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OpenAM is open-source access management, entitlements, and federation server platform, backed by ForgeRock. OpenAM originated as OpenSSO, an access management system developed by Sun Microsystems, owned by Oracle.
OpenAM provides a service named access management, which involves managing access to all resources available within the network. Once we set up OpenAM to manage access, we have a service to take control of who can access what resources, when, and under what circumstances.
Yet, a resource can be just about anything accessible over the network from a web page, to an application, to a web service.
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OpenAM centralizes all access control by handling both validation and authorization. validation is confirming identity, for example confirming that a user has successfully logged in. Authorization is determining whether to grant access to someone valid.
OpenAM centralizes validation by using a variety of authentication modules. Modules connect to identity repositories that store identities and provide authentication services.
The identity repositories are implemented as LDAP directories, relational databases, RADIUS, Windows authentication, one-time password services, other standards-based access management systems, and much more.
OpenAM lets us chain together the validation services used which lets you configure stronger authentication for more sensitive resources for example. It allows to set up modules that remember a device when the user logs in successfully.
OpenAM centralizes authorization by letting the user, use OpenAM to manage access policies separate from applications and resources. Instead of building an access policy into a web application, we can install a policy agent with the web application to request policy decisions from OpenAM.
This way we can avoid issues that could arise when developers must embed policy decisions into their applications.
The following are the software requirements for effective installation of OpenAM,
For OpenAM, the core server with OpenAM console acts as pivotal to a web application. During the configuration, OpenAM sets up the OpenDJ directory, to hold OpenAM’s configuration and serve as an identity store and authentication service.
Follow these steps to create a policy that allows all authenticated users to perform an HTTP GET
Review your configuration. It should resemble the following:
These steps are used in the Linux systems whereas for Microsoft Windows, just adapt the examples accordingly.
Following the installation step in Project Initiation
In Federate and OpenAM environments, the OpenAM Java APIs offered through the OpenAM Java SDK let a user’s Java and Java EE applications request OpenAM for authentication and authorization.
The exposure of RESTful API, which returns XML or JSON over HTTP, will allow the user to access authentication, authorization, and identity services from web applications using REST clients in the same language as that of the user’s choice.
OpenAM provides client application programming interfaces for several requirements. The OpenAM Java APIs offered through OpenAM Java SDK lets your Java and Java EE applications to call for OpenAM validation, in both OpenAM and federated environments.
OpenAM offers Java-based service interfaces to let you extend services for the requirements of your specific deployment. Following is are the steps to implement such plugins.
OpenAM provides functionality for IPv4, IPv6, and as a hybrid of both. While the majority of the interaction is done at the backend, there are a few places where the GUI needs some inputs, while setting up policy conditions.
These fields follow the same standard, which applies, to IPv4 & IPv6. IPv4 uses a 32-bit integer value, with a decimal system. IPv6 uses a hexadecimal system, and a colon separates the eight groups of hexadecimal digits.
Representational State Transfer is an architectural style that sets certain limitations for designing and building large-scale distributed systems. As an architectural style, REST has very broad utility. The designs of both HTTP 1.1 & URIs follow RESTful principles.
The World Wide Web is no doubt the largest and best-known REST application. Many other web services also follow the REST architecture, like OAuth 2.0 and OpenID Connect 1.0.
ForgeRock Common REST (CREST) applies RESTful principles to define common verbs for HTTP-based APIs that access web resources and collects resources.
We can specify the version of REST API to use by adding an Accept-API-Version header to the request. We can configure the default behavior of OpenAM which will take when a REST call that does not specify any explicit version information.
The RADIUS protocol is a very simple protocol of four packet types:
OpenAM stores information of profiles about policy agents centrally by default. You can then manage the policy agent profile through OpenAM Console.
The policy agent can recover the configuration from the OpenAM profile at installation time when it starts up, and OpenAM can notify the policy agent of changes to its configuration.
OpenAM provides self-registration for users as a feature in OpenAM's REST APIs. Users can be safely signed up in OpenAM without the administrators or help desk getting involved.
OpenAM help users reset their passwords on their own. OpenAM handles both the case where a user knows their password and wants to change it and the case where the user has forgotten their password and needs to reset it, possibly after answering security questions.
Users have several applications assigned, especially if the organization has standardized software as a service, for example for email, document sharing, support ticketing, customer relationship management, web conferencing, and so forth.
It can be useful to present these applications on a user's dashboard with the profile and assign applications to the user's dashboard automatically based on the user's profile.
Single sign-on (SSO) is a core attribute of OpenAM. Once we have set up OpenAM, we can protect as many applications in the network domain as we want. We need to install the policy agents for the additional servers and add policies for the resources served by the applications.
Users can then authenticate themselves on their own to start a session on any site in the domain, and they remain authenticated for all sites in the domain, without the need to log in again.
Many organizations have more than one domain, with cookies set in one domain are not returned to servers in another domain. Many organizations get sub-domains controlled independently, leading to the need to protect against someone setting up against a rogue sub-domain to hijack session cookies.
OpenAM's cross-domain single sign-on (CDSSO) provides a safe method for your OpenAM servers in one domain to work with policy agents from other domains, defending against potential session cookie hijacking.
When we need to federate identities across not just different domains but instead across different organizations with separate access management solutions, then we need interoperable federation technologies.
An organization, that acts as an identity provider for other organizations providing services, allows users to use their identity from another organization to access the services. Either way, OpenAM has the capability to integrate well in federated access management scenarios.
OpenAM REST APIs make CRUD (create, read, update, delete) easy to use in web applications. They also provide extended actions and query capabilities for access management functionality.
OpenAM Java APIs provided through the OpenAM Java SDK allow Java and Java EE applications to call on OpenAM for authentication and authorization in both OpenAM and federated environments.
The OpenAM C SDK provides APIs for native applications with new webserver policy agents. The C SDK has been designed for Linux, Solaris, and Windows platforms.
SAML 2.0 SSO is part of the federated access management. Federation permits access management across the organizational boundaries. Federation allows organizations to share their identities and services without giving away their organizational information and the services they provide.
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Yamuna Karumuri is a content writer at Mindmajix.com. Her passion lies in writing articles on IT platforms including Machine learning, PowerShell, DevOps, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Selenium, MSBI, and so on. You can connect with her via LinkedIn.
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