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Industry Standards for SharePoint Claims Based Authentication Cheat Sheet

Here is some quick reference material when reading through the claims stuff on the site to help with some of the terminology.

SAML Security Assertion Markup Language

The SAML is an XML based standard and it allows for the exchanges between authorizing and authenticating data that is sent from an issuer to an application. There are several functions of the SAML but the main one is to offer a way for the web browser to be used with a one time sign on process. This is acceptable because the SAML sees that the user has an identity in place and it can be authenticated.

Yet the SAML won’t be able to specifically tell you how to go about implementing these types of services. It really isn’t concerned at all about how the authentication process is implemented. Of course that isn’t the case when you are talking about the individual applications involved. Any application is going to rely on the issuer to successfully identify who the user is.

Once the user requests it, the SAML will apply the policies and rules that are in place. A decision will be made once everything has been assessed.

WS-Federation

The purpose of the WS-Federation is to extend the WS-Trust so that the structure of the identity can be created at the core. It is also there to help separate the trust from the security for the tokens. This means that a given service model can be offered to provide security to the protocol address for the web applications and web services regardless of the types of trust relationships you are talking about.

These features are offered for direct use to the clients of SOAP and web services. The WS-Federation is where the syntax for the WS-Trust protocol and the WS-Federation extensions take place in the browser use environment.

There is also the WS-Federation Passive Requestor Profile that is a web based service that works directly with the WS Federation. The details of it show how applications are able to make requests. This includes the use of web browsers which are often referred to as passive due to the way in which they go about making such a request.

WS-Security

WS-Security offers a method of communication so that the security can be successfully put into motion. It was originally designed through the joint efforts of VeriSign, IBM, and Microsoft. Today there is a committee called the Oasis Open that oversees it. This protocol is very important as it helps to get the rules followed for the confidentiality to be enforced. This includes the use of the SAML, X 509, and Kerberos.

This also is attached to signatures so that they can be encrypted with headers that are SOAP messages. To attach security tokens and certifications to messages the WS-Security has to be in place. It works in all of the layers of the application too so that there is security in place from start to finish for each of them.

WS-Trust

The WS-Trust is actually an extension of the WS-Security. However, the specific areas that it covers include the issuing, renewing, and then validation process of the tokens for security. It also allows for the various trust relationships to be securely exchanged through messaging. Using the WS-Trust, applications are able to secure that effective communication is in place.

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