5 Sep 2013
In this blog series I have been discussing a simple way any organization of any size can put into place a Single Sign On solution. In the first part I discussed, at very high level, Windows Identity Foundation (or WIF); which has been provided by Microsoft as a simple way of implementing claims-based authentication. If you haven’t read the first part I suggest you go back and read that one first. It will give you a basic understanding of WIF before reading this next part where I will be discussing WIF in practice.
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In my conclusion of part one I stated that WIF provides a foundation (as it’s name implies) for claims-based authentication but in and of itself does not provide any implementation. This is done on purpose because Microsoft is trying to give the development community a framework for creating their own implementations of WIF. That may be great for organizations that can afford to pay developers to spin their own WIF implementation but many small and medium sized companies just don’t have the time or resources to do this. Fret not! Luckily for us the guys at ThinkTecture have done all of the hard work and have provided a turnkey solution called IdentityServer that not only implements WIF but also incorporates the mechanisms for Single Sign On.
Almost every organization I have ever worked at, with, or for has discussed and dreamed about implementing a Single Sign On (SSO) solution for either some or all of their applications and/or websites. It is a very interesting and enticing prospect to be able to enable your users to enter one username and password in order to access multiple applications. I am not going to take the time to explain SSO any more than that but if you are not familiar with SSO or would like to learn more about it there is a plethora of blogs and articles on the internet that should help get you up to speed.
In this series of blog articles I am going to go over a way I have found to very quickly and easily implement a SSO solution - without writing a lick of code! But I won’t stop there; the solution I will suggest will also enable your organization to authenticate your users via one or more of the many well known identity providers out there such as Active Directory Federated Services, Google, Live, Facebook, and more – or you can roll your own if so inclined. Finally I will take this SSO solution and extend it to your Windows based applications as well.