How To: Set up AWS Federated Authentication with Active Directory Federation Services ADFS


With IAM, you can centrally manage users, security credentials such as access keys, and permissions that control which resources users can access. Customers have the option of creating users and group objects within IAM or they can utilize a third-party federation service to assign external directory users access to AWS resources.

More Information:

 This guide provides a walk-through on how to automate the federation setup across multiple accounts/roles with an Active Directory backing identity store. This will establish the minimum baseline for the authentication architecture, including the initial IdP deployment and elements for federation.

ADFS Federated Authentication Process


  1. Corporate user accesses the corporate Active Directory Federation Services portal sign-in page and provides Active Directory authentication credentials.
  2. AD FS authenticates the user against Active Directory.
  3. Active Directory returns the user’s information, including AD group membership information.
  4. AD FS dynamically builds ARNs by using Active Directory group memberships for the IAM roles and user attributes for the AWS account IDs, and sends a signed assertion to the users browser with a redirect to post the assertion to AWS STS.
  5. Temporary credentials are returned using STS AssumeRoleWithSAML.
  6. The user is authenticated and provided access to the AWS management console.
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