To maintain high levels of security and meet compliance requirements, DWD must ensure that each of its 2,500 employees can only access the systems relevant to their specific roles. Equally, granting new hires fast access to the appropriate systems is essential in avoiding delays to the delivery of vital information to organizations and individuals. To reduce the risk of confidential data being stolen, DWD must also revoke access for former staff as soon as their employment ends.
The IT-Communication Unit of DWD explains: “Our staff uses a wide variety of systems to perform day-to-day tasks, and each user requires access to a different subset of applications. Managing access to all of these systems manually would require an enormous amount of work and be extremely time-consuming.”
The University selected NetIQ Identity Manager to integrate its various eDirectory and Microsoft Active Directory instances and create common user credentials across its entire estate of IT systems. “We regularly look at every single software product we use and ask quite simply: Is it worth it?” said Dave Marriott, team leader for EndPoint Systems at the University of Westminster. “Identity Manager is one of those solutions that does exactly what it says on the tin, and that’s why we continue to see value in it. It has allowed us to standardize login processes and credentials across a broad array of systems, and it has removed a large amount of paperwork associated with user management.
Identity Manager synchronizes identity information across multiple directories, creating a single master identity for each unique user and eliminating most of the manual tasks associated with user management. For an organization with a large and rapidly changing user population, this represents a significant reduction in IT administration. Identity Manager also enables the IT department to rapidly and accurately provision new user accounts, and users have the same credentials across multiple systems without compromising security.
The University has updated its Identity Manager environment twice in recent years – first to simplify the migration of all student mail accounts to Google and second as part of a broader modernization program. “Moving to the latest version ensured lower support costs and also meant that we would have access to prebuilt drivers for the latest applications,” said Marriott. “We are running Identity Manager on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server virtualized on VMware ESX Server. In fact, 90 to 95 percent of our entire server estate is now virtualized, which means that we can freely interchange hardware without affecting the services.”
Nearly all internal systems at the University link to Identity Manager, from the student record system to the staff ID card system. When the University decided to move to cloud-based delivery for its Blackboard Academic Suite, it was also able to use Identity Manager to authenticate users to this external service.
The solution from Micro Focus and G + H Systems plays a vital role in enabling DWD to meet its identity management challenges efficiently and effectively.
DWD illustrates: “Whenever new people join the organization, we can provide them with access to all of the systems they need to perform their roles from day one – ensuring that they can deliver weather information to organizations and individuals without delay. Equally, when staff leave the organization, we immediately terminate their system access to mitigate the risk of sensitive data being breached.”
Automation accelerates user account administration, reduces the risk of human error and frees up IT staff, meaning that they have more time to dedicate to value-add tasks.
DWD regularly updates the software to capitalize on new functionality included with each release. In the future, the organization plans to introduce role-based provisioning to further streamline the process of setting up new user accounts.
DWD concludes: “Relying on Identity Manager makes our lives much easier and allows us to focus on our primary goal – serving the meteorological needs of the German public efficiently and effectively.”