As one of our technical writers, Erwin gets to know all about the inner workings of our AEOS system. Join him on his journey of discovery as he tries to connect the world of engineers with the world of users.
What’s in it for me?
That’s what I always think when I’m learning new AEOS features I need to write about. Or, more specifically, what’s in it for the user? Are these features really as useful as they seem, or are they simply much ado about nothing?
In this series, I highlight some of the AEOS features that really impressed me. The ones I think can bring great value to your organisation. And maybe I’ll even take you behind the scenes to show some of the challenges that went into developing them…
Yeah, that’s what I thought too when they told me that this was the next great thing they were working on for AEOS. But while the name is shorthand for some very complicated words I’m not even going to utter here – just Google SAML if you must – the feature itself could make your day-to-day life with AEOS so much easier.
Because, to do anything in AEOS, such as giving out badges, you first need to log in. This used to mean entering a username and password. AEOS still supports this method, but entering passwords has become a thing of the past really. Nowadays, there are far more convenient, and secure, ways to log in. For example, by using an authentication manager such as Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, KeyCloak, ADFS or Okta.
Skipping the login screen altogether
With an authentication manager, you only have to log in once at the start of your day, and all other logins (including your AEOS login) happen automatically when you need them. Could anything be easier?
And that’s where SAML comes in. SAML is the standard protocol that many of these authenticators use to enable automatic single sign-on and multi-factor authentication to verify people’s identities.
Now that AEOS supports SAML, you can choose from a host of authentication managers – probably including the one your organisation’s already using. Just add AEOS as an app to that manager and you’re good to go.
Challenges behind the scenes
SAML may be making the AEOS log in process easy for its users, but the development process wasn’t quite as easy for our engineers. You see, in a modular system such as AEOS, there’s a lot of logging in going on under water. When you log in to the main screen, that’s just the beginning. AEOS connects to some of its own modules with a login. And external integrations also sometimes connect to AEOS with a login.
All these elements need to continue connecting to AEOS seamlessly. What worked fine for one integration didn’t for another, so adding support for SAML needed quite a lot of adjustments and tweaking inside AEOS. Not just to make it faster and ensure it stays stable, but also to make installing and configuring SAML more user-friendly.
The user manual – my department – got revised many times as these adjustments were being made in the software.
All’s well that ends well
Our engineers took their time perfecting SAML for AEOS. But in my opinion, it was all worth it. Installing and using SAML in AEOS has become as seamless and easy as it should be.
Never mind the complicated name. Try it out. Your users won’t have to worry about remembering yet another password, and your security managers can rest assured that the people using AEOS really are who they say they are.
You’ll probably be wondering how you ever managed without it.
Do you want to learn more about new features in the latest version of AEOS? Discover the AEOS 2019.2 release page.