Brookdale Improves Efficiency and Compliance with Courion's AccountCourier
Background: Founded in 1978 Brookdale Senior Living is one of the nation's largest owners and operators of senior living communities and services throughout the U.S. Recently Brookdale embarked on an aggressive growth through acquisitions strategy increasing revenues nearly five-fold - from $400 million to $2 billion - over the past three years. Brookdale now operates more than 550 senior living and retirement communities across the nation where more than 32000 Brookdale associates serve over 52000 residents in a variety of settings.
Challenges: The rapid growth Brookdale experienced through its aggressive acquisition and consolidation strategy came with major challenges - one of which centered on employee identity management. First Brookdale added more than 7000 employees to its user base all of whom had to be accounted for and given access to a variety of internal IT systems. Second Brookdale's IT staff had to deal with the complexities of dozens of new systems which were acquired as a result of the mergers each with its own unique user set-up specifications. Additionally like most services companies Brookdale grapples with high employee turnover with some jobs turning over between 40-60 percent annually.
Another challenge that Brookdale faced was that their users were often forced to create and remember different passwords for each application they used. With each user accessing an average of nine different systems some users wrote passwords on Post-It notes which they stuck to their computer monitors. Brookdale needed to ensure that passwords were being used in accordance with internal policy in addition to protecting resident private health information in accordance with HIPAA regulations.
Despite the fact that five full-time personnel were dedicated to the task of processing an average of 70 access-change requests every day new hires were waiting as long as four days to get set up with the applications to do their job which reduced productivity. The staff also had to ensure that not only were new employees getting access to the appropriate systems but that departing employees were terminated appropriately and immediately - in order to prevent the potentially devastating security financial and regulatory risks associated with "Zombie" accounts.
Best Deployment Scenario - Identity Management Solution
Solution provided: Scott Ranson CIO of Brookdale made the decision to address these problems by implementing Courion's Access Assurance Suite - comprising password management user provisioning role management and compliance verification and attestation - to automate the process of setting up and managing user accounts across Brookdale's applications.
Brookdale used Courion's AccountCourier Solution to first take care of provisioning end-user accounts on a variety of systems. Currently Brookdale is provisioning accounts on 15 systems and expects to expand coverage to more than fifty systems over time. By tackling the provisioning problem Brookdale was able to reduce the time required to add new users to the system from three to five days to under 24 hours. In addition Brookdale was able to slash the time required to make changes to a user's profile on five systems to as little as five minutes compared with the one hour it used to take using the old manual process.
Users can now select a single password that they can use for the 5 major systems they need to access. When a user makes a change to their password it is automatically and transparently propagated to all other systems they have access to. Having one password for multiple systems makes it easier for users to remember their password and eliminates the need for them to write it down in an insecure location.Brookdale also implemented Courion's self-service password management capabilities. IT used to get 400 help desk calls monthly to reset passwords. After deploying the Courion solution these calls have been almost completely eliminated. And even when someone does call the help desk to reset their password the help desk staff can do it from a single screen rather than having to go to multiple systems and manually reset the password as they were forced to in the past. Finally although Brookdale is a nationwide organization the IT help desk is only open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. at headquarters.
Summary: As described above almost immediately Ranson was able to show concrete measurable business benefits with the new identity and access management system. He reduced overall IT costs by $150000 by trimming three staff positions. The time required for access changes was reduced from 3-5 days to under 24 hours enabling an increase in employee efficiency. The IT staff could also now change user credentials on 15 systems within 5 minutes rather than the hour it previously took to make manual changes on just 5 systems. Ranson also witnessed a 60% savings in the amount of time his staff spent on SOX compliance reporting. And thanks to the self-service password management capabilities Ranson leveraged through the Courion Access Assurance solution help desk calls dropped from 400 per month to nearly zero. All of these benefits helped Ranson not only improve the security of end user private data but allowed him to create substantive and sustainable business benefits for Brookdale for years to come.
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