Untitled Document The Identity Management industry has been around almost a decade. Back in the year 2000, we called it Directory Services, but we were laying the foundations for what would become today's Identity Management infrastructures.

Many organizations have shown great progress in building their identity infrastructures. Software vendors have steadily pieced together mature product suites. But there's more work to be done.

Although a significant number of companies have successfully implemented identity data solutions and may have even deployed user provisioning solutions, the business drivers and resulting value of those solutions have historically been restricted to workflow efficiencies and reduced helpdesk costs.

Security has been absent from Identity ROI

The heart and soul of a robust identity management infrastructure is the user provisioning solution. Provisioning enables organizations to effectively on-board and off-board employees, contractors, and associates. These systems enable the efficient managing of accounts and access rights across multiple heterogeneous systems. The primary business drivers of provisioning solutions have traditionally been increased efficiency and minimized cost associated with managing user accounts across large or diverse environments.

What often goes overlooked in the ROI analysis and design process of provisioning systems is whether the system could introduce an improvement in the organization's overall security posture. System users who have acquired (or even intentionally been assigned) elevated rights over time continue to have the ability to get around security policies by using the rights they have been granted in inappropriate ways. Identity Management practitioners, therefore, ought to be thinking about increased security as a core potential value of the overall provisioning infrastructure.

It is widely acknowledged that by simply automating the process and providing workflow approvals, automated de-provisioning, and logging of system activity, provisioning solutions have no doubt provided an improved security posture and an easier mechanism for responding to security audits. But, there are significant security holes that remain in the infrastructure simply because of the design of provisioning systems.


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