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A user’s primary workplace identity allows them to access SaaS, mobile, web, virtual apps and virtual desktops. Multiple authorized sources require additional authentication, often with a different identity than the user’s workplace identity. Citrix Workspace provides users with a seamless experience by providing a single sign-on for advanced resources.
Sso For Saas Apps
Understanding the difference between primary and secondary user credentials provides a foundation for understanding the workplace of a single token.
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To get started, Citrix Workspace allows any organization to choose a primary identity from a growing list of options, which now includes:
Once a user has successfully authenticated to Citrix Workspace with their primary credentials, they have access to all the above resources. It is important that organizations provide a strong authentication policy for basic authentication of users.
Many identity providers include strong authentication policy options, helping to secure basic Citrix Workspace user credentials. In cases where the identity provider includes a single username and password, such as Active Directory, Citrix Workspace includes additional capabilities to increase the security of key authentication, such as One-Time-based passwords.
For a more in-depth understanding of key credentials in Citrix Workspace, refer to the Workspace Credentials Overview.
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Most of the applications, desktops, and resources that users access in Citrix Workspace are protected by another set of user credentials, referred to as secondary credentials. Most secondary credentials are different from the user’s primary credentials.
A single sign-on µ service translates a user’s primary workspace identity into a unique resource identity using appropriate methods such as:
With Citrix Workspace, users prove their primary identity once and all subsequent authentication challenges from secondary sources are automatically satisfied.
The way Citrix Workspace provides a single token for different resources is based on the type of resource being accessed. To better understand the different methods, it is better to divide them into the following topics:
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From a Citrix Workspace perspective, a SaaS application is a browser-based application hosted in the cloud by a third party. To access the application, the user must provide a number of credentials associated with the SaaS application, referred to as secondary credentials.
To achieve single sign-on for SaaS applications, Citrix Workspace combines authentication between primary and secondary authentication. The SSO process uses industry standard SAML credentials.
SAML-based authentication works by associating two different user accounts (primary and secondary) with a common attribute, usually a user principal name (UPN) or email address.
A user’s identity can vary between the primary identity of the identity provider and the secondary identity of the service provider.
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With single sign-on, users don’t need to know the username or password of their second identity. In addition, many SaaS applications have the ability to disable passwords (and automatic password retrieval) for user accounts when authenticating using SAML. This forces the user’s identity to always use the primary identity of the identity provider and not the secondary identity of the service provider.
For SAML communication, there needs to be an entity that acts as a service provider (SP) and an identity provider (IdP). The IdP does not need to contain the identity of the primary user account. In this example, the primary user ID is in the primary user directory (Dir).
By acting as an identity broker (IdB), Citrix Workspace takes claims about a user’s primary identity and translates them into a secondary identity.
Adding an identity broker (IdB) to a SAML authentication flow still requires a generic attribute that links the user’s primary identity (IdP) and secondary identity (SP).
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For SAML authentication to work, the identity broker associates the request with a unique SAML login URL for each SaaS application. This URL accepts the user’s assertion When a server receives an assertion, it must verify the assertion against the assertion’s originator, which is the URL of the SAML credential issuer.
A web application is a browser-based application that is managed and managed by an organization. The web application is hosted in an on-site data center. To access a web application, a user must establish a secure connection with the host and authenticate with a number of credentials associated with the web application, referred to as a secondary identity.
Based on the conceptual architecture, the Gateway Connector establishes an external control channel for connecting to the Citrix Cloud organization. Once the authentication and access request is established the on-premise website requests are switched to the Gateway Connection control channel, eliminating the need for a VPN connection.
Depending on the web application, the secondary identity can be the same identity as the primary identity used for Citrix Workspace authentication or a unique identity managed by another identity provider.
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To achieve single sign-on for web applications, Citrix Workspace combines authentication between a primary identity (used to access Citrix Workspace) and a secondary identity (used to access web apps). The SSO process for web applications uses multiple methods to be able to support multiple web applications. This method can
Use redundant Gateway Connectors to maintain availability while the connectors are being updated. Only one link is updated at a time and the process does not continue until a successful result is achieved.
Citrix Virtual Desktops and Applications allow users to remotely access programs and computers based on Windows and Linux. To access virtual applications or Windows-based desktops require the user to authenticate with Active Directory.
When the user’s primary workspace authentication is Active Directory, virtual apps and desktop sessions use authentication to provide a single sign-on to the second source. However, if an organization wants to use a non-Active primary identity provider, Citrix Workspace’s single sign-on capability must translate the primary identity to a secondary identity in Active Directory.
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To achieve single sign-on for apps and virtual desktops, Citrix Workspace uses federated authentication services, which dynamically generate smart cards based on Active Directory.
Before a smart card can be issued, Workspace must be able to connect the user’s primary identity to the Active Directory-based secondary identity through common attributes.
For example, when Okta is the primary identity in Citrix Workspace, the user’s Okta identity must include three additional parameters (cip_sid, cip_upn, and cip_oid). The parameter associates the Active Directory ID with the Okta ID.
When a user successfully authenticates with basic authentication, the Citrix Workspace single sign-on feature uses a parameter to request a virtual smart card.
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In Citrix Workspace, the general process for integrating virtual applications and Windows-based desktops is as follows:
SSO for virtual applications and Windows-based desktops in Citrix Workspace helps solve a number of user and administrator challenges:
Many organizations now rely on 3rd party solutions (Okta, Ping, Azure and so on) to provide single sign-on for SaaS applications. Citrix Workspace can integrate SSO-enabled SaaS applications into user resource feeds through a process known as IdP chaining. IdP chaining essentially converts one SAML assertion into another SAML assertion. IdP Chain allows organizations to maintain existing SSO providers while fully integrating with Citrix Workspace, including enhanced security policy enforcement.
When Citrix Workspace provides SSO for SaaS applications, it uses SAML authentication. SAML-based authentication works by associating two different user accounts (primary and secondary) with a common attribute, usually a user principal name (UPN) or email address.
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The primary user directory is the ultimate power of user identification. Citrix Workspace, acting as an identity broker (IdB), receives user claims from the primary user directory (Dir) to perform SAML authentication. Authentication proves the user’s identity to the service provider (SP) and implements a single sign-on process.
When an organization uses another SSO provider, the IdP chain adds an additional SAML authentication link to the authentication chain.
In this example IdP chain, Citrix Workspace, acts as an identity broker that authenticates users to the user directory. In the first SAML connection, Citrix Workspace uses a claim about the user to establish a SAML assertion against a specific Okta resource, which acts as a service provider. In the second SAML connection, Okta uses a claim about a user to SAML authenticate a specific SaaS app, ie a service provider.
The IdP chain adds an additional link between the user’s primary identity and the requested service. In any SAML relationship, the common attributes between the identity provider and the service provider must be the same. As authentication passes through different links in the chain, the general characteristics may change.
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In each SAML connection, the identity provider connects the authentication request to a unique SAML login URL for each SaaS application. This URL accepts user claims, including standard attributes. When a service provider receives an assertion, it must verify the assertion against the assertion’s originator, which is the provider of the SAML URL.
In the IdP chain, the process is the same except that each SSO-enabled application to the SSO provider has a unique app URL. App-specific URLs act as service providers. The app-specific URL is used as the SAML login URL when the SSO provider assumes the role of service provider.
In this example, when the user selects one