Self-provisioning is the ability for individual end users and partners to set up (or “provision“) their own accounts.

Self-provisioning is a common element of most cloud services but remains relatively rare in file transfer applications.  A major difference between those environments is that self-provisioning in cloud services usually involves linking a credit card or other form of payment to each provisioned account.  This gives cloud services two important things that encourage the use of self-provisioning: a third-party validation of a user’s identity and an open account to bill if things go astray.  File transfer environments also involve a lot of trusted links and require, either by law or regulation, human intervention before such a link is authorised.

BEST PRACTICE: Self-provisioning may or may not be right for your environment.  As is the case with many types of automation, evaluation of this technology in a file transfer environment should involve a cost-benefit analysis of manually provisioning and maintaining groups of users vs. building a self-provisioning application that meets your organisation’s standards for establishing identity and access.    An common alternative that lies between manual provisioning and self-provisioning is the ability to delegate permission to provision a partner’s user to a particular partner’s administrator.  (File transfer Community Management often involves delegating provisioning privileges this way.)