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Whole Foods Takes Natural Next Step to Protect Applications in the Cloud

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In just 12 weeks, Whole Foods Market rolled out Azure Active Directory Premium to all 91,000 employees, who use it to gain single sign-on to more than 30 SaaS applications. By Microsoft

The challenge for Whole Foods Market (WFM) was to provide an easy, cost-effective, and secure way for all employees to access both cloud-based and datacenter-based applications.

The company’s workers complained about having to remember multiple passwords for various business applications, and IT invested a lot of time in dealing with user credential issues such as password resets.

WFM had long used the Active Directory service in the Windows Server operating system to manage identity credentials to allow the company’s 20,000 information workers to access on-premises applications.

However, when WFM shifted to a SaaS model - and especially when it licensed Workday, a SaaS human resources application, for its information workers and also its 71,000 store workers - its number of identity credentials doubled.

“We wanted to link all our identities and provide end-user consistency as we moved to more SaaS-based applications,” Lamb says. “Expanding and managing a much larger on-premises infrastructure would have been cost-prohibitive.”

Partner for Success
Whole Foods decided to build on its existing Active Directory infrastructure and use Microsoft Azure Active Directory Premium to manage employee identities for SaaS applications.

Azure Active Directory Premium is part of Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security, which also includes products for mobile device management, information protection, and threat prevention.

“We committed to Azure Active Directory Premium because of Microsoft’s strong commitment to making sure we were successful,” Lamb says. “The Azure Active Directory team listened to our concerns, understood the risks and blockers, and was very responsive.”

The Azure Active Directory Customer Success Team provides key customers like Whole Foods with a dedicated program manager and free access to the product team. This team helped WFM overcome deployment challenges, prioritized the development of specific Azure Active Directory features needed by WFM, and helped it deploy the service in a tight time frame.

Simplify Credential Management with a Hybrid Solution
In just 12 weeks, WFM rolled out Azure Active Directory Premium to all 91,000 employees, who use it to gain single sign-on to more than 30 SaaS applications.

“Employees love using Azure Active Directory for sign-on versus having multiple passwords and different accounts to manage,” says Lamb.

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