Although some of the more popular reasons for RPA adoption include improving company productivity, boosting profits, and reducing errors, the most compelling and important applications of robotic process automation, however, lies within the realm of cybersecurity.
It is evident that cybersecurity threats have increased dramatically in terms of volume and diversity in recent years. With organizations, and even national economies, becoming digital-savvy, hacker groups, spies, and cybercriminals have a plethora of attractive targets. Ranging from ransomware, DDOS (distributed denial of service), and cyber espionage to intellectual property theft, cyber threats are a serious aspect of organizational as well as national security.
RPA helping with threat prevention and post-breach forensics
Given the wide variety of cyber attacks and their objectives, successfully defending against them will require speed. The earlier you identify a potential incoming attack, the faster you can block it successfully. Even if a cyber breach has occured, alleviating the damage as quickly as possible can minimize the impact. RPA can also be used to perform post-breach forensics to build new defenses that prevent future attacks.
The scope and frequency of cyber attacks had surpassed the human ability of analysis long ago. Even it is quite impossible to manually monitor the network traffic to identify and counter attack signature patterns that are already known. Therefore the most popular use case of RPA within cybersecurity has been to automate the threat identification and response process, predominantly with the use of RPA combined with artificial intelligence technology.
Humans still have a crucial role to play
Despite the increasing trend of automation for security, the processes that are preferred to be automated are typically the high-level workflows which are mostly common to all cyber defense scenarios across organizations. The lower layer processes, that are more discrete and individualized, are performed by humans who will continue to play a critical role in the cyber defense workflow.
For example, most organizations would prefer humans to decide whether to shut down a potentially compromised, but mission-critical server, rather than allowing an AI-based security control to take it offline.
Attended RPA bots are the best foot forward for security automation
Given that humans are an inseparable part of some of the cyber defence layers, it is sensible to make their involvement as effective and efficient as possible. This is where RPA comes into cybersecurity. The attended RPA bots can automate many of the manual and repetitive processes that humans perform, allowing humans to weigh in their cognition at critical junctures.
RPA platform security is obviously necessary
Obviously, when RPA is adding a layer of automation to the overall cybersecurity workflow of an organization, it is critical to ensure that the platform itself is secure. Moreover, the RPA platform should integrate flawlessly with the user authorization and authentication systems and other security controls; this strengthens the security of manual processes that RPA automates.
PoC should be the first step towards automation
The idea behind strengthening cybersecurity by adopting a layer of automation is fascinating. However, many RPA projects fail to drive the desired value just because of a poor roadmap. It is advisable to start your automation journey with a proof-of-concept (PoC) project that will allow you to measure the impact of automation. With a successful PoC, your organization will begin to see the possibilities and as a result the enthusiasm will grow.