National Geographic

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Employees around the world needed to be able to reset their passwords outside of the Washington DC help desk’s business hours. Additionally, their manual account management process was inefficient.

National Geographic optimizes user provisioning

National Geographic is a 125 year old not-for-profit institution that publishes educational and scientific information in 37 different languages in a variety of formats including; web, television, magazines, books and other emerging digital formats. The organization currently has over 1,400 full time and part employees and hundreds of contractors working at their headquarters located in Washington DC, as well as remote offices throughout the world.

Dan Backer, Director, Campus Technology, at National Geographic, explains: “Since each of the organizations different locations publishes the content in their own language, our employees need to have access to the work of resources.” Nat Geo’s employees also need to access several cloud applications, including Google Apps, with different credentials for each. This became an issue when employees had difficulty logging in due to forgetting their passwords and were unable to contact the help desk as they are located in different time zones, outside of the business hours of the help desk.

Manage high turnover for accounts

In addition, due to the hundreds of contractors that Nat Geo employs, the IT department had to deal with having a high turnover rate for accounts. Very often they were provisioning 10 new accounts and de-provisioning another 5 every day. This process was done manually and was extremely time consuming and inefficient. In order for a new employee to correctly be provisioned, the hiring manager had to get the correct paper form, fill it out, give it in hard copy to the help desk with a signature, and then as many as 4 different admins would go about provisioning the attributes of the account. This process would often take up to a day and would have to be handled by many employees along the way.

After realizing they needed an Identity Management solution to help with these issues and inefficiencies, Nat Geo decided upon Tools4ever’s Self Service Reset Password Management (SSRPM) and User Management Resource Administrator (UMRA). “Tools4ever absolutely knew what they were talking about and were extremely clear and flexible,” Dan Backer.

Secure password resets at anytime

Since employees outside of the help desk’s time zone needed to resolve their password issues at any hour, Tools4ever implemented SSRPM at Nat Geo. Employees simply answer predefined security questions and are able to reset their passwords, even in the middle of the night, without contacting the help desk. In addition, Password Synchronization Manager was implemented, allowing Nat Geo to provide one single password to their employees for both Active Directory and Google Apps. Every time a user resets his or her Active Directory password, the change is automatically updated to Google Apps. This, in turn made it much easier for employees to remember their credentials.

“UMRA has not only helped improve the security of access by terminating faster, it has also greatly improved our data security.”

Dan Backer, Director, Campus Technology, at National Geographic

Secure account (de-)provisioning

With UMRA, Nat Geo was able to connect their PeopleSoft HR system to Active Directory. UMRA is set up to automatically read new data twice a day and automatically synchronize it to AD and Google. Now, when someone enters a new personnel request UMRA automatically creates a new Google Apps account, AD account, share drive, personal drive and profile. The manager in charge then receives an audit trail of all actions and can continue to request additional services needed, such as hardware or mobile devices.

UMRA also assists with automatically de-provisioning accounts. Once an employee is disabled in PeopleSoft, UMRA automatically disables their AD and Google accounts to ensure the employee no longer has access. UMRA is also set up to transfer that employee’s personal drive to the manager as well as ownership of all Google Docs. This ensures that any projects that were in the works are not lost. “UMRA has not only helped improve the security of access by terminating faster, it has also greatly improved our data security,” comment Backer.

Overall, UMRA and SSRPM have drastically reduced the number of calls to the help desk as well as the hours spent on user account management. “Tools4ever has been very agile and able to delivery quickly,” commented Backer.

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