What is user provisioning?

User provisioning enables management teams to control access to business resources, strengthening data security by limiting unnecessary access and allowing only authorized personnel to log in.

User provisioning technology can assist management teams in enabling access, managing accounts and revoking access as needed. It simplifies the process of handling new hires, transfers, promotions and terminations.

User provisioning tools can also automatically aggregate and correlate identity data from HR, CRMs, email systems and other repositories, helping IT teams define and track identity-based access.

What is automated user provisioning?

Automated user provisioning occurs when information is automatically modified within a “source system” (ex. an HR system). Organizations often arrange processes in such a way where certain ‘qualified’ events can trigger automated user account provisioning processes. When manually triggered, the process is sometimes referred to as Delegated User Account Provisioning.

Why not manually manage user provisioning?

Manually managing user accounts, permissions and the scope/reach of a given permission can turn into a time-sink for IT teams. They might spend hours and hours on this type of activity, depending on the size of an organization, when automated user provisioning could allow IT personnel to pursue higher-level tasks.

When a new product manager is hired, for example, it takes an IT department an average of 30 minutes to create a new account and to correctly assign permissions. When IT departments are overwhelmed by new hires, this process can be delayed for several days, leaving new employees stranded and unproductive across their first few days of work.

What about revoking user permissions?

When an employee shifts roles, but stays within the same organization, IT teams may need to revoke irrelevant permissions. However, the revocation of employee permissions is often deprioritized, or overlooked altogether.

This can result in an accumulation of access rights, which is becoming a significant issue for security teams these days.

Attribute-based access control (ABAC) provisioning can help teams remove IT services that are no longer necessary or relevant to a user’s current job role. As noted previously, removal of excess permissions increases cyber security.

Allowing excess permissions to remain tied to a user’s profile can increase the probability of hacker privileged escalation or data theft, should they gain access to login credentials, and it can increase the severity of an insider threat. The more data that an inside threat actor can gain access to, the greater the magnitude of the breach.

How else does user provisioning strengthen security? 

Cyber criminals can easily breach an organization by cracking a weak password, rendering user provisioning a crucial threat prevention mechanism. User provisioning establishes robust password policies that include access rights, rules for password strength, aging and reuse, thereby bolstering an organization’s cyber security posture.

What is a self-service workflow? 

Self-service automation tools can assist in automating an organization’s permission granting processes. In other words, it helps teams skip negotiations with the IT department, and instead enables direct managers to approve permissions.

These tools empower employees, can save time (no more flurries of emails) and can keep users productive while reducing the IT team’s workload.

Further information

User provisioning is a game-changer that streamlines access management processes, enhances employee productivity, and boosts operational velocity.

Effective user provisioning is critical to enhancing enterprise data security and has a significant impact on an organization’s overall security posture.

For more insights that empower enterprises to protect and automate identity management processes at scale, please see CyberTalk.org’s past coverage. Want to stay up-to-date with trends in technology? Check out the CyberTalk.org newsletter. Sign up today to receive top-notch news articles, best practices and expert analyses; delivered straight to your inbox.