Configure single sign-on (SSO) with Azure AD

Zefort supports SSO with Azure AD (and various other identity providers) using SAML 2.0.

Note: you probably want OIDC instead

You may be aware that Zefort also support OIDC for SSO, and you may be wondering if you should use OIDC or SAML for this.

For a new deployment, it’s best to go with OIDC unless you are sure you need to use SAML. OIDC is a modern protocol and has gained widespread use in enterprise scenarios. Zefort will continue to support SAML for the foreseeable future, so there is no urgent need to migrate existing deployments to OIDC.


With these instructions, you can set up basic single-sign-on, where users for particular domain name (e.g. are delegated to Azure AD for authentication instead of using Zefort’s built-in password authentication.

In this scenario, Zefort is the Service Provider (SP) and Azure AD is the Identity Provider (IdP).

A single Zefort account can be configured for SSO with multiple different domains (IdPs).   A single domain can also be configured to be used for multiple Zefort accounts.  Users who have access to multiple accounts will be able to choose which account to use at any time.


You need:

  • A Zefort administrator user account with the ”can manage account settings” permission
  • Access to configure the DNS records for your domain
  • Administrative access to your Azure AD

Sidenote: as a best practice, organisations using Zefort often reserve some administrator user accounts for IT personnel, who only have access to configure account settings (and possibly manage user accounts), but no access to actual contracts or other content.


In nutshell, the steps to configure SAML integration with Azure AD are:

  1. Create a new SAML integration in Zefort’s Account settings
  2. Verify your domain name by entering a validation token in your domain’s DNS configuration
  3. Add a SAML application in your Azure AD tentant
  4. Copy IdP metadata URL from Azure AD to Zefort
  5. Finish configuration in Zefort

Check the detailed instructions below.

Configuring SAML integration

1. Add and verify domain name(s)

In order to use SAML; you must first add and validate the domain name(s) for which authentication is delegated to Azure.

Sign in to Zefort with your administrator account, navigate to Account settingsDomains, and add your domains.  Follow instructions to configure your DNS and verify the domains.

Once the domain is verified, you will see a green indicator in the Domain name section, and you can move to the next step.

For security reasons, Zefort periodically re-checks the presence of the TXT record.  Do not remove the TXT record to ensure SSO with Zefort continues to work.

2. Create a SAML integration in Zefort

In this step, you create a new SAML integration object in Zefort.

Browse to Account settingsIntegrations, and select “Add another” or  “Install”  for SAML Single Sign-On.

Enter the domain name(s) you wish to use for SSO (e.g. and click Save.

3. Add an application in your Azure AD tenant

In this step, you create the SAML application in your Azure AD tenant configuration.

Add Zefort as a “non-gallery” application in Azure AD.  Follow Microsoft’s instructions here.

You can use this image as a logo:


Configure SAML-based single sign-on for the app.  Copy the values for the Entity ID and ACS (Assertion Consumer Service) URL from Zefort.  You can use the value for ACS URL also for the Sign-On URL.

For the Unique User Identifier (or Name Identifier using SAML terminology), change the setting from UPN to a more stable identifier which will not change even if users’ email addresses or names change.  We recommend using user.objectid.

Define the following in User Attributes and Claims:

SAML attribute Azure AD attribute
givenname user.givenname
surname user.surname
emailaddress user.mail
Unique User Identifier user.objectid

When the application is configured, find the IdP metadata URL for the application.  It is of the format<Directory ID>/federationmetadata/2007-06/federationmetadata.xml?appid=<Application ID>

4. Add IdP metadata to Zefort

Enter the IDP metadata URL in the integration configuration page under “Identity Provider (IdP)” and press Save.

You should now get green indicator for the Identity Provider (IdP) section, and the SAML integration is ready to be used.

SAML IdP metadata from Azure AD added in Zefort

5. Configure user provisioning

Note! If you also use SCIM for user provisioning, *do not* configure user provisioning for SAML, and leave it in the ”Add users manually” setting.

There are two alternatives for this: manually managing users in Zefort, or just-in-time provisioning of users as they sign in via SSO for the first time.

To manually manage users, choose ”Add users manually”.  Even if a user has access to the Zefort application on Azure AD, they will not be able to sign in to Zefort unless they are first manually added by an administrator user with the “Can manage users” permission.

To configure just-in-time provisioning, choose ”Add new users automatically upon login”.   Subject to limitations with number of user licenses on your Zefort account, users are automatically added when they sign in via SSO for the first time.

7. Enable and test signing in

Change the integration status from “Disabled” to  “Active” and press Save.  Try signing in on a different machine, a different browser, or an incognito window.  If there are problems, turn the integration status back to “Disabled” to avoid locking yourself out.

Linking AD group with Zefort user group

  1. In Zefort, go to User management and open Groups tab.
    (this requires admin license with permission “Can manage users and groups“)
  2. Open the group which you want to link with AD group
  3. Switch on option “Link with groups on the identity server (IdP)
  4. Type the name of AD group in the box, use semicolon to separate multiple groups
  5. Save

zefort link with groups on the IdP