Identity and access provisioning

Posted by Edward Killeen on Wed, Feb 13, 2013

Users and their access are inextricably linked.  The National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) estimates that users are only 58% productive without their proper access.  So, why are provisioning processes often separate from access governance processes?

identity and access provisioningIt should be an identity ecosystem.  When a user is initially provisioned from HR (or a contractor database or a customer self-registration), you apply an initial role to that user dynamically based on what you know about them.  That role (or roles) determine in which systems the user needs to be provisioned.  An example is: sales rep in Toledo will need an Active Directory account, an Exchange mailbox, an ERP account and a account.

Once that user has these accounts, the user will need to have roles within these applications.  The ability to modify groups, access SharePoint sites, place customer orders, modify CRM records and anything else that is role based.  This is the idea that you are provisioning access and accounts.

Some systems, like your VPN or shared folders or Business Intelligence app, may use AD groups to grant these roles.  And this is why provisioning access goes beyond just the application role based access control listed above to group based access control.  No organization can manually keep up with all of the group membership requirements that is required; you need to provision group membership dynamically based on rules and roles

Groups are intertwined in your everyday corporate life, from distribution lists to printer access.  However, role based access control is arguably the more modern approach to access governance, reaching outside of the Microsoft ecosystem better and being generally more flexible.  Having group membership controlled by your role makes this easy.

This can all happen dynamically in the first minutes of a user's employment, but users don't sit still for much longer than that.  Estimate vary, but on average, there is a 20% internal turnover per year.  These are employees that are still with the company, but have some sort of job change whether it be a redeployment, promotion, move, or restructuring.  Then the whole identity and access provisioning scenario starts again.

Having a metadirectory sitting in the middle of this identity ecosystem gives you flexibility to inventory HR or AD or any other authoritative source or sources to detect these changes.  Once the change to a user happens, all of the application provisioning can be re-evaluated, de-provisioning accounts they no longer need, provisioning new accounts and changing roles within the applications.

Group memberships get re-evaluated, removing access to old and granting access to new.  EmpowerID can generate reports to show new resultant access for the new roles for auditors or new managers to review.

Then if an offboarding event does happen, all accounts and access are linked to an EmpowerID person object and can be removed in one fell swoop, with accounts de-activated and an audit trail to show access has been removed from everything except their 401K account.

Too often, provisioning is looked at as a way to create an account without considering that access is as important as the user accounts.  Then the lifecycle of the user needs to be considered, again not just as an account but the role and access level required.

EmpowerID's unique visual workflow component, metadirectory and RBAC engine work together as part of the IAM platform to keep privisioning, evaluating and re-provisioning user accounts and access throughout a user's lifecycle.

Schedule a Demo! Identity & Access Provisioning

Tags: Role Based Access Control (RBAC), User provisioning, Identity and Access Management (IAM)