A couple of months ago, we wrote about the significance of the new Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) capabilities in Windows Server 2012. As Microsoft gears up for the release of Windows 2012 R2, let’s take another look at what ADFS means – specifically for enterprises’ ability to implement strong authentication.
It’s clear that the new release of ADFS in Windows Server 2012 R2 reflects the need for a more diverse and flexible identity and access eco-system. This is evident in Windows 2012 R2’s approach to user login and its enablement of multi-factor authentication.
While Microsoft enabled strong authentication with Active Directory, this capability was traditionally limited to smartcard authentication. Microsoft is now taking a broader approach by allowing third-party authentication providers to integrate directly via ADFS.
This is significant since it will help enterprises address a major pain point. As cloud and SaaS adoption increases, larger groups of users are accessing systems remotely – frequently without the protection of strong authentication. This leads to greater need – and hence greater adoption – of identity federation services.
The full potential of ADFS however in bridging enterprise identities with cloud resources cannot be realized without a versatile authentication scheme that is open to multiple providers and solutions. The new ADFS capabilities combined with a flexible authentication framework will pave the way to broader adoption of strong authentication by offering a much simpler path for bridging between on-premises and cloud identities.
Over the last year, SafeNet has worked closely with Microsoft to integrate ADFS with SafeNet Authentication Service, our cloud-based authentication platform. This cooperation culminated in a demo in which Microsoft showcased the integration of the ADFS strong authentication framework with SafeNet Authentication Service (SAS) at the Microsoft TechEd conference in June.
The integration with SafeNet Authentication Service offers users a fully automated versatile strong authentication as-a-service solution that supports a variety of authentication methods and is fully integrated with Active Directory. The Microsoft ADFS–SafeNet integration provides an easy-to-deploy and easy-to-manage, cloud-based multi-factor authentication solution to services such as Office 365 and Microsoft SharePoint.
At SafeNet we are excited at the imminent release of Windows 2012 R2 with ADFS and the new capabilities that will be available to SafeNet and Microsoft customers.
The new SafeNet Authentication Service agent for ADFS will be publicly available in early 2014.
For access to a preview of this integration feel free to contact us.