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Is Employee Onboarding and Offboarding Process Killing IT Admins?

Technology has transformed how enterprises operate and one particular internal operation that has been radically transformed by technology in recent years is the onboarding and offboarding process of employees.


This transformation not only involves the technology facilitating the employee onboarding and offboarding processes themselves but also the management of different technologies that employees would need to gain access to or need to be revoked in case of offboarding, particularly identity management. And as companies scale in their operations, they not only need to implement new technologies but also provide access to these technologies for their growing personnel, even if some of these technologies will only be accessed by specific departments.


Onboarding and internal changes


These changes have put a strain on the workload and resources of the enterprise’s IT department which has been on the receiving end of requests to create accounts and assign permissions and licenses from both HR and end-users. In many instances, such requests would take days or even weeks to the frustration of the requesting parties. Then there’s the granting and revocation of software access to specific parties, which would depend on the approval of the app owner which by itself can take a long time as well.


Even after access is granted to employees, the IT department’s work is never done as they would have to deal with tickets coming in each day from employees who have forgotten their login credentials. This would entail updating employee accounts which adds up to the costs incurred in the business’ overall account management process. There is also the factor of internal mobility in which an employee transfers from one department to another, necessitating the closure of their access to certain applications and opening accounts for new applications.


Moreover, change requests are not only limited to app access but also to personal information such as addresses and phone numbers. Such requests not only involves IT, who is responsible for the downstream applications update, but also involve HR who would need to update such records. Change requests like the above might sound trivial, but an average organization can spend up to 6,250 hours in a year on such tasks.


Offboarding challenges


And when an employee leaves the company, IT must be on top of the situation in removing the now-former employee’s access to company applications as continued access poses greater security risks for the enterprise. Even a single account of one employee that was left active for any reason, might create a security loophole. According to a security survey “More than 13% of respondents can still access a previous employer's' systems using their old credentials.”


While HR is tasked with offboarding users and, in some cases, deactivating accounts in payroll or travel systems, it would normally take a few days before IT is informed that the employee has been terminated. Such a delay leaves the business at greater risk especially if the former employee bears a grudge against the company and will have the means to cause damage in both financial and customer trust aspects from within thanks to his unrevoked access to internal applications.


Complicating matters is the fact that fewer than 1 in 10 companies have automated applications for employee onboarding, with many of them still using unstructured manual tools such as email, spreadsheets, and even personal visits to drive routine work processes.


Addressing the onboarding and offboarding challenges


It is important for IT to be on top of managing employee access but given these challenges, it is clear that IT cannot do this alone. Other departments within the company need to step up and help relieve IT of some of these functions.


More importantly, organizations need to integrate all the separate systems that govern the identity lifecycle of a user and automate user access. This starts with connecting the HR system to all the applications and permissions granted to users in the organization so when someone enters or leaves the company, all pertinent applications and permissions are promptly updated to reflect such changes.


An end-to-end automation of onboarding and offboarding processes would be beneficial not just to the IT department, but also to the business and the end-users as it brings about greater efficiency and better security that will ensure the enterprise’s long-term growth.


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