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Elements To Consider When Looking To Automate Provisioning And De-Provisioning

Rich Waldron is the CEO and co-founder of Tray.io, a leader in low-code general workflow automation.

The market is in the midst of the so-called “great resignation,” as workers at all levels of the organization seek greener pastures. Your LinkedIn inbox probably has at least a few unsolicited connection requests and private messages from headhunters and recruiting firms. After weathering the storm of uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, individuals in every role — from entry-level positions to the C-suite — are seeking a fresh start.

According to recent PwC findings, 65% of employees reported they’re looking for a new job, and 88% of executives stated that their organization is experiencing higher than normal turnover. Those of us who are moving on are finding exciting new opportunities, while those of us staying put are experiencing something of a “turnover tsunami.” 

The Aftermath Of Turnover

Employee turnover is expensive. Once your key team members move on, your organization needs to invest in candidate searches, time-consuming interviews, onboarding, training and new equipment. There’s also a largely unseen cost for IT and HR teams, who are responsible for properly processing the records and internal software permissions for departing employees and new hires.

The modern enterprise likely uses hundreds of different applications across its tech stack, presenting a significant burden for IT, HR and security teams to quickly onboard and provision new hires. Specifically, new employees need to be set up with email accounts, proper access to the various software applications that enable them to do their job and the correct permissions for viewing customer and internal data. Account provisioning can take hours of manual work based on how many permissions and accounts need to be created and how much data needs to be transferred securely.

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And when an employee departs, IT and HR teams must de-provision that user’s accounts, removing that team member from all internal systems and shutting down access to software applications. De-provisioning means revoking provisions, changing passwords and closing down accounts entirely to ensure the departing employee doesn’t have access to proprietary information and to ensure you’re properly tracking and utilizing your software licenses.

De-provisioning accounts is extremely important, and failing to execute this important process properly can inflict considerable damage on your business. Just within the past year, a former Cisco employee accessed the company’s cloud infrastructure and deleted more than 450 virtual machines for Cisco’s Webex Teams application, costing the company more than $1.4 million.

Provisioning and de-provisioning are processes that can quickly become a full-time job for HR teams that need to focus on strategic hires and for IT teams that need to focus on important initiatives such as digital transformation and infosec. 

Adding Automation To Disaster Preparedness Kits 

One strategy to employ to stay on top of all those increasingly complex provisioning and de-provisioning jobs for your growing maze of software applications is automation. In fact, 27% percent of CIOs ranked automation as a top technology necessary to facilitate the future of work in the next two years.

One way to automate user provisioning is via low-code tooling, which both technical IT teams and non-technical HR teams can use. For instance, low-code platforms can design automated processes known as workflows. In each workflow, users can create custom integrations that facilitate seamless user provisioning. By connecting different software applications via API endpoints, low-code platforms can manipulate data stored within each of your applications, including authentications, which you can set to auto-create or auto-delete on demand.

There are a few things to consider when looking to automate provisioning and de-provisioning: 

1. Audit services and vendors. Audit all of your organization’s current services and vendors. With a comprehensive list of vendors and software apps, you can develop a centralized system of record that keeps track of each tool, each employee’s level of access to each tool, and which team members act as administrators to provide final approvals. Your documentation will be necessary to expedite, process and route requests later on in the approvals process.

2. Integrate your tech stack. Integrating your tech stack at the API level ensures you can seamlessly pass data bi-directionally to and from each application you use, to auto-update access permissions whenever you need. Logistically, you may also want to integrate chatbots and collaboration tools (such as Slack or Microsoft Teams) into your provisioning and de-provisioning workflows to make it easier for line-of-business users to send requests to IT or HR.

3. Process makes perfect. Ensure you have the proper approval processes in place, including auto-approvals from key software administrators and your HR and IT teams to remain compliant with your company’s infosec and data privacy policies. By properly scoping out your automated process before implementation, you ensure employees have access only to the information and systems they need. Organizations can use ​​tools such as Jira, ServiceNow or Zendesk to track and manage provisioning and de-provisioning requests.

With automated processes in place, IT and HR teams can efficiently provision and de-provision any number of employees across your entire tech stack. Automation can drive greater organizational efficiency and compliance with strict security standards by provisioning or updating accounts for your team at scale without manually processing each request.


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