Whatever sector your business operates within, your tech stack probably features a large number of SaaS products. After all, innovative software is often essential for improving the efficiency of your operations and helping your company grow.
However, almost all businesses using SaaS platforms require multiple user accounts for employees, members of senior management, stakeholders, and clients. Every time someone requires access to an application, for example in case of a new hire being onboarded, IT has to manually add them to the relevant software – a tedious and time-consuming process.
At the same time, of course, organizations must protect user data and sensitive company information. Internal threats and cyber hackers represent a very real danger that could end up costing your business huge sums of money and wreaking reputational damage.
So, how do businesses balance these essential considerations? The answer lies in efficient and secure user provisioning and deprovisioning. If you’re unsure about what this means and how to go about it, don’t fret. We’ve put together a simple guide to the provisioning process, including information about how onetool’s automated user provisioning feature could help your save time and stay compliant.
Table of Contents
- What is User Provisioning?
- How does user provisioning automation work?
- What are the benefits of automated user provisioning?
- How onetool automates provisioning
- Ready to automate provisioning for all your software?
What is User Provisioning?
Put simply, user provisioning is a process whereby companies give people (typically employees or clients) permission to use a SaaS platform. Responsible administrators grant users different access levels depending on their role, with senior employees often given more access to sensitive information.
Successful user provisioning strategies incorporate the creation, modification, and deletion of user accounts to align with the shifting makeup of a given organization. Updating access permissions in this way will help to protect a business from infiltration by cyber hackers while ensuring that employees can do their jobs while being able to use the software they require.
Key types of user provisioning
Depending on the type or structure of an organization there are different types of user provisioning. You can conduct user provisioning and deprovisioning in one of the following ways:
1. Self-service user provisioning
Sometimes, companies allow employees to participate in some aspects of the provisioning process, thereby reducing the burden on administrative staff or IT teams. While this method may save time and effort, it could represent a cybersecurity risk if employees use the SaaS product in question to store sensitive data.
2. Discretionary user provisioning
Discretionary user provisioning gives administrative staff the power to decide which apps or documents a user may access. It is relatively common amongst small businesses but can be time-consuming and vulnerable to errors. For big companies or organizations subscribed to a significant number of tech services, manual provisioning is simply unfeasible.
3. Automated user provisioning
Automated user provisioning is quickly becoming the most commonly adopted method of user provisioning thanks to its speed and practicality. It involves using a centralized software management application to oversee every user account in a company’s tech stack. Automated provisioning platforms such as onetool automatically provision and deprovision relevant accounts whenever necessary, thereby significantly reducing the burden on IT administrators and eliminating the possibility of human error. Automated provisioning is often considered fundamental to successful identity access management (IAM).
In reality there rarely is a clear standard as to how organizations are approaching user provisioning. Our latest survery among IT decision makers shows that while 42% of the surveyed organization’s make use of an in house tool to manage provisioning, an equal share (41.5%) still manually provisions user through the tools’ interfaces.
How does user provisioning automation work?
While the process of provisioning and deprovisioning SaaS users may sound complicated, it couldn’t be simpler with the help of automated technologies. Applications such as onetool are programmed to understand which applications and resources an employee or client needs based on their department or role. You can then grant or remove access to an app depending on their stage in the provisioning lifecycle:
- When a new starter or client joins your company, your chosen identity management application will assign them a role and department
- Your provisioning platform will grant the employee access to relevant SaaS platforms based on their roles, responsibilities, and level of seniority.
- Whenever the individual leaves your company or changes roles, your can identity management platform will automatically adjust their access permissions so you can automatically change software access.
This method tends to be more effective than manual provisioning as IT staff and administrators are often busy juggling a whole host of responsibilities. For everyday workers, user provisioning and deprovisioning may not appear at the top of their priorities list.
What are the benefits of automated user provisioning?
A provisioning platform could prove to be a godsend for your IT and HR teams. Here’s why:
1. Automated provisioning boosts accuracy
As well as being tedious and uninspiring, manual data entry is a process vulnerable to errors. With automated user provisioning, you can ensure that SaaS users’ names and credentials are accurately recorded across your IT systems, thereby reducing cybersecurity risks and reassuring new starters that your company is competent and worth working for.
Automated systems are vital for companies subscribed to a large number of SaaS platforms as they ensure user attributes are correctly mapped in accordance with the demands of individual applications. Remember – different SaaS providers require different combinations of user credentials. Automating your account creation processes ensures that relevant attributes are transferred from your user to individual SaaS applications whenever necessary.
2. You can optimize provisioning visibility
Automated provisioning ensures that HR and IT administrators are able to see who has access to a given SaaS application, including whether their permission level is suitable. This ensures that access levels are appropriately distributed throughout your organization and reduces the likelihood of shadow IT. Shadow IT is a phenomenon whereby tech solutions or applications are installed or used without the permission of an IT department or senior staff member. Left unchecked, shadow IT could compromise a company’s security strategy or cost large sums of money, so businesses must do everything in their power to avoid it.
3. Automated technologies reduce the costs of onboarding
Onboarding new starters or clients can be costly and time-consuming, particularly if your business is growing quickly or merging with another organization. In fact, urgent mergers that need migration to occur at lightning speed are impossible to handle without the help of automated technologies. What’s more, manually transferring data from hundreds or even thousands of users from one platform to another is likely to incur plenty of errors.
Fortunately, automation reduces the need for manual onboarding, thus lessening the need for overtime. This saves money and allows IT staff to get on with more exciting technical tasks that require individual expertise. In fact, if your HR department takes control of inputting users’ digital identities into your central directory, your IT team won’t have to do any manual data entry at all.
4. You can remain compliant with stringent laws and regulations
Investing in an automated provisioning technology is one of the simplest ways to remain compliant with data protection laws. Regardless of where your company operates from, you should pay attention to a host of regulatory rules associated with provisioning and deprovisioning, including the need to assign individual users unique ID numbers and revoking access for redundant users.
Administrators who adopt automated strategies are much better at complying with access stipulations compared to those who use manual methods. What’s more, automated strategies are more likely to involve vital cybersecurity protections such as multi-factor authentication.
5. Automated provisioning is better for the user
Automated provisioning platforms are beneficial for SaaS users as well as IT staff and administrators. Indeed, seamless onboarding processes reduce the need for employees and clients to chase people up for access permissions. New starters whose hardware and software are configured and ready to go as soon as they turn up at the office are more likely to feel welcome and happy in their new role compared to employees with less smooth experiences. Optimizing your onboarding process could significantly reduce employee turnover if you’re struggling to hold on to talented new hires.
How onetool automates provisioning
If you’re on the hunt for an automated provisioning platform, look no further than onetool. Our superior user provisioning process includes the following benefits:
1. Provisioning for every tool and plan
However large or diverse your SaaS stack, onetool will integrate with all your active subscriptions, no matter which plan you are subscribed to. This is the first step to reduce the threat of shadow IT and facilitate effortless onboarding.
2. 1-click onboarding and offboarding
onetool’s automated provisioning feature ensures that HR and IT administrators are able to provide their employees access to all given SaaS applications in one place and with minimal effort. This ensures that access levels are appropriately distributed throughout your organization and reduces the likelihood of shadow IT. Eliminating manual onboarding drastically reduces the need for overtime. This saves money and allows IT staff to get on with more mission critical technical tasks that require individual expertise.
3. Ease of use
Onboarding new starters or clients can be costly and time-consuming, particularly if your business is growing quickly or merging with another organization. Implementing and using a platform for automated provisioning should not add to these inefficiencies, but be quick and lean instead. While many SaaS management providers target enterprise users with tons of features that take a long time to implement, onetool offers plug and play functionality that you can start using in minutes not months.