Prioritizing security and identity
To protect its intellectual property and prevent product data from being leaked, the IT team prioritizes security and identity management. It turned to Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) for more secure access, user-friendly features like self-service password reset, and integration with SAP SuccessFactors and other software as a service apps, including Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Intuo employee engagement.
“Identity is very important. If you want to limit access and avoid data leakage, you need to know who has access to what and who can transmit what kind of information,” says BekaertDeslee’s CIO Rik Holvoet. “We all have different systems, and every system has a kind of authentication mechanism, but we want to standardize as much as possible and go toward one identity for all. Sticking to one identity and managing access across all applications and services in a company, like we do with Azure Active Directory, is certain to make life easier.”
Like many companies, BekaertDeslee’s cloud journey began with moving e-mail services to the cloud. The company used Microsoft Mail before becoming an early adopter of Office 365 in 2011. BekaertDeslee began researching Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Azure as soon as it considered moving more of its operations to the cloud. “We were trying to keep life simple,” Rik explains. “If we’re already doing just fine one cloud and one cloud provider, why should we move to two different providers?”
BekaertDeslee initially had on-premises Windows Server Active Directory but decided in 2016 to expand its cloud investment into identity and access management. One of the biggest challenges that the company wanted to address was the manual way that user access was assigned and revoked when onboarding and offboarding employees. It also wanted to be able to effectively manage access changes throughout an employee’s entire lifecycle in the company. In the previous, manual process, HR would enter details into an Excel document to request the setup of a new user and send it as an attachment to IT. After receiving the request, IT would review the Excel document and create tickets in its service desk tool, following up with HR for any incomplete information. This time-consuming process slowed how quickly new employees could contribute.
“It was a cumbersome manual process, and chances were high that people would forget to do something,” Rik adds. “For example, the Excel sheet might be only partially or incorrectly filled in. IT tried to help by providing drop-down menus to limit errors, but even then, people would sometimes choose the wrong option.”