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Author's profile photo Guilherme Soliman

Best Practice for SAML Offline generator and local keystore with SAP SuccessFactors

Dear SAP community,

In this blog posting we will share with you the best practice for SAML Offline generator and local keystore with SAP SuccessFactors.

Preface:

SAP SuccessFactors has deprecated Basic Authentication as of B2011 release (2H 2020 announcement: Planned Retirement of HTTP Basic Authentication (SFAPI/ODATA API))

Solution Overview:

SAP SuccessFactors recommends Customers/ SAP SuccessFactors Software Partners to use OAuth2.0 for Data Integrations.

OAuth2.0 authentication mechanism is respected by SFAPI (CompoundEmployee API)/ ODataV2 / ODataV4 APIs in SAP SuccessFactors.

Generic OAuth2 flow:

 

SAP SuccessFactors uses the terminology for Authorization token as “Assertion” (SAML2.0) and for Access token as “access_token” as followed in the RFC-7522 specification

Please refer to the Authentication Using OAuth 2.0 section in the SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite OData API: Developer Guide (V2)

There are 3 ways to generate the SAML Assertion:

  • (Recommended) Use a third-party IdP that you trust. Refer to the documentation of that IdP for detailed instructions.
  • Use the offline tool.
  • Use SAP SuccessFactors IdP. Note that the SAML assertion is valid only for 10 minutes in this case.

This blog provides the solution brief on the second option – Generating the SAML Assertion using SAML offline tool in a secure way.

 

Solution Brief:

Disclaimers:

  1. In this video we have used a local key pair generation software for demonstration purposes, this is only to depict that SAP SuccessFactors can accept public keys from a 3rd party software (SAP does not recommend any specific key pair generation software, the customer IT/Security team must evaluate the tools available in the Enterprise segment and accordingly make the decision).
  2. The SAML offline tool used in this video is downloaded from SAP KBA 3031657
  3. While exporting the Private Key from the local key pair generation software, please do not encrypt it.
  4. For video purposes we have stored the Private key in a folder, SAP recommends that customers store the keys in secure vaults and keep it safe.
  5. For video purposes, user by the name “KC” is made up, and does not involve any specific integration scenario.

As ODataV2 is the commonly used APIs by SAP SuccessFactors customers, the example is showcased on SFOData.User entity

Consideration Points:

  1. Make sure to create Technical user for Data integrations, with only basic user data.
  2. Make sure the Role Based Permission assigned to the API user covers the intended target population and API permissions in SAP SuccessFactors.
  3. Key Pair will have an expiration time, generally in years. When the Key Pair expires accordingly make sure to re-register the client application using the new public key.
  4. SAP SuccessFactors supports both SHA-1 and SHA-2 signing algorithm.
  5. Please ensure that there are no spaces and no new line characters in the public key, while registering in the Manage OAuth2 client application screen of SAP SuccessFactors.
  6. SAML Assertion generated using the offline tool, will have expiration assigned in days (This is a parameter in the “SAMLAssertion.properties” file and can be set accordingly as per the Customer IT team policy for expiration).
  7. Once the SAML Assertion is expired, the respective Customer IT/Security team must regenerate the SAML assertion and share it with the Integration team.
  8. SAML Assertion is used to refresh the access token.

Conclusion:

SAML offline generation has the following advantages:

  1. Control over the key pair life cycle – As the customer decides the expiration time
  2. Securing the private key
  3. SAML expiration time can be controlled as per customer IT/Security team policy

 

Hope this sample could be helpful for you 🙂

We would like to give the credits for our colleague Karthick Chandrasekaran (SAP SuccessFactors Product Advisory and Partner Success) for this content.

Cheers

Soliman

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      Author's profile photo Guilherme Soliman
      Guilherme Soliman
      Blog Post Author

      Team,

      Just a comment, we have one KBA related to this topic with fix open for 2H 2021 release regarding SFAPI + OAuth. Please check this link = 3080189 - SFAPI + OAuth with error Authentication failed, no API login permission(status code = 14) - SAP ONE Support Launchpad

      Thx