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Duo Single Sign-On for Box

Last Updated: October 6th, 2020

Add two-factor authentication and flexible security policies to Box SSO logins with Duo Single-Sign On, our cloud-hosted SAML 2.0 identity provider, 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.

About Duo Single Sign-On

Duo Single Sign-On is our cloud-hosted SSO product which layers Duo's strong authentication and flexible policy engine on top of Box 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 Box.

Duo Single Sign-On 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 Box. Duo checks the user, device, and network against an application's policy before allowing access to the application.

Configure Single Sign-On

Before configuring Box you'll first need to enable Duo Single Sign-On for your Duo account and configure a working authentication source.

Once you have your SSO authentication source working, continue to the next step of creating the Box application in Duo.

Create the Box 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 Box 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 Box. See Protecting Applications for more information about protecting applications in Duo and additional application options. You'll need the information on the Box page under Metadata later.

  3. Optionally, if you'd like to manage your users' group memberships using Duo Single Sign-On check the box next to Group Mapping.

    Under Box Groups you can type the name of a Box group and which users should have access to that group by selecting Duo groups in the Duo Groups field. The members of those Duo groups will be given access to the Box group.

  4. Box uses the Mail attribute, First name attribute, and Last name attribute when authenticating. We've mapped the bridge attributes to Duo Single Sign-On supported authentication source attributes as follows:

    Bridge Attribute Active Directory SAML IdP
    <Email Address> mail Email
    <First Name> givenName FirstName
    <Last Name> sn LastName

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

    Duo Box Application Settings

  5. You can adjust additional settings for your new SAML application at this time — like changing the application's name from the default value.

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

  7. Click Download XML next to "XML Metadata file" button on the Box application's page in the Duo Admin Panel under Downloads to download the Duo Single Sign-On XML file. You'll need this file later.

Duo Universal Prompt

Duo's next-generation authentication experience, the Universal Prompt, is coming to web-based applications that display the current Duo Prompt in browsers.

Migration to Universal Prompt for your Box application is a two-step process:

  • Update the Box application to support the Universal Prompt.
  • Enable the Universal Prompt experience for users of that Box application (when the Universal Prompt becomes available)

We've already updated the Duo Box application to support the Universal Prompt when it's ready, so there's no action required on your part to update. The "Universal Prompt" section of this application's details page in the Admin Panel reflects this status today as "New Prompt Ready".

Universal Prompt Info - Application Updated

When the Universal Prompt becomes available, you'll return here to activate it for users of this application.

Click the See Update Progress link to view the Universal Prompt Update Progress report. This report shows the update availability and migration progress for all your Duo applications in-scope for Universal Prompt support.

Read the Universal Prompt Update Guide for more information about the update process to support the new prompt, and watch the Duo Blog for future updates about the Duo Universal Prompt.

Enable Box SSO

Box SSO cannot be configured from the administrator interface. Contact Box support or your Box Customer Success Manager to have your account enabled for SSO, sending in the XML metadata file previously downloaded from the Duo Admin Panel.

You will be asked to provide attribute names for Email, First name, and Last name. You can optionally provide a Groups attribute if you want to allow Duo Single Sign-On to manage Box group membership.

You may also request that Box enable Just-In-Time provisoning to create new Box users in your account if they don't already exist after authenticating with Duo Single Sign-On.

Please provide the following Duo attributes:

Box Attribute Duo Attribute
Email attribute User.Email
First name attribute User.FirstName
Last name attribute User.LastName
Groups attribute (optional) User.Groups

Continue with configuration once Box enables SSO for your account.

More information about Box's SSO support is available at the Box Support Site.

Enable SSO Group Management in Box

If you sent Box the group attribute you will now need to turn on group management settings. If you did not send Box your group attribute you can skip this section.

  1. Log into Box as an administrative user.

  2. Click on Admin Console and then Enterprise Settings on the left-hand side navigation bar.

  3. Click on User Settings at the top of the page and scroll down to User Groups Settings.

  4. Under "SSO Group Management" you can select how you would like SSO to manage group membership.

  5. Click Save at the top of the page.

    Box group management settings

Verify SSO

  1. Open up a browser that is not logged into Box. Go to

  2. Enter the email address for your Box account and click Next and then click Sign in with SSO.

  3. Your browser will be automatically redirected to the Duo Single Sign-On login page. Enter your primary directory logon information, approve Duo two-factor authentication, and get redirected back to the Box site after authenticating.

Enforcing Box SSO

Now that you've verified that SSO with Box is working, you can enforce SSO logins for all users.

  1. Log into Box as an administrative user.

  2. Click on Admin Console and then Enterprise Settings on the left-hand side navigation bar.

  3. Click on User Settings at the top of the page and scroll down to Configure Single Sign On (SSO) for All Users.

  4. Click the slider under Step 2: Complete SSO activation.

  5. A pop-up will appear asking you to confirm that you've tested authentication and have notified your users. Once you've agreed to their notifications you can click Enable for All Users.

  6. Click Save at the top of the page.

    Box enforce SSO settings

Using SSO

You can log on to Box via Duo Single Sign-On using your organization's SSO login page e.g. Clicking the Continue button on the login page will redirect you to the Duo Single Sign-On login page, prompt for Duo two-factor authentication, and then redirect back to the Box site after authenticating. Users can also enter their email address into the main Box login page and click Sign In with SSO to be forwarded to the Duo Single Sign-On logon page.

Duo Single Sign-On Login and Authentication Prompt

If using the Box mobile app, tap "Login", enter your federated e-mail address and tap Next. Tap "Sign in with SSO" link at the bottom of the login screen, and then authenticate to Duo Single Sign-On. In the Box Sync desktop app, click "Use company credentials" and proceed as for the mobile app. In the Box Drive desktop app, enter your federated email address and click Next, then proceed as for the mobile and Sync apps.

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

Enable Remembered Devices

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


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