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Plutora Blog - Digital Transformation, IT Governance

What Are the Best User Provisioning Practices for SaaS Apps

Reading time 8 minutes

Provisioning practices are of great importance in today’s data-driven business environment, especially for organizations that delegate tasks among diverse teams and employees with different responsibilities. 

Most provisioning is done during onboarding when an IT department handles new accounts, providingaccess to the company’s SaaS apps. However, provisions can be changed at any moment to give an individual more responsibility and access, or revoke access they don’t need.

In this article, you’ll learn why proper provisioning is so important and what the best practices are for SaaS apps. 

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Why smart provisioning practices are good for your business

Provisioning is not to be taken lightly. It is about giving people access to your company’s resources. When done properly, it minimizes errors and helps you avoid serious security issues such as internal financial fraud by employees who have more access than they should.

Simply put, if you give access solely to those who absolutely need it, you’ll find it simpler to monitor and detect suspicious behaviors. 

From a security perspective, consider what happens if you give access to highly vulnerable apps. You may have security breaches that cost your company millions while eroding customer trust. In most cases, not everyone in a company needs access to everything. Savvy companies decide early on which users need access to sensitive information and what information is restricted, then grant partial access to provide a safety net. The benefits of solid provisioning expand beyond better security. Proper provisioning gives companies more control over user accounts and makes work simpler for teams since they are guided to use only what is needed.

Top user provisioning practices for SaaS apps

Knowing all this, let’s discuss the best provisioning practices that will make these benefits available to you. 

1. Automate user provisioning for your apps

How do you track who has access to what app and for what reason? How do you decide who no longer needs access, and who needs more? If you want to reap the benefits of best practices, you need to first find a way to do provisioning correctly from the start.

The answer lies in automation. Automating your provisioning is among the smartest and safest moves you could take. This practice saves you a lot of time, eliminates many difficulties, and reduces the risks of security breaches. 

Using Zluri for easy onboarding and organized provisioning

Manually creating every employee account is challenging, to say the least. Deciding on what access is necessary to give to every individual employee is even more exhausting. The solution? Automate everything with Zluri!

Zluri is a top-rated SaaS management tool that you can use for many onboarding and off-boarding processes. One of those processes is provisioning. There’s much to know about the many benefits of automated provisioning. Find out more in this article by Zluri

You may wonder, what can Zluri do for you?

For starters, it can identify and tell you with 100% accuracy what every new user needs access to based on their position and the department they’ll work in. This will save you countless hours trying to figure out access rights for every new employee, and help you avoid mistakes. 

Zluri takes it a step further, too. It will also suggest the channels and groups inside your SaaS apps that a user should join based on their role in your company. 

It will even handle your de-provisioning activities. Zluri will notify your IT managers of access that needs to be revoked when an employee is leaving or changing their position at your company.

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2. Monitor every SaaS app you have

You need to have visibility into every app your organization uses for better user provisioning. Monitoring is a practice that will tell you about SaaS usage trends across teams and organizations, which will improve your user provisioning.

Benefits of monitoring your SaaS applications

What benefits will you see when you monitor your SaaS apps and other tools? Here are some things you’ll gain if you keep an eye on all your SaaS apps:

  • Identify app usage trends. If you follow this practice, you can identify which apps your team needs most to get the job done.
  • Terminate subscriptions for unnecessary apps. Monitoring includes even the apps that your team doesn’t need or use. Once you narrow these down, you can terminate unnecessary subscriptions and save a ton of money in the long run. 
  • Fix any issues that your team might be experiencing. Monitoring your apps over time will show you which apps are used less frequently or pose problems for your team. You can take the opportunity to find glitches and fix them or offer further training for your team to overcome challenges.
  • Discover unnecessary access. Many cybersecurity incidents happen when you give access to the wrong people. People who have unrestricted access to data they don’t need can make changes and mistakes, increasing the risk of cyber attacks on your business. Even if privileges are misused unintentionally, this can cause significant damage to your organization.
  • Define what type of access your team needs. Giving privileges to people in your organization does not always have to be full-scope. You can use PoLP i.e. the principle of least privilege to limit app usage solely to the few things your employee needs. Or, you can restrict the access depending on how long the employee will need to use the app with the JIT or Just-in-Time feature. 

The best part about strong monitoring practices is that you don’t have to monitor all apps manually. A tool like Zluri detects unused apps, alerts you to issues, and identifies app usage trends. By automating this process, you can also detect all usage and expenditures, and save a lot of time and money in the process. 

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3. Create a centralized identity management system

A centralized identity access management system or IAM is a set of technologies and processes that manage the digital identity of your users in an efficient manner. This practice is widely used by enterprises to control access and authentication for resources such as apps, as well as protect sensitive data. 

Simply put, a centralized IAM will allow your IT department to create a digital identity for each employee by giving them credentials and access to selected resources. As a result, the right employees will have the right level of access to resources automatically without having to wait to obtain them. 

A centralized IAM will also assist your company in enforcing security standards, monitoring employee behavior, and making sure that everyone works within their job function. 

4. Manage temporary access 

In most cases, employees are given indefinite access to the apps they’ll be using for work as soon as the onboarding process starts. However, not every employee will keep using the same apps forever. Some will be given other responsibilities or use another tool to do their job. 

Unused access is basically unnecessary access. This is why temporary access exists as an option, and you can grant this to some of your employees. 

Or, you need an employee to join your team on a specific project, but nothing else. It’s much wiser to give them temperate access or cancel their provisions for that app afterward than to give them permanent access to an app they won’t be using for long.

Temporary access is even more useful when you need to give provisions to people like contractors, vendors, or partners. Once they have completed their work or performed the tasks assigned, they should no longer have access to your apps. 

If you want to refrain from sharing data unnecessarily, you need to keep track of and continuously manage temporary access to your apps, email accounts, etc.

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5. Track shadow IT activities

IT experts are highly concerned about a matter called shadow IT, especially in recent years. Shadow IT refers to the activity where users circumvent provisioning processes set in place, and use apps without asking for approval.

SaaS apps are often misused this way because they are cloud-based. In recent years, employees sometimes opt to sign up and use apps without anyone vetting them for compliance risks or data security. 

When they do this, they can give important company data to an unauthorized app or tool. This can lead to compliance violations, not to mention create a tremendous risk of cyber attacks for your company.

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User provisioning’s biggest benefit is that it offers compliance and security. However, shadow IT remains a big risk, which is why you should continuously work on discovering unauthorized app usage. 

Use these provisioning practices for a safer, more effective business!

All the practices in this list can have a positive impact on your company’s workforce, the way projects are handled, as well as the safety of data. They will help you avoid many errors along the way and maximize your staff’s potential. 

Taking it a step further

Beyond basic provisioning, many larger companies manage app access through SaaS solutions. For example, Plutora is a Release, Test Environment, and Deployment management platform that helps large enterprises accelerate software delivery. Within the platform, you can easily manage user permissions. Using these kinds of features can make provisioning a breeze while improving security in software delivery. 

Whatever your company size, putting rigorous provisioning practices in place can save you time and money.

Nadica Metuleva

Nadica Metuleva is a freelance writer who’s passionate about creating quality, original content. She holds a Master’s degree in English teaching and a Bachelor’s degree in translation. With 8 years of experience in the freelance writing industry, Nadica has become proficient in creating content that captivates the audience, drives growth, and educates.