Modernizing Legacy Applications for a Zero Trust World

As many organizations and their customers consume more cloud services integrated with legacy applications, there’s a crucial need for a unified cloud identity model and better security.

Front and center, though, is the expense and risk associated with managing access to these critical applications and data, which are based on complex architecture.

Business and IT leaders are also being confronted with these trends:

  • Expanded attack surfaces from growth of remote-based workforces, which rely on difficult-to-control technology (mobile, desktop, Apple, many versions of Windows) accessed from diverse geographic locations.
  • More rogue actors and increased security breaches, including severe penalties for those organizations failing to protect customer privacy and data.
  • Broader use of complex architectures based on hybrid environments, which integrate private and public clouds with legacy applications and data.

An answer to this security quandary is simplifying logins with Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML).

a woman working on computer trying to figure out how to simplify logins with security assertion markup language

Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML)

SAML lets users prove their identities across multiple applications, with just one set of login credentials. At its core, this protocol allows Identity Providers (IdPs) to store user identity data and authenticate those users to other applications, using public-key cryptography.

For developers, this means SAML lets users log in to their applications without using passwords.

However, you still need an IdP to handle authentication and authorization. An IdP can be a cloud-based identity service or an internal enterprise resource like Microsoft Azure Active Directory.

Meanwhile, a Service Provider (SP) is the application a user wants to access like Salesforce or Slack. If the IdP can authenticate the user, the SP will let the user in.

Azure Active Directory Infographic

4 Benefits of Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) Authentication

Improved User Experience. Users only need to sign in one time to access multiple service providers. This allows for a faster authentication process and less expectation of the user to remember multiple login credentials for every application.

Increased Security. SAML provides a single point of authentication, which happens at a secure identity provider. Then, SAML transfers the identity information to the service providers. This form of authentication ensures credentials are only sent to the IdP directly.

Loose Coupling of Directories. SAML does not require user information to be maintained and synchronized between directories.

Reduced Costs for Service Providers. With SAML, you do not have to support account information across multiple services. The IdP bears this burden.

Time to Modernize

Enterprise applications with classic authentication approaches—many of which cannot be easily replaced or moved to the cloud for years to come—require modernization. That’s because most of these applications won’t or can’t support the modern authentication, authorization standards and protocols used by cloud-based Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS) solutions.

Their inability to support modern authentication and authorization deprives users of the secure convenience of Single Sign-On (SSO), Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and conditional access. Additionally, many organizations lack the right in-house expertise needed to implement a suitable and secure solution to modernize these applications.

a woman writing on the notepad while working with laptop from home

Watch the Webinar to Learn More

Recently, System Soft Technologies teamed up with F5 Networks for a webinar that showed how the two cloud service leaders implemented F5 BIG-IP Access Policy Manager (APM) to help organizations overcome the challenges of:

  • Centralizing identity and access control with application-aware policies.
  • Unifying access controls in one simple dashboard.
  • Saving costs by reducing multi-tier proxies.
  • Strengthening security through comprehensive endpoint posture and automated penetration testing.
  • Reducing website exposure with intelligent Forcepoint technology.
  • Achieving high performance at scale.

We also shared case studies about top performing organizations securing their complex hybrid platform.


Watch the on-demand webinar, Modernizing Legacy Enterprise Applications for a Zero Trust World, to learn how smart companies secure their legacy applications by simplifying logins with SAML, see a demo of APM, and get practical recommendations and techniques.

[Watch the on-demand webinar: Modernizing Legacy Enterprise Applications for a Zero Trust World]

System Soft can help you get started modernizing authentication with an Active Directory Health Check. Once your health check is complete and any identified showstoppers remediated, we work directly with F5 Networks professional services to get you using APM.