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A user is the digital representation of a physical user who interacts with applications. A user can be a digital identity of a human or a machine. A user can be recognized by a number of attributes. These are called user attributes. User attributes are data that defines the user, i.e., anything the user is, owned by, or associated with.

A unique user account is created for each user. Then they are assigned roles with a certain set of permissions. Roles and permissions will be discussed in the next section.

In this section, let's look at the various ways users can be configured and managed.

Add users

Users can be created and added to a user management console in more than one way. Following are a few ways users can be created or added.

  • Using the user management console - Here, the user is created by the admin using the user management application.

  • Using the ask password option - This option is widely preferred because the admin does not have to remember the passwords of created users. This can be done by prompting the user to create a password for themselves while being onboarded. Alternatively, administrators on-boarding user accounts to the system create a default password, send an email link to the user with the created account, and ask the user to confirm the correctness of the account created by the admin.

  • Using SCIM APIs - Users can be added to the user management system by giving the necessary user details as input values in a SCIM request.

  • Self-registration - Users can register themselves using the self-sign up portal. This is convenient to both the user and the admin.

  • Importing users in bulk - In addition to manually adding individual users, multiple users can be imported in bulk. This is usually done by first exporting all the relevant user details to a comma-separated values (.csv) file or Microsoft Excel (.xls) file, and then importing this file with all the information to the user management system.

Update users

User details might need to be updated from time to time to maintain the precision of data in the user management system. For example, when the user communicates a change in any of the user profile details such as the user's email address or phone number, it can be updated by the admin using the user management console, or a SCIM request with the new values. It can also be updated by users themselves if there is a My Account application provided by the user management system.

Search users

Once users have been added to the system, they can be searched via the console, or using SCIM requests. A number of filters can be used to find a user or multiple users faster. For example, entering a username pattern will provide all the usernames that match that pattern in the search result.

Delete users

Employees leave an organization from time to time. When an employee leaves an organization, the admin no longer needs to maintain the user account of that employee. Deleting a user account must be done with care since this can be an irreversible action in most systems. To mitigate risks, most user management systems provide a tracking log for user deletion activities.