Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

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Announcement: IBM Robotic Process Automation 21.0.2

By Venkat Tadepalli posted Thu December 16, 2021 02:48 PM


Announcement: IBM Robotic Process Automation 21.0.2

We are pleased to announce some exciting upcoming enhancements for the new release of IBM Robotic Process Automation 21.0.2. The container deployment for Cloud Paks will be Generally Available (GA) on Dec 17, 2021, while the standalone on-premises release is planned for GA on Dec 21, 2021. The SaaS upgrades will be rolled into 21.0.3 that is scheduled to be available on Jan 21, 2022, for AP1, UK1, US1, and EU1 regions whereas for BR2 and BR1 regions, we plan to GA in Feb 2022. Please look out for upgrade notifications on the SaaS release early next year.

This announcement highlights additional features and enhancements available within the Product.

Role Based Access Control (RBAC)

  • RBAC allows user-level access control to the resources within the RPA environment, based on the assigned roles to the users.
  • In this release, we are expanding RBAC based on NIST 359-2012 standards to create Roles and Teams, assign a set of permissions to the Roles, restrict Roles to access specific resources such as scripts, dashboards, etc.
  • Integration with LDAP operations that allows import of users from LDAP and mapping of LDAP groups to Teams.
  • By default, the following 5 roles are created out of the box and these roles cannot be changed or deleted
    • Platform Administrator
    • Tenant Administrator
    • Bot Developer
    • Business Operator
    • Business User
  • By default, 2 Teams will be created - "Platform Admin" Team and "Tenant Admin" Team.
  • Customers can create custom Roles and Teams.
    • Roles can be assigned to individual Users or Teams
    • Users can be added to Teams directly to inherit Team roles.
  • For existing customers, migration to the new RBAC model for all deployment options (SaaS, On-Prem, OpenShift) will be seamless.
    • 3 new Teams are created as part of the migration: “SuperAdmin” team, “Admin” team, & “User” team
    • The Previous 3 roles, “SuperAdmin”, “Admin”, “User” will be assigned to their respective teams and will be marked as obsolete roles.
    • Customers are encouraged to migrate to the correct Roles/Teams and delete obsolete roles.

Audit Trail

  • This feature allows tenant administrators to track user actions and their results by systematically recording their activities to create an irrefutable audit trail.
  • The Audit logs confirm to CADF (Cloud Auditing Data Federation) specification which allows audit logs to be consumed by any SIEM system (Security Information and Event Management) such as IBM QRadar, Splunk, and LogDNA.
  • The Audit logs are encrypted and can be saved both in the database and as files. You can apply filters to select the specific data that can then be downloaded as a CSV file.
  • The logs track who initiated the action (Create, Read, Update, Delete), what resource/component was acted on, where the resource is located, when the action was taken, and the success or failure of the activity. For example, if a user navigates to the scripts page, IBM RPA will audit a “read” action to the “scripts” component
  • Tenant Administrators will have the option to disable “read requests” in the Tenant configuration section. For on-premises deployments, Platform Administrators will have the option to disable Database storage.

Improved Security Policies

  • This release introduces new governance policies to strengthen the security of the RPA Platform and plan to expand policies for Vault and Studio configurations in the future.
  • Tenant Administrators will have the ability to disable local Bot Agent APIs (ports: 8099, 8098, and 8096) and remote debugging.
  • Support for passphrase-protected PEM or PKCS files when configuring tenant credentials.
  • Restricted access to the Bot Agent’s private key for the runtimes.
  • Over-the-wire protection using One-Time-Public-Key (OTPB) for each credential request.

Start bots from APIs

  • This release supports APIs to trigger bot asynchronous execution through the Server by passing bot input parameters and retrieving bot output values.
  • This powerful feature can be used by different products to integrate with IBM RPA and triggering bots through APIs allows automations to scale when handling intelligent workloads.

RPA on Openshift

  • Access RPA using IBM Automation Platform
    • RPA is better integrated within the Automation Platform, providing a consistent user experience.
    • RPA now uses the same route as the Automation Platform, which simplifies configuration and certificate management, and improves performance for SSO.
  • Configuring RPA Custom Resource (CR) for high availability
    • A high availability configuration contains multiple replicas of each component of RPA (usually 3) and when one replica fails, Red Hat OpenShift routes work to another replica and restarts failed pods to restore highly available configuration.
    • The RPA operator deploys an instance of IBM MQ as the system queue provider. For a high availability configuration for IBM MQ, specify highAvailability: true in the CR under systemQueueProvider.

Other release updates

  • Improved ABBYY support for OCR Commands.
  • Support for Extract PDF Text tool available on Studio.
  • Resolution of defects identified in the previous release. For details, please see the release notes.
  • Redis:
    • Previous on-premises releases included Redis as part of the package but starting with this release, Redis will not be included with the installer. This is because the Microsoft version of Windows Redis was made obsolete and is no longer supported by Microsoft.
    • If customers want Redis, they can bring their own license (BYOL) for Redis. Please note that for high availability deployments, Redis is required.
    • For small deployments, Redis is made optional at the time of Install and there will be no impact in the provisioning of the IBM RPA server.
  • Deprecated:
    • Beginning with this release (21.0.2), the following commands are deprecated in IBM RPA Studio for all deployments, and they will become obsolete in future releases.
      • webSolveCaptcha - solves reCAPTCHA v2 or v3.
      • solveCaptcha - solves a Captcha image entered as a variable, path, or link

Explore IBM Robotic Process Automation homepage to learn more about the software, and do not forget to register for your free trial today! Stay up to date with IBM RPA solutions using the following links:

    Robson Felix
    IBM RPA Program Director 

    Dennis Parrott

    IBM RPA Product Manager

    Joberto Diniz,
    IBM RPA Product Manager       

    Venkat Tadepalli,
    IBM RPA Product Manager

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