Bottom line benefits of identity management

By Tracy Burrows
Johannesburg, 15 Aug 2012

Identity management is about more than security; it is a financial and compliance imperative as well.

So says Dereck Sigamoney, Bytes' regional divisional executive, who adds that effective identity management is a fundamental issue in securing an enterprise from a monetary perspective. “It's about managing workforces, mitigating risk and providing a safe working environment for employees, among other things,” he says.

He notes that labour legislation demands that a company have an accurate record of who is on site within an enterprise. Should an accident or tragedy, such as a fire, occur and a company is unable to account for its employees, it will be liable for a fine larger than the cost of a good biometric identity management (BIM) system.

BIM ensures unauthorised employees do not access restricted areas, reducing risk of harm to the employees, premises and property. However, identity management applications extend beyond staff to include customers too, he says.

“Industry- and customer-centric biometric solutions include banking, airlines, retail and hospitality, and lifestyle.”

In addition to improved governance and compliance, effective identity management benefits business through real and measurable cost savings.

“For example, if a company has 100 000 employees filling in leave forms manually, and these are couriered to a head office, around 3% of the forms will go missing. This liability causes a huge deficit at the end of the financial year,” he says.

Self-service HR processes, authenticated using BIM and processed through workforce management solutions, eliminates these losses and has the benefit of streamlining the process and delivering accurate information in real time.

In many large enterprises, staff access to the building may be tracked, but the company is unable to measure the amount of unused time that occurs once the employee is in the building. They may be on the premises, but they may not be at their workstations, consequently rendering them unproductive.

BIM allows enterprises to generate an accurate audit trail of work done, employee movement and resource deployment. It can also streamline customer services and operations by cutting down manual processes.

“With biometric clocking stations at the workstation, a company will be able to determine not just when the employee entered the building, but when they essentially began working. This allows for accurate tracking of hours worked and immediate authorisation of overtime.”

He notes, however, that rapid return on investment is achieved only when the correct business case is applied in choosing the type of identity access management solution, with a clear and defined process of application. “The process must embody a combination of rules, methods and procedures that defines the agreement between individuals and organisations regarding ownership, utilisation and the safeguarding of personal information.”