User account provisioning encompasses account creation, setup, and ongoing management to ensure employees retain access to the IT resources their jobs require. Provisioning is one of the major aspects of the user account lifecycle. Automated provisioning executes configured processes based on detected information changes and updates. Automating your provisioning processes recovers substantial time lost to manual management and data entry.
Manual provisioning and user account management remain some of the most time-consuming IT tasks in many organizations. Setting up one account often takes 30 minutes or more. Manual management efforts for users, their identity data, and all of their accounts overburdens high-level IT staff such as network admins and system administrators with entry-level work due to the knowledge and permissions required. Already slow and inefficient, manual management’s challenges become exacerbated by communication delays between involved departments (e.g., IT, HR, new employee’s manager) and shifting prioritization of queued tasks.
Automated provisioning leverages your data so that it works for you rather than the other way around. An automated provisioning solution, such as HelloID, connects to your “source system” (e.g., HR, SIS system) to establish a single “source of truth” for your identity data. With the identity data synced from your source system, automated solutions provision user accounts and access in all other connected systems, applications, and other IT resources. The provisioning processes are executed according to your configurations.
Certain benefits, plans, and considerations must be established to maximize the value of an automated provisioning solution. Here are seven factors to consider:
1. Improve Efficiency
New employees struggle to contribute when waiting on their provisioned accounts. Over the course of a user’s employment, additional accounts and access often require sluggish request and approval processes before they even make it to IT’s queue. Provisioning delays quickly snowball into backlogged IT staff and unproductive employees.
Automating your user provisioning achieves triggered processes that kick off with every detected change to users in the source system. The solution detects when new employees are added as well as when existing employees receive updates to their identity and role data. Your organization’s configuration maps which employees require access to what resources with the solution.
2. Reclaim your IT’s Bandwidth
There’s no other way around it: manual provisioning and user account management are incredibly time-consuming processes. From half-hour account creation to assigning permissions to data entry and upkeep, manual efforts simply take time to complete. Further, provisioning new employees can disrupt existing IT queues.
The hours your IT staff allocated to manual provisioning and management would be much better spent on more impactful tasks and projects. Automated provisioning reclaims that.
3. Better Enforce Compliance
Automated provisioning solutions, such as HelloID, maintain accounts and access according to your configurations. If an employee’s role changes, the solution adds and removes permissions accordingly. This prevents “permission bloat,” or a user’s accumulation of too much access over time, and helps enforce segregation of duties.
Once your automated provisioning configuration is set and accounts for your compliance needs, you can rest easy knowing that accounts and access are right where you need them to be.
4. Prepare Better for Audits
Preparing for audits remains a nightmare for everyone. This includes combing through your network to manually determine the “5 W’s” of user access for all of your IT resources. An automated provisioning solution will log every action it processes. When it’s time to prepare for your next review, those audit trails will eliminate dozens of hours off of your efforts.
5. Enforced Consistency
On top of inefficiency and siphoning IT bandwidth, manual provisioning is often error-prone. Common consistency problems include:
- Data entry typos
- Inconsistent entry or format for values and fields
- Oversights on provisioning certain resources
6. Dedicated Planning Required
Implementing an automated provisioning solution requires some serious planning to be successful. Some important matters to consider include:
- The account and access configurations needed for each user role
- (Alternatively) which user attributes will determine their provisioning needs
- The systems and applications the provisioning solution needs to connect to
- The managers, team leaders, and other employees who should “own” which software resources to establish request/approval processes and notification recipients
7. Ongoing Management
While your solution will handle the heavy lifting for your provisioning needs, your configuration and connections will require some ongoing management. Automated provisioning is not a set-and-forget solution. As new systems and applications are added to your other IT resources, these will need to be connected to your solution and set up for provisioning. If your organization experiences any type of restructuring, your configurations may need adjustments to ensure that users receive the accounts and access needed for their roles.
An automated provisioning solution provides any organization with the capability to increase employee efficiency, reclaim IT bandwidth, ensure consistency, and generally improve the management of their IT environment. However, getting the most out of these solutions and achieving a fast ROI requires dedicated planning throughout implementation and configuration phases. A plan for ongoing management efforts is just as important. That said, the efficiency increases and reclaimed IT bandwidth more than make up for the initial heavy efforts and whatever management is required down the road.