Robotic process automation (RPA) – software robots that perform repetitive tasks – has grown significantly in recent years to meet the needs of modern hybrid and urban workers.

RPA allows users to create software robots (bots) to learn and perform basic and repetitive (but accurate) tasks, such as filling out forms, copying and pasting data, updating bank information, or doing math.

So, what is RPA?

Typically, RPA is used in all industries that use repetitive functions such as insurance, healthcare, and telecommunications, and is used to automate various operational processes including data entry, forecasting, and marketing operations.

For example, in the media industry, RPA can be used to extract data from multiple systems to predict problems or failures of distributed infrastructure. For accounting teams, RPA can be used to automate governance, adjust accounts, or process invoices. In the transportation and logistics industry, RPA can be used to automate shipping and document-based operations.

According to Deloitte’s intelligent automation research, in 2021, 78% of organizations say they are implementing RPA, with an additional 16% doing so in the next three years.

What are the security issues in RPA?

There are two main security issues with RPA. First, RPA tools are so easy to implement that users can deploy them without involving the IT team. Since IT teams don’t know about the newly adopted technology, they can’t monitor it, secure it, or keep it updated.

But the bigger issue is that RPA is still insecure for the following purposes:

  • MFA is impossible to implement: The bot does not have a mobile phone to receive authentication requests, let alone fingerprints or other biometric data. This impacts the security of using multi-factor authentication (MFA).
  • Hiding the actions of bots is impossible: Since bots work on user screens on behalf of the user, any work done by bots can be recorded and easily replicated.

These risks make companies using RPA technology vulnerable to data leakage and fraud. Knowing that RPA is being implemented in an enterprise, an attacker can obey a trusted bot instead of trying to compromise the user’s credentials.

Access to RPA solutions makes it possible to find the identity used, or even change the bot’s behavior to process the transfer of money for example, while you have a sense of the IT infrastructure.

How can organizations stay safe when using RPA?

Security breaches are inevitable and hackers will focus on the most exposed technologies. Using security best practices is essential for any RPA implementation.

First, it is important to educate all employees about cyber hygiene and 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 in the environment to ensure security and compliance.

Second, businesses should conduct regular inspections to monitor security levels and ensure regulation compliance.

Third, in the event that RPA bots are deployed, they must ensure that the service is properly secured.

RPA is being increasingly used for automating processes and making life easier for users. But organizations should be aware of security issues with RPA and take steps to mitigate them to protect their critical systems and data.

By increasing employee awareness of cyber hygiene best practices, conducting regular security audits and assessments, and monitoring service providers and their use of RPA, security managers can ensure that their data is protected.