National Geographic

UMRA Optimises User Provisioning at National Geographic

National Geographic logo

National Geographic

  • Allow employees to reset their own passwords without having to contact the help desk. Automate provisioning and de-provisioning of accounts
  • A major reduction in the number of calls to the help desk. Time spent on account management has been drastically reduced and has resulted in increased security

UMRA Optimises User Provisioning and Drastically Reduces Help Desk Calls

National Geographic is a 125 year old not-for-profit institution that publishes educational and scientific information in 37 different languages in a variety of formats including; web, television, magazines, books and other emerging digital formats. The organisation currently has over 1,400 full and part-time employees and hundreds of contractors working at their headquarters located in Washington DC, as well as remote offices throughout the world. Dan Backer, Director, Campus Technology, at National Geographic, explains: "As each different location publishes the content in their own language, our employees need to have access to the work of resources." Nat Geo's employees also need to access several cloud applications, including Google Apps, with different credentials for each. This caused issues when employees had difficulty logging in due to forgetting their passwords and were unable to contact the help desk as they are located in different time zones, outside of the business hours of the help desk.

Manage high turnover for accounts

In addition, due to the hundreds of contractors that Nat Geo employs, the IT department had to deal with having a high turnover rate for accounts. Very often they were provisioning 10 new accounts and de-provisioning another 5 every day. This process was done manually and was extremely time consuming and inefficient. In order for a new employee to correctly be provisioned, the hiring manager had to get the correct paper form, fill it out, and give it to the help desk with a signature, and then as many as 4 different admins would go about provisioning the attributes of the account. This process would often take up to a day and would have to be handled by many employees along the way.

After realising they needed an Identity Management solution to help with these issues and inefficiencies, Nat Geo decided upon Tools4ever's Self Service Reset Password Management (SSRPM) and User Management Resource Administrator (UMRA). "Tools4ever absolutely knew what they were talking about and were extremely clear and flexible," Dan Backer.

"UMRA has not only helped improve the security of access by terminating faster, it has also greatly improved our data security."

Dan Backer, Director Campus Technology, at National Geographic

Secure Password Resets at Anytime

Since employees outside of the help desk's time zone needed to resolve their password issues at any hour, Tools4ever implemented SSRPM at Nat Geo. Employees simply answer predefined security questions and are able to reset their passwords, even in the middle of the night, without contacting the help desk. In addition, Password Synchronisation Manager was implemented, allowing Nat Geo to provide one single password to their employees for both Active Directory and Google Apps. Every time a user resets his or her Active Directory password, the change is automatically updated to Google Apps. This, in turn made it much easier for employees to remember their credentials.

Secure Account (De-)Provisioning

With UMRA, Nat Geo was able to connect their PeopleSoft HR system to Active Directory. UMRA is set up to automatically read new data twice a day and automatically synchronise it to AD and Google. Now, when someone enters a new personnel request UMRA automatically creates a new Google Apps account, AD account, share drive, personal drive and profile. The manager in charge then receives an audit trail of all actions and can continue to request additional services needed, such as hardware or mobile devices. UMRA also assists with automatically de-provisioning accounts. Once an employee account is disabled in PeopleSoft, UMRA automatically disables their AD and Google accounts to ensure that the employee no longer has access. UMRA is also set up to transfer that employee's personal drive to the manager as well as ownership of all Google Docs. This ensures that any projects that were on going are not lost. "UMRA has not only helped to improve security by terminating access faster, it has also greatly improved our data security," comments Backer.

Overall, UMRA and SSRPM have drastically reduced the number of calls to the help desk as well as the hours spent on user account management. "Tools4ever has been very agile and able to deliver quickly," comments Backer.