|By Adédèjì Olówè||
|December 7, 2005 11:30 AM EST||
The majority of ColdFusion applications live far away, hidden, in enterprise fortresses as applications that small-to-large organizations depend on. In these organizations, especially the medium-to-large ones, there are well-established network infrastructures to manage the users, workstations, servers, etc.
Organizations usually implement LDAP as a directory services infrastructure but, for the purposes of this article, I will only be discussing Active Directory.
Active Directory, AD, is an LDAP implementation from Microsoft that was introduced with the Windows 2000 environment. This implementation is based on the X.500 LDAP standards. The AD is a giant database that can store as much as 16 terabytes or 1 billion objects ranging from users, printer locations, security policies, and, also important, user-defined data.
Every application that interacts with users usually has restrictions based on profiles and must also implement security. These are especially important for applications in financial organizations. Based on my experience, building user and profile management into applications, which is not a trivial matter, take considerable time and effort in the software development cycle. It doesn't stop with this; users don't like to have multiple security credentials across many applications. There is nothing more frustrating for these users than having to remember which username and password work with which application.
One of the beauties of Microsoft's Web-based/enabled applications is the ease at which they plug in to its existing network infrastructure. Outlook Web Access (OWA) users use their network security credentials to log in. Not only that, OWA knows when a user is logged into a computer, so it automatically loads the user's profile from the AD.
ColdFusion has support for LDAP, which includes AD. Using CFLAP, the ColdFusion tag for interacting with LDAP servers, you could leverage on AD for user management and profiling.
In the next few paragraphs, I'll show how you can use CFLAP to authenticate and load user profiles in AD for use in your application.
Step 1: Preparation
For the sake of this article, imagine you are writing an application for a financial institution called Bank X Inc. Bank X has implemented its AD as bankx.com. To write your application, you must know the name or IP of an AD server (Domain Controller, DC) that will authenticate your users. You must also know the structure of your AD. Please consult with your Domain Administrator for documentations.
Step 2: Login
The following is a simple login form to be used by Bank X users to log in to their financial applications:
<form action="loginADUser.cfm" method="post">
<label for="username" accesskey="u">Username:</label>
<input name="username" type="text" id="username" />
<label for="password" accesskey="p">Password</label>
<input name="password" type="password" id="password" />
<input name="Submit" type="submit" value="Submit" />
Step 3: Authentication
The loginADUser.cfm page contains code to authenticate the user against the AD server (see Listing 1).
In AD, any valid user can bind to the service, which is accessible on port 389 and port 636 for a secured connection. For more on secured connections, please see the security section. The bind will work only if the security credentials are correct but will throw an error if the credentials are wrong.
The isLoggedIn variable holds a Boolean value that determines if a user's security credentials are valid on the domain or not. Now, when authentication is attempted, the try-catch combination catches the error that is thrown with wrong security credentials.
The code in Listing 1 kills two birds with one stone by authenticating and retrieving certain records at the same time.
A user's groups are stored in the memberof field. The membership information is stored in DN form, which you may have to parse to extract out. It's usually in this form:
CN=Support Team,OU=Distribution List,DC=bankx,DC=com,
The login code can be wrapped with a CFLOGIN tag and the parsed roles passed to CFLOGINUSER as roles. Otherwise, you can implement your own role system with session management.
Extending the AD
The AD, implementing the LDAP specifications, has default fields that hold information that is important to your users and applications. However, you might want to store some application-specific data along with the default information. AD has 15 blank fields that you can use: extensionAttribute1 to extensionAttribute15. You can also use some fields that are not important to your organization such as IPPhone.
If you use these fields, documentation of what you have done is very important. Also, note that the AD can be delicate; kindly consult with your Domain Administrator before writing anything to the database. An error could bring down the whole AD forest.
You can't do much with AD without using the ADSI Edit. Install this from the Windows Support Tools. The ADSI Edit allows you to peruse the attributes and data types of the objects in the AD. The AD has data types such as Integer, Integer8, DN, OID, Boolean, DirectoryString, and PrintableString. Consult documentations for what these stand for.
Security on AD/CF Integration
Implementing a real-life application requires that transmission of sensitive data between the servers should be encrypted. The AD supports the interchange of data between ColdFusion and itself via the Secured Socket Layer, SSL on port 636.
To use SSL, you must install an Enterprise Certificate Authority on any of the domain controllers in your organization. This forces the DCs to request certificates from ColdFusion whenever you use CFLDAP.
The next step is to install your security certificate on the ColdFusion server using the keytool. Go to the command prompt and navigate to <cfroot_install>\runtime\jre\bin directory and run the following command:
keytool -import -keystore cacerts -alias ldap -file ldap.crt -keypass bl19mq
Please refer to the Sun JDK for full documentation.
With the certificates in place, you must add the secure = "CFSSL_BASIC" attribute to your CFLDAP.
Your application can be much more elegant if you leverage on the AD. Not only will you deliver faster, you also future-proof your application so that it can effectively connect to other sources of user security profiles.
Ultimately, the users find life easier if they can always use your applications with just a single set of universal security credentials.
- Securing AD Servers: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/q247078/, http://livedocs.macromedia.com/coldfusion/6.1/htmldocs/ldap28.htm
- Macromedia Tutorial on LDAP: www.macromedia.com/devnet/server_archive/articles/ integrating_cf_apps_w_ms_active_directory.html
- Active Directory Services Interface: www.microsoft.com/windows2000/techinfo/howitworks/ activedirectory/adsilinks.asp
|CFDJ News Desk 12/07/05 12:35:54 PM EST|
Leveraging on Active Directory for ColdFusion Users. The majority of ColdFusion applications live far away, hidden, in enterprise fortresses as applications that small-to-large organizations depend on. In these organizations, especially the medium-to-large ones, there are well-established network infrastructures to manage the users, workstations, servers, etc.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Nov. 24, 2014 03:30 PM EST Reads: 562
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Nov. 24, 2014 03:00 PM EST Reads: 1,436
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
Nov. 24, 2014 12:00 PM EST Reads: 1,343
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Nov. 24, 2014 11:00 AM EST Reads: 1,459
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
Nov. 24, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,501
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
Nov. 23, 2014 07:30 PM EST Reads: 1,721
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 23, 2014 12:00 PM EST Reads: 1,652
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
Nov. 23, 2014 07:45 AM EST Reads: 1,609
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
Nov. 22, 2014 05:30 PM EST Reads: 1,355
ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...
Nov. 22, 2014 05:30 PM EST Reads: 1,483
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the real benefits to focus on, how to understand the requirements of a successful solution, the flow of ...
Nov. 21, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,471
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
Nov. 21, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,418
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 21, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,329
Focused on this fast-growing market’s needs, Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation (Nasdaq: VTSS), a leading provider of IC solutions to advance "Ethernet Everywhere" in Carrier, Enterprise and Internet of Things (IoT) networks, introduced its IStaX™ software (VSC6815SDK), a robust protocol stack to simplify deployment and management of Industrial-IoT network applications such as Industrial Ethernet switching, surveillance, video distribution, LCD signage, intelligent sensors, and metering equipment. Leveraging technologies proven in the Carrier and Enterprise markets, IStaX is designed to work ac...
Nov. 20, 2014 09:15 PM EST Reads: 1,400
C-Labs LLC, a leading provider of remote and mobile access for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced the appointment of John Traynor to the position of chief operating officer. Previously a strategic advisor to the firm, Mr. Traynor will now oversee sales, marketing, finance, and operations. Mr. Traynor is based out of the C-Labs office in Redmond, Washington. He reports to Chris Muench, Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Traynor brings valuable business leadership and technology industry expertise to C-Labs. With over 30 years' experience in the high-tech sector, John Traynor has held numerous...
Nov. 20, 2014 06:00 PM EST Reads: 1,355
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
Nov. 20, 2014 01:00 PM EST Reads: 1,600
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
Nov. 20, 2014 12:30 PM EST Reads: 1,811
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
Nov. 18, 2014 09:00 PM EST Reads: 2,030
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
Nov. 18, 2014 08:15 PM EST Reads: 1,592
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
Nov. 18, 2014 01:30 PM EST Reads: 2,018