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From early on, our team used ELK (Elasticsearch-Logstash-Kibana) for log management and analytics. ELK served us well, but as our business has grown we’ve found ourselves fighting to scale. We needed a more flexible, easy-to-manage solution, particularly for clustering, and it need to be on-premises.
Long story short, we chose Splunk. The specifics on why, and our learnings on migrating from ELK to Splunk, are a story for another day. For today, we’ll focus on our experience configuring Splunk Cluster SSO login via SAML with Google (G Suite) as the Identity Provider.
We struggled to find much helpful, implementation-specific documentation on the subject, and fought our way through largely via trial and error. We’re hoping you’ll find this step-by-step implementation guide useful in saving you time and effort.
SAML, Security Assertion Markup Language, is an XML-based open standard for exchanging identity, authentication, authorization, and assertions data between different entities, generally between a service provider and an identity provider. With SAML you can support Single Sign On (SSO) to multiple systems. A large number of Enterprises and Service providers select this as protocol for exchanging identities. SAML removes dependency on platform and vendor as well as concerns of password and security, and provides a one-point authentication for service providers.
SAML authentication works on a trust-authentication basis between a Service Provider and an Identity Provider. The Service Provider trusts the Identity Provider origin with authenticating users and the Identity Provider generates security assertions for authenticated users for use by the Service Provider.
SAML is simple to use and secure.
The SAML authentication flow is as follows:
Step 1: Create a Custom User Attribute in G Suite with an Attribute Name Role
Step 2: Add a Custom SAML App in the G Suite Admin Panel
When adding an SAML application you will see a number of application types which Google supports, but Splunk isn’t one of them. So you have to create your own custom app, as described in the Google support docs.
In the next setup screen, we get information about the Google identity provider configuration: SSO URL and Entity ID and Certificate. We will need this information for Splunk to connect to G Suite.
Note the SSO URL and Entity ID, download the certification, and upload it to your Spunk home folder with the appropriate read permissions for Splunk.
In the next setup screen enter basic display information about your app.
In the following setup screen enter the configuration information for your Service Provider.
The ACS (Assertion Consumer Service) URL is the url that will handle session management messages. It is typically at https://<yoursplunkdomain.com>/saml/acs.
For Entity ID you can add https://<yoursplunkdomain.com>.
Similarly, Start URL is your splunk web server domain, e.g. https://<yoursplunkdomain.com>.
Name ID : Subject to communicate between IDP and Service Provider
Then map attributes for user fields which will be exchanged between Splunk and G Suite, e.g. role, name, and email. You can modify these later if needed.
Step 3: Configure Splunk to Use IDP (Identity Provider) Credentials
There are two ways to configure Splunk to use Google as the IDP.
Using the Splunk Web dashboard.
Configure via configuration files:
authSettings = saml
authType = SAML
entityId = https://splunk.yourdomain.com
fqdn = https://splunk.yourdomain.com
idpCertPath = $SPLUNK_HOME/etc/auth/idpCert.pem
idpSLOUrl = https://accounts.google.com/Logout?hl=en&continue=https://mail.google.com/mail
idpSSOUrl = https://accounts.google.com/o/saml2/idp?id=xxxxxxxxxxx
issuerId = https://accounts.google.com/o/saml2?idpid=xxxxxxxx
redirectAfterLogoutToUrl = https://splunk.yourdomain.com
redirectPort = 443
replicateCertificates = false
signAuthnRequest = true
signedAssertion = true
sloBinding = HTTPRedirect
sslKeysfile = /opt/splunk/splunk/etc/auth/server.pem
sslKeysfilePassword = asdhalsdkaslkdalsdhalshdlasdhl
ssoBinding = HTTPRedirect
Step 4: Select G Suite Users to Allow Access to Splunk
Now, that user should be able to login to Splunk using SSO.
That’s it! We hope you find this guide useful, and may the Force be with you.