Automated provisioning and deprovisioning

Posted by Edward Killeen on Thu, Jan 24, 2013

automated provisioning and deprovisioningWhat goes up must come down.  For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Every user provisioned is eventually deprovisioned.  It's the circle of identity, a term I just made up.

At its core, the concept is simple.  In practice, it is a lot of work.  Microsoft published a statistic at one point that the average user is provisioned in 16 directories when hired yet only deprovisioned from 9 upon dismissal.  That is 7 directories worth of identity floating around your enterprise for a user that doesn't exist.

Provisioning has to be automated and deprovisioning has to be tied to that process.  The obvious automation that you need is to have both processes tied to your HR system.  The logic is simple, if you have a hire date and no fire date, you should have a user account.  But the flaw starts when you have multiple connected systems, both cloud and on-premise.

If you were hired as the receptionist, got promoted to a coordinator and ultimately a manager, you should and will have different accounts in different applications for each of those stages of your career.  Upon your termination date, your identity management system needs to know which accounts you currently have to properly deprovision you.

In effect, you need constantly updating role based provisioning to keep up with your ongoing provisioning and deprovisioning needs.  These roles will constantly update not only your resource access but your application access as well.  Think of it like a key ring, take the old ones away when you add new ones.  You are much less likely to have those extra 7 accounts on your last day.

To keep all of this in synch, your identity platform needs the concept of a person account which joins all of your user accounts to you.  EmpowerID's metadirectory performs this function giving a full view of all of a user's accounts tied to their person record.  So after the three promotions and constant turnover in that user's lifecycle, upon their termination date, you have a clear record of all application accounts, and can deprovision ALL of them, both on premise and cloud.

Think about this term: lifecycle.  Because not all users are managed by a set of hire/fire dates.  Contractors, temps, external partners, customers.  HR cannot be expected to keep a good record of the hire/fire dates of these users, yet they still need access.  Again, not just to the network but to individual applications.

The EmpowerID metadirectory allows you to put start and end dates on any access to any resource, keeping the access from living forever.  Upon hitting the end date, simply renew or let the access expire.  The same thing applies for attestation, you can have the owner of a resource attest to all users who need access.  Or you can have the owner of the identity (manager, account manager, etc) attest that the user still needs each level of access granted.

The metadirectory's join engine and provisioning and deprovisioning workflows automate provisioning and deprovisioning.  The attestation policies keep exceptions from slipping through the cracks.  This keeps the user account store from going up without going down.

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Tags: User provisioning