Security is currently a pressing concern across industries. Simultaneously, as business owners consider how to protect their interests against the threats of the digital age, there is a high level of pressure to improve performance and efficiency. Competing effectively and developing growth for your bottom line demands harmonizing these efforts—and that's where automation shines. As companies adopt intelligent tools and rules-based solutions such as robotic process automation, it is essential to evaluate the role of automation in document security.
Automation tools can streamline many security-related processes with documents. For example, a cognitive capture service might identify sensitive data upon scanning and automatically apply a redaction. However, automation can also be a source of risk in itself. Organizations must leverage these tools to stay on the cutting edge, but it is vital to do so with a clear view of managing the risks. Otherwise, tools meant to simplify working with documents and to protect your data could be a source of trouble instead of intelligent teamwork.
What Are the Security Threats Facing Today's RPA Deployments?
Much of the work that software robots can handle today concerns moving and manipulating data extracted from scanned documents. This information can include contract details, invoices, purchase orders and much more—all items that might contain various types of confidential information. The likelihood that robots will handle sensitive information increases even further in areas such as healthcare or practicing law.
With that in mind, what potential threats to document security must businesses evaluate today?
Insecure bot configurations and data privacy threats
Inappropriate access to robotic processes could allow a bad actor to reroute or steal data from endpoints. Lax passwords or an incomplete security configuration in the process can enable attackers to glean sensitive documents. A compromised bot might even be able to poison data within an organization or serve as the back door for a malware attack—a severe risk in the age of ransomware.
Poor oversight and administration
Using automation demands insight into the process; otherwise, it can become a "black box" where you have no insight into the inner workings of critical workflows. Without in-depth logging and tracking of all robotic actions, you could leave the door open for an attacker or insider to exploit the system and steal sensitive documents and the information they contain.
Hijacking or misappropriating robotic resources
Securing your robots and the systems that power them is essential; otherwise, you risk allowing someone to make changes that could alter a bot's behavior. Remember, it's not only about using strong passwords but also about rotating passwords regularly. Changing credentials makes it harder for bad actors to access areas of your business that could serve as channels to documents you must keep secure.
Integration increases potential threat vectors
Integration of different systems through automation is one of the core benefits of using RPA. However, each integration provides another opportunity for a potential in-roads into protected data. It is of the utmost importance to use strong encryption to ensure that all the data passed between robots and other software or cloud solutions remains digitally locked.
Adopting Best Practices for Document Security With RPA
That automation creates potential threat vectors against your business is clear. However, the presence of some risk doesn't mean you can't find valuable improvements that ultimately help protect your organization. Let's look at some of the practices and strategies you should adopt when deploying software robots at any level within your organization.
Monitor and audit your robotic activity
Without knowing of an incident, minor problems can snowball into considerable data leaks. Ensure that every robot you deploy reports its actions into a secure log. You may even choose to create a security robot that monitors these logs for potential adverse events and raises a red flag to alert your team to investigate.
Don't provide permissions beyond what's necessary
Just as you don't allow everyone in the business to access all data, neither should your robots. As you work with Kofax RPA, create guardrails. Don't create bots with a higher level of permission or access than necessary. Too much latitude might seem like leaving room for growth, but it also creates opportunities for attackers who compromise the process.
Stay up to date
Outside attackers look for unpatched vulnerabilities that they can use as a wedge to open more access to your business. Could a robot be that unlocked window that someone uses to enter your systems? Updating your automation software and the platforms your robots use is as important as any other update schedule in IT. New security updates roll out consistently across many platforms. A routine upgrade schedule reduces the number of vulnerabilities that could lead to document leaks.
Deploy security-minded solutions.
Use an automation platform that simplifies the addition of security solutions to safeguard the information in digital documents and protect the tools you use. For example, you can find pre-built secure connectors on the Kofax Marketplace to reduce the risks of thorough robotic integration. For example, the Secure File Transfer Export Connector by CaptureBites provides for the digital transmission of documents using an encrypted, secure FTP process.
Evaluate and Improve Your Approach to Secure Document Automation
With RPA, businesses can discover new sources of value by automating highly manual processes and enabling human workers to collaborate effectively with software tools. Along the way, there are many opportunities to strengthen your approach to compliance and good governance—but it is vital to remember that there are risks you must manage alongside the opportunity.
The proper controls and good oversight combine to create an environment where you can use RPA to unlock its full advantage. Add ready-to-use solutions from the Kofax Marketplace to help you improve document security workflows and protect your organizations, and you have a clear path forward. Examine your automation and security strategies today and look closer at how to safeguard your information.