Is IT Process Automation Really Taking Over Jobs?

Is Robotic Process Automation Really Taking Over Jobs?When IT process automation first hit the market, some thought it was too far-fetched to ever become a reality. But as more and more organizations began recognizing the many benefits – from increased productivity and efficiency to lower costs and fewer errors – people started worrying, wondering whether this technology would spell the end of the human workforce as we knew it. Would robots really start taking over jobs? To answer that question, those asking it must look inward.

In reality, the impact ITPA has on the workforce will depend largely on how humans themselves respond. When faced with the rising adoption of automation, workers will likely take one of two paths. The first group will continue to focus on the type of work they’ve always done, but do so more efficiently thanks to the assistance of digital labor. The second will take this as a golden opportunity to pursue their ambitions, increase education and broaden their skill sets, put their creativity and innovation to work and move on to more value-added tasks. In either case, the organization will benefit, as will most of the employees.

In particular, roles that have a primary focus on people, such as customer support and call center agents, have the potential to benefit greatly from IT process automation. Instead of being bogged down by repetitive, menial tasks that can easily (and more quickly) be handled by software, agents will be freed up to tackle more complex issues requiring a human touch. Furthermore, the improved allocation of resources afforded by ITPA will allow agents to prevent issues from occurring in the first place. This can dramatically improve both customer and employee satisfaction rating.

This concept can also be applied to the IT help desk. Rather than waiting until system problems arise and scrambling to fix them in a timely and effective manner, help desk agents can use the extra time IT process automation provides them with to monitor and proactively address technical issues before they occur. Imagine how impressed the VP of Sales will be when he gets a call from IT letting him know his hard drive was about to fail, but it’s been taken care of.

In both of these scenarios, the human worker is enhancing their interactions with their colleagues and/or customers. And since IT process automation is there to take on the routine, manual tasks, the human agents themselves are also able to improve.

The reality is, very few organizations are focusing on using IT process automation to eliminate jobs. Instead, they are focused on automating tasks, which in turn will improve productivity, streamline how work is completed, eliminate errors and cut costs. In other words, companies implementing ITPA are not doing so to replace human workers, but augment and make their lives easier. As a result, everyone benefits – from employees and management to clientele to the organization’s bottom line. It really is a win-win.

Still not completely sold on the idea of IT process automation and the value this technology brings to businesses across all industries? Don’t take our word for it. Try it for yourself. Click here to download a free 30 day trial of Ayehu. Trust us – you won’t be disappointed!

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Shaping The Future Of Work: A Collaboration Of Humans And AI

Shaping The Future Of Work: A Collaboration Of Humans And AI

Article originally published on Forbes (Photo by Ken Ishii/Getty Images)

Since the industrial revolution, business leaders have been leveraging technology to augment human workers with the goal of maximizing efficiency and productivity while simultaneously cutting costs. Now, thanks to the recent tidal wave of intelligent technology advancement, we have suddenly found ourselves staring down the barrel of a workplace that looks quite different than the one we have become used to.

What do automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) mean for tomorrow’s workforce? Will AI eliminate the need for human workers altogether? The reality isn’t quite so cut and dry. In fact, the future of work will likely be a hybrid that involves both human and machine intelligence working in conjunction toward the same shared goals. Let’s explore this in a little more detail.

Redefining The Way We Work

The basic concept behind automation hasn’t changed all that much over the past century or so. When menial tasks can be shifted from human employees to robots, work can be completed faster and without the risk of human error. This dramatically improves efficiency levels, which means a better bottom line for an organization as a whole. And because the output of quality of work increases, service levels also receive a boost, so in theory, everybody wins.

However, automation powered by artificial intelligence has taken this basic concept and brought it to an entirely new level. Now, it’s not just about programming a machine to perform simple tasks; rather, it’s about relying on technology that is intuitive enough to adapt and improve without the need for human input. Take chatbots, for example. This technology is capable of using the data gathered over time from incoming customer inquiries to continuously develop a robust catalog of answers. In other words, the more it’s used, the smarter it becomes.

A New Realm Of Possibilities

Automation will inevitably lead to redundancy in certain roles. It’s only logical to assume that if software robots are capable of performing the majority of a lower-skilled employee’s tasks, it’s a much more economical business decision to shift those duties to technology, subsequently making certain roles obsolete. This doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that we’re doomed to a future of humanless offices. The truth is that while automation may eliminate some jobs, it also creates new roles and opportunities for human workers to pursue.

It’s also important to point out that as far as intelligent automation has come, there are still certain areas where the human touch cannot be replaced or replicated. For instance, a chatbot can be programmed to perform basic customer support, but it is not capable of managing complex situations. Likewise, intelligent automation can be highly effective in identifying ideal candidates for a job opening, but the actual hiring process is still a human-centric function.

Humans And Machines: A Match Made In Heaven

Ideally, the best way to approach the adoption of artificial intelligence in the workplace is to view it from a more holistic perspective. Rather than machines and humans working independently, the two should be working in tandem toward the greater good of an organization. For example, process automation can be leveraged to handle the majority of the mundane, repetitive IT tasks while seamlessly transferring more complex issues to human workers.

AI can also be highly effective in helping business leaders make smarter, more data-driven decisions. Machines handle the data mining process, identifying, extracting and organizing the most relevant information available. Executives can then use this information to more accurately project and plan for the future. This facilitates greater innovation, which means those enterprises who adopt AI will lead the charge in their respective fields.

A New Definition Of Work

As artificial intelligence continues to evolve and improve, the very definition of what we consider to be mundane or routine will also continue to change. With smarter technology, more and more tasks will be shifted to machines. In fact, according to a recent report from Gartner, smart machines and robots could take over the tasks performed by highly trained professionals in such fields as IT, medicine and law by 2022.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean certain unemployment for those individuals working on the front lines. To the contrary, according to one study conducted by ServiceNow, 79% of executives surveyed say they expect an increase in the adoption of automation to lead to the creation of new jobs. Furthermore, an incredible 94% agreed that when repetitive tasks are automated, the demand for jobs that call for soft skills like communication, collaboration and creative problem-solving will grow.

Ultimately, it’s the way human workers approach this technology that will determine what tomorrow will bring. For those who choose to embrace artificial intelligence and all of the opportunities it presents, the future certainly looks bright.

This article was originally published on Forbes as part of the Forbes Technology Council. To read the article in its entirety, please click here.

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Want to Keep Your Organization Safe from Insider Threats? Watch Your C-Suite…

Want to Keep Your Organization Safe from Insider Threats? Watch Your C-Suite…These days, security professionals must be highly vigilant against the many threats that place their organizations at risk on a daily basis. And while hackers certainly show up high on the list, the truth of the matter is, it’s the people who work within your company that pose the greatest risk to data security. That’s why things like spear phishing have become such a successful method of entry. In fact, 80 percent of companies say that “end user carelessness” is the biggest security threat to their organization.

But the ones that are making your company most vulnerable to potential breaches aren’t poorly trained entry-level employees. It’s your senior level managers. Surprised? Many are. Yet, if you think about it, these individuals have access to information that is much more sensitive than that of the everyday employee. So, it stands to reason that the chance of an error resulting in a breach is naturally higher for this group.

And the numbers seem to support this theory. 58 percent of senior managers have accidentally sent sensitive information to the wrong person (compared to just 25 percent of workers overall). 51 percent have taken files with them after leaving a job – twice as many as office workers in general.

What are the biggest security risks these insiders pose? Most tend to fall within one or more of the following:

  • Reusing or sharing passwords with others
  • Leaving computers unattended outside of the workplace
  • Failing to delete data from computers once it’s no longer necessary
  • Carrying unnecessary sensitive data on a device (laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc.) while traveling
  • Using unsecured personal devices to process sensitive information
  • Failing to encrypt information when transmitting

So, what’s the solution? Well, the best approach should be multifaceted. Here’s a list of recommended actions:

  • Develop and establish a written security policy
  • Communicate that policy openly and regularly to ensure awareness across all levels of the company
  • Ensure appropriate access restriction to sensitive data (virtual and physical)
  • Conduct regular training to increase security awareness about what is and isn’t acceptable (start from the top!)

Last, but certainly not least, you should invest in available technology. This includes monitoring systems, alerting programs and automated cybersecurity incident response. These things will ensure that should an employee still make an error, it will be detected, addressed and remediated as quickly as possible.

Could your senior managers be placing your organization at risk? The time to act is now – before it’s too late! Start working on your strategy and download your free 30 day trial of Ayehu automation and orchestration platform.

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Cybersecurity Incident Response – More Than Remediation

Cybersecurity Incident Response – More Than RemediationWhat does remediation mean? If you look up the root word ‘remedy,’ you’ll see it’s defined as “a treatment for an injury or disease,” or “a means of eliminating or counteracting something that’s undesirable.” In terms of cybersecurity incident response, remediation means addressing a breach in the most effective way possible to limit the amount of damage that can potentially be done to the organization being targeted. In reality, cybersecurity involves so much more.

Unfortunately, far too many of the cybersecurity incident response plans that are in place today merely act as a Band-Aid to the problems that exist currently. For example, many remediation solutions initiate an automatic kill process. What they don’t take into account, however, is whether the underlying threat happens to be persistent (APT) or capable of propagating. They also routinely fail to verify whether the threat is entirely contaminated or not.

Going back to the original definition of the word remedy, let’s say you were suffering a fever. You could take an over the counter remedy, such as Tylenol, which would effectively reduce the fever. Or, as a better alternative, you could take a prescribed antibiotic, which would address the actual cause of the fever. One option simply tamps down or places a Band-Aid over the problem while the other gets to the root of the problem.

Applying this to cybersecurity incident response, the best approach should dig deeper to find and eradicate the actual cause of the underlying threat, such as locating the malware and other malicious files that caused the breach. Without this extra step, your organization is left vulnerable to the virtually immeasurable damages that can be caused if the true issue isn’t taken care of properly.

To truly remediate a cybersecurity incident, you must first identify it and gather as much relevant information about it as possible. That information must then be adequately analyzed to determine what type of threat you’re dealing with and its potential impact. To give you an idea of what type of ‘relevant’ information we’re talking about, start with the following:

  • What systems have been affected?
  • Which process is allowing the issue to continue?
  • What are the characteristics of the incident?

Only when you have a clear and accurate understanding of what you’re up against can you properly address and remediate it. It can be helpful to think of cybersecurity incident response as a process rather than a specific solution. The fact is, today’s cyber threats are evolving and becoming more dynamic and complex by the day. Simply preparing in advance for possible scenarios isn’t enough anymore. Current day cyber-attacks require immediate response.

Effective cybersecurity incident response cannot be static. It must adapt alongside the changing threat landscape. It requires deep research and data analysis in every step of the process. In other words, it requires a certain degree of intelligence. That’s where automation comes into play. The right automated cybersecurity incident response plan should leverage advanced technology, such as machine learning, that will both address the need for round-the-clock monitoring and response as well as adapt intelligently over time.

Is your current remediation strategy simply a Band-Aid for the real problems plaguing your organization? We invite you to experience the power of intelligent automation, designed to address and evolve along with the modern threats businesses face today.

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