Skip navigation

Duo Single Sign-On for Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Last Updated: July 28th, 2020

Duo offers a variety of methods for adding two-factor authentication and flexible security policies to Amazon Web Services (AWS) SSO logins, complete with inline self-service enrollment and Duo Prompt.


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 Single Sign-On

Duo Single Sign-On, now in public beta, is our cloud-hosted SSO product which layers Duo's strong authentication and flexible policy engine on top of Amazon Web Services (AWS) logins using the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) 2.0 authentication standard. Duo Single Sign-On acts as an identity provider (IdP), authenticating your users using existing on-premises Active Directory (AD) or any SAML 2.0 IdP and prompting for two-factor authentication before permitting access to Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Duo Single Sign-On's public beta is available in 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 Amazon Web Services (AWS). Duo checks the user, device, and network against an application's policy before allowing access to the application.

Configure Single Sign-On

Before configuring Amazon Web Services (AWS) you'll first need to configure Duo Single Sign-On with a working an authentication source.

Create the AWS Application in Duo

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

  2. Click Protect an Application and locate the entry for Amazon Web Services with a protection type of "2FA with SSO hosted by Duo (Single Sign-On)" in the applications list. Click Protect to the far-right to start configuring Amazon Web Services. See Protecting Applications for more information about protecting applications in Duo and additional application options. You'll need the information on the Amazon Web Services page under Metadata later.

Enable AWS SSO

Add SAML Provider

You'll first configure the AWS Single Sign-On settings in the Security Admin Console to enable SAML 2.0 federation and add the SSO information from Duo Single Sign-On.

  1. Log in to the AWS console and click IAM.

  2. Click Identity providers; then click the Create Provider button.

  3. Choose the Provider Type SAML from the drop-down.

  4. Enter sso in lowercase as the "Provider Name".

  5. Click Download XML next to "Metadata Document" button on the Amazon Web Services application's page in the Duo Admin Panel under Downloads to download the Duo Single Sign-On XML file.

  6. Return to the AWS console. Click the Choose File button, select the XML file to upload, and click Next Step.

    AWS SAML Provider

  7. Verify the provider information and click the Create button.

Create IAM Role for SAML

Next, create a role in AWS that uses the SAML provider you just created and grant AWS service and resource access to that role.

  1. In the AWS IAM console, click Roles.

  2. Click the Create role button.

  3. Under "Select type of trusted entity" click SAML 2.0 federation.

  4. Select the sso SAML provider you created earlier from the drop-down for "SAML provider".

  5. Select Allow programmatic and AWS Management Console access. Values should automatically populate for "Attribute" and "Value".

    AWS New Role Type

  6. Click Next: Permissions.

  7. Select the policies you want attached to the IAM role. In this example the AWS "AdministratorAccess" policy is attached to the role. Click Next: Tags after selecting the policies.

    AWS New Role Policy

  8. On the "Add tags" page you can optionally add key-value pair tags with information about the role. Click Next: Review.

  9. On the "Review" page enter a name into Role name. You may also enter Role description.

    AWS New Role

  10. Click Create role. You'll be returned to the "Roles" page upon successful creation of the role.

Update the AWS Application in Duo

  1. Return to the Duo Admin Panel with the Amazon Web Services application open. Find the Service Provider section.

  2. Enter your AWS account ID in the Account Number field. If you don't know your AWS account ID you can find it in the AWS console on the "My Account" page.

  3. Enter sso into the Provider Name field. If you used a different provider name earlier than enter that name.

  4. If the AWS account being protected is a GovCloud account check the box next to GovCloud Account.

  5. Under Role attributes you can type the name of the AWS role you defined earlier in the AWS Role field and which users should have access to that role by selecting Duo groups in the Duo Groups field. The members of those groups will be given access to that role in AWS.

  6. If you have additional AWS roles you can click the + button next to the "Duo Groups" field to add additional rows.

  7. AWS uses the Mail attribute when authenticating. We've mapped the <Email Address> bridge attribute to Duo Single Sign-On supported authentication source attributes as follows:

    Bridge Attribute Active Directory SAML IdP
    <Email Address> mail Email

    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.

    Duo AWS Application Settings

  8. 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.

  9. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Save button.

Verify SSO

You can log on to AWS with IdP-initiated SSO using the Login URL provided by under the "Metadata" section of the AWS application in the Duo Admin Panel (

Enter your primary directory logon information and approve Duo two-factor authentication.

Duo Single Sign-On Login and Authentication Prompt

After authenticating you'll be forwarded to the AWS site with the appropriate IAM role access. If you are a member of multiple AWS IAM role groups, you have the opportunity to select the role to assume for your session.

Congratulations! Your AWS console users now authenticate using Duo Single Sign-On.

AWS does not support SP-initiated SSO login at this time.

Enable Remembered Devices

To minimize additional Duo two-factor prompts when switching between AWS and your other Duo Single Sign-On SAML applications, be sure to apply a shared "Remembered Devices" policy to your SAML applications.

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 AWS. Learn more about configuring AWS SSO with AD FS at the Amazon AWS blog.

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

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.


Need some help? Try searching our Knowledge Base articles or Community discussions. For further assistance, contact Support.