AWS SAML

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) is a feature of AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) that enables users to authenticate to the AWS Management Console or call the AWS API operations using SAML-based identity providers (IdP) such as Microsoft Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS), Okta, OneLogin, Ping Identity, and more.

SAML is an open standard that allows identity providers (IdPs) to pass authentication and authorization information to service providers (in this case, AWS) through security tokens. This enables SSO (Single Sign-On) between different systems and applications.

With SAML, you can use your existing identity management systems to authenticate users and provide them with access to your AWS resources. You can set up IAM roles that correspond to the roles in your organization and assign them to the users and groups that you have defined in your IdP. Once the user is authenticated by the IdP, they will be able to access the AWS Management Console and call the AWS API operations using the permissions associated with the role.

SAML also allows you to set up multi-factor authentication (MFA) for users to provide an additional layer of security. This can be done either by using an MFA device provided by your IdP, or by using an AWS MFA device.

SAML is a very powerful and flexible feature of IAM that enables you to integrate your existing identity management systems with AWS and provides users with a seamless experience of accessing AWS resources.

SAML providers

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) is compatible with a variety of identity providers (IdPs) that support the SAML 2.0 standard. Here are some examples of popular SAML providers that can be used with AWS:

  • Microsoft Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS)
  • Okta
  • OneLogin
  • Ping Identity
  • Shibboleth
  • SimpleSAMLphp
  • Google G Suite
  • Salesforce
  • RSA SecurID Access
  • Centrify
  • SecureAuth

These IdPs can be used to authenticate users and provide them with access to your AWS resources. You can set up IAM roles that correspond to the roles in your organization and assign them to the users and groups that you have defined in your IdP. Once the user is authenticated by the IdP, they will be able to access the AWS Management Console and call the AWS API operations using the permissions associated with the role.

It’s worth noting that each of the providers may have different way of configuration, and may have different feature set, it is recommended to check with the provider’s documentation and compare it with your organization’s needs before making a decision.

Also, some of the providers may have additional costs associated with using their service, so it’s important to review the pricing and any additional fees before committing to a specific provider.

SAML Assertion

A Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) assertion is a package of information that contains a set of authentication and authorization claims made by an identity provider (IdP) about a user. These claims are passed to a service provider (in this case, AWS) in order to authenticate the user and provide them with access to resources.

An assertion typically contains the following elements:

  • Authentication statement: This element asserts that the user has been authenticated by the IdP. It may contain information about the authentication method used, such as username and password, or a digital certificate.
  • Attribute statement: This element asserts additional information about the user, such as their name, email address, and role. This information is used by the service provider to authorize the user’s access to resources.
  • Subject: This element identifies the user, and it may contain information such as the user’s name, email address, or a unique identifier.
  • Conditions: This element specifies the conditions under which the assertion is valid, such as a time range or an IP address range.
  • Signature: This element is used to sign the assertion, which ensures that the assertion was not tampered with while in transit.

When a user attempts to access the AWS Management Console or call the AWS API operations, the IdP sends a SAML assertion to AWS. AWS then uses the information in the assertion to authenticate the user and provide them with access to resources based on the permissions associated with the role.

It’s worth noting that there are different ways that an IdP can generate the assertion, and different ways to encrypt and sign the assertion, which is why it is important to consult the IdP’s documentation and AWS documentation when setting up SAML integration.

Working of SAML

The Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) is an open standard that allows identity providers (IdPs) to pass authentication and authorization information to service providers (in this case, AWS) through security tokens. This enables Single Sign-On (SSO) between different systems and applications. Here’s an overview of how SAML works with AWS:

  1. User attempts to access the AWS Management Console or call the AWS API operations.
  2. The user is redirected to the IdP’s login page, where they enter their credentials and authenticate.
  3. The IdP generates a SAML assertion, which contains a set of authentication and authorization claims about the user.
  4. The IdP sends the SAML assertion to AWS.
  5. AWS receives the SAML assertion and verifies its authenticity using the IdP’s public key or certificate.
  6. AWS uses the information in the assertion to authenticate the user and provide them with access to resources based on the permissions associated with the role.
  7. The user is granted access to the AWS Management Console or is able to call the AWS API operations.

It’s worth noting that the process can be slightly different depending on the IdP and the way it is configured, but this is the general flow of how SAML works with AWS.

Also, SAML supports different binding types such as HTTP-Redirect, HTTP-POST, HTTP-Artifact and others, it’s important to consult the IdP’s documentation and AWS documentation to know which binding type is supported and how to set it up.

Please follow and like us:
Content Protection by DMCA.com