What to expect during deployment

In most organizations, a deployment takes place in the following stages:

Evaluation

A primary senior analyst or small group installs the software in an isolated test environment. The main goal of this stage is to learn basic concepts, terminology, and operations and validate any specific functionality that is critical to the organization adopting the software. The lab environment also allows you to test the planned changes to system and user management processes without affecting user access. This proof-of-concept stage often takes place before the decision to purchase the software or with the decision to purchase a small number of licenses for extended testing.

Analysis and design

During this stage, a planning team does deeper analysis into the goals and requirements of the organization, the current state of the environment, and the deployment and management options that best suit the organization. The main goal of this stage is to design how you will use zones, import user account information, and assign rights and roles through a combination of Active Directory groups and zone definitions. Most of the information in this guide is intended to help you make those decisions and validate them in a pilot deployment.

Pilot deployment

The pilot deployment is intended to be more robust than the evaluation stage. The pilot deployment is typically 10 to 20 computers, often with a common administrative owner or administrative group. The main goal of this stage is to verify your analysis accurately described your environment and to uncover any gaps that might have been missed or special circumstances that require adjustment to the design planned for zones, user account information, or rights and roles. You can include more than 20 computers in the pilot deployment, but limiting the number makes the initial migration of the user population more manageable while you become familiar with the process.

Testing and validation

After deploying the software, most organizations perform at least some formal testing of specific scenarios to ensure the authentication and authorization rules they have defined operate as expected and users are not locked out of computers they need access to but are prevented from logging on where they don’t have access rights. The main goal of this stage is to execute a test plan that exercises software operations in a number of different use cases.

Roll-out deployment

After sufficient testing and verification of the pilot deployment, the deployment team can use a software delivery method to install Centrify agent packages on remote computers and join an Active Directory domain. Typically, the roll-out is done in phases, so that Centrify software is deployed on a set of computers in one subnet, IP range, or administrative domain, then later deployed on another set of computers on a different subnet, with a different IP range, or in a different administrative domain. The goal of this stage is to deploy in a controlled manner, so that any issues can be resolved before they affect additional users or computers.

On-going management and evolution

As your environment changes and evolves, it is likely that you will want to refine, customize, and extend your deployment and your authentication, authorization, computer, and user management policies. You may also develop or enhance scripts that automate provisioning and decommissioning of accounts, or update business processes to take advantage of additional functionality, such as integration with other tools to capture Centrify data or configuring database applications to use PAM-based authentication. The goal of this stage is continuous improvement to streamline business processes and operational efficiency.