This guide will show you how to set up SSO with SAML 2.0 and Kiuwan. 



In a SAML - SSO scenario, we can define the following actors or participants:

  • User requesting for some resource or service

  • Service Provider (SP) that receives the request and provides the service or access to the resource

  • An Identity Provider (IdP) that authenticate the user and asserts the user identity

SSO can be implemented through different protocols, with SAML and OpenId Connect being the most widely used.

Kiuwan currently supports SAML. This document serves as a how-to to use Kiuwan in an SSO-SAML environment.

In summary, if your organization is using some kind of centralized user credentials repository implementing SAML and you want to use those enterprise credentials to authenticate in Kiuwan, this document provides you with information on how to set up Kiuwan to participate in an SSO-SAML environment.

What is SAML?

SAML stands for Security Assertion Markup Language and it’s an open standard for exchanging authentication and authorization data between partiesIn particular, between an identity provider (IdP) and a Service Provider (SP).

SAML is an XML-based markup language for security assertions usually transferred from IdPs to SPs. These assertions are used by SPs to make access-control decisions.

SAML assertions contain three types of statements:

  1. Authentication statements 

    • Example: User U has been successfully authenticated at time T using method M of authentication

  2. Attribute statements 

    • Example: User U does contain value V for attribute A

  3. Authorization statements 

    • Example: User U is permitted to perform action A on resource R

Besides assertions, SAML defines SAML protocols, i.e. the processing rules to use assertions between SPs and IdPs.

Examples of such protocols are :

  • Assertion Query and Request Protocol

  • Authentication Request Protocol

  • etc.

These SAML protocols can be mapped to standard messaging formats. This mapping is called a SAML binding. Examples of such bindings include:

  • SAML SOAP Binding

  • HTTP Redirect (GET) Binding

  • HTTP POST Binding

  • etc.

Finally, SAML profiles describe in detail how SAML assertions, protocols, and bindings combine to support a defined use case.

SAML 2.0 provides support for many profiles such as:

  • Web Browser SSO Profile

  • Identity Provider Discovery Profile

  • Assertion Query/Request Profile

  • etc

The most important SAML 2.0 profile is the Web Browser SSO Profile, and it’s fully supported by Kiuwan.

SAML Security requirements

The SAML specifications recommends:

  • TLS 1.0+ for transport-level security

  • XML Signature and XML Encryption for message-level security

Web Browser Single Sign-On

Here is an image describing how Single Sign-On works: 

  1. The user (usually through a web browser) requests a resource to a Service Provider (SP)

  2. If a valid security context does not exist, the SP redirects the user agent to the Identity Provider’s (IdP) SSO Service

  3. The user agent issues a request to the IdP’s SSO Service to identify the user (if there’s not a previous security context)

  4. IdP validates the request and responds to the user agent

  5. The user agent sends the “authentication” assertion to the SP

  6. The SP processes the assertion and redirects the user agent to the requested resource

  7. The user agent requests SP for the requested resource

  8. Finally, the SP returns the resource to the user agent.

SAML 2.0 Metadata

In the Web Browser SSO workflow above, there are some interactions between the IdP and the SP that are based on mutual trust, for example:

  • How does the SP know the IdP is authentic? And in turn, how does the IdP know the SP is authentic?

  • How does the SP know where to send the user agent with the auth request? And how does the IdP know where to send the user agent with the auth response?

  • How does the IdP encrypt the SAML assertion so that the trusted SP (and only the trusted SP) can decrypt the assertion?

  • How does the service provider know that the auth response is coming from a trusted IdP?

These and other similar trust conditions are based on the use of SAML 2.0 Metadata.

Metadata ensures a secure transaction between an IdP and an SP through the sharing of trusted information.

SAML 2.0 provides a well-defined, interoperable metadata format that entities can leverage to bootstrap the trust process.

Regarding SSO SAML actor’s identity, metadata are defined for:

  • Identity Provider metadata (to publish identifying information about the IdP itself)

  • Service Provider metadata (to publish identifying information about the SP itself)

Also, the endpoints of communication are defined by metadata, such as:

  • SSO Service metadata (description of IdP’s SSO endpoint)

  • Assertion Consumer Service (desc of SP’s service to send assertions from the IdP)

How to configure Kiuwan to work with SSO - SAML

As explained before, Kiuwan plays the role of Service Provider (SP) in an SSO - SAML context.

To configure SSO in Kiuwan you must first, of course, rely on an existing Identity Provider (IdP). There are many available IdP systems, all of them sharing SAML concepts (more or less adapted to their terminology).

As seen above, to set up a Web SSO environment, SAML agents (idP and SP) need to be identified and let each other know of their existence.

This step is accomplished by exchanging each other’s metadata.

Kiuwan configuration: How to configure your IdP in Kiuwan

Go to Account Management > Organization and click Configure SSO.


The following notes are shown in the window, which should be read carefully:

  • By activating the SSO in your account, all users of your account will be automatically migrated to your domain to avoid conflict with other usernames in other Kiuwan accounts.

  • After this migration, all users of your account must use a new URL for the Login, leaving the login URL that you have been using until now. This new URL will be communicated to you in the next step of this page.

  • To continue using the Kiuwan Local Analyzer, API REST, Kiuwan for Developers, or any other plugin that needs to request for some data to Kiuwan, you must change the configuration and indicate the DOMAIN ID in their respective configuration screens. This DOMAIN ID will be provided when you activate the SSO. (see further sections on these topics)

  • Once activated the SSO, you must communicate to all your users the new login URL and your DOMAIN ID.

  • Once SSO is activated, it is NOT possible to disable it or re-migrate users to the previous Kiuwan domain.

  • Even though the activation process is completed, you will need to register Kiuwan as SP in your IdP. Till then, you can not use SSO. See section on “Kiuwan’s metadata configuration in ADFS”

Continue to upload your IdP Metadata XML.

In a typical ADFS installation, you can commonly get it at https://<your_idp_domainname>/FederationMetadata/2007-06/FederationMetadata.xml

If your IdP is Azure AD, check the checkbox My IdP is Azure AD.

Once it’s loaded, click Continue

At this moment, you should have received an email with an activation code as well as Domain Id and Login URL. Enter the activation code and click Activate SSO button.

  • If you want to avoid currently existing Kiuwan users to login using former credentials (username and password), check Disable login with password for all my users. By checking this option, all the users will be forced to log in through SSO (using the provided URL).
  • If you don’t check that option, existing users can still log in using user/password, but using the new URL. The older Kiuwan URL will not work anymore because all the users have been migrated to SSO.

IMPORTANT: If you have users who use the Kiuwan Local Analyzer Checking this option, a user launching the Kiuwan Local Analyzer will not be able to use it unless: 

  • he configures KLA to use SSO, selecting "Enable Single sign-on" and filling the Domain ID and connection credentials, or
  • an administrator allows him to still use kiuwan credentials (see  User Management) AND the KLA is configured filling the Domain ID and with "Enable Single sign-on" unchecked. 

Admin users can ALWAYS login both ways. And also, can always modify which Kiuwan users are allowed to login using Kiuwan credentials (see User Management).

Example mail with activation code:

After SSO activation, you will get the URL you need to configure Kiuwan as an SP in your IdP.

Close the page and the Kiuwan SSO configuration is done!

If you need to update existing metadata with new IdP metadata, go to the SSO initial configuration page and click Upload a new IdP Metadata.

Click Save to complete the update

After metadata configuration, go to Account Management > Profile and you will see the following data in your Kiuwan account.

Domain ID only appears when your Kiuwan account is configured to use SSO.

  • This ID is needed to login to your Kiuwan account. It is shared by all users of a Kiuwan account, but unique for every Kiuwan account.

Username field contains your Kiuwan username. It matches the Claim mapping (Name ID) defined in your IdP when you defined Kiuwan as Service Provider (see image above for ADFS).

Email, Name and Lastname fields are descriptive data about the user.

IdP configuration: How to configure Kiuwan as Service Provider

The IdP (Identity Provider) must be configured to recognize Kiuwan as an SP (Service Provider).

Any SAML-compliant IdP (Active Directory FS, Azure AD, CA Single Sign-On, etc)  follows its configuration method, although steps are similar.

We provide a detailed example of how to configure Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS). For other IdPs please refer to your sysadmins or product documentation.

Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) configuration

  1. Open ADFS’s Add Relying Party Trust wizard
  2. Select Claims aware and click Start.

3. Then, ADFS will ask you about Kiuwan’s identity metadata.

Ideally, if your ADFS can reach Kiuwan servers, you will select the first option (Import data .. online).

Then you must provide the address that can be found at your Kiuwan website at Account Management >> Organization page (see image below)

If your ADFS cannot reach the Kiuwan server, upload the XML metadata document by selecting Import data .. from a file.

In this case, you must previously download the XML document from the KIuwan URL above. Just paste the URL in a browser that can access the Kiuwan server

4. Provide a Display name for Kiuwan.

(It doesn’t have to be a domain hostname.)


5. Choose the Access Control Policy that will govern the access rules of your organization’s users to Kiuwan.

6. Click Next to confirm.

7. Review the information from the SP (relying party) and click Next to finish the SP configuration in ADFS.

Notice that Configure claims issuance policy.. is checked.

When checked, you will define how to map/transform your organization’s users to Kiuwan users.

8. Click Close and Edit Claim Issuance Policy dialog will pop up.

9. Click Add Rule to open Add Transform Claim Rule Wizard.

10. Select the template rule most adequate for your organization.

In the example, we select to map an LDAP attribute

You can select whatever LDAP attribute that it’s unique to every user (i.e. the user’s email address) and map that attribute to the Name ID claim type.

Do not select any other claim type, Kiuwan will only use Name ID.

Kiuwan will store as a username the selected attribute value.

11. Click Finish.

12. Click Apply to apply changes.

How to log into Kiuwan in a Web SSO scenario

The first time you log in at Kiuwan in SSO-modeyou need to specify the full URL such as:

Please note that, once SSO has been activated, the login URL must specify both SSO and domain parameters. 

  • sso=on will make Kiuwan authenticate against the configured IdP
  • sso=off will make Kiuwan authenticate locally, so login page will ask for credentials and will check them against kiuwan database (obviously this process will only work for users that are allowed to log in with kiuwan passwords, see SSO login vs username-passwordlogin)

If you don't specify SSO, it defaults to off.

Most commonly, in an SSO environment, you will access Kiuwan from an existing link in a corporate intranet page, so the Kiuwan URL should be changed to it and you will not need to type the URL manually. Regardless, once you have successfully accessed Kiuwan for the first time, your browser will store the domain ID, so you can just type and everything will work.

Then, the Kiuwan SSO Login page will be displayed.

Just click Log In and the SSO-SAML protocol will be activated.

  • If you were already successfully authenticated, you will log in to Kiuwan. 
  • If not, you will be redirected to your organizational authentication page. Once authenticated, you will be redirected to the Kiuwan dashboard.

An alternative method to login to Kiuwan is from your IdP.

If you are using ADF, you will find a URL like this: https://<your_idp_hostname>/adfs/ls/idpInitiatedsignon.htm

Just select the site (the Display Name defined at your IdP). Provide your credentials to be redirected to the Kiuwan dashboard.

How to configure Kiuwan clients to work with SSO - SAML

After configuring SSO, your web users can immediately log in to the Kiuwan website using the new login URL.

But Kiuwan “clients” (i.e. Kiuwan Local Analyzer, Kiuwan 4 Developers, and any custom program using Kiuwan REST-API) need to be configured to use SSO.

Kiuwan Local Analyzer (KLA): SSO configuration

Please refer to Single Sign On for more information on how to configure Kiuwan Local Analyzer with SSO.

Kiuwan for Developers (K4D): SSO configuration

K4D needs to be configured with the Domain ID of your account.

Go to your IDE’s Kiuwan configuration, select Connection Properties > Single Sign-On and enter your Domain ID.

REST-API: SSO configuration

For custom programs using Kiuwan REST-API calls, you have to add a new header (X-KW-CORPORATE-DOMAIN-ID) to indicate the Domain ID to pass the BASIC authentication.

For example:

curl -H "X-KW-CORPORATE-DOMAIN-ID: {}" -u {username}:{password}

To use REST-API on customers with Single Sign-On, the user must be authorized by the administrator to continue using Kiuwan credentials. In this case, the user must authenticate not only providing their username and password in Kiuwan but also indicating the domain to which they belong to.

SSO login vs username-password login

When a Kiuwan account is converted to SSO-enabled, by default:

  1. All existing users must use the new login URL (see How to login at Kiuwan in a Web SSO scenario )
    1. Previous URL login ( will not work anymore 
  2. Usernames and permissions are entirely preserved
    1. Only the authentication mechanism has changed. Usernames, assigned roles, permissions, user groups, etc are maintained.
  3. Existing users (not admins) are not allowed to log in to Kiuwan using former Kiuwan password
    1. They will be authenticated by the configured identity provider (IdP), not by Kiuwan.

Nevertheless, you might want certain users to continue to be authenticated by Kiuwan, i,e, some user might choose to authenticate either by SSO or by Kiuwan.

The Kiuwan admin can enable username/password access through the User Administration page, enabling Login with password enabled to selected users 


Users with privilege Login with password enabled can then login to Kiuwan in two ways:

  1. Authenticated by SSO 
  2. Authenticated by Kiuwan (by password)

Adding a new user in an SSO-enabled account

In an SSO-enabled account, when you create a new user, you can decide if that user can access Kiuwan with a password (besides SSO).

Just check the Enable login with password option in the New User page and click on Generate password to let him/her know.


Appendix  - Azure Active Directory configuration: How to configure Kiuwan as Service Provider

You must configure your Idp (Azure AD) so it recognizes Kiuwan as an SP (Service Provider).

In Azure AD, create an Enterprise Application (Kiuwan SSO, in this example).

  1. Select Azure Active Directory >> Enterprise applications

  2. Click on New application.

  3. Select Non-gallery application and fill in the app name (Kiuwan SSO in our example) and click Add.

  4. When created, you will see a page similar to the following:

  5. Next, add users that will be allowed to log in to the Kiuwan SSO application.

  6. Select the users from your Azure Active Directory that will be allowed to log in to the Kiuwan SSO application.

  7. Now that one or more users have been added, configure the Single sign-on.

  8. Export the Azure Active Directory metadata and import it to Kiuwan
    To export AAD metadata, click on the Download link at Federation Metadata XML.

The downloaded XML file needs to be imported into your Kiuwan account, as shown before.

After importing AAD metadata into Kiuwan, your Kiuwan account will be ready to generate its metadata that you will import into AAD.

 1. To export Kiuwan metadata, go to Account Management > Organization and you will see the URL to download Kiuwan metadata.


2. Type the URL in a browser and save the content as an XML file.

1. Now, import (upload) the Kiuwan metadata XML file into AAD.

2. Once uploaded, click Save.

3. Once done, click on User Attributes & Claims to set your Claims policy. 

4. Select the Name identifier value and set up the policy on how to manage your ADA usernames to Kiuwan usernames.

5. In this example, we take the first part of the email.

For example, an AAD user with email will be mapped to john.doe when sent to Kiuwan.

Now, click Test to test Single Sign-On with the Kiuwan SSO app.

Select the user (the current one or someone else)

8. Because you are already logged in ADD (and therefore authenticated) you will be forwarded directly to the Kiuwan app.

9. Login from the Kiuwan site

Login from the Kiuwan site

To log in from the Kiuwan site, you must go to SSO URL (remember to set sso=on and set the domain)
You will be presented with the login page (without need to write your credentials)

When you click on the Login button, you will be forwarded to the Azure login page:

 Type your credentials (AAD will authenticate you), and (if successful)  you will be logged in at Kiuwan site

You need to authenticate even if you are logged in at AAD, because the second authentication has been forced by Kiuwan. Very often IdPs (AAD, ADFS, etc) send to Kiuwan old auth tokens, making SSO fail.
To prevent these situations, Kiuwan forces IdP to perform the auth process and send to Kiuwan a fresh token.

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