Published on February 24, 2014
SharePoint External Login Access – Forms Authentication vs Azure ACS
Things I will be talking about.. - Extranet scenarios in SharePoint - Claims Authentication - Forms Based Authentication - 3rd party vendor options for Forms Based Auth - Azure ACS Authentication - Pros & Cons of Forms Based Auth vs Azure ACS
What’s an Extranet? Controlled access from external networks
Extranet Requirements o What do you REALLY need? • Who needs access to your SharePoint? • How sensitive is the data? • How important is ease of access? • How important is ease of user management?
Extranet Requirements o Who Needs access? Internal employees = Active Directory, Azure Active Directory External users (Clients, partners, consultants) = Active Directory, Forms Based Authentication, Azure ACS Authentication
Claims Authentication First things first- understanding Authentication vs Authorization.. Authentication is the process of validating a user’s identity. (SharePoint never performs authentication btw) Authorization is the process of deciding the resources & functionality to which an authenticated user has access to
Claims Authentication Q. What’s a Claim? A. A piece of info describing a user: - Name Jane Doe - Email firstname.lastname@example.org - Group/Role membership HR - Age 24 - Hire Date 12/10/2013 - etc.
Claims Authentication Q. Why do we say “claim” and not “attribute”? A. Consider: - Both Facebook and Microsoft have an Age attribute - Facebook claims user is 18 while Microsoft claims the user is 35 In order to make authorization decisions, your app needs to decide which “claim” it will trust.
Claims Authentication How Claims works (the techy diagram):
Claims Authentication How Claims works (layman’s terms): You check in at the Airport (SharePoint) (Authentication) - present credentials (Passport) - credentials are validated by security guard You receive a boarding pass (Authorization) - Seat, Frequent Flyer, Gate etc.
Claims Authentication More on the details of claims (great party trivia!): http://yalla.itgroove.net/2012/11/claims-based-authentication-in-sharepoint-2010/
Forms Based Authentication OPTION A – Roll your own Setting up a basic Forms Authentication implementation http://blogs.visigo.com/chriscoulson/configuring-forms-based-authentication-insharepoint-2013-part-1-creating-the-membership-database/ Details config required to enable basic Forms Authentication in your SharePoint 2013 Farm SharePoint 2013 FBA Pack http://sharepoint2013fba.codeplex.com/ Open source add on to basic Forms plumbing that adds extra options in SharePoint site settings & web parts for user management, password reset, etc.
Forms Based Authentication OPTION A – Roll your own Demo
Forms Based Authentication OPTION B – 3rd Party Vendors - FBA Suite - ExCM 2013 - Extradium - Envision IT Extranet User Manager for SharePoint - itgroove .. and more.
Forms Based Authentication Functionality to consider when planning Forms Auth: • Password Policies – Minimum length, complexity, expiry, re-use of old PW • Login Details – Failed login lockout criteria, remember PW • Self-service – Resetting PW, forgotten PW retrieval • Branding – Styling of Login & User facing web pages • Data Store – Database encryption, reporting & User auditing
Azure ACS Authentication Cloud based Microsoft Identity provider www.WindowsAzure.com Management Console: https://manage.windowsazure.com
Azure ACS Authentication - Allows Claims authentication against popular identity providers like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook etc. - Is a $ free service $ as part of your overall Windows Azure account - Initial setup in SharePoint is performed via a PowerShell that sets up a certificate, defines what Claims to use, and defines your providers - Once the SharePoint web app is married to the Azure ACS Access Control Namespace, we then go to the web app settings in SharePoint Central Administration and enable the new Identity Provider we’ve created
Azure ACS Authentication
Azure ACS Authentication
Azure ACS Authentication
Azure ACS Authentication
Azure ACS Authentication Further references for configuring Azure ACS: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg429788.aspx http://dannyjessee.com/blog/index.php/2012/11/using-azure-acs-to-sign-in-tosharepoint-2013-with-facebook/ http://robbincremers.me/2012/02/22/using-windows-azure-access-control-service-to- provide-a-single-sign-on-experience-with-popular-identity-providers/ http://blogs.msdn.com/b/mvpawardprogram/archive/2011/06/17/mvps-forsharepoint-2010-using-azure-acs-v2-to-authenticate-external-systems-users.aspx
Pros & Cons of Forms Based Auth YAY NAY Easy to remove user accounts when they need to be put out to pasture Typically requires low level configuration and mucking about SharePoint guts e.g. web.config Direct control of the login branding and user experience end-to-end Users are stored in a SQL database which is decoupled from your main AD, can make reconciling profile properties later hard Can be completely on-premise and self contained, reading from a SQL database that your organization controls. Great for Government/Orgs with privacy requirements For a truly robust Forms auth implementation, you will likely want to go 3rd party which involves $ and careful evaluation of product/service offerings Allows a “sticky” login session stickhandled by cookies as compared to the default NTLM experience which tends to be screwy on Chrome/Firefox/iPads etc. Can inherit AD policies such as password complexity rules
Pros & Cons of Azure ACS Auth YAY NAY Hosted in the Cloud (stability, global data center redundancy, support) Hosted in the Cloud (privacy and data ownership concerns) Free service as part of your overall Azure account Complex to set up for different identity providers – Facebook for example requires signing up for a Facebook Dev account and creating a Facebook Application Can be coordinated with an overall hybrid Active Directory/Office 365 strategy The Live ID identity provider is ironically the biggest deadbeat out of the bunch as it returns the username as gobbley gook. In order to get the SharePoint username claim right extra coding is required. Extremely easy user adoption – users can login in with their existing, familiar identity providers The identity providers hold the key to users access to SharePoint – when it comes time to retire a user your only privilege is to remove their SharePoint user rights, leaving potential gaps as it’s hard to audit SharePoint user access rights out of the box
Keith Tuomi Email: email@example.com Blog: http://yalla.itgroove.net Twitter: @itgroove_keith
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