Gartner Research

Best Practices for Managing and Governing Third-Party Identities, Including Contractors and Business Partners

Published: 12 December 2014

ID: G00258444

Analyst(s): Lori Robinson


In today’s federated workplace, many third parties need access to internal systems and resources. This assessment examines how IAM professionals can implement best practices for provisioning and governing third-party identities in a cross-domain environment.

Table Of Contents


  • Third-Party Identities Defined
  • The Challenge
    • Identity Life Cycle Management
    • Governance and Oversight
    • Inappropriate or Excessive Privileges
    • Privileged Access
    • Orphaned Accounts
  • Eighty Percent Process, 20% Technology
    • Build an IAM Program That Is Specific to Third Parties
    • Understand and Document Business Processes
    • Create Consistent Processes for Managing the Identity Life Cycle
    • Establish Partnerships
    • Assign Delegates and Sponsors
    • Autoexpire Third-Party Accounts
    • Apply the Principle of Least Privilege
    • Audit Controls, and Perform Access Reviews
    • Prevent the Fox From Watching Over the Henhouse
  • Technical Approaches
    • User Provisioning
    • Alternatives to User Provisioning
    • Identity and Access Governance
    • Privileged Account Management
    • Secure the Environment
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses


  • Design an IAM Program That Is Specific to Third Parties
  • Ensure That a Federation Contract Exists
  • Assign a Delegate or Sponsor
  • Manage the Identity Life Cycle
  • Architect for the Use Case
  • Utilize Standards-Based Federated Provisioning Where Possible
  • Include Third-Party Identities in Access Certifications
  • Implement Privileged Account Controls

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