HR 4.0

Prevent a data breach with foolproof identity management

November 15, 2021 - 5 minutes reading time
Article by Marcel De Dood & Reintjan Weeber

Well-organized user management - 'identity management' - not only ensures smooth IT access for employees, it also armors organizations against unnecessary license fees and data leaks. By linking automated identity management to the HR system, you lay the foundation for easy and secure IT use. How do you get started with this as HR?

Many employees are online every day and use many different applications. And this no longer applies only to pure 'screen workers'. Nowadays, warehouse workers, care providers at the bedside and drivers behind the wheel also have direct access to all kinds of applications and data. User-friendliness is especially important for this group. They must be able to do their work with one click or swipe.

At the same time, it is important to organize this access carefully; ease of use must never come at the expense of security and privacy. Employees must only be able to access data that they actually need for their work. It also matters when, where and via which device someone requests access. That is why each employee must have his or her own user account.

If you have to manage accounts for hundreds or even thousands of employees, with different access rights and settings for each employee, it can get pretty complicated. What you want to avoid is identity management becoming a bottleneck in your IT landscape: it should simplify the digital infrastructure, not make it more complex.

Automate identity management

It is therefore obvious to automate that process as much as possible. And what would be more logical than to use the HR system as a source? Ewout van Rootselaar of Tools4ever, developer of management solutions for user authentication and authorization, explains: "The HR system registers employees, keeps track of their transfers and also records their eventual departure. By linking that HR system to an identity management platform, we can now process the data of new and departing employees and transfers fully automatically and pass it on to the Active Directory and as many other business applications as possible. Without manual work."

Dealing with temporary workers

Of course, this requires a broader view of the HR organization. Traditionally, the scope of HR is often limited to its own employees with a permanent employment contract. It is not yet responsible, for example, for the flexible temporary workers. As an HR manager at a large municipality put it: "Often we only hear about temporary workers long after they have started. Then I'm not going to worry about that."

At the same time, organizations do make increasing use of these flexible employees, from interim managers and professionals to catering staff and other temporary workers. Healthcare institutions also often lean on countless volunteers. By including these employees in the HR process, you not only professionalize the hiring of this increasingly important group of employees. You can then also provide them with their own user account fully automatically. Especially with this group, which has many changes and a high turnover, it is essential that accounts are managed efficiently, faultlessly, and securely.

Already paying off from 200 employees

By registering as many employees as possible in the HR system and linking it to the identity management platform, the management of user accounts can often be fully automated. What is the bottom line?

Van Rootselaar of Tools4ever: "In many organizations, the creation, modification and deletion of user accounts takes at least thirty minutes 'per ticket'. By creating a link between the HR system and our identity management platform, the effort required by the system administrator or helpdesk employee is minimal. Our experience is that for organizations with two hundred employees or more, it is already worthwhile to deploy an identity management tool."

Fewer unnecessary license fees

And that only concerns the pure efficiency benefits. As an extension of this, there are often huge savings to be made in application licensing costs. Organizations often quickly issue new licenses to employees when, for example, someone needs an application for a specific task or a project. However, when the employee no longer needs it, licenses are rarely revoked. This constant accumulation of licenses and rights then leads unnoticed to enormous costs. By automatically managing the account management and the associated rights, organizations can make significant savings.

On top of that: in this way you are automatically compliant with the existing strict privacy legislation. Van Rootselaar: "By automatically managing user accounts and user rights, you prevent employees, or even former employees, from unintentionally accessing personal data of customers or employees. This is of great importance: in the event of a data breach, the Dutch Data Protection Authority can impose fines of up to 20 million euros or 4% of the global annual turnover. Not to mention possible reputational damage and potential damage claims."

Concrete tips

For a successful implementation of identity management, it is crucial that the HR department takes a leading role. With these concrete tips, HR can get started right away:

  • Use an HR system in which external staff can also be properly managed
  • Establish procedures so that company resources such as an access card or a laptop are only issued if the employee has a personnel number
  • Be service-oriented from HR, external employees should be entered the same day. If it takes too long, there is a risk that procedures are circumvented
  • Enter a new employee into the HR system even before the employment contract is signed. While the registration may prove unnecessary afterwards, the loss to the organization is much greater if new employees are unable to work for the first few days because they do not yet have the right IT environment.
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