Safeguarding User Data and Lightening Workloads: How Vodafone Uses Adobe I/O to Automate the User Removal Process

Patrick Faller
Sep 10 · 4 min read

With more than 400 million users, worldwide, Vodafone is one of the biggest mobile telecommunications providers in the world. To keep their customers happy (and bring in new ones), the company operates with individual operating companies based in locations worldwide. It’s an enviable position for a company to be in; but with all that great success, comes an equally great level of responsibility; Vodafone must be able to guarantee its users’ safety, privacy, and security at all times.

Vodafone is using Adobe Experience Cloud to constantly monitor its market performance, across those 400+ million users, to make changes to its digital properties and offerings, and to keep track of partners and the data that’s being shared with them.

“We are a global organization with 100K employees. We want as many people as possible to access digital platforms, such as Adobe, so with this scale comes the problem as to how we can ensure that only the right people have access from both Vodafone and our partners,” said Will Harmer, Vodafone’s global product owner for digital marketing.

“Managing users is a time consuming and mundane activity, so we wanted to make it easier.” To do that, and safeguard the interests of its users, Vodafone created an automated process using the Adobe User Management REST API to keep track of all employees and partners with access but that have since left the company, so their access to marketing data can be revoked.

Mitigating risks in a GDPR world with Adobe I/O

Vodafone has always placed a great emphasis on safeguarding the data it holds; but the institution of GDPR in the European Union (which introduced tough new privacy regulations for anyone who handles user data) meant the company needed an extra level of vigilance. In addition to possibly hurting users and damaging the Vodafone brand, any potential data breach now comes with hefty penalty fines from the EU. “It was, and is, absolutely critical that we build on the processes and people within Vodafone to ensure compliance,” said Will.

The User Management API gives you programmatic access to users, groups, and entitlements, and so Will and his team turned to it as the perfect tool for the job. With the API, you’re able to set up processes that automatically provision users, synchronize user directories, and grant and remove access to Adobe products from a central management application. It was the latter aspect that was particularly attractive to Vodafone.

The company’s Group Digital Marketing Team created an automated script, so that Adobe admins didn’t need to manually perform the actions of monitoring and removing staff. This script automatically lists all users who have access to Vodafone’s Experience Cloud instance, but have left the organization.

How Vodafone uses the User Management API to automate user removal

Vodafone’s solution for automating this user management process is:

  • Its script fetches a list of all Adobe Experience Cloud users, using their email addresses
  • The script uses an API-based service to check to see if the email address is still valid. Anyone with an invalid email address fails this check, and means the person is no longer an employee or partner of Vodafone.
  • The script then takes one of these actions:
  • Deletes the account from Adobe Experience Cloud, using Adobe I/O, or:
  • Sends a list of users with invalid email addresses to their designated admins, who can then look into removing the user manually.

“Using the User Management API allowed us to automate the management of thousands of users across 21 different markets. The biggest risk we were able to eliminate was that we are now able to ensure access to Adobe was revoked from people who had left both Vodafone and from our partners,” said Will.

“So far it has worked with 100% accuracy,” he added.

Happier employees, and a safer user base

Using this automated script, Vodafone was able to determine the accounts of people that had left the organization. In addition to deleting those users that were part of the Group Marketing organization, the team has been able to share lists of these users with all of its local market offices, who have all taken action to delete inactive accounts.

For Will, this peace of mind is improved by the knowledge that his team members will have a better quality of life at work.

“There is no one who comes into work each morning wanting to undertake user management; it’s boring and can only really go wrong. Automating this process has meant our Adobe super user community can spend more time doing the things they enjoy and that add value to Vodafone, such as understanding our customers and delivering personalized experiences,” he said.

“We have had great feedback from our Adobe superusers saying that is both saves them time and gives them confidence that their Adobe instance is only being accessed by the people who should have access.”

The Adobe User Management API allows you to directly create applications and scripts to manage your organization’s Adobe user accounts and product entitlements. To learn more, check out the Adobe User Management API site.

Adobe Tech Blog

News, updates, and thoughts related to Adobe, developers, and technology.

Patrick Faller

Written by

Content/community creator, strategist, and award-winning journalist with a passion for technology, art, development, and design 🚀

Adobe Tech Blog

News, updates, and thoughts related to Adobe, developers, and technology.

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