Provisioning and onboarding are irreplaceable parts of modern business. With the rise of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, people are using more software than ever. The reason is that such solutions are easy to access, and there’s no need to install them on your devices. Considering the ever-increasing number of applications used in the workplace, the provisioning process may turn into quite a challenge.
It’s necessary to ensure that all employees have access to the right SaaS apps, the software is configured correctly and running, and nobody can reach data lying beyond their scope of work. At the same time, businesses must consider the security implications of provisioning and the need to protect sensitive data. The task may seem unbearable. However, by following best practices and being mindful of the risks, businesses can ensure their applications are correctly provisioned with minimal effort and cost.
Why Invest in Smart Provisioning
First, provisioning is crucial since it enables access to the data that keeps your business up and running. Most probably, you won’t open your SaaS apps to some random people. Provisioning focuses on the employees of your company with whom you have interviewed and currently plan to build a long-term relationship. However, there’s always a risk that information not intended for prying eyes can be used in ways harming your business. Financial fraud and data leakage are only the tip of the iceberg.
The more extensive a company you have, the bigger the problem you have to deal with. The chances of providing the wrong people with the right to use your SaaS solutions increase with every new employee we include in this equation. Here, you risk your money and business reputation, which is even harder to earn. Nobody must have access to everything, and a reasonable provisioning strategy can help determine who must be granted specific rights in advance.
The second primary reason intelligent provisioning is essential is that the process can be very time-consuming otherwise. SaaS development is pretty popular, and BetterCloud statistics show that an average modern company uses approximately 130 such applications. These apps are distributed unevenly between departments and employees. All employees may use a single task tracking app, while there’s a solution used exclusively by the QA team for tracking found bugs.
Read Also IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS: Three Options — One Solution or How to Choose Between the Alternatives
The company may have divisions or individual remote workers in other countries, and if employees use the SaaS app from different time zones, some additional configuration may be required. Setting up SaaS app configurations can take a significant amount of time without a properly designed approach to provisioning. You can follow the techniques described below to avoid time losses and eliminate security risks.
Five Tips for Implementing Efficient Provisioning
Automate What’s Automatable
This one is a rule of thumb and applies to any business process. But since provisioning and working with SaaS apps, in particular, has some specific features, let’s speak of automation for a bit. Here, you can rethink the way you provide somebody with the right to use your SaaS apps and deprive it of finding tasks that require too many manual operations. By manual processes, we not only mean performing too many clicks and insertions but also making decisions about providing access to specific SaaS systems on the go.
Read Also Making Your Business as Light as a Cloud. How to Develop a SaaS Application
Working in a particular department and having a specific position is enough information to determine what essential apps and data a user must have access to. Also, you can use it to decide where to start automating to save considerable time on provisioning. Employees come and go, and leaving open access to your SaaS apps to those who no longer work with you is like keeping the key to the back door of the gold bar vault under the doormat. The provisioning automation system, in this case, can carry out all access-granting operations in reverse order with a couple of clicks. Well, it’s more complicated in practice, but the overall idea is pretty straightforward. You can create and erase user accounts through cloud directory services, automating the mapping of attributes to systems, apps, files, and networks.
Implement a Centralized Identity Management System
The next step to better protection of your SaaS apps and the secrets they hold is to build an Identity Access Management (IAM) system. Automatically creating corporate email accounts and sending everybody a username and password using a bunch of web applications is only sometimes enough. IAMs allow creating and managing digital identity records, which helps to improve control for enterprises and automate access to required resources for employees.
IAM systems for provisioning can open access to the tools and technologies to assign a single digital identity to each entity, authenticate them when they log in, authorize them to use specific resources, and monitor and manage those identities throughout their lifecycle. IAM components include a directory or identity repository of personal data the system uses to define individual users, a set of tools for adding, modifying, and deleting that data, a system that regulates and enforces user access, and auditing and reporting systems. All these functionalities together help automatically decide who has the right to perform specific tasks using specific resources, ensure everybody can use the apps they need when needed, and check the level of access a particular user has according to the current role in the company.
Adopt a SaaS Management Platform
Using SMP’s automation and delegation features, IT teams may provide more excellent service faster, more efficiently, and cheaper compared to making everything manually. These platforms can handle multiple provisioning tasks such as monitoring SaaS inventory and feature usage, automatically granting and closing access to software systems, analysis, and reporting. Described features will not only help to improve the provisioning itself but also provide valuable insights into how you use your digital infrastructure.
Manage Temporary Access Carefully
Mostly, employees use SaaS apps and data they need to complete the work on the first working day and lose them all the day they decide to leave the company. Sometimes, however, there’s the need to provide some users with temporary access. The reasons may vary. Occasionally, someone replaces an absent colleague on a project and needs access to new SaaS apps. In some scenarios, you may need more specialists in your company to complete the project on time and decide to hire a dedicated team that will also need to work with your internal resources.
A smart provisioning strategy in any of these cases will imply that you configure guest user accounts for described occasions. Here, all new users will be granted access to SaaS apps on a temporary basis and won’t see any information unrelated to the project you hired them for. Once the project is completed, the provisioning system must retain access to SaaS apps and corporate email accounts.
Monitor Your SaaS Applications
Even if you implement dozens of automation systems that handle all provisioning activities, it doesn’t mean they don’t have to be monitored. Properly designed SaaS solutions enable some degree of automation which helps to decrease the probability of human error. Indeed, when someone needs to perform the same operations manually over and over again, the risk of entering incorrect information increases. As a result, an employee’s role on the project recorded in the system may not correspond to the actual area of responsibility, limited access rights won’t allow work fully, and the time required for fixing the consequences won’t allow for meeting deadlines. It leads us to the last tip on efficient provisioning. You should keep an eye on your SaaS applications! Monitoring won’t only help you to detect errors but also provide info on further optimization. If you know what SaaS applications your employees from different departments use the most, you can plan your scalability strategy long before expanding your business.
You need to know the specifics of your SaaS systems’ functionality to avoid depriving yourself of one of the significant advantages they provide. Instead of making the workflow more straightforward, they may increase the required manual work due to improper provisioning approaches. However, with some experience and a bit of good advice, you’ll be able to juggle users and their access rights efficiently.
Contact us if you’re looking for reliable SaaS developers to build a new system from scratch or modernize your current solution.