Passport provides secure, auditable access to servers inside a Virtual Private Network (VPC). In addition to Passport, there are several other components that play a part in this feature: ScaleFT and Identity Stores. This document discusses each of these components and the role they play in governing server access.
Passport handles all orchestration for an access request including: authenticating a user with their Identity Store via SAML, creation/deletion of temporary bastion servers, and granting/revoking a user’s ability to retrieve temporary credentials from ScaleFT.
ScaleFT is responsible for managing users on each ScaleFT-connected server and for issuing temporary credentials that can be used to access ScaleFT-connected servers. Users are continually synced by the ScaleFT agent that is installed on each server. Credentials may only be retrieved by users who have been granted access by Passport.
Identity Store(s) are the source of truth for all users and their associated permissions. Rackspace Customer Identity is the identity store that is used for customer users, and it can optionally be connected via SAML to an on-premise identity store via Rackspace Identity Federation. Racker permissions are stored in Rackspace’s internal identity store.
Access Request Flow¶
- User creates an access request via Passport. The user specifies their reason for access, the source IP address from which access must occur, and the servers that can be accessed.
- Passport grants a user access to retrieve temporary credentials via ScaleFT. The user is now able to retrieve temporary credentials to access each server in the access request.
- Passport creates a temporary bastion in a public subnet in the VPC where resources exist. This bastion allows users to access resources that are not accessible directly via the Internet. Security group rules are defined so that access to the bastion is only allowed from the source IP address that was specified when the access request was created.
- User requests temporary credentials from their workstation using the ScaleFT client. Credentials are valid for a few minutes and can be re-issued for the duration of the access request.
- User accesses resources using temporary credentials and the temporary bastion. Both SSH and RDP traffic are routed from the user’s workstation through the temporary bastion to the target resources.
- Passport tears down temporary bastion and revokes access to ScaleFT credentials. ScaleFT will no longer issue temporary credentials to that user, the temporary bastion is deleted, and all networking changes are reverted.