Identity Lifecycle Management with AccessFlow: From User Onboarding to Offboarding 

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16 Jan, 2024

Imagine an employee or contractor joining your firm and realizing he must wait for days to access enterprise resources necessary to perform his duties. A few months after onboarding, he is again required to write multiple emails and raise tickets for new accounts and access permissions during a promotion or departmental change. Frustrated and dissatisfied with such cumbersome processes, the employees may decide to leave your company. This scenario is common when you adopt a manual and legacy approach to digital identity lifecycle management. With traditional identity management and governance solutions in place, it is typically time-consuming and tedious for your IT staff to manage the digital identity lifecycle, from user onboarding to offboarding. Moreover, legacy tools require complex and costly customizations to extend identity security capabilities across hybrid and cloud environments, making it difficult for businesses to keep pace with change and be future-ready. Gaining in-depth visibility into access activities across the organization is also challenging with outdated identity management practices. By deploying modern identity governance and administration tools, you can address the identity lifecycle challenges while ensuring security and regulatory compliance.   

AccessFlow, built on the robust ServiceNow platform, is one such modern and comprehensive solution. It seamlessly integrates with your HR systems and active directory services to streamline the identity lifecycle management processes. As a SOC 1 Type 1 Certified Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution, it automates and simplifies the repetitive, error-prone identity management tasks throughout the employee lifecycle and optimizes Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) efficiency by offering the following capabilities:   

  • Swift user onboarding through role-based access control  
  • Secure user authentication and authorization 
  • Real-time adjustments in user roles and access rights  
  • Employee self-service portal for low-risk service requests   
  • Automated and scheduled access reviews  
  • Efficient offboarding with timely permission and account removal  
  • Unified portal for complete visibility into user identities and their associated access permissions 

Before we dig deeper into how AccessFlow elevates your identity lifecycle management strategy to the next level, let’s first understand:    

Common Identity Lifecycle Management Challenges and Considerations

Manual and error-prone onboarding  

Companies with a standardized onboarding process experience a 70 percent and 82 percent spike in new hire retention and productivity, respectively. Despite this, many organizations still rely on paper-based onboarding procedures, leading to decreased employee satisfaction, higher attrition, and lower IT productivity. Manually creating user accounts across different enterprise applications and provisioning the correct level of access for new hires is costlier and time-consuming for organizations, with increased risk of human errors. With modern IAM solution in place, companies can streamline the onboarding process with real-time provisioning of user accounts and access privileges for new hires.

Determining birthright access permissions 

Companies relying on manual and legacy access management and governance tools and processes often find it challenging to determine the birthright access permissions of new hires. They struggle to provide correct privileges to new employees due to the manual onboarding approach. Striking the right balance in user permissions is key: too few permissions make it difficult for new hires to hit the ground running on day one and be more productive, whereas over-allocation of privileges can introduce security risks for your company. Modern IAM tools can help you overcome this challenge by automatically provisioning new hires with proper permissions based on their job roles.   

Preventing the risk of privilege creep 

Employees’ roles, responsibilities, and departments tend to change during their tenure in an organization. While such changes demand access to new enterprise apps, databases, and network folders, it is common for IT staff to forget to review and remove unnecessary access privileges allocated to employees during their previous roles. This accumulation of unnecessary permissions over time by employees leads to privilege creep and can be determinantal to overall organizational security. Such employees or user accounts with elevated privileges are a prime target of attackers and can be used to steal sensitive data from your mission-critical apps or systems. Running periodic access attestation is thus a great way to reduce this risk of privilege creep. 

Handling repetitive identity management tasks  

After receiving initial access rights during onboarding, the employees constantly make new requests, such as password resets and account creation, as they switch departments or receive promotions. Handling such repetitive, mundane identity lifecycle management tasks poses a major threat to your IT team’s productivity, keeping them away from strategic initiatives. It can also frustrate your employees, leading to lower commitment and job satisfaction. Modern IAM solutions with self-service capabilities can alleviate the burden of your service desk staff while ensuring smooth end-user experiences.   

Ensuring security and compliance during employee departures  

When employees depart from your organization, it is important to remove their accounts or access privileges to reduce the security and compliance risks. However, with manual deprovisioning, it is common for IT to overlook or delay the task of terminating user accounts or privileges of departing employees. As a result, the orphaned accounts of past employees can be exploited for data breaches and cyber-attacks, leading to security failures. A modern IAM solution with a centralized identity directory and single sign-on tools can help you automate deprovisioning while maintaining security and compliance. 

How AccessFlow Solves the Onboarding, Offboarding, and Mid-Lifecycle Changes 

1. Automated, error-free onboarding 

AccessFlow empowers you to automate and streamline the manual, error-prone onboarding process with real-time provisioning of access rights to new employees. It can seamlessly integrate with your HR systems to fetch new hires’ digital identity and role information in real time. It then uses such role information to automatically create new accounts and assign correct access privileges across all downstream applications needed by new hires. This not only reduces human errors but also ensures smooth onboarding experiences. Such role-based provisioning also makes it easy to determine the birthrights of new hires, making them productive from day one. Furthermore, AccessFlow also supports delegating the provisioning tasks directly to application owners, enabling them to quickly onboard new users and assign appropriate permissions with minimal IT support. 

2. Low-code No-code capabilities for simplified application management 

Unlike traditional identity solutions available in the market, AccessFlow – built on ServiceNow’s Low Code No Code platform – empowers your application owners or admins to quickly onboard new applications without in-depth technical know-how and coding requirements. They can also quickly add or remove user roles and adjust access permissions with minimum IT support. This, in turn, eliminates the need to conduct multiple meetings with different stakeholders, get approvals, and hire skilled developers for application onboarding and management, resulting in significant time and cost savings for companies. Access Flow’s low-code no-code capabilities also enable you to set up automated workflows to streamline the entire identity lifecycle, such as integrating identity data with your HR system and active directory to automate day-one access for employees. Such process automation makes your employees productive from day one while reducing IT and help desk burden. 

3. On-premises and cloud-based access control for modern businesses 

AccessFlow addresses the unique identity and access management needs of modern businesses operating in hybrid environments by providing access control for both on-premises and cloud-based systems. Unlike legacy access management tools, AccessFlow empowers employees to work from any location and any device without worrying about identity security, thanks to its cloud-ready infrastructure. With capabilities like single sign-on, it allows employees to access different apps, databases, and network folders across heterogeneous IT environments with a single set of credentials, enhancing overall user experience. Furthermore, it enforces additional security for sensitive business data and applications deployed across hybrid environments by employing secure authentication and authorization methods, such as multi-factor authentication and role-based access control. 

4. Periodic access attestations to prevent privilege creep  

AccessFlow enables companies to set up and schedule automatic access reviews to prevent the risk of privilege creep during employee transfers or departures. Running such periodic access certification allows organizations to automatically add new access rights and remove unnecessary permissions and accounts when an employee switches departments or leaves organization to maintain security and compliance. It also helps ensure that employees’ access to enterprise resources remains legitimate and accurate throughout their employment journey. Furthermore, AccessFlow can assist in conducting micro-certification campaigns between scheduled access review cycles to identify malicious users or access activities that violate important access policies, such as segregation of duties.

5. Self-service portal for enhanced service desk productivity 

AccessFlow empowers your employees with intuitive self-service tools, enabling them to reset passwords, request access to enterprise resources, and update account information quickly with minimum dependency on help desk staff. This not only saves your HR and IT teams valuable time but also enhances your employee experience by giving them greater autonomy and control over tools they use during their daily work routine. Such self-service capabilities also make the mid-lifecycle changes easier and more efficient for your employees by eliminating manual approvals and long waiting periods. 

6. Simplified offboarding through automated deprovisioning 

Powered by ServiceNow’s reliable and extensive architecture, AccessFlow automatically removes unnecessary access rights and user accounts when employees move to different departments or depart your organization, saving your IT teams valuable time and effort. Consequently, it helps in the identification and deactivation of dormant accounts, thereby reducing the risk of data theft and other security threats. Visibility into such dormant accounts also allows you to identify and remove unused software licenses, leading to reduced operational costs.

In a nutshell, automating identity lifecycle management can help organizations simplify and streamline user onboarding and offboarding processes, ensure quick access to enterprise resources, and minimize the risk of human errors and security threats. By deploying modern identity and access management solution, companies can successfully overcome challenges faced at different stages of the digital identity lifecycle, from onboarding to offboarding. AccessFlow, a product by Alcor, is an ideal solution for companies aiming to streamline and simplify their digital identity lifecycle and unify access administration across enterprise networks, from mission-critical applications to network folders to systems. Whether you need to onboard a new user, conduct access reviews, or terminate the access rights of a departing employee, AccessFlow serves as a one-stop platform for all your access management and governance needs.   

To know more about AccessFlow and how it can revolutionize identity lifecycle management in your organization, reach out to us at information@alcortech.com

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