How To Ensure Robotic Process Automation Security

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10th December 2022
5 Minute Read

RPA Security Risks

 

The threat from cyber-attacks increases each year in terms of numbers and sophistication. With the speed of some attacks, mitigation is difficult, resulting in extensive damage and costly repair. It is a threat that can’t be ignored but fortunately, a strategic multi-layered security approach can be deployed to minimize the hazard.

In any RPA system, the software bots process different kinds of information. They log into any number of databases and accounts using login credentials and automatically conduct the day’s tasks. These can include data management, purchasing, inventory supply chain, or data extraction for analysis.

However, when RPA is integrated into a company’s existing systems this raises the possibility of hackers gaining access via several automation routes. When some of this information is highly confidential, such as contracts, employee details, and financial reports the threat to the company is significantly raised.

 

Data leakage

By nature, RPA bots need access to different databases and documents to conduct their automated tasks. However, in an automation system with poor security, a cybercriminal can bypass the security of the bot system using malicious software to steal confidential information. Malware is becoming more sophisticated each year and can now even program bots to steal data and transfer it externally or disrupt business processes.

 

Theft

One of the most important benefits of RPA is that it can be used to scale business processes across the company’s outlets and locations. This brings valuable economies of scale and efficiencies, but for the unwary, it will also create a considerably larger security threat.

Without adequate security, a hacker will find easy access across the scaled RPA network, where loss of critical information or devastating damage could be the outcome.

The threat is now so significant that most RPA programs are routinely custom designed to fit with the host’s individual processes, but the design is also concerned with adequate security measures for logging, checking, and reporting.

For example, if a bot discovers a piece of confidential information stored away from its designated folder it can be programmed to delete it, to ensure there is no security breach.

 

The best practices to ensure RPA security

 

If you would like to learn more about how Lolly can design RPA services for your company visit: Lolly RPA.

 

Have a strong security framework

Cyber-attacks on companies increase every year in number and stealth but also new access routes for hackers are also increasing.

With the growth of remote working, initiated by COVID-19, many more devices need to connect with companies’ networks to remain connected. Not only does this make hacking easier but in the event of a breach, it makes controlling it much harder too.

Using a strategic approach, companies have the choice of creating a strong security framework, which has a custom design around the RPA program. Alternatively, for companies with an existing cyber-security defense program, the new RPA program can be effectively added to it.

Using layered cyber-security protection in this way offers better defense but can also be programmed to identify the origins of an attack, as well as deal with it efficiently. Either system will effectively monitor the entire security network and raise the alarm whenever the threat of an attack is detected.

 

Ensure bot action accountability

Each bot needs to have its own clear identity, with specific authentication credentials and identity naming. Privileged credentials should be removed from scripts and other exposed sites and stored separately in a secure location, with two-factor authentication access.

For bots that are no longer required their credentials need to be removed from the code or deleted. Two-factor authentication should be used for log-in purposes.

 

Limit RPA account privileges

As a result of RPA enforcement, account permissions may be raised, along with the likelihood of fraud. Bot access can be limited to minimum privileges, so they only have access to the applications they need to complete the task.

For example, an RPA bot that copies data from a database and enters it into an email should only have access to just read the database, not write in it.

Using a role-based authentication process helps to limit corrupt access, using fraudulent secure access privileges. This is an increasingly popular route of attack by hackers, who use identity spoofing to gain access to networks, systems, and databases.

By limiting rights to the least number of access points permissible, bots can still carry out their work in its entirety but with the minimum risk.

 

Protect log integrity

It is important to regularly review RPA tracking logs. The logs provide IT staff with a detailed account, which shows the exact activity of bots, and whether they have or haven’t been achieving their goals.

RPA is designed to operate as an extension of human activity, but it doesn’t mean it has to work completely separately from it. Having a good system of regular monitoring and logging controls ensures bots work efficiently and accurately, and any problems with the system are soon flagged.

As a further control, the entire RPA program can be scanned in an audit to check for problems and ensure the performance of the program. This also verifies the integrity of the bots and whether any adjustments need to be made.

 

Regularly review and validate RPA scripts

An RPA program should never be considered a ‘once only’ endeavor, where once it’s deployed it can be left to run forevermore.

Instead, it should be seen as a development program, which needs nurturing from time to time, as well as regular testing and auditing to ensure the bots are operating as efficiently as possible.

In any review or audit, it is vital to also include all stakeholders, including IT staff and the team responsible for the RPA project. As security threats evolve at an even faster pace, the RPA program needs to be frequently upgraded to keep abreast of these.

Take a look at how Lolly can supply your RPA security needs: Lolly RPA.

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