The advent of cloud-based applications syncing their directories with source directories like Active Directory has forced organizations to think about the validity of the directory data. Some organizations look to users to self-service their account details (with no real incentive to do so, though), while others look to IT to keep the directory current (more on this later). But, what’s missing is an Employee System of Record (ESR) – a repository of all employee data.
Most organization employing an ESR are leveraging a system that has up-to-date detail on every employee. For many, this is the application used by HR to keep track of all employees. And that’s a great choice, as HR definitely keeps it up to date. When an employee leaves, it’s noted by HR, so that the employee isn’t receiving a paycheck, getting benefits, etc. In comparison, many IT organizations have no formal process for either disabling or deleting a user when they leave. In recent years, cloud-based solutions exist to aggregate employee data from multiple sources and serve as the ESR
So, why do you need an ESR?
There are a few reasons why an ESR helps the organization:
- Multiple directories – The potential for data inconsistencies due to no singular unified data source exists if you have a number of on-prem and cloud-based directories in use, Having an ESR as the source provides every directory an opportunity to have consistency enterprise-wide.
- An ESR improves data accuracy – Syncing with an ESR ensures your directory is always up-to-date, instead of IT duplicating the work of updating titles, phone numbers, departments worked for, locations, etc., .
- An ESR increases user productivity – Distribution lists/groups based on account details (such as department) can be more easily kept current. 3rd-party automated group management solutions can do this more accurately, leveraging the real-time changes in an ESR. Keeping these groups updated allows users to correctly communicate with needed individuals within the organization. Organizations utilizing group self-service solutions can use account details to auto-approve requests to join specific distribution or security groups via automated workflows.
- An ESR strengthens security – Security groups (which are the predominant basis for your security) also need to be current to be effective. Many IT organizations have no process for attesting to a group’s membership, causing the membership to become out-of-date and incorrect. This results in an elevation of risk around groups that provide access to sensitive, critical, or valuable data. IT can ensure the accuracy of security groups by using 3rd-party automated group management solutions. This includes making certain groups only contain current users that need to be a part of the group based on account details.
Getting Every Directory Current With an ESR
The reality is your security and user productivity is directly related to how up-to-date your directory is. Inaccurate data can lead to misconfigured distribution and security groups, which impacts security and communications.
The leveraging of an ESR, along with the synchronization of all directory services creates a reliable directory environment. This directory environment can serve as the basis for those advanced methods of management previously mentioned, such as user self-service and automated group management.
Identify the ESR in your organization and investigate the ways you can sync the data. Third-party solutions do exist to help with this as well.
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