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Exploring the science and magic of Identity and Access Management
Friday, July 19, 2024

Help! Identity Management Problems

Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, September 16, 2005
5:25 am

randomly selected a few recent RFPs that have come across my desk and compiled
the following list of problems stated by our customers:


  • No centralized user administration process.
  • Multiple teams are involved in the user administration activities.
  • Increasing overhead in administration of identities
  • Administrators spend a lot of time performing routine admin tasks that can
    be automated
  • Different administrators often assign different IDs to the same person.
    This makes it difficult to track activity back to a single source and confuses
    the customer.


  • Potential security risks
  • Accounts are created with unauthorized system access rights.
  • Security risks occur when frustrated or overburdened admin staffs may take
    shortcuts, terminations may not be done as soon as required or permissions
    granted may be in excess of what is really needed.


  • The users of the system are located worldwide and can be customers, employees,
    temporary workers, contractors and external suppliers.
  • Multiple authentication requirements for applications
  • Account creation/deletion in repositories is performed by multiple groups
  • Many systems and applications have different business owners, platforms,
    administrative tools, and system administrators, leading to slow performance,
    delayed or unreliable terminations and higher administration costs.
  • Account creation process requires great coordination, involves many steps,
    nd involves multiple clients which must remain segregated from each other
  • Support staff requires advanced training to administer accounts on so many
    varying systems.
  • Employees and customers require timely access to applications and systems
    to perform their jobs.


  • A high number of calls are made to the support center for user provisioning
    activities including password resets.
  • Terminating employee accounts is a manual process
  • The process for business unit managers and application owners to sign off
    on the privileges of the users is cumbersome and time consuming.
  • Proliferation of directories and identities: diverse infrastructure has
    evolved over time
  • Redundant identity information
  • Information inaccuracies
  • Users wait longer than necessary to obtain IDs
  • Managers spend time chasing a sequence of events to ensure proper approvals.
  • Authorizations needed to process a request often slow the process of account
    creation or update and leads to errors and mistakes.


  • Untimely response to regulations


  • Managing for the moment, but not positioned for the future

This was not a scientific sample, but I find it interesting that in the half-dozen
RFP’s I read, compliance was not nearly so important an issue as operational
efficiency and reduction in complexity.

Stay tuned for more.


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