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Duo Protection for GitHub Enterprise

Last Updated: April 29th, 2019

Duo offers a variety of methods for adding two-factor authentication and flexible security policies to GitHub Enterprise SSO logins, complete with inline self-service enrollment and Duo Prompt.

This documentation is for GitHub Enterprise. If you are looking to protect the hosted for Business please visit Duo Protection for for Business.


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

Duo Access Gateway (DAG), our on-premises SSO product, layers Duo's strong authentication and flexible policy engine on top of GitHub Enterprise 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 GitHub Enterprise.

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 GitHub Enterprise. Duo checks the user, device, and network against an application's policy before allowing access to the application.

Deploy or Update Duo Access Gateway

  1. Install Duo Access Gateway on a server in your DMZ. Follow our instructions for deploying the server, configuring DAG settings, and adding your primary authentication source.
  2. Add the attributes from the table below that correspond to the Duo attributes Mail attribute and Display 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,displayName in the "Attributes" field.

    Duo Attribute Active Directory OpenLDAP
    Mail attribute mail mail
    Display Name attribute displayName displayName

    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.

  3. After completing the initial DAG configuration steps, click Applications on the left side of the Duo Access Gateway admin console.

  4. Scroll down the Applications page to the Metadata section. This is the information you need to provide to GitHub Enterprise when configuring SSO. Click the Download Certificate link to obtain the token signing certificate (the downloaded file is named "dag.crt").

    DAG Metadata Information

Create the GitHub Enterprise Application in Duo

  1. Log on to the Duo Admin Panel and navigate to Applications.

  2. Click Protect an Application, locate SAML - GitHub Enterprise in the applications list, and click Protect this Application. See Getting Started for help.

  3. The Domain is the domain URL used when logging into your organization's GitHub Enterprise account. For example, if your GitHub Enterprise login URL is then enter as the domain name in Duo.

  4. GitHub Enterprise uses the Mail attribute and Display Name attribute when authenticating. We've mapped the attributes to DAG supported authentication source attributes as follows:

    Duo Attribute Active Directory OpenLDAP SAML IdP Google Azure
    Mail attribute mail mail mail email mail
    Display Name attribute displayName displayName displayName name displayName

    If you are using a non-standard email attribute for your authentication source, check the Custom attributes box and enter the name of the attribute you wish to use instead.

  5. Click Save Configuration to generate a downloadable configuration file.

    Duo GitHub Enterprise Application Settings

  6. 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.

  7. Click the Download your configuration file link to obtain the GitHub Enterprise 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!

Add the GitHub Enterprise Application to Duo Access Gateway

Before you do this, verify that you updated the "Attributes" list for your Duo Access Gateway authentication source as specified here.

  1. Return to the Applications page of the DAG admin console session.

  2. Click the Choose File button in the "Add Application" section of the page and locate the GitHub Enterprise SAML application JSON file you downloaded from the Duo Admin Panel earlier. Click the Upload button after selecting the JSON configuration file.

  3. The GitHub Enterprise SAML application is added.

    GitHub Enterprise Application Added

Enable GitHub Enterprise SSO

Add the Duo Access Gateway as a new single sign-on provider for GitHub Enterprise.

  1. Log on to GitHub Enterprise as an administrative user. Click on the rocket icon in the upper-right hand corner to be taken to the Site Admin page.

  2. Click on the Management console link located in the left-hand size navigation menu. A new page will load.

  3. Enter your management console password and proceed into the console.

  4. Scroll down to the Authentication section and click the SAML option. More options will appear.

  5. Leave the box IdP initiated SSO (disables AuthnRequest) unchecked.

  6. Check the box next to Disable administrator demotion/promotion. (ignore the administrator attribute).

  7. Copy the SSO URL information from the Duo Access Gateway admin console Metadata display and paste it into the GitHub Enterprise SSO Single sign-on URL field.


  8. Copy the Entity ID information from the Duo Access Gateway admin console Metadata display and paste it into the GitHub Enterprise Issuer field.


  9. Select RSA-SHA1 from the drop down for Signature Method and select SHA1 for Digest Method.

  10. The "Verification certificate" is the DAG Metadata certificate supplied by Duo Access Gateway. Click the Choose File button to select the dag.crt file you downloaded from the DAG admin console Application page earlier. Upload the certificate.

  11. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click Save settings.

    GitHub Enterprise Single Sign-On  Settings

Learn more about GitHub Enterprise SSO at the GitHub Enterprise documentation site.

Verify SSO

You can log on to GitHub Enterprise by navigating to your GitHub Enterprise page e.g. and click Sign in with SAML. 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 GitHub Enterprise site after authenticating.

DAG Login and Authentication Prompt

Congratulations! Your GitHub Enterprise users now authenticate using Duo Access Gateway.

Microsoft AD FS

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 GitHub Enterprise. Learn more about configuring GitHub Enterprise SSO with AD FS at the GitHub Enterprise documentation site.

After you have successfully configured and tested AD FS SSO login to GitHub Enterprise 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 GitHub Enterprise.

Other Identity Partners

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.

You can also use Duo two-factor authentication with CAS and Shibboleth on-premises IdPs.


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