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System of Record

A system of record (SoR for short) is a system with authoritative data about users who should -- and should not -- have access to systems and applications. The most common type of SoR is a human resources (HR) application, which can provide a current list of employees, along with employment status and possibly start and termination dates. This data can be consumed by an identity and access management system to automatically create new and deactivate existing accounts.

In addition to HR systems, SoRs may include student enrollment systems, contractor management systems, etc. HR is simply the most commonly used example.

When considering an automated identity management process, driven by an SoR, it is important to consider whether the SoR is:

In many organizations, even though an SoR is available, it fails one or more of these conditions and so should not be used, at least until the processes that are used to maintain the SoR data are repaired so that the above conditions are met.

Hitachi ID Identity Manager can monitor one or more systems of record on a periodic basis (e.g., nightly or every few hours), enumerating new, deleted and changed users. In the case of an HR application, for example, these changes may represent new hires, terminations and transfers. Auto-discovery is performed on all integrated systems and applications -- not just systems of record.

Changes detected by Identity Manager are passed through a data filter, which removes users that are outside Identity Manager's scope. For instance, in a scenario where Identity Manager manages all users in one country, but the HR system is global, Identity Manager would ignore changes to users from other countries.

All changes to a given user are aggregated and business logic is executed, with the set of changes as input. This is best illustrated with some examples:

Detected change

Actions

Net result
New user appears in an HR application.

  • Lookup appropriate role based on the user's location and job code.
  • Submit a change request to the Identity Manager workflow engine, to create a new user, with the HR-provided identity attributes and with resources specified by the role.

Auto-provisioning.
New phone number detected on white pages directory.

  • White pages has a higher priority for the phone number attribute than other systems.
  • Submit a change request to the Identity Manager workflow engine, to change the phone number in the user's profile.
  • Once approved (most likely automatically), the new phone number is mapped to other login IDs belonging to the user and connectors are run to update this information on other systems.

Identity synchronization.
Change to termination date is detected on the HR system.

  • Using the identity synchronization mechanism described above, set this date on the user's profile.
  • A separate batch process periodically identifies users with today or earlier termination dates and submits requests to disable all accounts for every matching user.

Automated termination.
User disappears from system of record (HR).

  • Lookup all of a user's login IDs.
  • Submit a "disable all accounts" change request to the Identity Manager workflow engine.
  • Given the source of the request (employee gone from HR), this type of change may be auto-approved.

Automated termination (2nd method).
User was added to Administrators group on Active Directory domain.

  • Since the change was detected on AD, it follows that it was not initiated by Identity Manager.
  • Submit two change requests to the workflow engine:
    • Remove the user from the Administrators group (this is an auto-approved change).
    • Add the user from the Administrators group (requires approval).
  • Create a security incident in the help desk system.

Detect unauthorized privilege escalation.

 

Collectively, these processes are known as automated user management. They are implemented by the ID-Track component in Identity Manager.

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