SAML stands for Security Assertion Markup Language, an open standard that passes authorization credentials from identity providers (IdPs) to service providers (SPs). Put simply, it enables secure communication between applications and allows users to gain access with a single set of credentials.
Types of SAML providers
In order for SAML to work, there needs to be an identity provider and a service provider:
- Identity providers authenticate users: These systems are responsible for confirming that a user is who they say are, and then sending that data (and the user’s access rights) to a service provider. Okta, Microsoft Active Directory (AD), and Microsoft Azure are all examples of identity providers.
- Service providers authorize users: These systems use the authentication data from an identity provider to grant access to a service. Examples include Salesforce, Box, and other best-of-breed technology.
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