SAML single sign-on for Atlassian Data Center applications

Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) is an XML-based data format that allows a service to exchange authorization data with an identity provider (IdP). The most common use case is allowing a user to sign in to multiple software applications using the same authentication details, usually a username and password. This is referred to as single sign-on (SSO).

Atlassian provides the SSO for Atlassian Server and Data Center app that allows Atlassian Server and Data Center applications to connect to an IdP and provide SSO for your users. 

This page describes the latest SSO features available in the following products:

  • Jira Software Data Center 8.15 or later
  • Bitbucket Data Center 7.12 or later
  • Confluence Data Center 7.12 or later
  • Bamboo Data Center 8.1 or later

For earlier versions or Server products, the functionality might be limited. Check if you can upgrade your SSO app, or find the SSO functionality under “SSO 2.0” in Administration.

SSO for Atlassian Server and Data Center only handles authentication. Application access and any required authorizations, such as ensuring that users belong to the appropriate groups/roles and have the necessary permissions, should be configured in the user directory and/or the application itself.

Supported identity providers

SSO for Atlassian Server and Data Center should work with any identity provider implementing the SAML 2.0 Web Browser SSO Profile, using the HTTP POST binding. Alternatively, it allows you to delegate authentication to Crowd.

We currently perform tests with the following identity providers (IdP):

Setting up single sign-on

Before setting up the single sign-on (SSO), you need to decide if you want your users to log in to Jira using Crowd or an identity provider of your choice. Then you'll need to configure your Data Center and your IdP to provide single sign-on (SSO) for your users.

Setting up your identity provider

If you want your application to provide SSO, you'll need to add it to your identity provider. The exact process varies depending on the IdP, but you'll usually need to:

  • Define an "application" in your IdP.
  • Provide some data about the application, including data you can access on your application's Authentication methods screen.
  • Make sure the NameID attribute of the users in your IdP is set to the username in your Atlassian application.
  • Give the appropriate users permission to use the application.

At the end of the setup process, your IdP will provide you with a set of data that you'll need to configure your Atlassian application.

Configuring SAML SSO in your Atlassian application

  1. Open the Authentication methods screen
    • For Jira applications, select  > System Authentication methods.
    • For Bamboo, select  > Security > Authentication methods.
    • For Bitbucket, select > Accounts Authentication methods.
    • For Confluence, select  General Configuration Authentication methods.
  2. Select Add configuration.
  3. In the Authentication method menu, select SAML single sign-on.

  4. Create a unique name for your configuration.

  5. Configure the following SAML SSO settings:

    SettingDetails

    Single sign-on issuer

    This value is provided by your IdP, as part of setting up SAML. It's sometimes also called "Entity ID".

    The issuer is the IdP your application will be accepting authentication requests from.

    Identity provider single sign-on URL

    This value is provided by your IdP, as part of setting up SAML.

    It defines the URL your users will be redirected when logging in.

    X.509 Certificate

    This value is provided by your IdP, as part of setting up SAML. This is sometimes referred to as a "Signing certificate". The key usually starts with "-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----".

    This contains the public key we'll use to verify that all received SAML authentication requests have been issued by your IdP.

    Remember user loginsIf selected, users will be logged in automatically as their login will be remembered.

    Username mapping

    An attribute from your IdP that uniquely identifies a user and can be mapped to the username in Jira. For example, if you entered ${NameID}, we would use the values of this attribute from your IdP as usernames. Check your IdP docs for the list of attributes.

  6. The following information is provided on the Authentication methods screen and will be required to configure your IdP. Copy and paste these links to your identity provider:

    SettingDetails
    Assertion Consumer Service URL

    This is the URL the IdP will return SAML authentication requests to.

    Audience URL (Entity ID)

    This is the URL the IdP will prepare SAML authentication requests for.

  7. The following settings are optional and can be configured as you see fit:

    SettingDetails
    JIT provisioning

    If Create users on login to the application is selected, users will be created and updated automatically when they log in through SSO to Atlassian Data Center applications. See JIT user provisioning for details. 

    SAML SSO behaviour

    If Remember user logins is selected, users will be logged in automatically as their login information will be remembered.

    Include customer logins (Jira Service Management only)If selected, all login requests from your Jira Service Management customers using the customer portal will be redirected to the configured IdP. If not selected, customers will have to log in through the customer portal.
    Login page settingsIf Show IdP on the login page is selected, users will see identity provider on login page.
  8. Select Save configuration.

Once you've configured both your application and your IdP, you're ready to start using SSO.

Best practices

  • To ensure the security and privacy of your authentication process, make sure that both your Atlassian application and your IdP are using the HTTPS protocol to communicate with each other, and that the configured application base URL is the HTTPS one.
  • SAML authentication requests are only valid for a limited time. Make sure the clocks on the server running your Atlassian application/s and the IdP are synchronized.
  • If users and groups in your Atlassian application are configured using User Directories, you'll usually want to use the same LDAP directory to be the source of users for both your IdP and Atlassian application. Users need to exist in the user directory before they can log in using SSO.

Troubleshooting

  • If you make a mistake configuring the SAML authentication, or are unable to log in using your IdP, you can bypass SAML authentication by using the auth_fallback functionality:

  • If an authentication error occurs, the user will only see basic details about what went wrong. For security reasons, the details about the underlying problem are not shown. You'll need to check the application logs to see the cause of the problem
  • In some cases, you might also experience errors shown by your IdP. For those cases, you will need to use the support and tools provided by your IdP, rather than the Atlassian support.
  • If you use SAML as primary authentication and have CAPTCHA enabled in the application, users that use HTTP basic authentication (for example, in REST resource calls, or when using Git HTTPS in Bitbucket) may get locked out if they enter an incorrect password too many times. In these cases, an administrator will need to reset the user's CAPTCHA in the user list screen.
  • To display stack trace information in the error pages, use the following flag:

    -Datlassian.darkfeature.atlassian.authentication.include.stacktrace.in.error.messages=true
Last modified on Feb 11, 2022

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