The Darkside of Managing Active Directory and Downstream Systems User Accounts Using PowerShell

One problem that companies quickly run into as they grow is how to properly provision user accounts across all downstream systems (Active Directory, Azure, Google Workspace, etc.) securely without running into access management roadblocks or security issues.

The number of unique SaaS products that companies use on average is up by 30% year over year. In addition, the adoption of more cloud tools adds to the volume of different accounts that employees need access to on a regular basis.

Trying to create and manage security for all those accounts manually often leads to problems, including:

  • Too much time is spent on account provisioning and management
  • The IT team has to deal with password issues continuously
  • Security can suffer when account management isn’t centralized or automated
  • Orphaned accounts can lead to security breaches
  • Onboarding and offboarding employee digital access can be inconsistent 

To get control of user accounts to various company resources, an automated product lifecycle called CRUD is often used.

CRUD = Create, Read, Update, Delete.

Using this account lifecycle approach helps an organization’s onboarding program gain more control over employee access information and ensure that all logins and credentials are accounted for.

According to IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021, compromised user credentials have become the most common initial attack vector in data breaches. With a majority of company processes and data moved to the cloud, it’s the new main target for criminal hacking groups and state-sponsored cyberattacks.

Compromised credentials were responsible for 20% of all data breaches in 2020.

Why Not Manage Active Directory & Downstream Systems with PowerShell?

Good, But Complicated

PowerShell is a popular tool to automate certain tasks in the Windows environment. This includes automating Active Directory commands such as account creation and updates.

There are a number of straightforward tasks that PowerShell is very good at; however, the more you need to get done, the more complex PowerShell scripts get.

When working with your account creation lifecycle, a sequence of steps needs to be accounted for with every user in your organization. These include:

  • Create: Creation of a user account, including access to which systems and services, and attributes for permissions in each one
  • Read: The ability to access and read all user data and attributes as needed for effective access management and security
  • Update: The function of overwriting existing user account data when any attributes are changed (name or email address changes, permission changes, etc.)
  • Delete: The deletion of the user’s account, including all attributes

While good developers can write the many complex scripts that need to be woven together to make all of the above happen, it is time-intensive. In addition, should anything need to change in how your identities or permissions are configured, it can take time to make and test the necessary updates to the workflow.

You Rely Too Much On One Developer

Because of the complexity of using PowerShell, you’re completely relying on the developer that wrote the scripts to enable your automated CRUD account system.

What happens if that person were to leave or be promoted to another area of the company? You may not immediately have another developer that can administer the PowerShell environment or come in to pick up where the other person left off.

This could mean security risk should you have a vulnerability in your identity management system or downtime due to user access problems.

There is a Better Way to Enable CRUD for Account Provisioning

Why use a complicated process that relies too much on one person to write and update the scripts to make it work? There is a better way to handle the user account lifecycle process, which is to use a provisioning software that is already designed for CRUD.

This eliminates the need for custom coding and ensures continuity of your access management and account provisioning process because it’s not dependent on a single PowerShell developer.

HelloID is one such service that can automate your user account lifecycle by integrating your “source systems” (HR system, Active Directory, GSuite, LDAP, etc.)  with your downstream resources. As a result, it can eliminate the mistakes that come with manual account creation and management and ensure consistency that promotes good cybersecurity.

HelloID is a tool that provides an additional “set of hands” for your in-house IT team, allowing them to delegate and easily manage user accounts through automation that is already built into the software.

It’s estimated that HelloID reduces user creation time from 20 minutes per account to a capability of creating 100-300 accounts in minutes.

Get a Demonstration of our Automated Account Creation & Management Tool

Would you like to learn more about automating your account creation to deletion lifecycle to save time and improve security?

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References linked to:

https://www.blissfully.com/saas-trends/2020-annual-report/
https://www.tools4ever.com/use-case/account-provisioning/
https://www.ibm.com/security/data-breach
https://www.tools4ever.com/software/helloid-idaas-cloud-single-sign-on/

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