Robotic process automation (RPA) – software robots that perform repetitive tasks – has grown significantly. This is done to meet the needs of modern hybrid and urban workers. The RPA market is expected to reach $13.39 billion in 2030.
By automating repetitive and tedious processes, RPA transforms many legacy processes by making it easier for users to perform repetitive tasks. From scheduling calls to creating jobs, RPA has become an integral part of the new era of work. Unfortunately, however, RPA is not secure and can put the sensitive data it touches at risk.
What is RPA?
RPA allows users to create software robots (bots) that can learn and perform basic and repetitive (but accurate) tasks. This includes filling out forms, copying and pasting data, updating bank information or doing the math. Therefore, RPA can save time and money. RPA is especially popular in the financial industry, as well as in the manufacturing sector. This is because these sectors still use old applications that do not support APIs for automation.
What are the security issues in RPA?
There are two major security problems with RPA. First, RPA tools are easy to implement without involving the IT team. Therefore, RPA is often part of the shadow IT problem. Since IT teams don’t know about technology, they can’t monitor it, properly secure it, or keep it up-to-date. But the bigger issue is that RPA, even when implemented through proper IT systems, is still insecure for the following purposes:
- Can’t monitor activities properly – Although RPA bots should use their access code, they end up with user accounts that are limited by people. This is because creating a unique account for each bot is time-consuming. However, separating the actions of bots and humans using the same credentials is too complex to enable effective monitoring.
- MFA is impossible to implement – Bots don’t have a mobile phone to receive authentication requests, let alone fingerprints or other biometric data. This eliminates the security of using multi-factor account authentication (MFA).
- Encryption of bot actions is impossible – Since bots work on users’ screens on behalf of the user, every action taken by bots can be recorded and replayed. This makes RPA services easy to “steal” or use by malicious actors looking to exploit user accounts. These vulnerabilities make companies that use RPA technology vulnerable.
How can organizations stay safe when using RPA?
To reduce these types of risks, there are a few steps and policies that you can put in place.
First, it is important to educate all employees about cyber hygiene. They need to understand the serious risks of implementing RPA without the knowledge of the IT team. Emphasize that the IT team must be able to work with both humans and machines across the environment to ensure security and compliance.
Second, organizations should conduct regular audits to monitor security levels and ensure compliance with relevant laws. Finally, if RPA bots are deployed by a service provider, they must ensure that the service is properly secured.
RPA is increasingly a technology for automating processes and making life easier for users. But organizations should be aware of the security risks of RPA and take steps to mitigate them to protect their critical systems and data.