This is why HR and Identity Lifecycle Management go hand in hand

It is often the IT department that is given responsibility for the organization’s identity management. But when it comes to Identity Lifecycle Management, the HR department has valuable insight to bid on. People come and go through HR. We show why their accesses can advantageously do the same.

In recent years, identity and access management have taken on an important role in many organizations. As the number of applications only seems to grow and the IT landscape becomes more and more complex, the need for streamlined processes increases. At the same time, the workforce has become more mobile and flexible and requires being able to access the organization’s data both within and outside the walls of the workplace. Thus, the need for a strong identity and access management strategy also increases.

On top of all this, organizations today have to live up to many strict compliance requirements. This means they must work harder than ever to ensure control over which employees have access to which resources.

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That task is cross-organizational and involves several departments. The main responsibility is often placed with the IT staff. This makes sense, as the IT department obviously needs to be involved when it comes to IT systems and applications. But when it comes to managing employees, their development, and their journey through the organization, it is crucial that the HR department is not left on the sidelines.

 

HR is already more involved than you think

It is often the HR department that has the in-depth understanding of which employees should have access to which resources. Precisely for this reason, HR is the perfect starting point for the organization’s identity management strategies and processes. Identity management is already a core area for the HR function – it is just rarely mentioned that way.

Identity and access management is not just an IT function. The most important task of the discipline is to manage the identities of the employees, and most identities are born in HR. They are then passed on to the departments responsible for the organization’s access management.

If these functions are further integrated and the collaboration between the departments is made closer, the organization’s Identity Lifecycle Management will be strengthened. When it is HR that follows and optimizes the employee’s journey through the various positions he or she occupies during his / her employment period, it also makes sense to let the department be involved throughout the identity and access management process.

 

What is Identity Lifecycle Management?

Identity Lifecycle Management is about managing the life cycle of employees, customers, consultants, partners (and everyone else who comes into contact with the organization) in the IT environment.

Identity Lifecycle Management covers the creation, maintenance, and closure of user accounts and their access to resources, data, applications, and systems in the organization. The discipline is relevant, for example, from the moment a new employee is hired until he or she ends his or her affiliation with the workplace again. It includes onboarding, job change, the shift of responsibilities, and offboarding. That is the entire employee’s life cycle.

When a new employee is hired, one of the first things that happen is that HR creates the employee in the department’s system. Depending on how the individual company has organized the process, either the HR, the IT department, or the immediate manager assigns the employee access to relevant systems and applications. Over time, the employee is promoted, and the job role or area of responsibility changes, which means that the person’s access needs to change.

Similar needs for change may also arise if the organization acquires other companies and thus must include new employees or hires external consultants who need temporary access to applications. Finally, all users must also be shut down in all systems and applications as soon as they resign from their position or function in the organization.

If the right processes and the right solution are not implemented in the organization, questions of doubt arise as well as efficiency and safety challenges every time a user moves on in their life cycle.

 

But why is Identity Lifecycle Management so important?

It is crucial to have a system in place that can streamline the work of employees’ accesses as their careers evolve and they move through the organization. Identity and access management is crucial to prevent data loss and reduce the compliance risks that arise if you do not have an overview of who can access which (sensitive) data.

Read more > The Reasons Why Identity Must Be at The Center of Your Security Efforts

 

Therefore, HR must have greater responsibility for Identity Lifecycle Management

Identity Lifecycle Management is an essential HR discipline because it deals with the organization’s most important resource: employees and their productivity.

HR knows the employees and their access needs better than, for example, the IT department. It is the HR department that has control of titles, job roles, and functions, which can influence which applications and data the employee needs to access. In addition, it is this department that witnesses the entire employee’s life cycle, and the department that is involved when the employee is promoted or his or her position and area of responsibility changes.

Finally, the HR department has already implemented formalized on- and offboarding processes, which have close links to Identity Lifecycle Management. People come and go through HR. Therefore, it makes sense that their accesses and rights do the same.

If HR is given greater responsibility for the organization’s identity and access management – including the creation and closure of accesses – it will be much easier to make the access level fit throughout the user’s life cycle. And thus, the organization’s security, efficiency, and compliance are supported.

Need to strengthen your Identity Lifecycle Management? Then automated access control is your best friend!