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This document introduces best practices for managing users, identity attributes and entitlements in a typical "corporate" environment:

  1. The focus is on organizations with 1,000 to 10,000 internal users, such as employees or contractors. They may be corporations or non-profit organizations such as government, healthcare or military entities.
  2. Users in these environments are normally provisioned physical assets, such as a cubicle, desk, chair, phone, PC and building access badge.
  3. Users in these environments are also provisioned logical access, such as an Active Directory login account, Exchange mail folder, Windows home directory and a variety of application security entitlements.

The objective of this document is to identify business processes that drive changes to users and entitlements in an organization that fits this description and to offer best practices for each process.

Organizations that are able to adopt best practices processes will benefit both from optimized change management and from reduced total cost associated with automating their processes on an identity and access management (IAM) platform.

Integrations and manual fulfillment

At a minimum, an identity and access management system should integrate with:

  1. A data feed from human resources (HR) to trigger automatic setup, modification and deactivation processes.
    1. It should not be assumed that all the data from HR is correct. Managers assigned to staff, department codes, contact information and more may be obsolete or simply wrong.
    2. Changes to HR data and in particular adds and deletes, can generally be considered to be accurate and can be used to trigger changes.
  2. Active Directory.
  3. Exchange or Office 365, for e-mail.
  4. Windows file servers, for home directories.

Here it is assumed that AD/Exchange/Windows are used, simply because these are common systems for directory, e-mail and filesystem services. Alternate products, such as Google Apps, are managed where they are used.

Initially, an IAM system can invite human system administrators to complete authorized changes on other applications. Over time, other systems should be integrated, in a sequence determined by the frequency of changes that they require.

Integration with an incident management system is also important and should support:

  1. Automatically creating incidents to reflect events such as user creation and password resets, for consolidated record keeping and analytics.
  2. Allowing users to request access for new hires and initiate terminations through the incident management system.
    1. Many organizations use a service catalog or incident management system as a portal for users to make common requests, such as to provision new-hires or deactivate departing staff.
    2. This type of web portal includes options for hardware (e.g., what kind of PC or laptop should the new hire get), connectivity, office space and more.
    3. This sort of portal can also trigger activity around asset collection -- retrieving a departing user's laptop, building access badge and more.
    4. It is natural to extend such onboarding and deactivation forms to include requests to enable or disable logical access, with API-level integration forwarding the request details to the identity management system.
    5. The identity management system should report back to the incident management system as it either completes or rejects sub-tasks.

All these integrations are illustrated in Figure [link].

Integrations between IAM system and AD, Exchange, Windows, HR and incident management

Integrations between IAM system and AD, Exchange, Windows, HR and incident management

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