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What Is Provisioning and How Can a Managed IT Service Help?

Mark Lukehart

Business people discussing IT project at meeting

The provisioning process is essential for building an effective IT infrastructure for your business. Provisioning is the first step in deployment. It involves preparing each component of your IT infrastructure and providing access to the necessary users.

Provisioning is necessary to ensure that your servers, network, and software are properly configured. It also ensures that your users have the necessary permissions to operate the system. This prevents delays and confusion later in the deployment process.

Here’s what you need to know about the provisioning process and why it’s so important for your business.

Key Takeaways

  • Provisioning is the process of activating new technology and assigning the appropriate user credentials.
  • Provisioning is the first step in the deployment process and is necessary for technology configuration. 
  • Provisioning can be done for networks, servers, cloud services, apps, and more.
  • Effective provisioning is necessary to ensure users have the correct access to your systems. It also keeps your servers safe.
  • A managed service provider can help you implement the provisioning process. 

What is Provisioning?

In a general sense, provisioning means to make something available to someone. In the Information Technology sector, however, the term “provisioning” is the process of preparing your systems and infrastructure for deployment. 

Provisioning can apply to many different types of technology and systems.

The first step in provisioning is activating your technology, whether it’s a server, network, cloud-based storage, software program, or something else. Once the technology is active, you’ll need to create your user accounts and provide credentials to each authorized user. 

This allows each user to log in and configure the technology as necessary for full deployment. This process can involve setting up digital user identities, providing usernames and passwords, assigning software licenses, and assigning physical hardware.

Many IT teams use automated provisioning to speed up the process and get users the access they need as quickly as possible. Automated provisioning relies on software programs to generate user credentials and manage the initial authentication. Automated provisioning is often necessary to set up an IT environment on a large scale.

However, some IT environments require more flexibility, precision, and security. In this case, you may need to use manual provisioning processes to provide user access. 

This approach to provisioning is more time-consuming and is subject to human error. However, your team will be able to configure each account individually according to your security needs.

Depending on the complexity of your IT environment, you may be able to offer self-service provisioning. This approach allows each user to activate the technology they’ll be using and generate credentials on their own. 

This approach to access management saves time and resources, which can be critical for a small team. However, you’ll sacrifice some security in the process.

It’s also very important to have a deprovisioning plan in place for your IT resources. Deprovisioning is the process of removing access rights for users when they no longer need them. 

Rapid deprovisioning is essential when a team member leaves your organization or a partnership ends. Including deprovisioning in your offboarding process ensures that your organization’s security levels aren’t compromised.

What are the Different Types of Provisioning?

There are several different types of provisioning in IT. You may need to use multiple types of provisioning to set up your systems, depending on the specifics of your network.

Cloud Provisioning

Cloud provisioning is a crucial step in setting up your cloud infrastructure. This could include things like cloud storage or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) programs. 

This is particularly important as companies around the world transition from on-premise servers to a cloud environment. Over 94% of organizations have adopted cloud technology in some form as part of their operations.

Many aspects of cloud provisioning can be automated easily using provisioning tools, which makes cloud adoption and deployment even faster. Many cloud programs have also implemented self-service provisioning features to speed up the process.

Application provisioning is a key component of the broader cloud provisioning process. Many work applications are powered by cloud computing technology. In order for your team to use these apps, you’ll need to create accounts and implement access controls for each team member. 

Automated provisioning tools can help streamline this process and set up accounts for new users during onboarding.

Network Provisioning

Network provisioning involves activating various components of your organization’s digital network. This process is essential to setting up your entire IT infrastructure in-house

It involves activating network routers and switches. You’ll also need to allocate IP addresses, activate firewalls, and set up access control provisions for the end users. Because this type of provisioning is relatively complex, it sometimes needs to be done manually. However, there are also some automated provisioning tools available.

Once these key components are active, the final step is to perform health checks to make sure the network is functioning as intended. 

If you decide to segment your networks, you may also need to set up Virtual Local Area Networks, or VLANs. Segmenting network traffic can help mitigate cybersecurity risks and improve network performance.

Server Provisioning

This is the process of setting up physical servers and assigning the right access controls to keep your data safe. Although many companies have transitioned to cloud data storage, there are still instances where you’ll need to use on-premise servers. 

Server provisioning ensures that your team has access to the servers they need while limiting unnecessary external access.

Server provisioning starts by identifying the appropriate server hardware for your data performance requirements. 

Once you’ve chosen and activated the hardware for your servers, the next step is to install and activate software to keep them running properly. 

Finally, you will need to implement access controls for your team and adjust the settings of your network as needed.

User Provisioning

This is the process of setting up user accounts throughout your system. It is similar to application provisioning, but can also be done for networks and systems as a whole. The first step is creating accounts for all relevant team members and work partners, and assigning account details like usernames and passwords. 

This step is sometimes called account provisioning.

Then, you’ll need to conduct role-based access control, or RBAC. Different users will need different network permissions based on their role in the company. For example, your management team will need much broader access to your system than your interns or entry-level team members. 

Finally, you’ll need to plan for deprovisioning when team members leave in the future.

How can Provisioning Help Your Business?

Provisioning is essential for building a functional IT setup for your organization. Cybersecurity is one of the most important reasons to implement a robust provisioning process. 

Provisioning ensures that each user has the appropriate level of access to your network and systems. Implementing robust access controls also helps keep cybersecurity threats out.

A good provisioning system will also keep your systems organized. Conducting provisioning early in the lifecycle of your technology will make it easy to scale later on. This is because your network will already be structured properly with good access controls.

Consider investing in automated provisioning tools to make the process easier. This will help you assign user access credentials much more quickly. Automated tools can also help assign IP addresses and set up new servers. 

Automating aspects of your provisioning system will give your team more time to focus on complex tasks, rather than manual assignments. Automated provisioning features will also help new team members onboard more quickly.

How a Managed IT Service Can Help

Managed IT Services can help businesses design and implement an effective provisioning process. This is particularly helpful for small-to-midsize businesses, who may not have the resources to hire a full IT team in-house. 

They will help you select the appropriate technology for your company’s IT needs, using their expertise to help you select the right hardware and software programs. 

Your Managed IT Provider will also help you plan for future growth during the initial provisioning process and provide recommendations on how to configure your technology for maximum cybersecurity.

After the provisioning process is complete, your Managed IT Provider can work with you to handle ongoing identity management. This ensures that your entire team continues to maintain the correct credentials for their work. 

Finally, your Managed IT Provider  can support you with deprovisioning when necessary to keep your systems safe.