What is User Provisioning and Deprovisioning?

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min read time
June 2, 2023
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In today's world, securing SaaS apps and data is paramount. IT and security teams regularly face the issue of data breaches. This emphasizes the importance of user provisioning and deprovisioning.

Employee access must be meticulously monitored from onboarding to offboarding. Who gets to use the applications? What level of permission do they have? In a data-driven industry, these crucial concerns cannot be overlooked.  

Discover how new SaaS solutions simplify user provisioning and deprovisioning through automated workflows, decreasing the workload of the IT staff.

Dive into this article to discover more about the importance of user provisioning and deprovisioning and its best practices.

What is User provisioning?

User provisioning is essential for access management. It involves setting up, controlling, and adjusting user accounts in a business environment. In simpler terms, it involves providing and revoking user access to various applications based on the user's role, department, and responsibilities.

This process includes creating user accounts, validating identities, maintaining passwords, limiting access privileges, and guaranteeing consistent user data synchronization across numerous platforms.

User provisioning best practices

User provisioning is crucial in access management because it ensures that the right staff has access to relevant apps and systems.

Organizations can boost security, optimize operations, and stay in compliance with industry requirements by properly managing user accounts, roles, and permissions. So here are some of the best practices for user provisioning process;

Automate the process

Automated user provisioning eliminates the difficulties and time-consuming aspects of manually handling profiles and accounts. It reduces the risk of security breaches by eliminating human error and increasing operational efficiency.

When employee accounts are manually set up, there is a danger that insiders can discover the passwords. Due to human errors, this can result in illegal access to data and systems both during their employment and after an employee quits.

These difficulties are addressed via automated user provisioning and de-provisioning, which grants permissions safely and privately.

This procedure guarantees employees access to on-premises and off-premises apps for their job roles. User details, permission levels, and passwords are stored in one database. This makes it simpler to adjust them as workers' job roles grow.

Follow the role-based access control approach

Role-based access control and group-based access licenses are critical elements of enterprise access management. User provisioning should be matched with these rules to guarantee sufficient access privileges.

Think about a customer relationship management (CRM) system such as Salesforce. User provisioning by category and role must ensure that only authorized users from the sales team have access to the CRM app. This keeps unauthorized users out of essential client data and ensures data security.

Organizations may efficiently manage users and apps based on roles and departments by integrating HRIS with SSO. This approach guarantees that only the appropriate individuals can access the relevant apps, increasing productivity and protecting confidential data.

Employing user provisioning based on role-based access control enhances overall access administration, mitigates risks, and promotes efficient and safe operations.

Use the Principle of least privilege for access

Adhering to the concept of least privilege is essential, providing users access to only the apps required for their task rather than every app.

Previously, businesses often provided a single credential allowing access to all SaaS stack apps.

However, this risky technique is a common source of security breaches.

Organizations must abandon this practice right away. Instead, use the principle of least privilege (PoLP) and an identity and access management, or IAM, system to grant role-based access to specific applications.

IAM refers to the methods and standards for tracking and managing user IDs. IAM's user provisioning guarantees that authorized users have access to relevant solutions.

Use a SaaS management platform

SaaS management platforms enable IT teams to offer quicker, more productive, and affordable services and support through automation and delegation.

The following are some of the primary advantages of using an SMP:

  • Monitoring and analyzing SaaS inventory and feature utilization in real-time and precisely.
  • Automation of user provisioning and deprovisioning for efficient user access management.
  • Statistical analysis and the creation of detailed reports that provide useful information for decision-making.

SaaS management platforms can integrate with your SSO, finance, and HRIS systems, providing a comprehensive view of your SaaS stack and users. This will make it easier for the IT and security teams to delegate user access based on specific user roles.

Eliminate shadow apps for better access control

Leveraging identity and access management systems allows IT teams to have efficient control over user access to permitted apps.

However, the existence of unapproved apps acquired without IT approval will pose compliance and security problems for the majority of enterprises. This unsanctioned purchasing practice is called shadow IT.

A SaaS management platform will give IT personnel visibility into the tech stack. This enables them to identify and remove shadow IT apps quickly, making operations more efficient.

Creating clear contact with users is critical to addressing this problem. We must understand their needs to ensure the security of user accounts and apps. Authorization of applications is necessary to maintain this security.

Continuous shadow app identification and administration are critical to maintaining security requirements in the face of rising SaaS-based shadow IT instances.

What is user deprovisioning

The procedure of removing user access and erasing user-related data from the system or apps is known as deprovisioning. It usually happens when an employee quits the company or when access is no longer essential.

It includes disabling user accounts, canceling permissions, and removing user data from various systems and apps. Deprovisioning helps prevent unwanted access and reduces the danger of compromised credentials.

According to a report by Verizon, 80% of data breaches are caused by weak or compromised credentials.

Challenges and risks associated with poor user deprovisioning

Poor user deprovisioning presents enterprises with a number of challenges and risks.

  • Former employees or unauthorized persons may maintain access to critical data and systems, resulting in security breaches.
  • Data loss or theft is also a risk since insufficient de-provisioning raises the likelihood of illegal access to sensitive data.
  • Compliance and regulatory non-compliance pose significant risks because firms may breach industry-specific rules by failing to handle user access and data effectively.
  • Former employees who retain access to business structures are more likely to cause harm purposefully or unintentionally.
  • Furthermore, poor deprovisioning might result in audit failures, harming reputation and confidence.

Organizations should create stringent deprovisioning processes to reduce risks and guarantee safety. These processes include rapid access revocation, complete data removal, and frequent access privilege assessments.

User deprovisioning best practices

Create a well-defined de-provisioning policy

A well-defined de-provisioning policy is imperative for businesses that want to manage user access revocation properly. This policy should specify the exact processes and procedures to be followed when an employee quits the company or when access is removed.

Notifying relevant departments, deactivating user accounts, canceling access rights, and securely transferring or deleting user data should all be covered. Organizations must ensure consistent and secure user access termination. This decreases the risk of unwanted access. To do this, they must implement a deprovisioning policy.

Use a checklist for easy offboarding

An efficient offboarding procedure is needed to remove user access when employees depart from the company. To promptly revoke user access, it is essential for both IT and HR teams to follow a checklist or standardized procedure that includes all necessary steps.

Offboarding usually includes collecting company-owned credentials, disabling user accounts, and transferring relevant data or responsibilities to other team members.

Additionally, minimizing lingering access rights and efficiently managing user deprovisioning can be achieved through a clearly defined offboarding check.

Prioritize data backup and migration

It is critical to set priorities for data backup and migration during the deprovisioning process to ensure the safeguarding of critical information and business continuity.

Recognizing and safely transferring any data related to the leaving user to suitable storage places or other relevant personnel is part of this process. It may also entail archiving or erasing user-specific data in accordance with data retention rules and compliance regulations.

Organizations can avoid the loss of vital data, ensure data integrity, and ease the seamless transfer of duties to new team members by prioritizing data backup along with migration.

Conduct regular access audits

Regularly assessing user access permissions helps ensure that only the right people can access applications and reduces security threats. Monitoring user activity exposes patterns in application interactions, allowing improper behavior to be detected. When there are variations, it can indicate illegitimate access or compromised credentials.

Immediate action, such as revoking access or establishing new security measures, can help prevent unauthorized users from abusing hacked accounts and accessing critical applications. Organizations can boost application security and protect against possible breaches by proactively tracking and responding to questionable user behavior.

Automate User Provisioning With CloudEagle

CloudEagle is a comprehensive SaaS spend management platform with automated provisioning and deprovisioning features for easy user onboarding and offboarding.

It has user provisioning and deprovisioning workflows, allowing IT professionals to grant and withdraw user access effortlessly.

With CloudEagle's auto-provisioning workflow, businesses can get rid of the need for manual spreadsheets. The platform can integrate with SSO and HRIS systems to identify apps, users, and their access controls.

You can create provisioning workflows that automatically trigger when a new employee joins, assign relevant applications, and grant permissions based on the user's role and department.

CloudEagle is an automated user provisioning software and a centrally managed identity and access management system. This system can help streamline user provisioning and deprovisioning. It will reduce the reliance on spreadsheets and manual operations.


User provisioning and deprovisioning refer to granting and removing user access to apps. Managing it manually consumes time, and monitoring user accounts and apps on spreadsheets will result in unwanted access and data breaches.

This article highlighted the importance and best practices of user account provisioning and deprovisioning. Organizations can safeguard the security and integrity of the app stack by employing these practices, safeguarding against unwanted access and potential breaches.  

Furthermore, by employing automated user provisioning tools such as CloudEagle, businesses can streamline onboarding and offboarding procedures, saving time and allowing IT and HR personnel to dedicate themselves to more strategic objectives.

Written by
Amith Manoj
Product Marketing Manager, CloudEagle
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