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As an IT manager, you’re probably familiar with the hassles of keeping Active Directory (AD) up to date manually. Every time an employee joins, changes roles, or leaves, you need to update their details in AD. This process can be time-consuming and prone to errors.

Fortunately, there’s a way to automate these updates. By automating employee lifecycle updates, your organization can save valuable time, reduce errors, and improve security.

In this guide, we’ll explore why you should consider automation and how to get started using Active Directory.

Why Do You Need to Automate Employee Lifecycle Updates?

Managing user identities in on-premises Active Directory or cloud-based Azure AD can be challenging. You need to handle user accounts throughout the different stages of the employee lifecycle, from user account creation all the way to account sunset.

Now, imagine doing all those tasks manually. It will consume a lot of your organization’s time, resources, and money.

Remember, each user update takes time, especially when dealing with busy hiring seasons, or high attrition. You will need to allot several hours to the account provisioning of new employees, for instance.

Manual entry also increases the risk of mistakes. A small error can lead to bigger issues, like incorrect access permissions. Plus, delays in updating user identities can leave your IT systems vulnerable. Former employees or individuals in different departments can retain access longer than they should. This leads to serious cybersecurity risks.

Luckily, automation addresses the challenges of manual updates. It benefits businesses of all sizes in many ways, as we will explore below.

What Are the Benefits of Automating Employee Lifecycle Updates?

Now that you know the challenges of manual updates, you might be curious to know how automation solves them. Below are several benefits of automating employee lifecycle updates to Active Directory.

Increased Efficiency

Automation speeds up the entire process of updating employee information throughout the user’s lifecycle. For example, when the HR team hires a new employee, automated systems instantly create a unique account for them. Automatic user provisioning can also be done, which involves giving employees role-based access to resources.

If multiple users join the company, either as vendors or customers, automation gives you the ability to update several user identities at once.

On the other hand, when employees undergo role changes, automation ensures their permissions are updated. Thanks to these fast profile updates, users experience minimal disruption to their workflow, which results in increased efficiency and productivity.

Streamlined Employee Onboarding and Offboarding

Automation ensures that new employees are set up and ready to go on their first day, and departing employees are quickly removed from the system.

For example, new hires get instant access to the necessary systems and tools. And once they access these resources, they can perform their job duties more effectively.

Meanwhile, if an employee leaves the organization, their user accounts are disabled quickly. With streamlined employee onboarding and offboarding, the HR team and IT administrators alike can focus on more strategic tasks.

Reduced Human Error

Manual updates are prone to mistakes.

Fortunately, automated processes maintain uniform data across organizations. There’s no need to worry about typos when creating role-based access controls, such as security groups, organizational units, or distribution lists. You can also minimize critical errors, like incorrect mapping attributes during Active Directory integration, through automation.

Improved Security and Compliance

Automation improves your organization’s security and helps you stay compliant with regulations. It does this by providing timely profile updates. These ensure that only current employees have access to sensitive data and systems.

Keeping accurate records and logs is also easier than ever, thanks to automated systems. With this information, your organization can meet industry standards.

Higher Cost Savings

Automated updates can also lead to significant cost savings for your organization. Since you spend less time on manual updates, you can free up the IT department’s schedule. There’s no need to hire additional staff to handle administrative tasks, like reducing IT onboarding tickets.

Faster updates can also result from automation. This means less operational downtime, which translates to increased cost savings.

6 Steps to Automate Employee Lifecycle Updates to Active Directory

After understanding the benefits of automation, it’s time to learn how to automate employee lifecycle updates in Active Directory. Follow the steps below to ensure success:

1. Assess the Current Employee Lifecycle Management Process

Start by evaluating your existing process to identify areas for improvement. Look at the manual tasks involved in managing employee information in Active Directory. Common issues include onboarding delays, forgotten offboarding steps, and inconsistent data entry.

You can also create a flowchart or diagram that maps out the current process for onboarding, role changes, and offboarding. Having this visual representation, you can easily recognize bottlenecks and inefficiencies.

Don’t forget to take advantage of data gathering. Collect metrics on how much time is spent on manual updates, the frequency of errors, and the impact of these errors on operations.

2. Choose the Right Automation Tool

After identifying areas for improvement, you can begin the search for the ideal automation tool. Consider the following features:

  • Integration: The tool must seamlessly sync with Active Directory and other third-party programs you use, such as the Workday HR software.
  • User-friendly interface: The tool should be easy to use, with a clear and intuitive interface.
  • Customizable workflows: Look for tools that let you tailor workflows to your organization’s specific needs.
  • Real-time updates and notifications: The tool should update AD immediately and notify relevant stakeholders.

3. Set Up Integration with Active Directory

Once you have selected the right tool, you can integrate it with Active Directory. Use the tool’s interface to connect it to AD. You may need to enter AD credentials and configure permissions.

You must also secure data communication. Use secure protocols like LDAP over SSL and encryption methods to protect sensitive information during integration.

4. Configure Workflows for Different Employee Lifecycle Stages

Create automated workflows for various stages in the employee lifecycle:

  • Onboarding: The workflow should automatically create user accounts, assign roles, and provision resources.
  • Role changes: It must update access permissions and other user details based on role changes.
  • Offboarding: Design a workflow that disables accounts, revokes access, and reclaims resources when a user leaves.

5. Test and Validate the Automated System

It’s important to test the system to ensure your automation works correctly. Check if automated user updates are accurately reflected in Active Directory. For example, if an employee has been promoted, the applicable role change must be updated in AD.

Another way to validate the automated system is to collect feedback from IT staff. Since they regularly interact with the system, they can identify issues or suggest improvements when needed.

6. Monitor and Maintain the Automation Process

The last step is to monitor the automation process regularly to maintain smooth operations. Schedule regular audits to verify that the automation process is functioning correctly. Look for discrepancies in user data and fix any issues promptly.

You can also track key metrics to gain insights into error rates and the number of security incidents. Use this data to measure the success of the automation.

Automate Employee Lifecycle Updates to AD with ezOnboard

ezOnboard by CloudView Partners automates employee lifecycle updates by seamlessly integrating your existing HR system with Active Directory. Once connected, the tool automates user creation, user updates, and user deletion.

By automating these tasks, ezOnboard reduces the time and effort required for manual updates. Your company can enjoy smoother employee lifecycle management.

Automate Employee Lifecycle Updates to AD with ezOnboard

To get started, request a demo or check the ROI calculator to see how much money ezOnboard can save you.

FAQs About How to Automate Employee Lifecycle Updates to AD

What is the employee lifecycle?

The employee lifecycle includes all stages from hiring to departure. This involves onboarding, role changes, and offboarding.

What are the key features to look for in an automation tool?

Look for tools that integrate with Active Directory and other systems, like your HR software. Other must-have features include a user-friendly interface, customizable workflows, and real-time updates.

How do I ensure data security during the automation process?

Use secure protocols like LDAP over SSL and encryption to ensure data security. It’s also important to audit and monitor the system for security risks.

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