Mastering Jenkins Security: Role-Based Authentication with Okta SSO | Freestylecoder

Mastering Jenkins Security: Role-Based Authentication with Okta SSO

Jenkins, the popular open-source automation server, plays a crucial role in the software development lifecycle. As organizations rely heavily on Jenkins for continuous integration and delivery, ensuring its security becomes importatnt.

This article explores the concept of role-based authentication and its integration with Okta Single Sign-On (SSO) to enhance Jenkins security.

In a world where software development demands agility and efficiency, Jenkins has emerged as a go-to tool for automation. However, with great power comes great responsibility, and securing Jenkins from unauthorized access is of utmost importance.

One effective way to achieve this is through role-based authentication, which provides granular access control based on user roles. Integrating Okta SSO with Jenkins further elevates security, simplifying user authentication across the organization.


  • Jenkins should be installed and configured.
  • Jenkins Server is https enabled (optional).
  • Admin credentials are set up in Jenkins.
  • Okta account.(okta admin dashboard access)

Step 1 | Configuring Okta as the Identity Provider (IDP)

Sign in to Okta. After signing in, you will be directed to the Okta Admin Dashboard, where you can manage your organization’s identity and access management.

In the Admin Dashboard, navigate to the “Applications” tab and click on the “Browse app catalog” button.

From the list of applications search Jenkins. and then click on add integration.

Enter a name for the application (e.g., “Jenkins” or “JenkinsSSO”) and add your Jenkins server URL click “Done” to proceed with the SAML configuration.

Now, Click on Sign On and then click on Edit. In the group dropdown menu select Match regex and provide value “.*”

Now Copy the metadata URL and save that on your notepad.

Step 2 | Configuring Jenkins for SSO Integration with Okta

Install the SAML Plugin:

go to Jenkins => Manage Jenkins => Plugins => SAML install this plugin into Jenkins.

Access Jenkins Security Settings:

In the Jenkins dashboard, navigate to “Manage Jenkins” > “Configure Global Security.” This is where you’ll set up Jenkins for SSO.

Under the “Security Realm” section, select “SAML 2.0” as the security realm. This informs Jenkins that SSO authentication will be handled by an external SAML application, which is Okta in this demo.

In the “SAML 2.0 Configuration” section, paste the Okta metadata URL. This URL can be found in the Okta application settings you created earlier which we already copy and save into the notepad. Jenkins will use this metadata to establish a trust relationship with Okta.

Click on validate IDP metadata URL.

now, provide

  • Display Name Attribute: Enter displayname.
  • Group Attribute: Enter group.
  • Username Attribute: Enter username.
  • Email Attribute: Enter email.
  • Username Case Conversion: Select the appropriate one(lower).
  • Data Binding Method: Enter HTTP-Redirect.
  • Logout URL: Copy and paste the okta URL.

click on apply and save.

Step 3 | Configure Role-Based Authorization in Jenkins: Enhancing Security and Access Control

What is Role-Based Authorization?

Role-Based Authorization is a method of control access that gives permissions based on predefined groups and roles assigned to users. Each role has a set of permissions that defines what actions a user can perform.

3.1 Install Plugin

The first step is to install the Role-Based Authorization Strategy plugin from the Jenkins Plugin Manager.

go to Available Plugins and search Role-Based Authorization Strategy and install the plugin.

after installing the plugin go to => manage Jenkins => security => and in the Authorization tab select Role-Base Strategy.

3.2 Create Roles and assign permission to them

Now, go to Manage and Assign Roles.

Create two roles devloper_role and devops_role and click on apply. These roles should reflect distinct job responsibilities and access levels.

After defining roles, administrators can configure permissions for each role. This involves granting read, write, configure, and overall access to various Jenkins resources.

3.3 Create Groups and assign roles to them.

Create two groups developer and devops and assign respective roles to those groups. Now, apply the configurations.

Step 4 | Create groups and users in Okta

In Okta you can create the groups with the same name as we have created in Jenkins.

Assign these groups to our Jenkins app so that Jenkins will automatically pull the configurations.

Now go into People => add some users => add them to the developer and DevOps groups.
add jeck to the devops group and add tom to the developer group.

Step 5 | Test Configurations

Open your Okta URL in a private browser. login with a developer user. and in another browser login with a DevOps user.

when you log in from Okta you will able to see this page. here you will able to find the apps to which you have access in your organizations. Tom has Jenkins access.

Now, click on Jenkins, Jenkins will open in a new tab okta will ask you for authentication. Do the login with another user as well.

See the below image Tom is a developer and he has read-only access to the pipelines. Jack is a DevOps he has access to Build Create Configure the pipelines and jobs.

Our SAML authentication SSO with Okta is working as well as role-based authorization is also working.

Advantages of Role-Based Authorization

The Role-Based Authorization Strategy plugin offers several advantages for Jenkins administrators and organizations:

Enhanced Security: Role-based access control ensures that users have access only to the resources necessary for their job functions, reducing the risk of unauthorized access and data breaches.

Efficient User Management: With roles and permissions clearly defined, user management becomes streamlined, allowing administrators to easily assign, modify, or revoke access as needed.

Compliance and Auditing: The plugin’s audit trail aids in compliance efforts, providing a record of role assignments and changes for auditing purposes.

Flexible Access Control: By supporting project-based roles, the plugin accommodates varying access requirements for different projects within Jenkins.


In conclusion, the Okta SAML SSO integration with Jenkins significantly improves access control and security, transforming Jenkins into a more robust and user-friendly automation platform.

In conclusion, the Role-Based Authorization Strategy and SAML plugin are indispensable tools for reinforcing Jenkins security and access control.

By implementing role-based access, and single sign-on with Okta organizations can enhance their Jenkins environment’s security, efficiently manage user permissions, and enforce the principle of least privilege across the system.

With this plugin, Jenkins administrators can confidently control access to critical resources, contributing to a more secure and robust automation environment.

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