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Robotic Process Automation Prone to Cyber Attacks

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by Beroe Inc
11 July 2021


The adoption of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has numerous advantages. However, it also has its set of challenges, including cyber threats. Data theft, misusing privileged access and denial-of-service are common and emerging constraints of RPA growth, posing significant vulnerabilities to organizations.

“Today even RPA vendors are offering advanced capabilities in their technology such as, workload management, SLA-based automation, automation lifecycle management, credential management, and adding new data APIs. These enhancements help attract new industries that are on the lookout for better operational and safety capabilities in business,” said Ananya Pritam Gogoi, lead analyst at Beroe.

RPA has innumerable benefits for business automation. It increases the efficiency of employees by de-prioritizing the low-value and high-volume repetitive tasks and realigning their attention to innovation and tasks of higher value. This contributes to a decrease in the stress levels of employees and an increase in their productivity. It is a great tool to reduce costs since organizations can do more with less. Transactional work is speedier. The risks of operations are reduced because the scope for human error is automatically eliminated, making operations accurate and efficient. It also helps maintain output consistency.

In addition, RPA increases the scalability of processes as automated services works throughout the year without a break. As a result, businesses find it easier to scale processes across multiple units and locations. The bright side also includes the reduction of challenges brought forward by compliance and audit as human access is minimized to sensitive information.

However, RPA has security risks too that demand thorough planning for prevention. The technology is prone to cyber-attacks, and this threatens businesses. Since companies are slowly adapting to RPA-based technology today as a digital strategy for business development, it is pertinent that a robotic automation program introduced into the system considers both, the business process and the security risks, which will also set it up for safety measures and checks to be put in place.

The first thing that needs to be ensured is that accounts and credentials are not left unchanged and unsecured, mostly because RPA credentials are shared and used repeatedly. This might open up the system to a potential cyberattack that can steal the passwords and use them to notorious ends. They may also gain access to critical systems and data. Securing the credentials of the workforce, thus becomes the most crucial step when using RPA. 

Overall, some of the possible security risks attached to RPA include data theft, misusing privileged access, denial-of-service, and remote code execution. However, there are ways to address these risks and prevent them at the core. A company must select and plan the right RPA environment, access control of the said environment, conduct regular audits, customize the environment, have credential encryptions in place, and use a password vault.

"RPA is no different than any other IT infrastructure. So, organizations must have defined strategies to mitigate risks associated with this technology," said Ananya Pritam Gogoi, lead analyst at Beroe. "The right understanding and deployment of right tools can help businesses achieve an optimal level of digitization and automation that enables them with incredible opportunities".

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Bharathidasan Dhandapani

Need more Security benchmarks for RPA


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