Set Up CXone Authentication Using Microsoft Azure as an External Identity Provider

This page guides you, step-by-step, in setting up authentication for your CXone system using Microsoft Azure as your external identity provider (IdP). If you're setting up Microsoft Azure as an IdP for an existing CXone system, you won't need to do some of the tasks described here. Refer to the Manage Federation with Microsoft Azure help page instead.

Before You Begin

  • Gain a basic understanding of authentication and authorization concepts and terminology if you've never set up a process like this before.
  • Review the CXone-specific process if this is the first time you've worked with authentication in CXone.
  • Consider your human users and the levels of access they need. Decide whether people with greater access should have greater levels of security.
  • Decide whether you will use custom password requirements, multi-factor authentication (MFA), or both to enforce.
  • Based on your decisions, make a list of login authenticators. The list should include the password requirements and MFA status you want to use for each login authenticator.
  • Consider whether you need to include authentication and authorization for applications like bots or intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs). If so, you will need to create access keys.
  • Gain an understand of the SAML 2.0 authentication protocol. CXone supports SAML 2.0 for Microsoft Azure integration.
  • Evaluate the combination of IdP and protocol to ensure your use cases and user flows are supported, and to identify potential issues. This should include actual testing.

Your NICE CXone team can support and guide you in this planning process. Good planning makes for a smoother implementation. Implementing authentication and authorization as immediate needs come up is more likely to lead to issues.

Complete each of these tasks in the order given.

Before you begin, make sure you have access to the Microsoft Azure ID management console. You will need to create an application.

Create and Configure an Azure Application with SAML 2.0

  1. Login to your Azure AD management account.
  2. Create an application.
    1. Click Enterprise applications > New Application.
    2. Click Create your own application.
    3. Enter a Name (for example, NICE CXone).
    4. Select Integrate any other application you don’t find in the gallery (Non-gallery).
    5. Click Create.
  3. Assign users and groups as appropriate.
  4. Under Set up single sign on, click Get Started and then select SAML.
  5.  On the Basic SAML Configuration panel, click Edit and configure SAML:
    1. Under Identifier (Entity ID), click Add Identifier and enter https://cxone.niceincontact.com/need_to_change. You will change this value to the URL you receive later.
    2. Under Reply URL, click Add reply URL and in the Audience URI field, enter https://cxone.niceincontact.com/need_to_change. You will change this value to the URI you receive later.
  6. Click Save and close the Basic SAML Configuration panel.
  7. In the Attributes & Claims section, select the correct Unique User Identifier. The value you choose will be the External Identity in CXone.
  8. Azure AD should automatically create a SAML signing certificate. Download the certificate named Certificate (Base64).
  9. On the SAML Signing Certificate panel, click Edit and then:
    1. Change the Signing Option to Sign SAML response.
    2. Click Save and close the SAML Signing Certificate panel. Keep this file for your CXone configuration.
  10. On the Set up <application name> panel, copy the Login URL value. Keep this for your CXone configuration.
  11. Keep your window open. You will make changes to your Azure application settings based on values you receive in the next task.

Set Up a Login Authenticator with SAML 2.0 in CXone

Required permissions: Login Authenticator Create

  1. Click the app selector and select Admin.
  2. Click SecurityLogin Authenticator.
  3. Click New Login Authenticator.
  4. Enter the Name and Description of the login authenticator.
  5. Select SAML as the Authentication Type .
  6. Enter the SAML Request Endpoint you received from Azure as the Endpoint URL.
  7. Click Choose File and select the public signing certificate you downloaded from Azure in the previous task. This file must be a PEM file. It will be a text file and the first line will contain BEGIN CERTIFICATE with some additional text.
  8. Select the Assigned Users tab. Select the users that you want to assign to the login authenticator you are creating. You can also assign users directly to the login authenticator in their employee profile.

  9. Click Save & Activate.
  10. Open the login authenticator.
  11. You will notice two additional read-only fields displayed, the Entity ID and the ACS URL. Make a note of these values. You will need them in the Add CXone Values to Azure task.

Add CXone Values to Azure

  1. Return to your Azure application and on the Basic SAML Configuration panel, click Edit.
  2. For Identifier (Entity ID), enter the Entity ID value from your CXone login authenticator.
  3. For Reply URL, enter the ACS URL value from your CXone login authenticator.
  4. Click Save and close the Basic SAML Configuration panel.
  5. Ensure that the External Identity for each user that uses the login authenticator is set to the correct value.

    1. Your identity provider determines the value that must be used. The value must match exactly the Unique User Identifier in Azure and the External Identity in CXone.

  6. Have the user log in . They must use the latest login URL. After entering their username, they will be directed to the external identity provider if needed.

Verify User Access with Azure Single Sign-On

  1. Ensure that the External Identity for each employee who uses the login authenticator is set to the correct value. The value must match exactly the Unique User Identifier in Azure and the External Identity in CXone.

  2. Have one or more test users log in using the latest login URL. After entering their username, they will be directed to Azure if needed.

  3. When you're ready, roll out Azure single sign-on to all employees.

Configure an Azure Application with OpenID Connect

  1. Log in to your Azure management account.

  2. Under App registrations, click New Registration.

  3. Go to Authentication > Web.

  4. You will need to provide Redirect URIs, which you don't know at this point. Use https://cxone.niceincontact.com/need_to_change as a placeholder.

  5. Click Certificates and secrets.

  6. Select client_secret_basic or client_secret_post as your authentication method. The authentication method, private_key_jwt, is not currently supported in CXone.

  7. In the Client secrets field, select New client secret.

  8. Add a description and select Expires.

  9. Copy the Client ID and Client Secret and paste them to a secure place on your device. You will need to use them when you configure a login authenticator in CXone.

  10. Go to Token Configuration > Optional Claims.

  11. Click Add Optional Claim.

  12. Select ID as your Token type.

  13. Select email and add your email address.

  14. Click Save.

Set Up a CXone Login Authenticator with OpenID Connect

  1. Click the app selector and select Admin.

  2. Go to Security SettingsLogin Authenticator.

  3. Click New Login Authenticator or select the login authenticator you want to edit.
  4. Enter the Name and a Description of the login authenticator.
  5. Select OIDC as the Authentication Type.
  6. If you have a discovery endpoint from Azure, click Discover Settings. Enter your discovery endpoint and click Discover. The remaining fields are populated for you. Discover Settings does not work with Salesforce discovery endpoints.
  7. Enter your Client Identifier and Client Password. Re-type the password in Client Confirm Password. The Client Identifier is the login ID assigned to your account by Azure.
  8. If you don't have a discovery endpoint from Azure, enter your Azure-provided Issuer, JsonWebKeySet Endpoint, Authorization Endpoint, Token Endpoint, UserInfo Endpoint, and Revocation Endpoint.

  9. Select a Client Authentication Method. The method you select must match what you set up in the previous task. It must be an authentication method that Azure supports.
  10. You can select Enable FICAM Profile to turn on United States government-specific settings. This step is for FedRAMP users only.
  11. Select the Assigned Users tab. Select the users that you want to assign to the login authenticator you are creating. You can also assign users directly to the login authenticator in their employee profile.

  12. Click Save & Activate to validate the provided information and to link your CXone account to your Azure account.
  13. Open the login authenticator.
  14. Note the Sign-in Redirect URI and Sign-out Redirect URI. You will need them when you update your Azure settings.

  15. Update your Azure settings, replacing the placeholders used in the previous task with the values you just noted.

  16. Ensure that the CXoneExternal Identity for each user that uses the login authenticator is set to the correct value. This field can be accessed in the security section of the employee's profile.

    Azure determines the value that must be used. It can be found in the user's profile in Azure. The value must match exactly what you put in the External Identity field in CXone. The value for this field must be in this format: claim(email):{email configured by your IdP}. For example, if the user's email in the IdP is nick.carraway@classics.com, you would enter claim(email):nickcarraway@classics.com.

  17. Have the user log in to CXone. They must use the latest login URL. After entering their username, they will be directed to Azure if needed.

  18. When Azure asks you to authenticate your own account, do so as the user in Azure you want associated with your currently logged in CXone account.
  19. If your OpenID Connect settings in CXone don't show as validated, use Azure's logs to diagnose the problem.

Create Roles

Required permissions: Role Management Create

  1. Click the app selector and select Admin.
  2. Go to Security SettingsRoles & Permissions.
  3. Click New Role.
  4. Type a Name and optionally a Description for the role.

    The role's description cannot have more than 200 characters.

  5. Click the Permissions tab.
  6. Configure the permissions for the role. Permissions are categorized by CXone application, and you can only see applications that are part of your CXone system. Click the role categories on the left to move between them.

  7. If the role you're creating (or editing) has permissions similar to one of the CXone's four out-of-the-box (OOTB) roles, click Set To Default, select the relevant OOTB role (Agent, Manager, Administrator, or Evaluator) from the drop-down, and then click Apply. The permissions are set according to the selected out-of-the-box role. Make the changes in the permissions, as required for the role.
  8. When you are finished configuring permissions, click Save to save the role in draft status or click Save and Activate to save the role in active status. You cannot assign users to the role until you activate it.

Create or Edit Employees

Required permissions: Employees Create

If you are setting up authentication with an external IdP for an existing CXone business unit, you do not have to create new user accounts. However, you will need to edit user accounts and configure the External Identity Type and External Identity fields. This must be done for each user who will authenticate via the external IdP. The fields are explained in step 8 of this task.

You can add an employee account by using:

The instructions here are for creating a single employee account in the application. If your company is using ACD, you'll also need to configure ACD user settings for this employee.

CXone offers many options and settings to customize employees. Read through this entire task. Make sure you know the settings you need to configure before you begin.

To add an employee:

  1. Click the app selector and select Admin.

  2. Click Employees > Create Employee.

  3. Enter the employee's First Name and Last Name. The Middle Name is optional.

  4. Enter a valid Email Address. CXone sends emails like activation invitations and password verification codes here. You can use the same email address for multiple employees. When you edit an employee's email address, a verification email is sent to the new email address.

  5. Enter the Username you want to assign to an employee. The username must be in the form of an email address. The field is auto filled from the Email Address field. You can edit it if you want to.

  6. Assign a Primary Role to an employee from the drop-down.

  7. Complete the fields on the General tab.

    Learn more about fields on the General tab

    Field

    Details

    Display Name Enter a Display Name you want to assign to an employee. Users from other teams can view the display name. They cannot view other information about the employee unless they have the View Employee permission enabled.
    Type Use Type to organize an employee outside of their assigned Role and Team. The type is not tied to permissions or unavailable codes. This makes reporting easier. You can select previously created types from the drop-down. You can also create new types by entering text in the search bar, and clicking Create.
    Hire Date The date you hired an employee. This field is for your records only. CXone doesn't use this information.
    Time Zone The employee is automatically assigned to the tenantClosed High-level organizational grouping used to manage technical support, billing, and global settings for your CXone environment time zone unless you change it.
    OS Login The operating system the employee uses. The CXone Recording application requires this information for screen recording. The field accepts free text and may contain a text string related to an operating system such as Windows 10.

    Rank

    This field is visible only if you have CXone WFM in your environment. It determines priority when creating a schedule.

    Assigned to Team Assign the employee to a team by selecting a team from the drop-down menu.

    If you haven't created teams yet, or if the employee will belong to a new team, you can just accept the Default Team setting and then change it later.

    Assigned To Groups Assign the employee to one or more groups by selecting groups from the drop-down menu.
    Assigned To Scheduling Unit This field is visible only if your system includes CXone WFM. It specifies the scheduling unit for the employee.
    Mobile Number The employee's mobile or cell phone number. This field is for your records only. CXone doesn't use this information.
    Attributes

    Under this drop-down select attributes related to the employee:

    • Can be Evaluated/Coached—This attribute appears only if your system includes CXone QM. It enables the employee to be evaluated, and you will be billed for CXone QM for this employee.

      The default value is selected for new employees. If you add CXone QM to a system that has existing users, you must manually enable this setting for those users.

    • Can Be Recorded (Screen)—This attribute appears only if your system includes CXone Recording Advanced. It enables the employee's screen to be recorded, and you will be billed for screen recording for this employee.

      The default value is selected for new employees. If you add CXone Recording Advanced to a system that has existing users, you must manually enable this setting for those users.

    • Can be Recorded (Voice)—This attribute is visible only if your system includes CXone Recording/CXone Recording Advanced. It enables the employee's voice to be recorded. You will be billed for voice recording for this employee.

      The default value is selected for a new employees. If you add CXone Recording/CXone Recording Advanced to a system that has existing users, you must manually enable this setting for those users.

    • Can be Scheduled—This attribute is visible only if your system includes CXone WFM. It enables the employee to be scheduled. You will be billed for CXone WFM for this employee.

      The default value is selected for new employees. If you add CXone WFM to a system that has existing users, you must manually enable this setting for those users. Users who don't have this attribute selected won't appear in employee lists when creating weekly rules or shift templates. Removing this attribute from a user deletes that user from any weekly rules or shift templates to which the user is assigned.

    • Can be Analyzed—This attribute appears only if your system includes Interaction Analytics. When this attribute is selected, the employee's recorded interactions are analyzed by Interaction Analytics. You will be billed for Interaction Analytics for this employee.

      The default value is cleared for new employees.

    • Can Edit BI Reports—Employees with this attribute selected can edit any of the BI reports in the Reporting application as long as they also have the correct permissions.

      The default value is cleared for all employees, both existing and new.

    • Can View BI Reports—Employees will be able to open any BI reports with this attribute. Reports are in the Reporting application, but employees should have permissions to view the reports there. BI reports have no usage fee for up to 10% of either your concurrent or configured users, depending on your pricing model. Once the 10% threshold is passed, you will be billed for each additional employee with this checkbox selected.

      The default value is cleared for all employees, both for existing and new.

    • Customer Card—This attribute allows employees who don't work with digital contacts to access available customer cards for omnichannel-routed voice, chat, email, and CXone SMS Messaging contacts.

      The default value is cleared for new employees.

    • Digital Engagement—This attribute appears only if your system includes Digital Experience. When this attribute is selected, the employee's record is synced to Digital Experience, and they can work on digital contacts. You will be billed for Digital Experience for this employee. The default value is cleared for new employees.

  8. Click Create to create the employee profile and continue setting it up. Click Create & Invite if you're ready for the user to activate their account and set up their password.

Authenticate Applications

Users and applications are authenticated in very similar ways. The main difference is that applications are authenticated with an access key while users are authenticated with a username and password. Unlike users, applications are not required to interact through a browser. Applications typically are either back-office functionality or intelligent virtual agentsClosed Chatbot or similar application that interacts with a user based on artificial intelligence (IVAs).

To set up an application to interact with CXone, create an employee profile and name the profile after the application. Then create an access key for the application user as follows:

Required permissions: Employees Edit

  1. Click the app selector and select Admin.
  2. Click Employees and then click the employee profile you're editing to open it.
  3. Click the Security tab.

  4. Click Add access key.
  5. Copy the Access Key ID to a secure location.
  6. Click Show Secret Key and copy the secret key to a secure location.
  7. Click Save.

Authorization in CXone

Authorization is the process of verifying what resources a user is allowed to access. Resources can include applications, files, and data. You can define users' access to resources with role-based access control. CXone manages authorization automatically during authentication. When a user is authenticated they are given access only to the resources they're authorized for.

A user's authentication method doesn't impact authorization. CXone uses the same authorization process for all users. It doesn't matter whether they are authenticated with access keys or passwords.