70% of businesses using bots to boost efficiency, only 5% govern their access to data

As software bots spread throughout the enterprise, business leaders must control their access to sensitive information, according to a SailPoint report.

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Bots are increasingly infiltrating the enterprise, as 70% of IT leaders reported that their organizations are now actively using software bots in place of humans to drive business efficiencies, according to a Wednesday report from SailPoint. However, only 5% of those leaders said they are governing the access rights those bots have, meaning that they may be able to access sensitive applications and data, the report found.

Bots can allow workplaces to free up their human counterparts to focus on more strategic and business-critical tasks, the report noted, though many obstacles to adoption remain. Many companies now use these bots to provide customer support or book employee travel, while others use them for more sensitive tasks such as automating claims processing or monitoring operational processes in the oil and gas industry. If bots' access to data is left unmanaged and ungoverned, this becomes increasingly risky, according to the report.

SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research)

"It is surprising just how broadly software bots are already being adopted by organizations

today, certainly at a quicker pace than predicted," Paul Trulove, chief product officer of SailPoint, said in a press release. "Organizations not governing bots' access have a sizeable area of exposure that needs to be addressed."

IT leaders must rethink how a "user" is defined to ensure they have full visibility and control over the access rights of everyone—human and bot—the report noted.

"Fortunately, since software bots interact with the IT ecosystem in a similar way that a human user does, enterprises can govern them similarly, including certifying their access regularly to ensure they only have the necessary access privileges, and no more," Trulove said in the release. "With the proper identity governance controls in place, organizations can securely and confidently take advantage of the efficiencies that software bots provide."

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • 70% of IT leaders reported that their organizations are now actively using software bots in place of humans to drive business efficiencies. — SailPoint, 2018
  • Only 5% of IT leaders said they are governing the access rights of bots used in their organization. — SailPoint, 2018

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Image: iStockphoto/iLexx

By Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.