Hitachi ID logo
Hitachi ID Systems
Hitachi ID
Bulk User Import Read our definition of Bulk User Import

A bulk user import process is one where a list of users and their identity data is loaded into a system or application, rather than interactively creating one user at a time. Typically the user list is provided either as a spreadsheet (i.e., CSV file) or a database table. The data feed may include one row per user, with identity attributes -- name, department, phone number, etc. -- in columns.

It is possible to write scripts to perform bulk user creation tasks for some systems. For example, on Active Directory, the LDIFDE utility can be used to import large numbers of users in an LDIF file. Similar tools are available for other LDAP directories.

Bulk user import is a special case of the more general automated user administration process.

Hitachi ID Identity Manager can monitor one or more systems of record on a periodic basis (e.g., 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 Hitachi ID Identity Manager are passed through a data filter, which removes users and accounts that are outside the scope of the deployed automation. For instance, in a scenario where Hitachi ID Identity Manager manages all users in one country, but the HR system is global, Hitachi ID Identity Manager would ignore changes to users in other countries.

All changes to a given user are aggregated into a single request. Business logic is executed against these requests, for example to fill in hidden attribute values or to select authorizers. This is best illustrated with some examples:

Detected change


Net result
New hire appears in HR data feed.

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

Attribute changes detected in HR

  • Detect changes to job code, manager, location or similar attributes in HR data.
  • Recalculate the user's user class memberships. If user classes change, recalculate which groups and roles should be auto-assigned. If this changes, submit workflow requests to assign and revoke roles and groups as appropriate.

Automatic adjustment of user roles, entitlements.
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 Hitachi ID Identity Manager workflow manager, 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 deactivation.
User disappears from system of record (HR).

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

Automated deactivation.
User was added to Administrators group on Active Directory domain.

  • Change is detected in real time.
  • Since the change was detected on AD, it follows that it was not initiated by Hitachi ID Identity Manager.
  • Submit two change requests to the workflow manager:
    • Remove the user from the Administrators group (auto-approved).
    • Add the user back to the Administrators group (once approved).
  • Create a security incident in the help desk system.

Detect and reverse unauthorized privilege escalation.

Providing new users with an initial password is a security challenge. Using a default value -- either a constant or something derived from the user's name or profile -- is insecure, because unauthorized users can easily sign in as the new user. Setting the password to a random value and sending it to the user in an e-mail is also problematic: the user may not have an internal e-mail account yet, and external e-mail delivery and hosting services are not secure.

Hitachi ID Identity Manager addresses the problem of password initialization as follows:

  • If the account was requested through the Hitachi ID Identity Manager request portal then the requester -- who is normally the new user's supervisor -- may be asked to specify an initial password in the request. This limits the number of people who know or can intercept the initial password and ensures that someone who will interact closely with the new user provides that password to the new user.

  • If the account was requested by an automated or batch process then the initial password is set to a random value by default. The password can then be reset by or for the user. If it is by the user, he may authenticate by answering questions where the answers were provided in the data feed -- things like driver's license number or date of birth. The user may also sign in using his mobile phone, to which a random PIN may be sent. Alternately, an assisted password reset process may be used, for example where the user's direct manager can reset his password.

  • In every case, new passwords are subjected to stringent complexity rules and are only transmitted over HTTPS.

  • On systems where this is supported, Hitachi ID Identity Manager can set new passwords to be expired -- i.e., they must be changed on first use. This shortens the time window during which the initial password is valid.

Return to Identity Management Concepts