How IAM Connectors Work

Connectors to automated account management solutions allow you to make changes within all sorts of systems whether they are cloud or self-hosted systems, easily and automatically. When purchasing this type of solution, it is important to ensure that the vendor has, or can build the connectors you need.

What is a connector? In short terms, a connector is a link to a system or application so that information can be synced. This allows the users to be able to quickly and correctly make any account or access management change and have it synced across multiple systems, without having to do so manually. There are two types of connectors; source and target. A source connector is where employee information is stored and pulled from. A target system is where the information or changes are pushed to. So for example, if PeopleSoft is the source system, a manager may add an employee data and the information is pushed to all connector target systems such as Gmail, Cisco, Docushare, etc.

Let’s look at the technical aspect of how these connectors work. Connecting to all these systems is easy provided they offer up an Application Programmable Interface or API. The most common type of API is the web based API that primarily uses one of two styles either Representational State Transfer (REST) or Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP). Both of these styles communicate over HTTP the protocol which the entire world wide web relies upon. The openness of HTTP, REST/SOAP and APIs allows for programmers from the outside to design their own code that interoperates with these applications.

Anything that the API allows for would allow the connector to perform these actions. Some APIs can be very extensive and can be customized to your specific instance of the application. It is no problem to extend or rework functionality to specific instances of the application to fit your particular needs. So for example, connectors can be built to do a wide variety of tasks including of course adding, managing, and disabling users. They can also be set up perform other more customized tasks such as a company who wants to have a connector to a help desk ticketing system. The connector can be built to pull custom fields. While one company might want a ticket with the person’s birthday, name, department, another company might want to pull Name, Employee ID, and Location.

Connectors can be built for a wide variety for tasks and for the majority of systems and applications on the market. This allows the organization to easily and efficiently handle account management, while also meeting their customized needs.