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The Importance of Data Security in RPA

June 17, 2019 - Abhiroop Mankin Analyst - Product Management, EdgeVerve

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Robotics Process Automation as a solution is being embraced by organizations around the globe. The implementation of such a solution involves bots that are responsible for carrying out crucial processes across multiple business functions. These virtual bots operate like a human and replicate repetitive tasks that a user would typically execute on a day to day basis. While they are deployed to improve efficiency and accuracy of a process; they need to have access privileges to a plethora of business applications in order to execute the tasks to near perfection; and with such responsibility comes huge accountability of data security and access security.

While most of the implementations serve a purpose of process efficiency, users often find themselves at risk of security threats. Think of how an organization empowers all employees with crucial deliverables, responsibilities and most importantly, information. Should one of the employees turn rogue and whimsically decide to divulge confidential information to the external world, that will result in a major cacophony across all stakeholders of the organization posing serious credibility to their data security framework at place. When a company implements an RPA solution the robots will be enabled to access databases, extract data, consume user credential and access applications. A corrupt robot can pose a serious security threat to an organization and all the stakeholders involved.

Broadly security threats associated with an RPA implementation can be classified into:

It is understandable that the security threats aforesaid can create a sense of apprehension to a prospective business user on the implementation of RPA for their business process. However, there are pre-emptive measures that the organization can partake to ensure such a security breach never occurs in the first place. As per a 2018 report by Ernst and Young for RPA implementations, organizations should consider the technical, process and human elements of the entire robotics ecosystem. A secure implementation should be in accordance with the entire product lifecycle starting from requirements, architecture to the ongoing operations.

The following four modules are the key pillars of Data Security while implementing an RPA solution for your business:

While we have touched upon the various security risks that comes with an RPA implementation and also means to overcome and continuously monitor risks; the business benefit on the other side of the tunnel makes the effort worthwhile. RPA itself as a solution can orchestrate the compliancy and security of the organization seamlessly. Organizations can use robotics to reduce response time to security threats and automatically deploy security controls when vulnerabilities are detected resulting in a reduced attack surface. How you may ask? An RPA implementation can limit access to applications/systems, application credentials and database. Further it can help keep a trail of all tasks/workflows, record changes and exceptions; all of this while keeping an accurate time-stamp of all activities.

There is no doubt that RPA is the way ahead as companies are implementing automation solutions increasingly to reduce costs and automate repetitive tasks. Security is an aspect that is increasingly coming into the considerations of CIOs and CISOs around the globe and RPA will play a major role in future to help organizations stay secure and compliant while seamlessly executing business tasks faster and cost-effectively.

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Abhiroop Mankin

Analyst - Product Management, EdgeVerve

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