No matter who you are – automating access governance solves a plethora of business problems
You think your organisation’s systems are secure. Your employees have the solutions they need to maintain security, and for them to do their jobs effectively. Your user accounts are being provisioned automatically and you provide self-service, so anyone who is locked out, for example, can immediately get back into their workstations and perform at the highest level. Your newly hired employees can quickly get started from moment one without delay, right, with proper access to the organisation’s network as soon as they sit down.
Scoff if you like, these are the assurances I hear about on a regular basis. Organisational and IT leaders expressing confidence in their protocols and processes only to find on further examination a few flaws exposed, such as those mentioned above, that get them to rethink how things are getting done. For example, user accounts are not automatically provisioned, ready for use when an employee begins his or her first day on the job. Cloud applications and access management are not synched.
A close look will likely show you that there is much room for improvement. Manually provisioning accounts? No need. You can easily reduce operational burden by automating. Struggling IT teams can find some relief in the simplicity of such an approach. Something this simple – automated access management – can save you time and money and help you meet audit requirements (if that’s ever a concern of yours).
Need proof? Perhaps here’s some. Accounts are getting provisioned in a timely fashion. So, why then would you need such a solution? Add up the amount of resources and time you spend on the task. Like any manually driven process, it can be filled with errors. Why take the risk? Eliminate needless errors or the potential of occurrence.
Another issue where there might be some concern (as previously mentioned): New employees don’t have network access to begin work as soon as they arise. I’ve seen some instances where an employee waited several days for the appropriate access to the organisation’s network accounts before the employee could even begin work. The excitement for the new position and the work is most likely sapped in the first week of employment. Another downfall: Wasted money for the organisation because of lost productivity - even from someone on the job less than a week productivity matters.
Also consider that provision of accounts can be a thankless, repetitive task that consumes a considerable amount of time for experienced IT employees. That’s a double waste for the organisation – requiring an experienced IT professional taking his or her time to manage something a machine could easily do (without error).
It’s typical for account creation to take about half an hour for IT to complete, and that was only if the IT employees had all the correct information available for the provisioning from the beginning. If not, department employees need to track down the individual needing provisioning in an attempt to gain the required information or wait for a response that could take several hours or more. By automating, the organisation easily creates employee accounts by entering the employee’s information, defining profiles and which systems they need access to. One specific organisation had a four to five day window for account creation, but by using an account management solution, employees are now able to have their accounts created right away and start working the same day they are hired.
For security’s sake
Precautions don’t mean safety or security. In so doing, there’s a good chance that you feel like you’ve battened down the hatches. Possibly not the case; test it out. Take a look around to determine what are your employees doing? Give an askance eye toward their monitors as you walk by. Linger awhile, but while on your walkabout see if you can locate any Post-it notes pasted to the employee’s monitors. See any sensitive material scattered about their desks with user credentials written on them?
One bank in Massachusetts took on this very experiment and the results led leadership to make some quick changes. Users had too many passwords to remember. The answer was found in a single sign-on solution, which gave employees the ability to log in to all required applications with just one user name and password. This dramatically reduced login times. No more scribbled down passwords pasted to employee’s desks and better security as a result.
Efficiently reset passwords
Other than password insecurity (a result of requiring employees to remember too many passwords) they produce a huge amount of wasted time. Password-related queries are the single most common call to the IT helpdesk. It’s time consuming for the helpdesk staff and the employee. This becomes a bigger problem for those who work outside the posted helpdesk operational hours. If an employee works nights, weekends or even in a different time zone, and is locked out of an account, he or she is unable to contact the helpdesk to reset the password. This leaves the employee unable to access applications or system until the helpdesk receives and processes the request, leaving them unproductive.
Another firm, this one known for its incredible coverage of the earth’s people and its resources, experienced the same issues as the Massachusetts bank. It’s a very common issue with no real border based on the size or sector of the business. Their employees needed to access multiple cloud applications, with different credentials for each system. They faced issues because employees had difficulty logging in because they either forgot their passwords or were unable to contact the helpdesk because, as a worldwide organisation, employees are located in multiple time zones, obviously outside of the business hours of the organisation’s headquarters helpdesk.
Another technological advancement that helps in the war again password fails is self-service reset password solutions, which let employees simply answer pre-defined security questions and they are able to quickly reset their passwords without contacting the helpdesk. This allows them to quickly resolve their password issues and continue on with their work.
Though you might not find yourself experiencing major access governance or password management issues that need a solution, but there is technology that easily improve your current processes. No matter your sector or industry or how big or small your organisation may be, if you’ve got any of above-mentioned issues, there are access governance solutions that can help improve your organisation.
Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.
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