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5 Ways RPA Can Improve and Enhance Cybersecurity Defenses

Organizations are fighting a complex battle for a more resilient and efficient cybersecurity posture. From one year to the next, attacks have increased in speed and volume, become stealthier and caused greater damage, and it has become tougher to keep up. 

The reason why is a familiar one: too much work, not enough cybersecurity talent. Research tells a stark tale: Even as the global cybersecurity workforce soared last year by more than 700,000 employees to 4.2 million, nearly 3 million cybersecurity positions remain unfilled.1

In other words, organizations simply can’t hire enough good people fast enough to keep up with the expanding threat vector. Robotic process automation (RPA) can help companies protect their cybersecurity while freeing up teams to focus on more complex tasks and broader organizational risk mitigation efforts. Research data is clear about the direct relationship between higher degrees of automation and the cost of mitigating a data breach: Fully automated security reduces the cost of a data breach by 59% compared with scenarios without security automation.2

How RPA Can Bolster Cybersecurity
Any organization, from a tiny retail outlet to a massive multinational conglomerate, must understand that cybersecurity is more complex than ever and that not having the proper defenses can be catastrophic. But hiring more people and investing major capital expenditures in the latest security hardware and software is not realistic for most organizations. 

Instead, organizations can find great operational and financial value in adding RPA to their cybersecurity defense framework. RPA enables IT and business leaders to not only design more in-depth and layered protection, but also define the source of an attack, defend against it and remediate its impact more quickly and easily.

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Automation is a far more efficient and effective way to prevent downtime, protect employees and customers, thwart intellectual property theft and avoid costly compliance violations.

Here are some ways RPA can extend and expand your cybersecurity defenses:

  1. Decrease human error and limit unauthorized access. Putting human beings into a cybersecurity framework makes it inherently vulnerable. Security vulnerabilities are often caused by seemingly simple and preventable actions, such as misconfiguring servers or security settings. Also, many hackers enter networks, systems and databases through identity spoofing to gain unauthorized access. By taking those responsibilities out of the hands of already-stretched information security professionals, RPA solutions automate a tedious and potentially vulnerable set of tasks. RPA bots dramatically reduce risks while allowing “without malice” content to reach its intended destination.
  2. Monitor behavior and act immediately when a breach is identified. A 2019 study conducted by the University of Maryland indicated security attacks occur every 39 seconds, and that is a conservative estimate. Cyber-thieves themselves are using automation to attempt breaches and spot vulnerabilities. To mitigate this, organizations can monitor security-related behavior via an RPA analytics dashboard and respond in real time.
  3. Assign privileges and create role-based authentication processes. Theft or corruption of secure access privileges has become increasingly prevalent. Many hackers enter networks, systems and databases through identity spoofing to gain unauthorized access. Allowing bots to have short-term privileges that can then be validated with automated, two-factor authentication improves security in a highly efficient, reliable manner.
  4. Speed the identification of looming threats before they hit. AI-infused RPA bots, driven by machine learning algorithms that are informed by and learn from security professionals’ experiences, are inherently faster and more reliable than having people monitor anomalous behavior across networks, data and applications.
  5. Fill in the inevitable gaps of disparate, legacy systems. Few systems, especially in larger enterprises, are truly greenfield deployments. Organizations typically stitch together older systems with new ones, often resulting in security gaps due to incompatible designs and the use of older, familiar security protocols. When older systems are not updated in real time by security staff, it becomes far easier for hackers to gain access to one system in order to exfiltrate data from another. RPA can securely extend integrations across these systems even without APIs, and AI-powered bots can spot and fill the gaps even before a zero day attack hits. 

IBM Robotic Process Automation allows employees to work on what really matters while the RPA bots focus on reliably handling repetitive and otherwise costly tasks. IBM’s RPA solution features IBM’s world-class security practices and requirements to maintain a strong security posture, identify threats and protect sensitive data.

For more information on IBM Robotic Process Automation, please visit www.ibm.com/products/robotic-process-automation.

1A Resilient Cybersecurity Profession Charts the Path Forward,” (ISC)², October 2021
2Ultimate Guide on RPA for Cybersecurity With Top 7 Use Cases,” AIMultiple, Jan. 11, 2022