As September concludes another summer and kicks off a cooler, busier season, businesses prepare to take on new hires (perhaps fresh out of university or simply ready for a new challenge), promote star employees, or see some of their staff leave for pastures new. Either way, it’s a time of change. We change who we are – our identity – within the organisation: current or former workers, junior or senior, belonging to one team or another.

So much can go wrong with onboarding and offboarding procedures. Think of the multitude of horror stories on the web – from new starters sent to the wrong office, drowned in paperwork on their very first day or thrown head-first in the wrong project due to misidentification. Not to mention the cheeky former employee that runs off with a company laptop or mobile because nobody bothered asking them to give it back!

Identity management – the supervision of each staff member’s access to digital resources such as files, applications or devices – can be a real challenge. But, because it greatly affects security, compliance and productivity, getting it right is fundamental.

A Team Effort

If you think identity management is just one team’s responsibility, think again – it involves a coordinated approach across IT, HR and Security. It’s easy to see why IT could be the main stakeholder in this matter. Based on the employee information stored in an ‘identity warehouse’, the IT team regulates access to things like files or software, ensuring everyone’s ‘digital rights’ reflect their role and seniority, and are updated as employees are promoted and gain new responsibilities.

However, offboarding and employee role transitions in general are also HR’s area of concern. This team’s aim is to drive employee satisfaction, and an employee who can’t do their job because they can’t view and utilise the necessary resources is not a happy employee.

Speaking of being able to do one’s job – a team member’s productivity and performance are amply affected by their ability to access the information and tools they need. That’s why it’s in the interest of line managers, supervisors and the business as a whole, that digital identity is managed as efficiently as possible.

Last but not least – we have the security aspect. It goes without saying that, while it’s important for staff to read documents, use devices and applications, it’s also crucial that these don’t end up in the wrong hands. When an employee leaves the business, access to all devices and servers should be revoked immediately so as not to expose the organisation to security breaches. Moreover, because of regulations such as the GDPR, companies are constantly being audited and even fined if they fail to comply with these laws – hence the need for a technology that not only regulates but records digital access, so the business can always report on who is able to access what, at all times.

Automate to Mitigate

In an era where businesses depend on hundreds of devices and applications, identity management is a real minefield – however, automation can help. Once each member of staff’s information is uploaded to the network, an automated solution can identify their position and proactively match them to the resources they need to fulfil their role. Because the identity management tool is in sync with the HR source of truth, it can automatically oversee access and handle requests. This makes life a lot easier for IT teams, as they no longer have to carry these jobs out manually and are able to focus on strategy and innovation.

At the end of the day, ensuring employees have access to the right tools at the right time means driving efficiency, productivity and ultimately business success. It’s easy to let such tedious and technical processes take up a lot of time and resources, and even hinder your teams’ work. But, with the right technology, you can automate, streamline and facilitate them – so you can focus on the important stuff.