Enterprise Chatbot Security and Integration ChallengesEvery business aims to make profits. These profits are usually boosted by the ability of a business to evolve and embrace technologies that are disrupting the world. One such technology changing the face of businesses is chatbots. Chatbots have been with us for a while now. However, the recent acceptance of chatbots in the market has created a frenzy on chatbots and how they can boost and streamline your business operations. To understand what chatbots are, you can divide the name into two; chat and bots. Chatting is a familiar concept where messages are sent to and fro various individuals with the aim of exchanging information. Bots, on the other hand, are just software programs created to automate certain tasks with the aim of reducing redundancies and streamlining operations. Chatbots, therefore, use software technology that embraces artificial intelligence to process natural language into something virtual assistants can understand. Given the giant strides made in the field of artificial intelligence, chatbots can understand input by human beings with an accuracy of up to 94%. Chatbots in the enterprise settingToday, chat is as important as it has ever been. A recent study showed that many employees are using certain consumer-facing chatting apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to communicate with clients, colleagues and external partners throughout the workday. The problem is that these are consumer-facing apps that have not been designed for use in an enterprise environment. This is especially factual given that security is not a priority for many of these apps. Chatbots designed for enterprise use must play by a different set of rules than consumer-facing apps. To be properly accepted for enterprise use, chatbot platforms need to provide users with capabilities such as security, integration and monitoring. These are indeed a critical aspect of every enterprise solution and chatbots should not be an exception. SecurityOne of the most significant concerns for chatbots being used as an enterprise tool was the security features in place for the customers and the business as a whole. Given the capabilities these chatbots have today, including being able to make financial transactions, security is a must-have. In this respect, we must apply the three fundamentals of security; technology, people, and process. ProcessBy their nature, chatbots tend to collect a lot of user information. This is especially true since the artificial intelligence algorithms use machine learning on the data collected to learn and train themselves on proper responses to various requests. As such, there should be process and regulations when it comes to how this data is stored and handled. Issues such as where this information is stored, who can access it and what it will be used for are potent questions that should be adequately addressed. The organization should always put in place rules and processes regarding this information that’s also transparent to the users to gain the public’s trust and confidence. PeoplePeople are the backbone of every new medium. As more people continue to embrace chatbots, new risks will indeed crop up. Some of these issues will be social engineering attacks and phishing scams. Chatbots are getting better every day at mimicking human conversations. When a hacker bypasses the security protocols in a chatbot program and gains access, they will mimic the bot and entice users to hand over sensitive information or get them to click on malicious links. As relevant information about the client gets compromised, users will lose confidence in your product, and you will lose business. To counter this, the organization needs to invest in end-user education. This sort of training will prevent the hackers using social engineering to trick your users. So, in the event the hacker does bypass protocols that keep them out, the user remains safe. TechnologyTechnology plays a very central role in chatbots security. Many of the security methods used to secure mobile technologies can also be used for chatbots. These methods include biometrics, two-factor authentication, behavior analytics and artificial intelligence. Using technology to secure chatbots is an effective and easily scalable way of keeping things secure. The more widely used form being secure login credentials. An organization can also take security a notch higher by enforcing two-factor authentication in chatbots dealing with sensitive information.Another quite effective mechanism to use for maximum security would be encryption of all correspondence in a chatbot. The encryption will make sure that all data being sent to the bot is secure and also all the data collected about users is safe from the prying eyes. Integration challengesIntegration is a major challenge chatbot developers have to date. Most chatbots platforms are known to operate out of a public cloud. This is meant to increase accessibility to products and services while the users are on the go. What’s more, chatbots are expected to communicate with users both inside and outside of the enterprise. The bot should be able to access data from the enterprise system as well as external public services, i.e. the internet. Since all these requirements must be met, the challenge then comes to integrating a chatbot onto different platforms while maintaining efficiency and proper operations.To promote better integration, we shall see webhooks and rest API being used more often. However, it’s important noting that, not all enterprises will make way for API integration into their more sensitive internal systems. To get around that problem, enterprises can issue an enterprise gateway software and a cloud-based platform so that integration with internal systems becomes possible without opening it up to security issues. For the legacy systems, a more customized integration software may have to be put in place and added to the enterprise gateway as an add-on.Contextual integration is also another critical challenge. Having the chatbot return sensible responses is the hallmark of a proper chatbot. As such, linguistic and physical context must be integrated into the chatbot for the best results. When both of these contexts have been appropriately incorporated, we see that the chatbot gets a lot more intelligent regarding identifying the problem and responding appropriately. Chatbots have a tremendous potential to boost business and streamline an organization’s activities. As we continue moving towards a more automated world, the chatbot is carving out its place. While chatbots already have a foothold in the retail and e-commerce world, they are still gaining popularity in the enterprise world. Once these challenges are taken care of, we shall see more users embracing chatbots for their everyday purposes and life.