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Solving Substantiation with SAML
In the digital world, identity verification is not as easy as showing the computer monitor a driver’s license

Organizations are deploying distributed, hybrid architectures that can span multiple security domains. At any moment, a user could be accessing the corporate data center, the organization’s cloud infrastructure, or even a third party, #SaaS web application. #SAML can provide the identity information necessary to implement an enterprise-wide single sign-on solution.

Proving or asserting one’s identity in the physical world is often as simple as showing a driver’s license or state ID card. As long as the photo matches the face, that’s typically all that is needed to verify identity. This substantiation of identity is a physical form of authentication, and depending on the situation, the individual is then authorized either to receive something or to do something, for instance, enter a bar, complete a purchase, etc.

In the digital world, identity verification is not as easy as showing the computer monitor a driver’s license. To gain entry, you must provide information like a name, password, randomly generated token number—something you have, something you know, or something you are—to prove you are who you say you are.

Gaining access to corporate assets is no different. Many organizations have multiple different resource portals, however, each requiring digital proof of identity. Their users may also need to access partner portals, cloud based Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, or distributed, hybrid infrastructures that span multiple data centers, each requiring a unique user name and password. In addition, the average employee must maintain about 15 different passwords for both her private and corporate identities, with many of those passwords also being used for social media and other risky entities. Statistics show that 35 to 50 percent of help desk calls are related to password problems, with each call costing a company between $25 and $50 per request.

Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) is an XML-based standard that allows secure web domains to exchange user authentication and authorization data. It directly addresses the problem of how to provide the users of web browsers with single sign-on (SSO) convenience. With SAML, an online service provider can contact a separate online identity provider to authenticate users who are attempting to access secure content. For example, a user might need to log in to Salesforce.com, but Salesforce (the service provider) has no mechanism to validate the user. Salesforce would then send a request to an identity provider, such as F5 BIG-IP Access Policy Manager (APM), to validate the requesting user’s identity. BIG-IP APM version 11.3 supports SAML federation, acting as either a service provider or an identity provider, enhancing the employee’s online experience and potentially reducing password-related tickets at the help desk.

BIG-IP APM version 11.3 can act as either a SAML service provider or a SAML identity provider, enabling both federation and SSO within an enterprise.

BIG-IP APM as a Service Provider

When a user initiates a request from a SAML IdP and the resources, such as an internal SharePoint site, are protected by BIG-IP APM, BIG-IP APM consumes that SAML assertion (claim) and validates its trustworthiness. This ultimately allows the user access to the resource. If the user goes directly to BIG-IP APM (as an SP) to access a resource (like SharePoint), then the user will be directed to the IdP to authenticate and get an assertion. Once a user is authenticated with a SAML IdP and accesses a resource behind BIG-IP APM, he or she will not need to authenticate again.

BIG-IP APM as an Identity Provider

Provided there is an SP that accepts assertions, a user can authenticate with BIG-IP APM to create an assertion. BIG-IP APM authenticates the user and displays resources. When the user clicks on an application, BIG-IP APM generates an assertion. That assertion can be passed on to the SP, which allows access to the resource without further authentication. When the user visits the SP first, the process is SP initiated; when the user goes directly to the IdP (in this case, BIG-IP APM) first to authenticate, the process is IdP initiated.

BIG-IP APM in a SAML Federation

SAML can be used to federate autonomous BIG-IP APM systems. This allows a user to connect to one BIG-IP device, authenticate, and transparently move to other participating BIG-IPs devices. Session replication is not part of SAML, but administrators can populate session information on participating systems. This means that BIG-IP device federation does not enable the use of a single session within the federation; it only enables information exchange among multiple members of the federation.  Each participating BIG-IP device maintains its own independent session with the client, and each has its own access policy that executes separately and independently.
Participating federation members can exchange information with any other federation members outside of sessions where needed. A common configuration is to have a dedicated BIG-IP device as a primary member to which users are authenticated and that provides information to other members. This allows a number of other BIG-IP devices to work in conjunction with that primary member.  The primary member is dedicated as an IdP, while the other participating members operate as SPs

Benefits

The benefits of deploying BIG-IP APM as a SAML solution certainly include better password management, fewer help desk calls, and an improved user experience, but BIG-IP APM can also add additional context to requests. For instance, it can include endpoint inspection results as attributes to inform the application of the client’s security posture. In addition, IT administrators do not need to retrofit applications (e.g., .NET apps do not need a Kerberos claims plug-in). Another advantage is extensive session variable support, which allows organizations to
customize each user session. BIG-IP APM can bring SAML to resources and applications with minimal back-end changes—or none. These benefits all complement the values of BIG-IP APM to the overall traffic management of an organization’s IT infrastructure.

IT infrastructure has changed dramatically over the past few years, with many applications moving to cloud-based services. Corporate employees have also morphed into a mobile workforce that requires secure access to that infrastructure any time, from anywhere, and with any device. Bridging the identity gap between physically and logically separated services allows organizations to stay agile in this ever-changing environment and gives users the secure access they need around the clock.

BIG-IP APM version 11.3, in addition to delivering high availability and protecting organizations’ critical assets, provides a SAML 2.0 solution that offers the identity bridge needed to manage access across systems.

ps

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About Peter Silva
Peter Silva covers security for F5’s Technical Marketing Team. After working in Professional Theatre for 10 years, Peter decided to change careers. Starting out with a small VAR selling Netopia routers and the Instant Internet box, he soon became one of the first six Internet Specialists for AT&T managing customers on the original ATT WorldNet network.

Now having his Telco background he moved to Verio to focus on access, IP security along with web hosting. After losing a deal to Exodus Communications (now Savvis) for technical reasons, the customer still wanted Peter as their local SE contact so Exodus made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. As only the third person hired in the Midwest, he helped Exodus grow from an executive suite to two enormous datacenters in the Chicago land area working with such customers as Ticketmaster, Rolling Stone, uBid, Orbitz, Best Buy and others.

Bringing the slightly theatrical and fairly technical together, he covers training, writing, speaking, along with overall product evangelism for F5’s security line. He's also produced over 200 F5 videos and recorded over 50 audio whitepapers. Prior to joining F5, he was the Business Development Manager with Pacific Wireless Communications. He’s also been in such plays as The Glass Menagerie, All’s Well That Ends Well, Cinderella and others. He earned his B.S. from Marquette University, and is a certified instructor in the Wisconsin System of Vocational, Technical & Adult Education.

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Cloud Expo - Cloud Looms Large on SYS-CON.TV


Cloud Expo 2013 East Opening Keynote by IBM
In this Cloud Expo Keynote, Danny Sabbah, CTO & General Manager, Next Generation Platform, will detail the critical architectural considerations and success factors organizations must internalize to successfully implement, optimize and innovate using next generation architectures.
Lisa Larson, Vice President of Enterprise Cloud Solutions of Rackspace Hosting Live From New York City
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[June 11-14, 2012]

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There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Get a jump on that rapidly evolving trend at Big Data Expo, which we are introducing in June at
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Cloud Expo was a fantastic event for CSS Corp - we easily exceeded our objectives for engaging with clients and prospects."
AHMAR ABBAS
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With our launch at Cloud Expo, we successfully transformed the company from a relatively unknown European player into the dominant player in the market. Our competitors were taken by surprise and just blown away. We got a huge number of really high quality leads..."
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@CloudExpo Blogs
Several current trends in cloud computing leading into 2015 actually exhibit a tension between themselves. One trend, a well-known fact that will continue in the New Year to a greater extent, is that enterprises are rapidly moving to the cloud because of its operational efficiencies. This now includes enterprise projects that have sensitive data. Unlike the early days of “The Cloud,” enterprises are now stepping up with some of their crown jewels. Industries that will accelerate adoption in the New Year are Healthcare, Insurance, Utilities, Finance, and to some extent Banking.

Recently Arista released a white paper surrounding the idea that having deeper buffers running within the network can help to alleviate the incast congestion patterns that can present when a large number of many-to-one connections are happening within a network. Also known as the TCP incast problem. They pointedly targeted Hadoop clusters, as the incast […]

The post I (don’t) like Big Buffers. appeared first on Plexxi.

The book The Cyber Threat was written to provide business and government executives insight into the nature of the dynamic adversaries attacking our networks. Understanding the Cyber Threat is critical to preparing your defenses prior to attack and also instrumental in mounting a defense during attack. Reading this book will teach you things your adversaries wish you did not know and in doing so will enhance your ability to defend against cyber attack. The book explores the threat and the role of the emerging discipline of Cyber Intelligence as a way of making threat information actionable ...
Cloud computing is increasingly becoming part of the enterprise IT landscape. In fact, a recent cloud security survey conducted by HP reveals that 70 percent of all respondents say their company is using some form of the cloud. The study also found that cloud penetration jumps to 80 percent for enterprise-size organizations. With such dramatic growth figures, it is no wonder that enterprise companies are carefully reviewing cloud security policies’ implication on cloud data. Here’s another fact from that same survey: While more than half of those using the public cloud are confident that criti...
In late August, voke, Inc. debuted its “Market Snapshot Report: Virtual and Cloud-Based Labs,” about how companies of all sizes and levels of testing sophistication view, use and benefit from virtual and cloud-based development and testing technologies. The results were pretty amazing―even we were surprised! Among the many benefits the 503 participant companies (50% of which were U.S. based) cited, 53% saw reduced CAPEX (capital expenditures) from the use of virtual and cloud-based labs. Thirty-nine percent said they help eliminate defects prior to production, and 33% said they improve audi...
Many workloads are already in the cloud: Most organizations today run at least some workloads in the cloud. For newer organizations, they will often run ALL of their workloads in the cloud. For cloud-based workloads, sending log data to a cloud-based logging provider is not quite as big a leap of faith as for those on prem. In fact it generally aligns quite closely to their requirements as there may be no outbound network costs, their logs may actually be in the same physical data center or geographical region, and they can be billed monthly - same as with their infrastructure costs.

My bright blue bathing suit had turned pale pink from all the chemicals in the pool and I knew it was only a matter of time before the chlorine ate through the nylon fabric. Once, when I waited too long to replace an old suit, the front of my trunks […]S.A. Morrison

The post The Vital Role of Customer Experience and Lifetime Value appeared first on Recurring Revenue Blog | Aria Systems.

The premise of cloud is based, like other emergent technologies, at least partially on the notion of abstraction. Cloud providers are able to achieve what appears to be boundless compute, limitless storage and never-ending network capacity by being able to simply "plug and play" the hardware necessary to expand capacity when needed. Enterprises, too, looking to achieve similar capabilities are desirous of a means to achieve this level of simplicity of scale. And by desirous I mean "really, really, REALLY want" it. At least that's how I read the fact that the number one "emerging trend" iden...
(article written for the Scality blog) It has been six years since I wrote my first object storage blog, even though I didn’t mention object storage in that specific article. I had my head in the clouds as our early cloud startup was being acquired by Sun Microsystem when someone asked me to write a […]
For business leaders today, it’s not enough to drive company growth, seek competitive advantages and provide vision. In this era of advanced cyberattacks, executives also need to keep their companies’ data security strategies top of mind. The Ponemon Institute’s 2014 Cost of Data Breach Study reports that the average cost of a data breach to a company was $3.5 million, a 15 percent increase over last year.
When moving to cloud or deploying a new application it is important to understand the concept of a cloud enabled and cloud centric application. Cloud computing technologies allow organizations to leverage the cloud service models (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS) and cloud deployment models (Public, Private and Hybrid) to deploy their applications.These applications can be categorized in two classes: a cloud-enabled or a cloud-centric applications. A cloud-enabled application is an application that was moved to cloud, but it was originally developed to be deployed in a traditional data center. Some char...
Today, the world has changed. Applications have changed. Enterprise IT is undergoing rapid reinvention. As a result, APM is now at the crux of the digital transformation trend. And squarely in the center of this firestorm is San Francisco-based AppDynamics. Ask any teenager about applications and they’ll look at you funny and say, “you mean, apps?” and hold up their smartphone. Today, mobile apps lead the reinvention of the application, filtering down from the consumer space into all corners of the enterprise. The democratization of IT has upended the notion of an enterprise application ...
When we talk about the disruption that results from digital transformation, we usually focus on enterprise consumers of technology. However, it’s also shaking up the enterprise software and hardware marketplace as well – and every large incumbent vendor is feeling the pinch. Leading the pack of transform-or-die incumbents is IBM. This 103-year-old behemoth has a market cap of about $160 billion, although recent earnings have disappointed investors. Nevertheless, as a result of several key decisions they have made over the last twenty years, they are perhaps better suited to weather the curr...
Gone are the days when IT was seen as unimportant or unchanging. IT is no longer only about supporting employees—it integral to businesses. CEOs have taken note of the fact that customers are more likely to interact with your brand through an app than a person, and companies are trying to reposition themselves in the new application economy. That allows IT departments to be more innovative and flex their creative muscles.
Successful hacks can paralyze websites, enable corporate or personal data to fall into the wrong hands and potentially damage the image, reputation and sales pipeline of the organization under attack. For many, this begs the question ‘Why us?’ To find out, let’s delve into the psyche of the hacker and consider ways that organizations can defend themselves against cyber-attacks. Hacking isn’t always about causing damage, destruction or for financial gain. The objective of many hackers, especially "hacktivists," is purely to raise awareness, influence or to send a political message. For instan...
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Past SYS-CON Events
    Cloud Expo West
cloudcomputingexpo
2011west.sys-con.com

 
    Cloud Expo East
cloudcexpo
2011east.sys-con.com

 
    Cloud Expo West
cloudcomputingexpo
2010west.sys-con.com

 
    Virtualization Expo West
virtualization
2010west.sys-con.com
    Cloud Expo Europe
cloudexpoeurope2010.
sys-con.com

 
    Cloud Expo East
cloudcomputingexpo
2010east.sys-con.com

 
    Virtualization Expo East
virtualizationconference
2010east.sys-con.com
    Cloud Expo West
cloudcomputingexpo
2009west.sys-con.com

 
    Virtualization Expo West
virtualizationconference
2009west.sys-con.com
    GovIT Expo
govitexpo.com
 
    Cloud Expo Europe
cloudexpoeurope2009.sys-con.com
 

Cloud Expo 2011 Allstar Conference Faculty

S.F.S.
Dell

Singer
NRO

Pereyra
Oracle

Ryan
OpSource

Butte
PwC

Leone
Oracle

Riley
AWS

Varia
AWS

Lye
Oracle

O'Connor
AppZero

Crandell
RightScale

Nucci
Dell Boomi

Hillier
CiRBA

Morrison
Layer 7 Tech

Robbins
NYT

Schwarz
Oracle

What The Enterprise IT World Says About Cloud Expo
 
"We had extremely positive feedback from both customers and prospects that attended the show and saw live demos of NaviSite's enterprise cloud based services."
  –William Toll
Sr. Director, Marketing & Strategic Alliances
Navisite
 


 
"More and better leads than ever expected! I have 4-6 follow ups personally."
  –Richard Wellner
Chief Scientist
Univa UD
 


 
"Good crowd, good questions. The event looked very successful."
  –Simon Crosby
CTO
Citrix Systems
 


 
"It's the largest cloud computing conference I've ever seen."
  –David Linthicum
CTO
Brick Group