Cisco Spark Single Sign-On with F5 Big-IP

Document created by Cisco Documentation Team on Aug 25, 2016Last modified by Cisco Documentation Team on Aug 29, 2017
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Single Sign-On and Cisco Spark

Single sign-on (SSO) is a session or user authentication process that permits a user to provide credentials to access one or more applications. The process authenticates users for all the applications that they are given rights to. It eliminates further prompts when users switch applications during a particular session.

The Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML 2.0) Federation Protocol is used to provide SSO authentication between the Cisco Collaboration Cloud platform and your identity provider (IdP).


The Cisco Spark platform only supports the web browser SSO profile. In the web browser SSO profile, the Cisco Spark platform supports the following bindings:

  • SP initiated POST->POST binding 


  • SP initiated REDIRECT->POST binding



NameID Format

The SAML 2.0 Protocol supports a number of NameID formats for the purpose of communicating about a specific user. The Cisco Collaboration Cloud platform supports the following NameID formats.

  • urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:transient
  • urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:1.1:nameid-format:unspecified
  • urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:1.1:nameid-format:emailAddress

In the metadata that you load from your IdP, the first entry is configured for use in the Cisco Spark Platform.


The Cisco Collaboration Cloud supports the single logout profile. In the Cisco Spark or WebEx Meeting app, a user can sign out of the application, which will use the SAML single log out protocol to end the session and confirm that sign out with your IdP. Ensure your IdP is configured for SingleLogout.

Integrate F5 Big IP with Cisco Spark for Single Sign-On


Follow the tasks in this article to configure Single Sign-On (SSO) integration between Cisco Spark services and a deployment that uses F5 Big-IP as an identity provider (IdP).


Set up this integration for users of Cisco Spark message, meet, and call. If your WebEx Meeting Center is integrated in Cisco Spark Control Hub, WebEx Meeting Center inherits the user management. If you can't access WebEx in this way, you must do a separate integration to enable SSO for Cisco WebEx.

Before You Begin 
For SSO and Cisco Spark services, IdPs must conform to the SAML 2.0 specification. In addition, IdPs must be configured in the following manner:

    Configure the IdP to use Forms Based authentication.


    Set the NameID Format attribute to one of the following:



      Configure a claim on the IdP to include the uid attribute name with a value mapped to the user's email address in the SAML Assertion.





      Configure a claim on the IdP to include the uid attribute name with a value mapped to the user's email address in the SAML Assertion.






Download the Cisco Spark Metadata to your Local System

1    From the customer view in, go to Settings, and then scroll to Authentication.
2    Click Modify, click Integrate a 3rd-party identity provider. (Advanced), and then click Get Started.
3    Download the metadata file.  

The Cisco Spark metadata filename is idb-meta-<org-ID>-SP.xml.

4    Keep your Cisco Spark Control Hub session open in your browser.

Configure the External Service Provider and Identity Provider

1    From your BIG-IP F5 administration interface, go to Access Policy > SAML > BIG-IP as IdP.
2    From External SP Connectors, select Create > From Metadata.
3    Enter a meaningful name for the service provider name, such as <yourorganizationname>
4    Under Security Settings, check the following checkboxes:
  • Response must be signed
  • Assertion must be signed
5    Return to Access Policy > SAML > BIG-IP as IdP, and then create a new identity provider (IdP) service.
6    Enter a meaningful name for the IdP service name, such as CI.
7    For the IdP Entity ID, use the FQDN of the Big-IP server with something in front—for example,
8    Under Assertion Settings, select Transient Identifier for Assertion Subject Type.
9    For Assertion Subject Value, return the value of the email of the user %{}.
10    Return the attributes mail and uid with the value %{}.
11    Under Security Settings, pick a certificate to sign the assertion.
12    Save your changes, and then bind the service provider and identity provider that you created.

Download the F5 Big-IP Metadata

1    Select Export IDP Service.
2    Ensure that the Sign Metadata value is No.
3    Download the metadata file to your desktop or a location that's easy for you to find.

Add an Access Policy

1    Go to Access Policy > Access Profiles > SAML and create a SAML Resource for the IdP that you created.
2    Go to your Access Profile and edit the access policy that you use for WebEx Messenger CAS.
3    Add a new item in the Logon tab with the name Logon Page and leave the default values.
4    Add a new item in the Authentication tab with the name AD Auth and specify your Active Directory as the server.
5    On the successful branch, add AD Query from the Authentication tab
6    Go to Branch Rules and changed it to AD Query is Passed.
7    On the successful branch of AD Query, add Advanced Resource Assign from the Assignment tab.
8    Click Add/Delete and add two resources SAML with all the SAML resources and the Webtop that you created.
9    For Select Ending, select Allow.

The access policy should look like this screenshot:

Associate the Access Profile with the Virtual Server


You must associate the access profile with the virtual server that you created.

1    Go to Local Traffic > Virtual Servers.
2    Open Access Profiles to confirm that no virtual server is associated to the profile.
3    Select Advanced Resource Assign.
4    Select Add/delete to add the new SAML resource.
5    Close the Access Policy design windows and apply the new access policy.

Import the IdP Metadata and Enable Single Sign-On After a Test


After you export the Cisco Spark metadata, configure your IdP, and download the IdP metadata to your local system, you are ready to import it into your Cisco Spark organization.

1    Go back to the browser or tab where you're signed in to the Cisco Spark Control Hub – Export Directory Metadata page, and then click Next.
2    On the Import Idp Metadata page, either drag and drop the IdP metadata file onto the page or use the file browser option to locate and upload the metadata file.

We recommend that you use require certificate signed by a certificate authority in Metadata (more secure) for service providers that use publicly signed and trusted certificates.

3    Click Next.
4    Select Test SSO Connection, and when a new browser tab opens, authenticate with the IdP by signing in.

A common cause of an authentication error is a problem with the credentials. Please check the username and password and try again.

A Cisco Spark or Webex error usually means an issue with the SSO setup. In this case, walk through the steps again, especially the steps where you copy and paste the Cisco Spark metadata into the IdP setup.

5    Return to the Cisco Spark Control Hub browser tab.
  • If the test was successful, select This test was successful. Enable Single Sign-On option and click Next.
  • If the test was unsuccessful, select This test was unsuccessful. Disable Single Sign-On option and click Next.