Understanding User Account Provisioning

By Tek-Tools on April 27, 2020

Companies need to protect customers’ vulnerable personal data, sensitive resources, and confidential information from internal threats and external cyberattacks.

The main challenge of the IT department is to manage user accounts and group memberships manually. They need to create new accounts, grant and revoke permissions, and track the resource usage. They also need to update records when employees change their name, location, or designation due to reasons such as promotion. But often, due to time constraints or team restructuring, directory updates are missed, and this can lead to a potential security breach. The task of creating new accounts and assigning proper permissions can be time-consuming, confusing, and cumbersome for the IT staff, especially when the volume of data is high. This process can take a lot of time and leave employees unproductive and stranded if there’s a delay.

To streamline the process of user provisioning and deprovisioning, companies need to have an automatic user provisioning tool. These tools help companies remove difficulties and streamline the management of user accounts and permissions. With an automated tool, employee credentials, existing user sessions, and connected applications of employees who have left the company are disabled automatically without IT staff getting involved.

What Is User Account Provisioning and Deprovisioning?

User account provisioning (or user provisioning) is the process of granting privileges and permissions to users or groups based on their role. It involves creation, modification, and deletion of user accounts and permissions. These identity management actions take place whenever there’s a change or addition of information in a personnel system.

On the other hand, user deprovisioning is the process of revoking privileges and access rights of a user or a group to ensure they no longer have access to company resources.

Benefits of an Automated User Provisioning Software

Streamlined Account Management

When a new employee joins the company, the user provisioning tool must assign an email account, username, and home directory, and grant access permissions to them depending on their role and entitlement rules. Further, when an employee is promoted to a new position in the organization, the automated user provisioning tool must update their directory account details. New access permissions should be granted, and additional accounts must be created to meet compliance requirements. Finally, when an employee leaves an organization, their accounts and access rights must be revoked for security purposes. The automated user provisioning tool should disable the former employee’s account and delete it permanently after a few days.

Efficient Handling of Ad Hoc Requests

The automated user provisioning tool must cater to ad hoc requests. The self-service solution must allow users and their managers to raise requests for additional resources. The access request is then routed to the concerned department and they can approve or deny access as per the entitlement rule.

Improved Productivity

In many cases, enterprises don’t understand why they need a user provisioning tool. In the absence of an effective user provisioning tool, the admin may lose productivity by spending unlimited hours fixing permissions problems. With a user provisioning tool, hiccups related to unauthorized access, internal breaches, and delays can be avoided. This, in turn, allows admins to improve productivity.

Enhanced Security

Every organization needs to keep their data and resources secure from intruders. Organizations face both internal and external threats. If an outside user has privileged account access, they can compromise sensitive information, delete accounts, add accounts, or use a resource for malicious purposes. There might also be malicious invaders within the company who intend to access important files, change settings, or seek confidential information. A good user provisioning tool helps ensure users can only access the parts of the system they need to do their jobs.

Best User Provisioning Software

Before you choose a user provisioning software, you must ensure it’s comprehensive and can reduce overheads. It should be simple to use and provide a good user experience. The tool must work quickly to automatically activate and deactivate accounts, allow self-service, delegate access requests, and keep track of data access.

Before you roll out the user provisioning solution, be clear of the scope of the tool. You must have a clear understanding of the groups and teams to be included. Don’t include all teams at once; test the tool initially and if you’re happy with the results, implement it across your entire organization to see if it scales well.

Once implemented, leverage a monitoring program to keep track of the number of user provisioning requests handled by the tool and the number of requests handled manually. You can schedule internal audit reports on security and compliance and track end-user satisfaction. We recommend SolarWinds® Access Rights Manager for better account management.

SolarWinds Access Rights Manager (ARM)

screenshot of solarwinds access rights manager showing user account creation

SolarWinds Access Rights Manager (ARM) is a user provisioning tool used by small, medium, and large enterprises globally. ARM allows admins to trace complete account activity and access changes to assist them in audits. This helps manage compliance obligations and keep the system secure. ARM easily manages and controls Active Directory and Group Policy to identify the status of shared folder permissions. ARM creates new accounts quickly and grants permissions using role-specific templates individually to reduce the burden on admins. With the help of role-specific templates, best security practices are implemented across user accounts. The tool also provides a comprehensive view of the user account permissions to help IT teams quickly analyze user account activity and access. With SolarWinds ARM real-time user permissions monitoring, malicious accounts with unauthorized access can be detected, and faster response processes can be implemented to safeguard the information. With ARM, audit-ready reports can be produced to show real-time insights into user actions. You can opt for a free trial of ARM for 30 days to completely understand the features of the software.

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