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SPECTRA SAML Integration with OKTA

Nobody likes remembering credentials. They appear like exerting plenty of pressure on the memory. What is worse is many use identical username and password, no matter the application they are using. Single Sign-On (SSO) could be a method of authentication that permits websites to use other trustworthy sites to verify users. Single Sign-On allows a user to log into any independent application with one ID and password. Verification of user identity is very important when it involves knowing which permissions a user will have. OKTA is a leading IDAM application that our client uses for managing access that blends user identity management solutions with SSO solutions. SPECTRA, an analytical platform which is supported by open source technology has recently been on boarded for the client who is into publishing space. The client has integrated all their applications under one roof of IDAM (OKTA). SPECTRA also follows the same route.

What is SPECTRA?
SPECTRA is a Big Data Analytics platform from Relevance Lab, which has the ability to consume, store and process structured and unstructured data. It also can cleanse and integrate this data into one unique platform. It depicts data intelligently and presents it using an intuitive visualization layer so that business users can get actionable business insights across various parameters. Coupled with an OCR engine, it also provides Google-like search capabilities across legacy unstructured and structured data.

In the modern era of computing, security is an essential feature when it comes to enterprise applications. Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) is used to provide a single point of authentication at a secure identity provider. This feature highlights that user credentials could not leave the firewall boundary. SAML is used to assert the identity to others.

SAML SSO works by transferring the user’s identity from one place (OKTA) to another service provider(SPECTRA). The application identifies the user’s origin (By First Name, Last Name & Network Email ID) and redirects the user back to the identity provider (OKTA), asking for authentication to enter the IdP registered credentials.

See the high level architectural diagram below.

Integrating with OKTA Idam Platform using SAML
Identity Provider (IdP) is an entity that provides the identities, including the flexibility to authenticate a user-agent. The Identity Provider also contains the additional user profile information like name, last name, job code, signal, address, and so on. Several service providers may require a simple user profile, while others may require a complex set of user data (job code, department, address, location, manager, etc).

See the diagram below which show Spectra and SAML Integration.

SAML Request, also referred to as an authentication request, is generated by the SPECTRA (Service Provider) to “request” an authentication through IdP to User-Agent. SAML Response is generated by the Identity Provider. It contains the accurate assertion of the authenticated user. Additionally, a SAML Response also contains additional information, like user profile information and group/role information, betting on what the Service Provider can support.

See the picture below which shows SAML Integration flow.

SPECTRA platform initiates sign-in describes the SAML sign-in flow when initiated by the Service Provider. This is triggered when the end-user tries to access a resource or log-in directly on the Service Provider side, like when the user-agent (browser) tries to access a protected resource on the Service Provider side.

An Identity Provider (Idp) initiates sign-in depicts the SAML sign-in request created by the Identity Provider. The Idp initiates a SAML Response that is redirected to the Service Provider to confirm the user’s identity, rather than the SAML flow being triggered by a redirection from the SPECTRA. The Service Provider not once directly interacts with the Identity Provider. User-Agent (browser) functions as the agent to carry out all the redirections. The Service Provider must know which Idp to pass on to the MySQL database. The Service Provider must authenticate the user until the SAML assertion comes back from the Idp.

An Identity Provider can initiate an authentication flow. The SAML authentication flow is asynchronous. The Service Provider interacts with Idp and redirects the request to the complete flow. This creates a situation where the Service Provider will not maintain any state of authentication requests. The response that Service Provider gets from an Identity Provider must contain all the required information. SPECTRA validate the OKTA user information in MySQL DB and transfer the assigned user roles in the application. User can view the assigned roles within the application.

SPECTRA, a product from Relevance Lab offers great flexibility as an analytical platform that has ability to consume, store and process structured and unstructured data. It can be integrated with various Identity Access Management platforms like OneLogin, AuthO, Ping Identity, etc using SAML.

For more details, please feel free to reach out to