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Add SAML SSO to a Rails 6 app

Sam Bauch

Sam Bauch

rails saml abstract

SAML Background#

SAML SSO refers to an authentication mechanism preferred by enterprise companies. The SSO part stands for Single Sign-On. From the enterprise’s perspective, they desire a centralized service where their employees can authenticate, which then provides authenticated access to the applications they use for work. These services are called Identity Providers (IDPs), and they are the Single place where enterprise employees Sign-On. This is an alternative to employees using password-based authentication for each of the various applications they use.

The SAML part stands for Secure Assertion Markup Language. SAML utilizes a domain-specific flavor of XML that describes an authenticated user, encoded to a string and passed to your application in a query parameter. Your application decodes the SAMLResponse using a key that the enterprise provides to you.