, encryption, and application security – all while practising good security hygiene to share RPA login credentials and consistently update passwords.
Remember that RPA on its own is not explicitly intelligent or adaptable. Some security and reliability issues may occur due to a chain effect, i.e. changes made elsewhere may affect the automation. Most RPA environments are complex and may involve daily changes, including application fixes, security updates, process changes and more.
RPA security is dependent on current programmes and processes correctly accounting for RPA bots. Adjacent or complementary technologies such as process orchestration and process mining can be beneficial - this is also why cross-functional collaboration is essential.
For example, your ERP system needs to be updated for security or to comply with new regulations. The impact of the upgrade, particularly at the interface level, is typically unpredictable because IT does not know which robots are potentially affected, causing the robots to cease working.
Put security at the core of your RPA strategy:
Given the intricacies, security might be viewed as a disadvantage of automation. You can use automation to solve all of your problems, but you must do so safely. While adding security as part of your RPA evaluation criteria is vital, keep in mind that using other technologies will not offload your risks.
Neebal, a technology solutions provider, has delivered top of the line solutions across Agro, Pharma, and BFSI verticals. Neebal aims to provide top tier services for API Integration, RPA, and advanced mobility with prime focus on Hyperautomation. Founded in 2010, Neebal is a proud recipient of the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Award (APAC) and the Deloitte Fast 50 Award (India) for four consecutive years (2017-20).