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Case study

Global insurer builds foundations for digital transformation with Azure AD Connect

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Connecting our client to the Cloud for a secure access experience, ready to scale for a successful future.

Our client is one of the largest global insurance companies, with over 100,000 staff working in more than 60 countries.

The company was looking for an upgrade to their current Forefront Identity Manager connector, DirSync, following Microsoft’s decision to withdraw support for the tool in April 2017.

Kocho was chosen as the partner to implement this upgrade as our consultants had previous in-depth experience of the company’s infrastructure.


  • Upgrade completed to Azure AD Connect with minimal disruption and continued seamless access to Office 365.

  • Upgraded Forefront Identity Management program includes improvements including password self-service, registered device visibility, and membership changes syncing to active directory.

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David Guest quickly understood what we were looking to achieve… We were impressed with the way he considered the business needs, the infrastructure, and the unique challenges, and presented a solution that would satisfy our requirements.

Company Spokesperson

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Loss of support for an outdated Forefront Identity Management system

Our client was using the previous generation of FIM connector tools, DirSync for linking cloud identities to its on-premises Active Directory.

Microsoft withdrew support for DirSync in April 2017 and Azure AD stopped accepting connections from DirSync from 31 December 2017.

Identity synchronisation was now going to be an urgent problem for our client.

Upgrading to a modern FIM connection tool with Azure AD Connect

The project started with an envisioning workshop with one of the Kocho Senior Architects, David Guest.

Although the existing FIM connector was originally installed by another IT company, due to the complexity of both the company and the new platform, our client decided to work with a tried and tested partner, Kocho.

It was decided that the company would upgrade from DirSync with Azure Active Directory Connect chosen as the upgrade. This wasn’t just a direct replacement but also saw significant improvements including;

  • Password write back: enables password self-service.
  • Device write back: visibility of registered devices in the active directory.
  • Group writeback: changes in group membership in the Cloud are synced to Active Directory.

Azure AD Connect was more capable, easier to configure, supported more scenarios and offered greater flexibility than DirSync.

The lead Kocho consultant on the project, Andy Duncan, was experienced in the client’s infrastructure, ensuring that the project ran smoothly.

Standardising FIM connections across the organisation and continued support into the future

Azure AD stopped accepting connections from DirSync after December 2017 and businesses have had to upgrade to Azure AD Connect. The upgrade provides organisations with a long-term solution to the synchronisation of on-premises and cloud directories.

Following the completion of the Azure AD Connect project for the UK and the rest of the world, the client is replicating the update in the US (the US directory is held on a separate server for compliance purposes).

The company is also looking to further simplify its provisioning infrastructure by condensing the number of FIM servers by half.

Kocho were the logical choice for our client to implement the upgrade to their system given their familiarity with the company infrastructure and ability to handle large and complex organisations.

Key Takeaways

  • Kocho upgraded the client’s outdated DirSync to Azure AD Connect, ensuring seamless Office 365 access with enhanced security features.

  • Kocho offered a customised solution, considering business needs and infrastructure.

  • Chosen for expertise in managing complex organisations, Kocho successfully replaced DirSync with Azure AD Connect, providing flexibility and ongoing support.

  • The upgrade standardised FIM connections and prepared the client for long-term directory synchronisation.

  • The client plans to replicate the update in the US and streamline its provisioning infrastructure with Kocho’s assistance.

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