FortiClient Azure Authentication

FortiClient Azure KB ID 0001797


More and more people are using Azure as their primary identity provider, thanks in no small part to the massive success of Office/Windows 365. So if you want to provide a FortiGate/FortiClient SSL remote access VPN solution then securing it via Azure makes a lot of sense.

Multi Factor Authentication: If you have MFA on your Azure accounts then that’s a big box ticked for your accreditations and digital liability insurance also. This article does not cover enabling MFA in Azure, we are assuming you already have that enabled. I’ve covered that in other articles anyway, (use the search box above!)

Essentially your firewall will redirect authentication (via SAML) to Azure when you attempt to connect either via the web or tunnelled with the FortiClient.

Fortigate- Azure MFA

Note: You can of course Use Azure MFA With Microsoft NPS (RADIUS) Server but this would require an additional server.

FortiClient Azure Authentication

FortiClient Azure Prerequisites

You will need an Azure subscription (a trial one is fine), obviously a FortiGate firewall, and a publicly signed certificate for the firewall (see below).

Note: Stop asking if you can use self signed certs – this one cost me six dollars! It needs to be publicly signed so Azure trusts it!

Publicly Signed SSL Certificate FortiGate

Add and Configure the FortiGate SSL VPN Application

From within your Azure tenancy, locate Enterprise applications and choose to add a new one.

Azure Enterprise Application

Do a search for Forti and you should see the FortiGate SSL VPN application, select it.

Azure FortiGate SSL VPN Application

In the setup single sign on  section, click ‘Get Started’.

Azure FortiGate SSL VPN SAML

Select SAML.

SAML FortiClient

The ‘Vast Majority’ of the work that needs to be done will be done in here. In Section 1 (Basic SAML Configuration)  you will enter FOUR URLs (these URLs will reside on your FortiGate). 

Azure FortiGate SSL VPN SAML URL

Change the values in red to match your own publicly resolvable FQDN, (which will match the CN on your certificate).

Identifier (Entity-ID)

Reply URL (Assertion Consumer Service URL)

Sign on URL (Yes it’s the same as the one above!)

Then scroll down.


Log out URL

Then SAVE.

Azure SSL VPN logout URL

Section 2: Attributes and Claims, click edit.

Azure SSL Attributes and Claims

Add a new claim.

Azure add claims

Name = username, Source attribute = user.userprinciplename > Save.

Azure manage claims

Select the existing user.groups value > Change it to ‘All Groups’ > Tick ‘Customise the same of the group claim’ > Set the name to group > Save.

Azure manage group claims

Note: It can take little while for the main page to refresh .

Section 3: SAML Signing Certificate. Download the Base64 version of the certificate.

Azure SAML Certificate

Back on your FortiGate > System > Certificates > Import > Remote Certificate.

If you can’t see certificates click here.

Fortigate Import SAML Certificate

Browse to and upload the certificate you just dowloaded.

Fortigate Import SAML Certificate

Make a note of the certificate name, in this case it’s REMOTE_Cert_2 (You will need this later).

Fortigate SAML Certificate Name

Section 4: Setup FortiGate SSL VPN. In this section there are three URLs that you need to take a copy of (they are used in the code block you will post into the FortiGate.

Fortigate- Azure URLs

You now have all the elements you need to paste the following code block into your FortiGate, the following elements IN RED should be changed to match yours.

set-cert is the NAME that the FortiGate has given to its public cert, (mine’s the same as its common name, yours may be something else!)

entity-id, single-sign-on-url, and single-log-out-url are the URLs you pasted into section 1 (above).

idp-entity-id, idp-single-sign-on-url, and idp-single-log-out-url are the URLs you copied out of section 4 (above).

idp-cert is the NAME that the FortiGate has given to the cert you dowloaded from section 3 (above)

user-name and group-name are the attributes and claims you setup in section 2 (above).

config user saml
edit SSL-Azure-SAML
set cert
set entity-id
set single-sign-on-url
set single-logout-url
set idp-entity-id
set idp-single-sign-on-url
set idp-single-logout-url
set idp-cert REMOTE_Cert_2
set user-name username
set group-name group

Fortigate SAML Commands

Azure Groups

You will need a group in Azure created with the users that you wish to be able to authenicate into to the remote VPN. Take a copy of its Object ID (you will need that shortly).

Fortigate Azure MFA Group

With that object ID you can create a ‘Group’ on the FortiGate with the following code block

config user group
edit AAD-Remote-VPN
set member SSL-Azure-SAML
config match
edit 1
set server-name SSL-Azure-SAML
set group-name 02f047b1-8db2-4474-84df-21af6a16204c

Fortigate Azure MFA Group Commands

You will also need to add this group (In Azure) into the FortiGate SSL VPN application > users and groups > add user/group.

Fortigate SSL VPN Azure MFA Groups

Click ‘None Selected” > Select your user group > Select.

Fortigate SSL VPN Azure Adding MFA Groups

Heed the warning! No nested groups, which is a little annoying, but you can’t say they didn’t warn you > Accept.

Fortigate SSL VPN Azure No Nested Groups

FortiGate SSL VPN

I’m going to use the basic settings to get this up and running, VPN > SSL VPN Settings > Listen on Interfaces (set to the outside facing interface (that the certificate name points to!) Server Certificate set to your publicly signed certificate > Scroll down.

Fortigate SSL Settings

Note: If you see a warning about not having configured SSL policy, dont worry we will fix that in a moment.

Create New.

Fortigate SSL Authentication Settings

Select the AAD user group (we created with the second code block) and set the Portal, (here I’m using full access so the remote client can use the web, or full tunnel options) > OK.

Fortigate SSL Authentication AAD

Policy & Objects > Firewall Policy > Create New.

Fortigate SSL VPN Policy

Give the policy a sensible name > Incoming Interface will be SSL-VPN (Not outside!) > Outgoing interface is usually the inside (unless you have DMZs etc) > Source, add in All and your AAD-Group you created with the second code block above >  DISABLE NAT > Scroll down.

Configure Fortigate SSL VPN Policy

Change Logging to ‘All sessions’ (Note: once fully deployed, you can change this to security events) > OK.

Fortigate SSL VPN Policy Logging

Note: It may error at this point if the portal you have chosen, (in this case full-access) has split tunnelling enabled, you can either disable split tunnelling on the portal, or change All in the destination section to a particular subnet on the the LAN).

Testing Forti Web SSL With Azure

From an external client connect the web address of your FortiGate, all being well it should redirect you to Azure, (or your ADFS portal if you use ADFS).

Fortigate SSL VPN Microsoft MFA Secured

Provision authentication is successful, you should see something like this.

Fortigate SSL Web portal conected

Testing FortiClient Azure SSL VPN With Azure

Install the FortiClient, (here I’m using the VPN only version). Give the connect a sensible name > Set the gateway to your public FQDN, and tick ‘Enable Single Sign On (SSO) for VPN Tunnel > Save.

FortiClient SSL VPN with SAML

SAML Login

FortiClient SSL VPN connect with SAML

After your Microsoft authentication prompt appears, the client should connect successfully.

FortiClient SSL VPN connected with SAML

Related Articles, References, Credits, or External Links

Microsoft: Azure AD SSO with FortiGate

Fortinet: Configuring SAML SSO login for SSL VPN

Author: PeteLong

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  1. Great article as always Pete! Thanks for doing what you do.

    Post a Reply
    • i have to make one addtion as below

      To increase remote authentication timeout:
      In the FortiGate CLI console, enter the following commands:
      config system global

      set remoteauthtimeout 60

      Post a Reply
  2. Nice writeup, do you know if a wildcard cert will work?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Brian – I’ve not personally tried it with a wildcard – but I see no reason at all why it would not work, I’ve had wildcards on my Hybrid Exchange servers Into O365, and they were fine!!

      Post a Reply
  3. Great article Pete,

    Is this configuration only meant to include all users as a single Security Group who will use SSLVPN?

    Do you know if group-specific access is possible?
    i.e. Finance group have access to certain servers while IT group have access to other servers.

    Do we need multiple enterprise applications, one for each group?
    Or if it can be done with one FortiGate SSLVPN enterprise application in the AzureAD and then group mapping within that application and on the FortiGate.

    Post a Reply
    • The Forti can do this – I prefer to create a portal for each user group, then just specify what internal assets each group has access to.

      Post a Reply
  4. I try to do this configuration but when I connect to the VPN or test with EntraID the retorn is:
    Unable to establish VPN connection. The VPN server may be unreachable (-6005)
    I review all the configurations.

    Post a Reply
    • increase remote authentication timeout
      with below
      config system global

      set remoteauthtimeout 60

      Post a Reply

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