Provisioning is now a general term in telecommunications and indicates an indispensable resource that allows you to work with agility, guaranteeing constant operation. What characteristics distinguish it? What types can it be divided into?
What Is Meant By Provisioning?
Provisioning is a process that allows you to perform various automated tasks, notably the ability to allocate computer or telecommunications resources following a change in user activity. It plays a fundamental role in the telco field because it can configure hardware and software devices to activate services for a customer. With provisioning, you can remotely access data and technologies, search for protected data, and grant permissions to numerous network databases and applications through a unique identity process. It is possible to control the processes to protect access privileges and thus increase security and privacy in personal devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets, or pagers.
Thanks to this technology, it is possible to guarantee the automatic installation of particular software, making the environment fully operational and ensuring the availability of the entire environment. Doing so decreases the configurations used when transferring information and reduces the amount of abuse to the system. In general, provisioning has developed thanks to the spread of DevOps. It is today a fundamental element in production and development environments, capable of creating complex structures in close contact with Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques. For this reason, for many companies, it represents an essential element for optimizing the IT environment and the digital transformation of the business.
How Does It Work?
For provisioning to work, devices must first know where to find information for their configuration. Therefore, someone – through a remote or local instrument – must communicate to the different devices where it is possible to search for them. What is the process by which this information can be found? There are several:
- RPS service: proprietary servers must communicate the address where the configuration can be downloaded. These cloud services are configured by default and made to users by the manufacturers.
- PNP service: takes care of scanning the network in broadcast mode to find any servers.
- DHCP: through a defined option – 66 – the service that provides the IP to the device can indicate where to find the configuration data.
- Manual: The system administrator connects to the device’s web interface and manually sets up the provisioning server.
All The Main Advantages
Why should a company rely on provisioning? What are the concrete advantages that derive from the use of this technology?
- It allows you to automatically configure a device – such as a phone or a computer – minimizing setup and activation times.
- It supports and facilitates the distribution of many devices, allowing the deployment of many different devices.
- Avoid having to physically meet customers on-site every time a new device needs to be installed.
- If it is necessary to go to a customer in person, however, the time required to proceed with the installation is drastically reduced.
- Management becomes centralized and remote, even from a VoIP PBX in the Cloud.
- It is easier to update devices and perform maintenance. Furthermore, the update will take place automatically without intervening if a more recent firmware is available.
- Communications security is ensured as provisioning uses encrypted protocols.
- It is an essential resource for meeting deadlines and controlling operating costs.
Provisioning is a fundamental resource in various fields, among which the world of telecommunications stands out.
Provisioning Vs. Deprovisioning
Concerning provisioning systems, one cannot fail to focus on the concept of deprovisioning.
What Is It About?
It is a technology that works in contrast to provisioning. It allows a system administrator to take resources and privileges away from network users and those who can access them remotely (for example, suppliers). It, therefore, allows you to prevent access to those who are no longer authorized and is particularly useful if it is no longer necessary for a user to carry out certain activities, usually following the termination of an employment contract, change of job, or removal.
Of an employee. In this case, it is ensured that credentials and resources are not exploited abusively or for ulterior motives, guaranteeing a high level of security. Manually deprovisioning can be risky, as it is easy to forget or miss some privileges. It is advisable to automate the process to reduce the margin for error and free up IT resources. Deprovisioning and provisioning, therefore, assume significant strategic importance and support a company to comply with the terms of Identity Access Governance accurately.
The Different Types Of Provisioning
Four specific types of provisioning can be identified. Here they are in detail:
You configure the server on a network according to the required resources. It includes all the operations necessary to create a working machine and defines the system’s desired state. It includes software installation and configuration and requires hardware configuring in a data center to store, process, or distribute data securely.
Manage identities and monitor access privileges and rights. It offers messaging services and allows you to access a network or database. It is usually managed by individuals who rely on IT resources.
Configure network access for servers, users, and containers. It then allows connection to the service itself and may require implementing the wireless environment. It is the most common type of provisioning in the telecommunications field.
Create services and manage their data. Telcos widely use it to offer customer service and Cloud infrastructure (which can also be presented as a platform hosted by third-party providers). This service is available to users via an Internet network.
In the early years of the spread and use of this technology, provisioning was done manually by physically installing the servers and configuring each setting to determine the different parameters. If you wanted to add new features, you had to buy new hardware or order them and await delivery. Fortunately, significant progress has been made today, and the process can count on great automation: The infrastructure is essentially software, and thanks to containers and a virtual environment, activities are more efficient and faster. It must be taken into account that the infrastructure is increasingly virtual and prepared for each new development.
Consequently, the capacity of corporate environments has increased significantly. Manually provisioning can be time-consuming and error-prone, and tracking every change is highly complicated. It would help if you provisioned frequently, and it’s not easy to have complete control over all versions. This is why automation becomes essential to optimize the development and implementation of an application.