Looking for a cloud-hosted SSO solution? Try Duo Single Sign-On for Zendesk.
As business applications move from on-premises to cloud hosted solutions, users experience password fatigue due to disparate logons for different applications. Single sign-on (SSO) technologies seek to unify identities across systems and reduce the number of different credentials a user has to remember or input to gain access to resources.
While SSO is convenient for users, it presents new security challenges. If a user's primary password is compromised, attackers may be able to gain access to multiple resources. In addition, as sensitive information makes its way to cloud-hosted services it is even more important to secure access by implementing two-factor authentication.
Duo Access Gateway (DAG), our on-premises SSO product, layers Duo's strong authentication and flexible policy engine on top of Zendesk logins using the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) 2.0 authentication standard. Duo Access Gateway acts as an identity provider (IdP), authenticating your users using existing on-premises or cloud-based directory credentials and prompting for two-factor authentication before permitting access to Zendesk.
Duo Access Gateway is included in the Duo Beyond, Duo Access, and Duo MFA plans, which also include the ability to define policies that enforce unique controls for each individual SSO application. For example, you can require that Salesforce users complete two-factor authentication at every login, but only once every seven days when accessing Zendesk. Duo checks the user, device, and network against an application's policy before allowing access to the application.
Add the attributes from the table below that correspond to the Duo attributes Mail attribute, Last name attribute, and First name attribute in the "Attributes" field when configuring your Active Directory or OpenLDAP authentication source in the DAG admin console, separated by a comma. For example, if Active Directory is your authentication source, enter mail,sn,givenName in the "Attributes" field.
|Duo Attribute||Active Directory||OpenLDAP|
|First name attribute||givenName||gn|
|Last name attribute||sn||sn|
If your organization uses other directory attributes than the ones listed here then enter those attribute names instead. If you've already configured the attributes list for another cloud service provider, append the additional attributes not already present to the list, separated by a comma.
After completing the initial DAG configuration steps, click Applications on the left side of the Duo Access Gateway admin console.
Scroll down the Applications page to the Metadata section. This is the information you need to provide to Zendesk when configuring SSO.
Add the Duo Access Gateway as a new single sign-on provider for Zendesk.
Log on to your Zendesk console (https://yourdomain.zendesk.com) as an administrator and navigate to Settings → Security. On this page you can select the login settings for "Admins & Agents" and "End-users". Our instructions will use Admins & Agents but settings are identical for both sets of users.
Check the Sign sign-on (SSO) box to expand the SSO configuration settings. Ensure that the SAML option is selected.
Copy the SSO URL information from the Duo Access Gateway admin console Metadata display and paste it into the Zendesk SAML SSO URL field.
Copy the SHA-1 Fingerprint from the Duo Access Gateway admin console Metadata display and paste it into the Zendesk Certificate fingerprint field.
Copy the Logout URL information from the Duo Access Gateway admin console Metadata display and paste it into the Zendesk Remote logout URL field.
After you've entered all the required information click Save.
Learn more about Zendesk SSO at Zendesk Support.
Log on to the Duo Admin Panel and navigate to Applications.
Click Protect an Application and locate the entry for Zendesk with a protection type of "2FA with SSO self-hosted (Duo Access Gateway)" in the applications list. Click Protect to the far-right to start configuring Zendesk. See Protecting Applications for more information about protecting applications in Duo and additional application options.
Enter the subdomain used when logging into your company's Zendesk portal as the Domain name. For example, if your Zendesk login URL is https://yourdomain.zendesk.com then enter yourdomain.
Leave Entity ID with HTTPS selected next to "Zendesk Entity ID Style". If you see a "Bad request received" error when verifying SSO, return to this page and select Entity ID without HTTPS and follow the instructions to save and upload the JSON file.
Zendesk uses the Mail attribute, First name attribute, and Last name attribute when authenticating. We've mapped those to DAG supported authentication source attributes as follows:
|Duo Attribute||Active Directory||OpenLDAP||SAML IdP||Azure|
|First name attribute||givenName||gn||givenName||given_name||givenName|
|Last name attribute||sn||sn||sn||family_name||surname|
If you are using non-standard attributes for your authentication source, check the Custom attributes box and enter the names of the attributes you wish to use instead.
Click Save Configuration to generate a downloadable configuration file.
You can adjust additional settings for your new SAML application at this time — like changing the application's name from the default value, enabling self-service, or assigning a group policy — or come back and change the application's policies and settings after you finish SSO setup. If you do update any settings, click the Save Changes button when done.
Click the Download your configuration file link to obtain the Zendesk application settings (as a JSON file).
Important: This file contains information that uniquely identifies this application to Duo. Secure this file as you would any other sensitive or password information. Don't share it with unauthorized individuals or email it to anyone under any circumstances!
Before you do this, verify that you updated the "Attributes" list for your Duo Access Gateway authentication source as specified here.
Return to the Applications page of the DAG admin console session.
Click the Choose File button in the "Add Application" section of the page and locate the Zendesk SAML application JSON file you downloaded from the Duo Admin Panel earlier. Click the Upload button after selecting the JSON configuration file.
The Zendesk SAML application is added.
You can log on to Zendesk using your organization’s domain login page e.g. https://yourdomain.zendesk.com. This redirects to the Duo Access Gateway login page. Enter your primary directory logon information, approve Duo two-factor authentication, and get redirected back to the Zendesk site after authenticating.
Congratulations! Your Zendesk users now authenticate using Duo Access Gateway.
If you see a "Bad request received" error when authenticating, return to Create the Zendesk Application in Duo and select Entity ID without HTTPS and follow the instructions to save and upload the JSON file.
If you plan to permit use of WebAuthn authentication methods (security keys, U2F tokens, or Touch ID), Duo recommends configuring allowed hostnames for this application and any others that show the inline Duo Prompt before onboarding your end-users.
Microsoft's Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) is a popular choice for SSO because it easily integrates with the AD identity store many organizations already have deployed. Duo's support for cloud applications and SSO drops in to an existing AD FS installation to provide secondary authentication after a user passes primary authentication (successful Active Directory logon).
If you don't already have AD federation running the first step is to install and configure Microsoft AD FS in your organization. Deployment Guides for AD FS versions 2.1, and 3.0/4.0 are available from Microsoft.
Once your AD FS services are up and running, the second step is to configure the SSO partnership between your AD FS service and the external cloud resource, in this case Zendesk. Learn more about configuring Zendesk SSO with AD FS at the Zendesk Support site.
After you have successfully configured and tested AD FS SSO login to Zendesk using your AD domain credentials, you can then install the Duo AD FS integration. AD FS protection is included with Duo's paid plans.
With the Duo integration for AD FS installed, users pass primary authentication to the AD FS service as usual. Once primary authentication succeeds, users are forwarded to the Duo service for secondary authentication. After approving logon using one of Duo's authentication methods, the user is fully logged in to Zendesk.
Using a third-party SSO provider for cloud application access? Duo partners with leading cloud SSO providers like Okta and OneLogin to secure access with our strong and flexible authentication platform.