Digital transformations are taking place across countless businesses and industries. Big data platforms in the supply chain and fintech; automation in warehouses; AR and VR in corporate training; and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) everywhere else — are just a few hotspots of innovation and investment throughout Industry 4.0.
Industrial IoT security is an ongoing concern for any professional involved in vetting, deploying, and using connected machines and devices. IT budgets are only expected to grow throughout 2022 and beyond as the cyber-physical overlap grows, but cybersecurity incidents do not discriminate. As a result, businesses large and small put themselves at risk when they fail to secure their growing networks of IIoT devices.
What’s Wrong With Industrial IoT Security?
The IIoT has expanded tremendously in a few short years, and the scale of the security problems becomes obvious with the proper perspective.
A company’s digital transformation may begin with installing connected sensors on in-house machinery. Unfortunately, these are possible attack vectors under the right circumstances and without proper protection.
When companies deploy connected IoT technologies adjacent to sensitive customer records, company IP, or networks trafficking other sensitive data, the problem scales. With the benefit of hindsight, it seems quaint that nobody foresaw the Target customer-data breach involving internet-connected air conditioners. However, it was going to happen to somebody sometime — and now that it has, it should be clear what the stakes are.
Today, this is business as usual. Companies know to vet HVAC companies touting the robustness of the security protocols aboard their internet-connected A/C products.
Early stages of digital transformations may facilitate data mobility in-house. Later upgrades may involve continuous connections with remote servers. What happens when the risk vectors expand from one retail chain’s patrons? In the United States, public utilities are typically owned and overseen by private, somewhat opaque entities.
There are excellent reasons for utility companies — water, internet, electricity, natural gas — to deploy IoT devices to pursue better service and reliability. However, this rapidly expanding web of connectivity introduces many potential points of failure regarding cybersecurity.
The crux of the industrial IoT security problem is that every connected CNC machine and lathe — and every sensor across every mile of water or gas pipeline — could give hackers a way in. Telemetry may not be valuable, but an unsecured IoT sensor may provide a route to a more valuable prize, such as financial data or intellectual property (IP).
The IIoT Security Situation in Numbers
The problem of industrial IoT security is writ large and small.
A March 2019 report from the Ponemon Institute and Tenable observed that 90% of organizations actively deploying operational technologies — including transportation and manufacturing — had sustained one or more data breaches in the previous two years.
Companies that provide critical public services represent some of the most consequential possible targets for IIoT-based attacks.
CNA Financial Corp. and Colonial Pipeline proved that most financial institutions, including some of the most significant attacks — and most public or quasi-public utility companies may not have taken adequate measures to protect their digital systems. At least one of these attacks involved a single compromised connected workstation.
IBM found that manufacturers were the most frequently targeted industry for cyberattacks in 2021. This is not especially surprising. Manufacturing companies are among the most prolific adopters of IIoT products.
Combining the physical and the cyber — by collecting abundant data and studying or modeling it — is tremendously beneficial in sourcing, fabrication, manufacturing, processing, and transportation operations throughout the industry.
The industry will be approaching the culmination of this trend by 2025. This is when professionals anticipate that around 75% of operational data in industrial settings, like plants and distribution centers, will be gathered and processed using edge computing.
Edge computing is likely the defining feature of the IIoT. But unfortunately, it’s a double-edged sword. The state of cybersecurity for the industry in 2022 is the result of decision-makers getting excited about the potential of the IIoT without staying mindful of possible harm.
What do entrepreneurs and business leaders need to know about industrial IoT security?
1. Change Factory-Default Passwords
Deloitte research published in 2020 claimed that as many as 70% of connected sensors and devices use manufacturer-default passwords. So it’s vital to change every password for every connected device when it’s brought online, whether on a factory floor or a smart home where a remote employee handles company data.
A related issue is using weak or repeated passwords across multiple IIoT devices or other digital properties. Again, companies should use unique, strong passwords each time and be sure training materials stress the importance of this as well.
2. Choose Technology Partners Carefully
Research by Synopsys indicates that very close to all commercially available software contains at least some open-source code. However, 88% of components are outdated. Furthermore, obsolete code often features unpatched software with vulnerabilities.
Business decision-makers must have at least a partial understanding of cybersecurity risks such as this one and know which questions to ask their potential vendors and technology partners. Any third party whose digital systems could introduce risk a company didn’t bargain on.
3. Create Structured Update Processes in Industrial IoT Security
Initially, it may have been straightforward for companies with limited digital footprints to manually update and maintain their IIoT systems. Today, the sheer number of deployed devices may mean updates don’t happen as frequently. IT teams don’t always remember to toggle auto-update mechanisms, either.
Researchers found an exploit in 2021 called Name: Wreck that leverages four flawed TCP/IP stacks that millions of devices use to negotiate DNS connections. These known exploits have since been patched — but devices running older software iterations risk a hostile remote takeover. As a result, billions of devices could be at risk across many consumer and commercial technologies.
Every company adopting IIoT devices must understand in advance how they receive updates throughout their lifetimes and what happens after they’re considered obsolete. Therefore, businesses should stick with systems with automatic update mechanisms and a long-anticipated operational lifetime.
4. Consider an Outside Management Team
It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed by the advantages and the possible drawbacks of investing in technology for manufacturing or any other sector. But unfortunately, many vulnerabilities and successful attacks result from companies without the time, resources, and personnel to devote to understanding information technology and industrial IoT security culture.
Companies that look before they leap with investments in Industry 4.0 may adopt a “set it and forget it” mindset that leaves software unpatched and devices susceptible to attack. As a result, one of the top trends in cybersecurity for 2022 is more companies turning to outside parties and technologies for secure, reliable, and ongoing access and identity management.
5. Outsource Connected Technologies for Industrial IoT Security
Software as a service (SaaS), robots as a service (RaaS), manufacturing as a service (MaaS), and similar business models are increasing. Unfortunately, companies can’t always spare the cash outlay to invest in the latest connected technologies and keep up with hardware and software updates over time. In many cases, it makes more fiscal sense to outsource the installation and monitoring of cyber-physical infrastructure to a remote management team.
This offloads some of the practical burden and secures access to the latest technologies. It also benefits from delivering security updates for hardware as soon as they’re available. As a result, IIoT maintenance, including cybersecurity, becomes a manageable budget line item, and enterprise planners get to focus on the real value-adding work they do.
6. Segment IT Networks and Implement Robust Device Management
Any IT network responsible for controlling connected machines should be separate from those providing general back-office or guest connectivity. They should also be hidden, with credentials only to a few as needed.
In addition, poor or nonexistent device management is responsible for many data breaches, whether through loss or theft, social-engineering attacks on personal devices, or malware installed by mistake on company machines.
Poorly managed connected machines, workstations, and mobile devices are a hacker’s ideal entryway to networks. Here’s what companies should know about device management:
- Eliminate or strictly govern the use of connected devices to process company data.
- Take advantage of remote-wipe features to remove sensitive data after the loss or theft of mobile devices.
- Ensure team members understand not to leave logged-in machines or workstations unattended.
- Implement credential lockout on all connected devices and machines.
- Carefully vet all APIs and third-party extensions or add-ons to existing digital products.
- Use two-factor or multifactor authentication (2FA or MFA) to secure the most critical logins.
Safeguard Industrial IoT Security
Distributed computing brings a wider threat surface. Unfortunately, the IIoT is still an immature sector of the economy. Some of the lessons have come at a dear cost.
Thankfully, companies considering IIoT investments have many examples of what not to do and resources for learning about minimum connected-machine cybersecurity expectations. For example, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S. provides guidance on IoT device cybersecurity. The U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre has similar resources on connected places and things.
Companies have options for safeguarding their IIoT-connected devices, and it would be wise to implement as many safety protocols as possible.
Image Credit: by Nothing Ahead; Pexels; Thank you!
Seniors Don’t Want to Retire Anymore. Here’s Why and How to Help
Retirement can be a dream for one and a nightmare for another. People treat retirement differently, depending on their requirements and circumstances. While some feel retirement is the time to pack up bags and travel or commit to hobbies they have long paused for, others feel retirement is not the right option.
There may be various reasons behind pushing away retirement: I need the money, I love what I am doing, I can’t imagine myself not doing anything, etc. The recent trend indicates that most seniors are reluctant to retire, and some decide to stay on course past retirement, while others choose alternative careers.
According to a survey by the American Advisors Group (AAG), 46% of seniors (60-70 years) had plans to work part-time jobs during retirement. 18% said they wish to work after passing the age, a rise of 8% from a 2019 survey. 12% of the respondents said they have no plans of stopping full-time work, an increase of 6% from 2019.
Although extending your retirement period or not wanting to retire may have their reasons justified, it may create a tricky situation for the newer generation. As a result of the baby boomers’ late retirement, the next generations may see a shortage of career growth, employment options, etc.
Why are most seniors reluctant to retire?
Some of the reasons why most seniors are reluctant to retire may include a vast number of reasons. People are in much better shape than previous generations and live longer. Some feel they will become bored at home or even doing their activities. Many still want to contribute in some way to society.
Did the pandemic change retirement plans?
Due to the pandemic, many seniors are rethinking their retirement plans. The pandemic has given many people the experience of their retirement days, and many found it boring and meaningless.
Many realized they loved their job and found meaning in what they did. To them, quitting their job to sit at home was not meant for them. Many also realized they might not have enough saved to survive such uncertainty.
Support family and maintain a standard of living.
First, the pandemic and then inflation dipped almost every bank account. Many seniors are draining their savings or depending on their paychecks to stay on track. In addition, about 50% are using up their retirement savings to support their children.
Some seniors are turning their back to retirement to support and maintain their standard of living. They believe they should continue to work to ensure that they have enough financial capacity and the freedom to spend their retirement days as they had hoped.
Debt and broken savings account.
Finances are a significant aspect for almost everybody when considering retirement. The recession has dramatically affected retirees and soon-to-be retirees, reducing their retirement accounts and property value. Most are more concerned about their medical and long-term care costs than their daily expenses.
The most current data shows that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers carry high amounts of non-mortgage debts. The credit card debt alone for Baby Boomers stands at $6,043 and $7,155 for Gen X.
On the contrary, Millennials’ credit card debt balance stands relatively low, at $ 4,322. Not considering the advantages of various financial tools, like debt consolidation, can be why seniors are comparatively behind with a higher debt balance. As a result, they need to continue working to improve their finance.
Increased life span.
Another possible reason for delayed retirement is the increased life span of Americans. A recent survey implies that the average life expectancy of Americans has risen to 78.9 years in 2020 from 39.4 in 1960.
With the rise in life expectancy, an average 60-year-old can expect to live for 15 to 20 years. Back in time, it was easy for retirees to survive with pensions or continue work till they died. However, most view 20 years as a long time to sit around doing nothing and stay using savings. Also, you need to support yourself with healthier health and an increased life span.
How seniors’ late retirement is affecting the next generations?
Although seniors may have their reasons justified with the best interests in mind, late or no retirement can bring various setbacks for the economy, companies, and especially for the next generations. Some of the setbacks are:
Difficulty moving up the career ladder.
While seniors are putting off their retirement plans, the next generation may find it difficult to climb the career ladder. Moving up to the middle and higher position can be difficult if there are no vacant positions. Various surveys show that most employees view career growth opportunities as one of the top factors in employment.
As a result, most younger workers are switching jobs hoping to seek higher positions and increased pay. Ultimately, retaining competent employees is increasingly difficult for companies, which may sometimes harm the business.
With the younger workers switching to seek higher positions and seniors not ready to quit, the next generation is trapped in the middle, without many scopes for promotions or increments.
Unable to make enough money.
The pervasiveness of senior workers in the workforce also affects the economy. With seniors blocking the path for the next generation, their scope of promotions and making more money is limited.
Result: they are not being able to support or contribute to the economy. Also, they are hardly making enough for themselves. Low savings and high debt amounts include their list of concerns. The situation raises concern for the next generation to rethink their retirement plans.
In addition, with the aging workforce, overall productivity also gets tampered since most are hesitant to adopt new technologies.
What can be done to prevent the next generation from facing the same problems?
There are possibilities for the next generation to succumb to these situations and delay or rethink their retirement days too. However, some steps can be helpful to prevent the next generation from facing the same problems.
Make saving for retirement a priority and strategize for it.
It is a common situation that people don’t often plan for retirement until they are halfway nearing their retirement period. There may be various reasons people don’t start saving for retirement earlier in their careers. Examples may include having debts, not having a fat enough paycheck, family responsibilities, etc.
However, it is necessary to understand the importance of saving for retirement before you can see it coming. When you start to save or invest for retirement while you still have a long way to go, you are allowing yourself to build a more considerable fortune for retirement over time.
Build a side cushion to let your retirement account grow.
Another common mistake people make when planning to allocate funds for their retirement is, overlooking the importance of an emergency fund. Increasing your retirement savings accounts is of little use if you have to tap into those accounts in times of dire need.
Building an emergency fund acts as a side cushion for your savings account. Ideally, a side cushion or emergency fund should be able to suffice for all your expenses for a minimum of six months.
It can be helpful to support you in times of uncertainty like the pandemic, loss of job, an accident, etc. You can confidently contribute to your retirement accounts when you have an emergency fund that can support you with expenses for six to twelve months.
You will know that you can let your cushion grow without fear of the need to break into your saving for an unfortunate event before retirement.
Look for ways to pay off debts and handle finances efficiently.
Handling your finances is as essential as having savings for retirement. Financial habits like overspending, paying off your bills late, paying bank fees like overdraft charges, taking out loans, etc., are all examples of poor financial management. When you handle your finances efficiently, you can strengthen your financial grounds with an enormous nest egg.
In addition, it is good to pay off your debts at the earliest possible time instead of paying the minimum amounts and carrying the balance over. Again, taking advantage of the financial tools available to you can be helpful in getting rid of your debts faster.
Financial instruments like balance transfer and debt consolidation are some options you can use to get debt free quickly. Ideally, you should always begin repaying the debt that carries the highest interest rate.
For example, credit card debts usually have high interest, and paying the minimum monthly amount can result in more interest in the long run. Instead, when you decide to consolidate debt, you can obtain a lower interest on the debt, and paying off the balance can become more accessible and faster.
Look for volunteering or part-time jobs to stay engaged.
While more and more seniors wish to continue working for the love of what they do, some seniors have a different reason. They choose to continue working because they want to stay engaged. With an increased life span and good health conditions, people view 20 years as too long for hobbies or to sit around doing nothing. Hence they prefer to stick to their current job for as long as possible.
Instead, it is an excellent time to volunteer for a cause or take up some part-time jobs that can allow free time while also keeping busy for some time with work.
Look for meaningful jobs like mentoring or training.
Reportedly, many seniors want to stay on the field because they love their work. In other words, they love their jobs and wish to continue working for as long as possible. Unarguably, seniors bring to the table years of experience, soft skills, and the capability to work calmly under pressure. They are treasured for the expertise and patience that the newer generations lack.
Hence they can do so meaningfully by imparting their knowledge and experience to the next generation. Creating a working environment with flexible working hours, where seniors can train or mentor their juniors, can benefit all.
Seniors can continue their job while the next generations can learn from them without feeling trapped. The company can get the best from the highly skilled multi-generational set of employees.
Bringing Changes in Working Culture
With many seniors refusing to quit, it may be time to change the work culture. It can be helpful to split C-level jobs into two. This strategy will allow the next generation to perform duties and responsibilities. It gives them a half-promotion, and they will be motivated to stay in the company.
In addition, companies may also consider shifting from the traditional corporate hierarchy to a horizontal hierarchy. This shift in hierarchical structure can motivate employees to work as team members and swap through different positions.
As a result, employees with more skills can select from various career ladders.
Seniors wanting to retire and spend the rest of their lives in tranquility is common. Some seniors are waiting to embrace their retirement days, which has been a commonly anticipated scenario for a long time.
However, nowadays, it is not unusual for seniors to delay their retirement until they enter their 70s or 80s. The Baby Boomers and some Gen Xers and Millennials have a similar perspective, and some may believe they should never retire at all.
You may hear various reasons behind this, from needing finances to flow in, loving what they do, or just needing to stay engaged through their life. An additional factor here is life expectancy.
With the advancements in medical treatment and an increased life expectancy, seniors can expect to live longer and healthier than their previous generations.
On the contrary, delayed retirement in one generation can bring unfavorable situations for the next generation. These situations can be averted by bringing in some changes. For example, seniors who wish to work because they want to be occupied or feel retirement is not the ideal place for them can take up volunteering or some part-time job.
On the other hand, seniors who want to continue working in their field because they love what they do can take up training or mentoring the newer generations. Splitting C-level jobs into two and shifting the hierarchical structure from traditional to horizontal are beneficial strategies companies can adopt to retain employees and boost productivity.
Also, it is necessary to begin preparing or saving for retirement much before you near your retirement period. Analyzing and responsibly managing your finances can help you build a stronger financial future. In addition, creating a side cushion to secure your savings and support you in times of need is vital for a promising future.
Published First on Due. Read Here.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Anna Shvets; Pexels; Thank you!
How Artificial Intelligence Testing is Top-Notch in Cyber World
In the cybersecurity sector, artificial intelligence testing is crucial. This is because AI has the potential to help cybersecurity overcome some of its major obstacles. And there are many obstacles, including the incapacity of many organizations to stay on top of the numerous new risks and attacks that emerge as the internet and technological usage increase.
AI-powered cybersecurity is expected to change how we respond to cyber attacks. Because of its capacity to study and learn from enormous volumes of data, artificial intelligence will be crucial in identifying sophisticated threats. Moreover, AI testing is an all-in-one answer to safeguard these gadgets from malicious actors, as new technology and gadgets are always available.
This blog will walk you through the difficulties that the cybersecurity sector is now facing, the significance of employing Artificial Intelligence testing to overcome those difficulties and some of the drawbacks of doing so. Finally, we shall examine some actual applications of AI in this area before we conclude.
An Overview of the Cybersecurity Industry
Cybersecurity describes the processes followed by people or organizations to safeguard their online-connected computer hardware and software against cyberattacks.
The proliferation of emerging digital technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT). The rising frequency and intricacy of cyberattacks and rigorous data protection laws for data security. An uptick in attacks that target software supply chains is the key driver of the cybersecurity market.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the incidence of malicious attacks on databases in large enterprises. They are necessitating tighter database protection and fostering the expansion of the cybersecurity industry. In healthcare, banking, insurance, manufacturing, and financial services, growth in adopting organization security solutions is provident.
Some Intriguing Figures Related to Cybersecurity
- The amount of money spent on internal cybersecurity operations is anticipated to increase by 7.2% annually till 2026.
- By December 2026, it is familiar that global spending on cybersecurity services and products will increase by 8.4%. The necessity to fix the network, app, and system vulnerabilities as a result of ongoing corporate and individual cyberattacks are elements that are likely to promote growth.
- The cybersecurity industry was estimated to be worth $156.24 billion in 2020 and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 14.5 percent from 2021 to 2026, reaching $350.25 billion.
- Information security products and services generated $144 billion in revenue in 2018, down 12.4% from 2017, according to Gartner Inc.
- According to Gartner’s predictions, information security revenue will increase from $124 bn in 2019 to $170.4 bn in 2022. Additionally, according to their analysis, end-user expenditure on cloud security increased by 4.1 percent between 2020 and 2021.
Glaring Cybersecurity Challenges
You may be surprised to learn that human mistake accounts for 95% of cybersecurity breaches, according to a Google survey. These mistakes might include everything from downloading a virus-filled email attachment to using a weak password to access an unsafe website. According to studies, phishing attacks are among the most common cyber events, CEO fraud, stolen computers, and ransomware assaults. The effects of these attacks are stunning, even though they may seem easy to handle. In small and medium businesses (SMBs), data breaches cost, on average, $3.9 million. The top four are the top four: large-scale data monitoring, a slower turnaround, a lack of threat understanding, and organizational compliance standards.
Delving Into Common Cybersecurity Attacks
Cybercrime is always changing, with hackers constantly refining their tactics to cause the most harm, complicating the issues outlined in the previous section. Malware that could modify its source to evade detection made up 93.67% of the malware observed in 2019. Additionally, within the same year, 53% of consumer PCs and 50% of commercial computers both relapsed the infection. To eradicate this virus from its source, action and awareness are vital.
We should all be aware of the following examples of the typical cybersecurity threats that clever hackers have cleverly created.
When a hacker uses the social engineering technique of phishing, they send you an email that contains a dangerous link. By clicking the link, you could give them access to your computer so they can infect it with a bug and steal all of your personal data.
• Hardware and Software Attacks
If your system’s hardware and software are not updated to the most recent versions, missing critical security updates can be a risk. It can be introduced to “back doors” or “trojans” and obtain access to the system.
• Network Intrusions
Data going to and from a network endpoint can be hindered by malicious actors and decrypted. If they aren’t caught in time, they might alter it, tamper with it, or use it illegally.
• Cloud Data Breaches
Since more people are using private and public clouds, unencrypted data stored there is an open invitation to malicious hackers. Data saved in the cloud can also be composed due to unreliable interfaces or APIs, insufficient access control, and inadequate security architecture.
• Mobile Malware
Mobile devices’ internal operating systems may become unreliable due to this dangerous malware, which could reduce their functionality. This frequently occurs as a result of URLs being insecure online. In addition, downloaded applications with security flaws also contribute to mobile virus problems.
• Ransomware Attacks
One of the most common types of cyberattacks is ransomware, in which the attackers send a virus into people’s personal laptops and smartphones to access and use the data on those devices. They then want a ransom to give you access to it again.
How Can Artificial Intelligence Testing Enhance Cybersecurity?
A notable benefit of AI testing is that it significantly reduces some labor-intensive jobs known to be time-consuming, such as security monitoring, which is unquestionably a significant time-sink for IT security experts. AI testing can do this repetitious labor instead of humans having to keep an eye on numerous gadgets. To enforce proper cybersecurity, decrease attack surfaces, and detect malicious behavior, AI and machine learning testing need to be in collar.
Let’s look at some additional crucial areas where AI testing proves to be of the utmost significance:
• Moving a vast amount of information around
Each day, data of over 2.5 quintillion bytes are produced. Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies can assist in automating data processing. It makes sense of vast amounts of data that would be impossible for humans to understand in a usable manner. Security experts cannot evaluate and classify every piece of information because firms face millions of risks. As a result, it is tough for security specialists to foresee dangers before they destroy IT systems. Artificial intelligence testing can identify numerous cyber-security threats and issues without human analysts.
• Behavioral analytics
By analyzing how users typically interact with their devices, ML algorithms are intelligent enough to learn and create a pattern of user behavior.
AI testing flag the user as suspicious and possibly block them if it notices unexpected behaviors that are out of the ordinary. These actions include altering the user’s typing speed or attempting to access the system at odd times.
• Ability to analyze and comprehend data
AI testing analyzes millions of events and detects a wide range of threats. These threats include malware that exploits zero-day vulnerabilities, phishing attempts, and malicious code downloads. As a result, AI and ML have emerged as essential information security technologies. Companies may better understand dangers and respond to them faster thanks to these insights. It also helps them adhere to the best security procedures.
• Detection of spam
Spam detection, as well as other types of social engineering aided by natural language processing(NLP), is a subfield of deep learning.
In general, NLP employs a variety of statistical techniques and extensively learns typical verbal and nonverbal communication patterns to identify and prevent spam content.
• Systems for detecting and preventing intrusions (ID/IP)
These systems can detect harmful network activity, guard against intrusions, and warn users of potential dangers. Systems using ID and IP frequently prove useful in addressing data breaches and improving the security of user information.
Furthermore, it is feasible to guarantee a more effective operation of ID/IP systems by utilizing deep learning, recurrent, and convolutional neural networks. The methods above will make it easier for security teams to distinguish between safe and risky network activity. In addition, it improves traffic analysis accuracy and decreases false alarm frequency.
• Speedy detection of numerous types of threats
When it comes to hacking networks, cybercriminals are becoming more skilled and quick. The use of cutting-edge technology, such as machine learning, makes it easier to detect cyberattacks. However, it is hard for humans to keep track of every connected system for every possible hazard. These data are used to educate AI-powered devices, which can then learn from real and digital world data.
Wrapping Up: AI Testing Potential in Cybersecurity
Given the rising interest in AI in cybersecurity, it’s realistic to assume that in the future, we’ll see even more sophisticated solutions capable of resolving difficulties in the business that is even more difficult and complex. By automating threat detection, artificial intelligence testing will strive to save cybersecurity and contribute to internet safety.
IT security professionals now utilize AI to reinforce sound cybersecurity procedures. It reduces the attack surface and tracks malicious activity. In addition, it evaluates and deals with massive volumes of data and assesses human behavior.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of its functions. It’s preferable to embrace technology today and keep up with the times if you want to be more prepared for the AI-testing cybersecurity future.
Featured Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Thank you!
Automation in Pharmacy: A Key to Boost Pharmacy Work at 10X Pace
Automation is unclosing the new opportunities for the healthcare sector to thrive without hassle. In addition, it eliminates the extreme workload pressure in the healthcare ecosystem, especially in pharmacy stores.
Automation in pharmacy means peace of mind to patients, staff members, and stakeholders.
The real meaning of automation in pharmacy
People think that automation is all about robots taking charge.
But in reality, it’s more than just a robot.
Automation in pharmacy is an advanced system or software solution that automates repetitive tasks to eliminate manual errors, streamline workflows, speed up the process, ensure operational efficiency, and save time, costs, and resources.
Repetitive tasks include
This means the ultimate goal of the pharmacy automation system is to make life easier for pharmacists using robust tech.
A rise of the new era. The lucrative market is the proof itself.
As per the exclusive report from the Globe News Wire, “The Global Pharmacy Automation Market size is valued at USD 5,083 Million in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 10,402 Million by 2030.”
For pharmacies, improving efficiency and accuracy has always been a significant headache.
When we look at the past, the early forms of the automation system were expensive for pharmacies.
But the current scenario is entirely different. Pharmacies can now quickly implement advanced and robust automation software and machines at an affordable expense.
The adoption of automation is rising at a rapid pace in pharmacies or drug stores.
For instance, automated data-entry and dispensing systems, auto-refill, storage, and retrieval systems are standard automation solutions in pharmacies.
Automation has made a positive impact on the productivity, performance, and efficiency of the pharmacy.
The rising demand for lower medication or human errors will drive the entire pharmacy automation market.
How does automation perform in the pharmacy ecosystem? A technical context
The aim is to automate repetitive tasks. So, let’s explore what cooks behind the doors.
1. Tech scenario
RPA (Robotic Process Automation) drives manual workflows in autopilot mode.
It helps in creating and managing software robots.
Software robots are advanced tech solutions that perform tasks just like humans.
For instance, it understands, manages, and completes the data entry process faster and more efficiently.
2. Now, RPA tools are in action
You can’t build or deploy software robots into the pharmacy system without RPA tools.
UiPath (uipath dotcom) is one of the top RPA platforms to build RPA tech to automate repetitive tasks.
After creating a program, you can download it as a .exe file.
But remember, there are two ways – attended and unattended programs.
Attended means a manual start is needed, while unattended, the program automatically starts as per the scheduled time.
3. Now it’s time to install
Install a .exe file into the computer. Now your computer-based repetitive task is in autopilot mode, just like Tesla.
Pharmacy areas that are experiencing the positive outcomes of the automation
One can automate the following computer-based repetitive tasks in the pharmacy.
- Auto-refill to reduce the hassle of patients’ calls and text messages
- Automated inventory management to avoid the headache of the time-consuming and costly processes
- Automatic billing and invoicing to eliminate tedious procedures and manual errors
- Email and SMS automation to notify the patients about their refills and other things
- Automated pharmacy management to keep everything under the same roof
- Automated patient data tracking system
- Remote dispensing system
Automation brings happiness in the true sense
Automation opens endless possibilities for patients, pharmacy staff, and stakeholders to eliminate their headaches with ease.
- Efficient and streamlined workflows
- It makes the pharmacy ecosystem faster and more flexible
- Allows pharmacists to focus on other key areas
- Humans make mistakes. Automation doesn’t
- It improves the work productivity of the staff.
- Reduces the patient data management hassle
- Helps in avoiding the mess of the inventory management
- Auto-refills prescriptions that save time and resources
- Improves patient care experience and satisfaction
- Eliminates the human errors that enhance the patient safety
- Faster and efficient communication
- Ensures operational efficiency
- Improves the accuracy of the workflows
Technologies in the automation systems
1. RPA (Robotic Process Automation):
We both are familiar with how RPA is becoming a helping hand for the pharmacy. It reduces the work burden of the staff and gives them peace of mind in the true sense.
But there are still limitations of the RPA.
It cannot think for itself and performs the task based on the analysis. This means it performs input for the fixed output.
In addition to this, it also requires well-structured data to perform tasks more efficiently.
2. OCR (Optical Character Recognition):
OCR has emerged as the revolutionary tech solution in almost every sector.
The advanced technology automatically extracts the data from the image, PDF, and written text and converts it into a readable and editable format.
Automating the prescription ordering process is one of the drug store’s most common use cases of OCR.
However, it also needs a well-structured data formation to give an accurate output.
3. Artificial Intelligence:
With zero doubt, AI is now an integral part of the entire healthcare ecosystem.
From improving patient care experience to reducing the burnout of the clinical staff, AI in healthcare has shown positive results in almost every corner.
AI enables the pharmacies to make data-driven decisions and automate manual tasks such as personalized messages to patients etc.
What makes it exceptional from the rest is that AI holds the potential to think for itself for the given task or change in the output.
Lastly, an AI-based OCR system also helps get the ideal outcome even from the unstructured data format.
The future of the pharmacy automation
The pharmacy market is experiencing a growing trend of automation adoption.
RPA, AI, OCR, and ML are creating new opportunities in almost every inch of the pharmacy.
But still, pharmacists are performing double-checking systems on the prescription as automation is still in development.
However, the advancement of these technologies in pharmacy app development and software development has the potential to bring 100% accuracy in the next few years.
More importantly, AI harnesses the true power of big data that allows pharmacists to analyze risk patterns.
Here are some of the future needs for automation in pharmacy.
- Faster and more efficient medication dispensing
- More effective and outcome-driven patient data management
- Better management system for the inventory and resources
- 100% accuracy in the repetitive tasks
To sum it up
Automation is bringing flexibility, scalability, and affordability into the pharmacy sector.
It adds result-driven value to the everyday task of the pharmacy team by allowing them to keep an eye on the other vital aspects of the ecosystem.
As a result, pharmacies can now achieve their business goals without compromising costs, labor, and time.
The aim is to bring magic into the life of the patients, pharmacists, and stakeholders, and automation is doing wonders for the same.