24 Jul

In cybersecurity, people are the weakest link. For our own safety, it’s time to let robots do it better.

Ask any cybersecurity specialist about their biggest network safety concern, and it’s likely that they’ll respond with: the human element. No matter how resilient or intelligent the cybersecurity solution, it’s only as effective as its weakest link, and people unassumingly, are always a risk. Whether it’s recycling passwords across platforms,  a company laptop being stolen or lost with confidential client information, or intentionally overriding company security policies to enable a security breach – humans are the weakest element in the cybersecurity space. Chief Security Officers, CIOs and individuals in similar positions of responsibility spend a lot of their time worrying about people.

Cybersecurity awareness training, change management and disciplinary action resulting from security policy enforcement are insufficient to ensure that people stay on the right side of the rules. So which solution works best when people (with good intentions) are continually the root of the problem? Remove them from the equation as much as is humanly possible with robotic process automation, or more commonly known as RPA.

Humans can’t be that risky, right?

Humans make mistakes and these mistakes, while unintentional, can be very expensive. According to IBM’s 2018 Cost of Data Breach Report, at least 25% of all data breaches that occurred in the U.S, were a result of human error. This ranges from failing to properly delete data from devices, to preventable errors like clicking links contained in email-based
phishing attacks, as well as misconfigured network devices and servers.

Humans are unfortunately, also capable of negligence. Data leaks can arise as a result of human negligence – failure to update security patches, failure to correctly configure servers with known vulnerabilities – are increasing and now occur half as frequently as direct security attacks. Speaking of direct attacks, insider threats are responsible for at least 60% of all cyber attacks and they’re unimaginably difficult to detect. From malicious employees, or an employee whose credentials have been compromised, all of these vulnerabilities share a common root: humans.

Software robots are accurately automating error-prone human tasks

The answer to the risk posed to reputation and revenue by humans lie in eliminating those mundane tasks that are prone to human error. Automating these tasks that implicate security by means of robotic process automation (RPA) removes the possibility of human temptation and negligence. Any mass-volume, rules-driven, repeatable process is capable of automation. Essentially robots made from code, RPA can handle most user-generated actions, quickly, repeatedly and without error.  If you can read it, click it, scroll it, copy or paste it, you can automate it.

Built for security

In addition to bringing new levels of efficiency, by being able to work ceaselessly with virtually no errors and intervention, RPA also has another huge advantage in managing an increasingly digital workforce from a security perspective.

When dealing with sensitive or classified information, most technological measures seem insufficient, but this is where RPA really shines. Designed to have a close-to-zero error rate, the nature of these software robots permits them to operate in an interactive but closely controlled environment where every movement is logged, and fully auditable. This brings a level of robust governance and compliance not possible with humans in the mix, as errors in performance, or instances of malicious code or employee misconduct can be tracked and traced as they occur, helping CSOs, CIOs and cybersecurity professionals to sleep better at night, knowing that the human risk in their cybersecurity strategy has been neutralised.

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