Configuring Snowflake to use Federated Authentication

This topic describes how to configure Snowflake for federated authentication using a SAML2 security integration. This topic assumes you have already configured your IdP to work with Snowflake.

Note

A SAML2 security integration replaces the deprecated SAML_IDENTITY_PROVIDER account parameter.

If you have an existing SSO implementation that uses this deprecated account parameter, you should migrate to a SAML security integration before continuing to configure Snowflake for federated authentication.

Snowflake will continue to support the deprecated account parameter as long as there are implementations that use it.

Create a SAML2 Security Integration

Snowflake uses a SAML2 security integration to integrate with the IdP you are using to implement federated authentication. Use the CREATE SECURITY INTEGRATION command to start configuring Snowflake for SSO.

Important

When you configure an IdP for SSO, provide a URL for the Snowflake account. The format of this URL must match the URLs in the SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_ISSUER_URL and SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_ACS_URL properties of the security integration.

If you do not define these properties when creating the security integration, then they default to the legacy URL of the account.

For example, to create a security integration that uses an account name URL with private connectivity, run the following SQL command:

CREATE SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp
  TYPE = saml2
  ENABLED = true
  SAML2_ISSUER = 'https://example.com'
  SAML2_SSO_URL = 'http://myssoprovider.com'
  SAML2_PROVIDER = 'ADFS'
  SAML2_X509_CERT = 'MIICr...'
  SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_ISSUER_URL = 'https://<orgname>-<account_name>.privatelink.snowflakecomputing.com'
  SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_ACS_URL = 'https://<orgname>-<account_name>.privatelink.snowflakecomputing.com/fed/login';
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Note that /fed/login is appended to the URL for the SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_ACS_URL property. For more details about URL formats for Snowflake accounts, see Connecting with a URL.

After configuring a SAML2 security integration, you can use the security integration to do the following tasks:

  • Encrypt SAML Assertions

  • Send Signed SAML Requests

  • Specify the SAML NameID Format

  • Export the SAML2 Security Integration Metadata

  • Force Re-authentication to Snowflake Procedure

Configure SSO Login for Users

After you have created a SAML2 security integration, you can configure whether the user starts their SSO login from the IdP or from Snowflake.

An IdP-initiated SSO does not require configuration in Snowflake. You only need to inform your users about how to access Snowflake (e.g. using an internal portal).

The SAML2_ENABLE_SP_INITIATED property enables Snowflake-initiated SSO. The SAML2_SP_INITIATED_LOGIN_PAGE_LABEL property defines a string that identifies the IdP. This string appears on the Snowflake login page so users can access the IdP.

Use the ALTER SECURITY INTEGRATION command to set these properties:

ALTER SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp SET SAML2_ENABLE_SP_INITIATED = true;
ALTER SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp SET SAML2_SP_INITIATED_LOGIN_PAGE_LABEL = 'My IdP';
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For information about how clients connect to Snowflake after you have configured SSO login for users, see Using SSO with Client Applications That Connect to Snowflake

Encrypt SAML Assertions

The SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_X509_CERT property ensures that SAML2 assertions are encrypted using Snowflake’s public certificate, securing traffic when users access Snowflake through federated authentication.

After receiving the encrypted assertions from the customer IdP, Snowflake decrypts the encrypted assertions with its private key. Snowflake never exports or makes its private key available.

To encrypt SAML assertions, see the sections below.

Export the Public Certificate from Snowflake

After you have created a SAML2 security integration, follow the steps below:

  1. Execute the following SQL statement on the SAML2 integration.

    DESC SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp;
    
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  2. Find the SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_X509_CERT value in row 7, which is the public certificate in PEM format.

  3. Save the value, ensuring you include the BEGIN CERTIFICATE and END CERTIFICATE delimiters. For example, the codeblock below contains a truncated certificate in PEM format:

    -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
    MIICr...
    -----END CERTIFICATE-----
    
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Create a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) — Optional

By default, a SAML2 security integration in Snowflake uses a self-signed certificate for the SAML IdP to encrypt SAML assertions. If your organization requires using a certificate issued from a Certificate Authority (CA), then complete the steps below:

  1. Generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) from Snowflake using the system function SYSTEM$GENERATE_SAML_CSR.

  2. Provide the CSR to the CA of your choice so that the certificate can be issued.

  3. Upload the Base64-encoded certificate into the SAML integration using the following ALTER statement, without the BEGIN CERTIFICATE and END CERTIFICATE delimiters.

    ALTER SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp SET SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_X509_CERT = 'AX2bv...';
    
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  4. Execute the DESCRIBE INTEGRATION command to view the updated security integration:

    DESC SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp;
    
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You can then upload the certificate for your private key using the CSR generated by the function into Snowflake.

Configure Your SAML IdP

  1. Upload the saved certificate in PEM format to your organization’s IdP as the SAML Encryption certificate.

  2. Configure your IdP to encrypt SAML Assertions for the Snowflake service provider (SP).

Send Signed SAML Requests

You can send a signed SAML request from Snowflake to the IdP to verify Snowflake as an authentic service provider. To verify Snowflake, you can configure your IdP to use the certificate stored in the SAML2 security integration to ensure the SAML request originates from Snowflake, not a third-party that is impersonating Snowflake.

Set the SAML2_SIGN_REQUEST Property

If you are creating a SAML2 security integration for the first time, ensure you set the SAML2_SIGN_REQUEST property.

If you created a SAML2 security integration without setting the SAML2_SIGN_REQUEST property, follow the steps below:

  1. Execute the ALTER SECURITY INTEGRATION command as a user with an ACCOUNTADMIN role to update the security integration:

    ALTER SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp SET SAML2_SIGN_REQUEST = true;
    
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  2. Execute the DESCRIBE INTEGRATION command to view the updated security integration:

    DESC SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp;
    
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Configure Your IdP to Accept Signed Requests

Configure your IdP to accept signed requests from Snowflake. During the configuration, your IdP needs to have the certificate stored in the SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_X509_CERT property. Your IdP uses this certificate to verify that the SAML request originates from Snowflake.

Note

Snowflake is not responsible for configuring your IdP. For help with configuring your IdP, please consult your internal security administrator.

  1. Execute the DESCRIBE INTEGRATION command:

    DESC SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp;
    
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  2. Save the value of the SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_X509_CERT property in row 7 to use in your IdP settings.

Specify the SAML NameID Format

Snowflake supports allowing the administrator (i.e. user with the ACCOUNTADMIN role) to specify the SAML NameID format that will be requested in the outgoing SAML authentication request sent from Snowflake to the IdP.

Specifying the SAML NameID format allows Snowflake to set an expectation of the identifying attribute of the user (i.e. SAML Subject) in the SAML assertion from the IdP to ensure a valid authentication to Snowflake.

The SAML NameID format can be integrated into the SAML2 security integration. You can specify the SAML NameID in the security integration using one of the following values:

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

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

  • urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:1.1:nameid-format:X509SubjectName

  • urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:1.1:nameid-format:WindowsDomainQualifiedName

  • urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:kerberos

  • urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:nameid-format:persistent

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

If the SAML NameID format is not specified, Snowflake uses the following value:

urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:1.1:nameid-format:emailAddress

Set the SAML2_REQUESTED_NAMEID_FORMAT Property

If you are creating a SAML2 security integration for the first time, ensure you set the SAML2_REQUESTED_NAMEID_FORMAT property.

If you created a SAML2 security integration without setting the SAML2_REQUESTED_NAMEID_FORMAT property, follow the steps below:

  1. Execute the ALTER SECURITY INTEGRATION command as a user with an ACCOUNTADMIN role to specify the SAML NameId format:

    ALTER SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp SET SAML2_REQUESTED_NAMEID_FORMAT = '<string_literal>';
    
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  2. Execute the DESCRIBE INTEGRATION command to view the updated security integration:

    DESC SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp;
    
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Configure Your IdP to Specify the NameID

Configure your IdP to specify the SAML NameID format in SAML assertions.

Note

Snowflake is not responsible for configuring your IdP. For help with configuring your IdP, please consult your internal security administrator.

Export the SAML2 Security Integration Metadata

Snowflake provides SAML 2.0 metadata for the SAML2 security integration to facilitate configuring the Snowflake service provider in your IdP.

The SAML 2.0 metadata is contained in the SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_METADATA property and can be obtained by executing a DESCRIBE INTEGRATION command on the SAML2 security integration. For example:

DESC SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp;
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------------------------------------+---------------+-----------------------------------------------------------------------------+------------------+
              property              | property_type |                               property_value                                | property_default |
------------------------------------+---------------+-----------------------------------------------------------------------------+------------------+
SAML2_X509_CERT                     | String        | MIICr...                                                                    |                  |
SAML2_PROVIDER                      | String        | OKTA                                                                        |                  |
SAML2_ENABLE_SP_INITIATED           | Boolean       | false                                                                       | false            |
SAML2_SP_INITIATED_LOGIN_PAGE_LABEL | String        | my_idp                                                                      |                  |
SAML2_SSO_URL                       | String        | https://okta.com/sso                                                        |                  |
SAML2_ISSUER                        | String        | https://okta.com                                                            |                  |
SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_X509_CERT           | String        | MIICr...                                                                    |                  |
SAML2_REQUESTED_NAMEID_FORMAT       | String        | urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:1.1:nameid-format:emailAddress                      |                  |
SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_ACS_URL             | String        | https://example.snowflakecomputing.com/fed/login                            |                  |
SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_ISSUER_URL          | String        | https://example.snowflakecomputing.com                                      |                  |
SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_METADATA            | String        | <md:EntityDescriptor entityID="https://example.snowflakecomputing.com"> ... |                  |
SAML2_DIGEST_METHODS_USED           | String        | http://www.w3.org/2001/04/xmlenc#sha256                                     |                  |
SAML2_SIGNATURE_METHODS_USED        | String        | http://www.w3.org/2001/04/xmldsig-more#rsa-sha256                           |                  |
------------------------------------+---------------+-----------------------------------------------------------------------------+------------------+

As a representative example, the formatted SAML 2.0 XML metadata from the SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_METADATA property is shown below. Note that the X509certificate values for signing and encryption are truncated.

<md:EntityDescriptor xmlns:dsig="http://www.w3.org/2000/09/xmldsig#" xmlns:md="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:metadata" xmlns:xenc="http://www.w3.org/2001/04/xmlenc#" xmlns:saml="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:assertion" entityID="https://example.snowflakecomputing.com">
 <md:SPSSODescriptor AuthnRequestsSigned="false" protocolSupportEnumeration="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:protocol">
  <md:KeyDescriptor use="signing">
    <dsig:KeyInfo>
      <dsig:X509Data>
        <dsig:X509Certificate>MIICr...</dsig:X509Certificate>
      </dsig:X509Data>
    </dsig:KeyInfo>
  </md:KeyDescriptor>
  <md:KeyDescriptor use="encryption">
    <dsig:KeyInfo>
      <dsig:X509Data>
        <dsig:X509Certificate>MIICr...</dsig:X509Certificate>
      </dsig:X509Data>
    </dsig:KeyInfo>
  </md:KeyDescriptor>
  <md:AssertionConsumerService index="0" isDefault="true" Binding="urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:2.0:bindings:HTTP-POST" Location="https://example.snowflakecomputing.com/fed/login" />
 </md:SPSSODescriptor>
</md:EntityDescriptor>
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For reference, the following table maps the XML metadata tags to the Snowflake SAML2 security integration properties.

XML Output

SAML2 Security Integration Property

entityID

SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_ISSUER_URL

AuthnRequestsSigned

SAML2_SIGN_REQUEST

Signing Certificate

SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_X509_CERT

Encryption Certificate

SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_X509_CERT

Assertion Consumer Service URL

SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_ACS_URL

Force Re-authentication to Snowflake

Snowflake supports configuring your SAML2 security integration to require the authenticating user to re-authenticate to access Snowflake during the initial authentication SSO flow or when a current Snowflake session expires.

When enabling this feature in the Snowflake SAML2 security integration, Snowflake sets the SAML specification ForceAuthn property to True in the outgoing SAML request from Snowflake to the IdP. Once the IdP receives the request with ForceAuthn property set to True, the IdP sends a request to Snowflake which results in users being prompted to re-enter their authentication credentials (e.g. username, password) to access Snowflake.

This feature provides enhanced security through re-authentication. In addition, the re-authentication prompt allows users to input a different set of credentials than those used to initiate SSO to access Snowflake.

Important

Before implementing this feature, verify that your IdP supports switching identities during an SSO authentication flow.

If this feature is implemented in Snowflake and your IdP does not support switching identities during the initial SSO authentication flow, users might not be able to access Snowflake using the different set of credentials provided in the re-authentication prompt.

If you are creating a SAML2 security integration for the first time, ensure you set the SAML2_FORCE_AUTHN property.

To update an existing SAML2 security integration to support forced re-authentication to access Snowflake, follow the steps below:

  1. Execute the ALTER SECURITY INTEGRATION command to update the security integration:

    ALTER SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp SET SAML2_FORCE_AUTHN = true;
    
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  2. Execute the DESCRIBE INTEGRATION command to view the updated security integration:

    DESC SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp;
    
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Where:

SAML2_FORCE_AUTHN = TRUE | FALSE

The Boolean indicating whether users, during the initial authentication flow, are forced to authenticate again to access Snowflake. When set to TRUE, Snowflake sets the ForceAuthn SAML property to TRUE in the outgoing request from Snowflake to the identity provider.

  • TRUE forces users to authenticate again to access Snowflake, even if a valid session with the identity provider exists.

  • FALSE does not force users to authenticate again to access Snowflake.

Default: FALSE.

Custom Logout Endpoint

Snowflake supports defining a custom endpoint URL to redirect users to after logging out of Snowflake. The endpoint is set through the SAML2_POST_LOGOUT_REDIRECT_URL property in the SAML2 security integration.

Once enabled for users who access Snowflake through SAML SSO, clicking the Log Out button in the Classic Console results in Snowflake terminating the Snowflake session and redirecting users to the specified endpoint.

Important

This behavior does not apply to Snowsight.

Defining a logout endpoint provides administrators the option to control where users are redirected after logging out of Snowflake. For example, a custom endpoint could trigger a script to simultaneously terminate the IdP session. The advantage of this implementation is that both the Snowflake and IdP sessions are terminated, which forces users to re-authenticate against the IdP to access Snowflake.

If you are creating a SAML2 security integration for the first time, ensure you set the SAML2_POST_LOGOUT_REDIRECT_URL property.

If you created a SAML2 security integration without setting the SAML2_POST_LOGOUT_REDIRECT_URL property, execute the ALTER SECURITY INTEGRATION command to configure the custom logout endpoint:

ALTER SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp SET SAML2_POST_LOGOUT_REDIRECT_URL = 'https://logout.example.com';
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Manage Your SAML2 Security Integration

You can use an ALTER SECURITY INTEGRATION command to manage the SAML2 security integration. For example:

  • Update the X.509 certificate as a string into an existing SAML2 security integration.

    ALTER SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp SET SAML2_X509_CERT = 'AX2bv...';
    
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  • If you are a customer who configures your IdP to verify SAML request signatures or encrypt SAML responses, then you can overwrite your existing private key and self-signed certificate, and generate a new private key and self-signed certificate:

    1. Generate a new private key:

      Caution

      After running the command below, SAML authentication stops working because your IdP still uses your old SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_X509_CERT certificate. To minimize disruptions, you should run the command below when users are not as active.

      ALTER SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp REFRESH SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_PRIVATE_KEY;
      
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    2. Retrieve the value of the SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_X509_CERT property in your security integration:

      DESCRIBE SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp;
      SELECT "property_value" FROM TABLE(RESULT_SCAN(LAST_QUERY_ID()))
        WHERE "property" = 'SAML2_SNOWFLAKE_X509_CERT';
      
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    3. Upload the retrieved value to your IdP to replace your old certificate with your new certificate in your IdP.

  • Enable signed requests.

    ALTER SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp SET SAML2_SIGN_REQUEST = true;
    
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  • Specify the NameID format.

    ALTER SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp SET SAML2_REQUESTED_NAMEID_FORMAT = 'urn:oasis:names:tc:SAML:1.1:nameid-format:unspecified';
    
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  • Update an existing security integration to enable forced re-authentication.

    ALTER SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp SET SAML2_FORCE_AUTHN = true;
    
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  • Update an existing security integration to disable forced re-authentication.

    ALTER SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp UNSET SAML2_FORCE_AUTHN;
    
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  • Update the custom logout endpoint.

    ALTER SECURITY INTEGRATION my_idp SET SAML2_POST_LOGOUT_REDIRECT_URL = 'https://logout.example.com';
    
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For more information, see ALTER SECURITY INTEGRATION.

Replicate the SSO Configuration

Snowflake supports replication and failover/failback of the SAML2 security integration from a source account to a target account.

For details, see Replication of Security Integrations & Network Policies Across Multiple Accounts.