Today’s columnist, Borya Shakhnovich of airSlate, says companies such as Facebook have extended work-from-home plans and likely embrace automation. He says companies facing employee burnout from work-from-home policies will find that automation paves the way to enterprise security. jikatu CreativeCommons Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0

Many organizations in big tech such as Facebook, Twitter and Google have already implemented long-term or permanent remote work plans for their employees. Some of these elongated plans have been taxing for organizations and contributed to feelings of burnout and lack of motivation among employees. Add to this the increased distractions at home offices and mistakes have run rampant.

Security teams need to take note, especially since 90 percent of cyberattacks are driven by human error. Malicious actors realize these distractions and use it to their advantage, increasing their attack sophistication and surface.

Companies have found that robotic process automation (RPA) has become a “need to have” as a way to reduce employee burnout, increase efficiencies and productivity, and eliminate potential mistakes across the enterprise. In fact, Gartner expects global RPA software revenue to increase almost 20 percent in the next year, reaching almost $2 billion this year. With a growing number of companies adopting this technology, keeping it secure and compliant remains a top priority.

Here are my top three tips for businesses to secure their automation infrastructure, especially while employees remain remote:

  • Monitor document access.

Automation bots have privileged access to sensitive credentials and internal application user data. With such privileged access, bots can drive efficiencies for employees – providing admission to documentation at a moment’s notice.

Because bots are the pathway to confidential information like financials, this makes them increasingly interesting to malicious actors. But, if malicious activity were to breach a bot, sensitive credentials and confidential dashboard and report data could potentially get exposed and viewed by both internal and external parties, who should not have access to such information.

Businesses must prevent such malicious activity by paying close attention to document access. This starts with setting up user and administrative rights across enterprise systems. By implementing an end-to-end technology solution that has complete control over data transfer, organizations can consistently maintain desired document access between employees, even while remote. By proactively setting up access, organizations can create a wall that a malicious actor would have to break to breach a system.

  • Focus on data encryption and protection.

In today’s new remote normal, organizations are transferring data via cloud environments more than ever before. Many low or no-code automated workflows run on these cloud environments, which makes it easy for even the least tech-savvy user to create and use applications, and stay virtually connected with colleagues.

But what many don’t realize is that there’s ample back-end coding in place to make such no-code applications work for the everyday employee. In developing this back-end coding, developers must implement encryption to protect the data that moves across automated web-based applications.

As such, organizations should first confirm that they have encryption algorithms in place across applications for data protection both at rest and in transit. In addition, they must understand their managed hosting environments and deploy encryption methods that match their needs. This will act as an extra layer of protection for both enterprise and customer data.

  • Maintain compliance and audit trails.

When implementing process automation across compliant-heavy industries like the healthcare, finance and legal sectors, it’s important to remain in compliance with federal and state regulations and laws such as HIPAA, GDPR and CCPA. If compliance standards are violated, this can lead to hefty financial penalties.

Ensure that automation platforms follow specific industry regulations, are policy- compliant and achieve certification standards. Once these standards are in place, it’s important to set up an audit trail to chronologically record actions across databases to ensure that execution remains compliant. An audit trail also helps to detect any unauthorized access and unusual activity across systems, which ultimately keeps automated systems secure. Additionally, an audit trail displays the activities that took place, who performed them and when they were performed. If suspicious activity were to come to light, it would not go unnoticed.

Today’s enterprise environment has changed dramatically. With remote work, organizations must ensure that employees remain connected and productive without becoming burnt out — and that only happens when they have fast access to data and applications.

Maintaining the flow of data means implementing secure and compliant automated business platforms. Keeping operations secure means choosing the right software and implementing the right processes to ensure that there’s a consistent view of protected activity. Automation will pave the way to enterprise security.  

Borya Shakhnovich, chief executive officer, airSlate