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Configure Okta Sign-On and App Sign-On Policies

This guide teaches you how to add and configure Okta Sign-On Policies and App Sign-On Policies to your Okta organization, and what they are used for.


Learning outcomes

  • Know the purpose of Okta Sign-On and App Sign-On Policies.
  • Add and configure Okta Sign-On and App Sign-On Policies.

What you need


Overview

An Okta Sign-On Policy helps you control who can sign in and how a user is allowed to sign in to Okta, including whether they are challenged for MFA and how long they are allowed to remain signed in before re-authenticating. Additionally, you can configure App Sign-On Policies for each application for extra levels of authentication that you may want performed before an application can be accessed.

Add a rule to the Okta Sign-On Policy, for example, when you need to make sure that only users who are inside your corporate network can access your application, or you need to exclude certain roles in your organization from accessing it. Add a rule for an App Sign-On Policy, for example, to prompt groups that are assigned to your app to re-authenticate after 60 minutes. There is only one App Sign-On Policy, but you can add as many rules to it as you need.

You can specify any number of Okta Sign-On Policies and the order in which they are executed. If a policy in the list doesn't apply to the user trying to sign in, the system moves to the next policy. There is one required organization-wide policy named Default. By definition, the Default policy applies to all users.

In addition to the Default policy, which you can't delete, there may be another organization-wide policy named Legacy that is present only if you have already configured MFA. This policy reflects the MFA settings that were in place when you enabled your Sign-On Policy and ensures that no changes in MFA behavior occur unless you modify your policy. If required, you can delete it.

Note: See Policies for an overview of the supported Okta policies and how they work.

Configure sign-on policies for common scenarios

This guide provides step-by-step instructions to configure an Okta Sign-On Policy and an App Sign-On Policy for two of the most common scenarios:

Prompt for an MFA factor for a certain group

The following are step-by-step instructions to configure an Okta Sign-On Policy to prompt a user for a factor (multifactor authentication (MFA)) when the user is a member of a certain group.

Create the policy container

  1. In the Admin Console, go to Security > Authentication.

  2. Click the Sign On tab, and then click Add New Okta Sign-on Policy.

  3. In the Add Policy window, enter a Policy Name, such as Require MFA for Contractors, and then enter a Policy Description.

  4. In the Assign to Groups box, enter the group name that you want to apply the policy to. In this example, we are specifying the Contractor group in our org. The group names must already exist before assigning them to a policy.

  5. Click Create Policy and Add Rule.

Create the rule

  1. In the Add Rule window, add a descriptive name for the rule in the Rule name box, such as Require contractors to use MFA once per session.

  2. If there are any users in the Contractor group that you want to exclude from the rule, enter them in the Exclude Users box.

  3. For this use case example, leave the default of Anywhere in the If User's IP is drop-down box. For other use cases where you want to assign location parameters, you can specify what kind of location prompts authentication, for example, prompting a user for a factor when they aren't on the corporate network.

    Note: You can click the Networks link to access the gateway settings that enable your choice of access. A network zone (opens new window) is a security perimeter used to limit or restrict access to a network based on a single IP address, one or more IP address ranges, or a list of geolocations. You can also create networks zones using the Zone API.

  4. Leave the default of Any in the And Authenticates via drop-down box.

  5. Select Allowed from the Then Access is drop-down box to allow access based on the conditions defined.

  6. Leave the Prompt for Factor check box selected so that users of the Contractor group are prompted for a factor before they are granted access. This check box appears only when at least one factor type is enabled in your org.

    Note: Click the Multifactor Authentication link for quick access to the Authentication page and the Multifactor tab to define the factors that you want to use.

  7. Use the option buttons to determine how users are prompted for MFA in a given session. In this example, leave the default of Per Session selected.

    You can configure whether the factor prompt is triggered per a device, at every sign-on, or per a session time that you specify:

    • Per Device: Provides the option Do not challenge me on this device again on the end user MFA challenge dialog box. This option allows prompts solely for new devices.
    • Every Time: End users are prompted every time they sign in to Okta and can't influence when they are prompted to provide a factor.
    • Per Session: Provides the option Do not challenge me on this device for the next (minutes/hours/days) on the end user MFA challenge dialog box. You specify the Factor Lifetime below. When specifying per session, note that sessions have a default lifetime as configured, but sessions always end whenever users sign out of their Okta session.
  8. For this use case example, leave the default Factor Lifetime of 15 minutes. Use these fields to specify how much time must elapse before the user is challenged for MFA.

    The maximum lifetime period is six months. Setting a factor lifetime is a way for end users to sign out for the amount of time noted in the Factor Lifetime and not have to authenticate again with MFA at the next sign in. End users must select a box when they sign in to confirm that the setting should be applied. An example is Do not challenge me on this device for the next 15 minutes. In this case, after signing out, there is no MFA prompt if the user signs in again within 15 minutes of the last sign in with MFA. If users don't select the box, they are always prompted for MFA. The time since the last sign in is noted at the bottom of the End-User Dashboard. However, end users must refresh the page to see the updated value.

  9. For this use case example, leave the default Session Expires After setting of 2 hours. Use these fields to specify the maximum idle time before an authentication prompt is triggered. The maximum allowed time for this option is 90 days. This isn't the total connect time. This is idle time before users see a countdown timer at the 5-minute mark of remaining session time.

    Note: You can set the maximum session lifetime value using the Okta APIs. If you previously set this value using the API, you can't exceed that maximum in the UI. Setting a value over the API maximum results in an error.

  10. Click Create Rule.

Note: After you create a new policy, you must close all active sessions for the new policy to take effect.

Prompt for an MFA factor when a user is outside the US

In addition to the Okta Sign-On Policy, there is an App Sign-On Policy for each application that determines the extra levels of authentication that you may want performed before a user can access an application. The following are step-by-step instructions to configure an App Sign-On Policy to prompt a user for an MFA factor when the user is outside the United States.

Note: This example assumes that you have already set up a Dynamic Zone (opens new window) for the United States.

Select the App

  1. In the Admin Console, select Applications > Applications.

  2. Select the app that you want to configure a Sign-On Policy for. In this example, we are using a Web App.

  3. Click Sign On and scroll down to the Sign On Policy section.

Create the rule and define conditions

Note: Some options described in this section may not be available in your org. To enable them, contact Okta Support (opens new window).

  1. Click Add Rule.

  2. Enter a Rule Name such as Prompt for an MFA factor when a user is outside the US.

  3. Select who the rule applies to in the People section. In this use case example, select The following groups and users:.

  4. In the Groups box that appears, enter the group that you want this rule to apply to. In this example, we are using Everyone. You can also add specific users that you want to include in the Users box.

    If you want to exclude specific groups and users from the policy rule, select Exclude the following users and groups from this rule: and then specify the groups and users.

  5. Specify the location to which you want the policy to apply in the LOCATION section of the dialog box. In this example, select In Zone.

  6. In the Network Zones box that appears, enter the name of the zone that you want to apply, and then add it when it appears in the list. In this example, we are adding the network zone (opens new window) for the United States that we suggested you create at the start of the guide.

  7. In the CLIENT section, clear the platform conditions that you don't want the rule to apply to. In this example, leave the default of all platforms selected.

  8. For this use case, in the ACTIONS section, leave the default of Allowed for the When all the conditions above are met, sign on to this application is drop-down box.

  9. Select the Prompt for factor check box to require users who are outside of the United States to choose an MFA option for additional authentication.

    Note: The Multifactor Settings link takes you to the Multifactor Authentication page, where you can add factors.

  10. Then, specify how frequently you want the users to be prompted. Select Once per session for this use case.

    Note: While you can configure your App sign-on policies to prompt end users for MFA, be aware that legacy protocols such as POP or IMAP don't support MFA even if MFA is configured.

  11. Click Save.

Next steps

You should now understand how to add an Okta Sign-On Policy and an App Sign-On Policy.

Next, take a look at the following: