Configure trusted authentication

Starting in May 2022, ThoughtSpot rebranded pinboards as Liveboards. For backward compatibility, we currently support internal processes and external methods that use the older naming convention.

If your organization has an authentication server, you can configure the trusted authentication method on ThoughtSpot to allow authenticated users to access the embedded ThoughtSpot content. In the trusted authentication method, the authenticator server uses the secret key issued by ThoughtSpot to request a login token from ThoughtSpot on behalf of a user. Using the login token, client applications can log in a user to ThoughtSpot and allow access to the requested content.

Enable trusted authentication

When you enable trusted authentication on ThoughtSpot, the system returns a secret key. The authenticator server must use this secret key to obtain a login token for a user.

  1. Log in to the Linux shell using SSH.

  2. Execute the tscli tokenauthentication enable command.
    The command returns the service secret key.

     [admin@ourthoughtspot ~]$ tscli tokenauthentication enable
    
     Token generated. Copy the GUID in the box.
    
     ########################################
     # b0cb26a0-351e-40b4-9e42-00fa2265d50c #
     ########################################
    
     Override added successfully
  3. Copy the secret key and store it in a secure location.

How to authenticate users

In the following scenario, a trusted authenticator service forwards requests for ThoughtSpot data from a client application.

authentication

When a user tries to interact with the embedded ThoughtSpot content, the following sequence is triggered.

  1. The client application forwards the user’s request to the server that is configured as a trusted authenticator.

  2. The trusted server authenticates the user and requests a token from ThoughtSpot on the user’s behalf.

  3. ThoughtSpot verifies the authenticator server’s request and returns a login token.

  4. The authentication server returns the token to the user’s web browser.

  5. The client then sends an API request with the login token and redirect URL to ThoughtSpot.

  6. ThoughtSpot validates the token and returns the information that the authenticated user has requested.

Trusted authentication API calls

When a client application sends a request for a login token to the trusted authenticator server, the authenticator server must do the following:

  • Authenticate the request from the web application.

  • Retrieve username from the request. The username must match a user object in ThoughtSpot.

  • Determine what is being requested: an object, page, or the full application.

  • Send a POST request to the ThoughtSpot server with the secret_key and username attributes to obtain a login token on the user’s behalf.

    POST /tspublic/v1/session/auth/token

    This POST request body includes the following formData attributes:

    secret_key

    String. The secret_key obtained from ThoughtSpot.

    username

    String. The username of the ThoughtSpot user.

    access_level

    String. Type of access. Valid values are:

    • FULL

      Allows access to the entire ThoughtSpot application. When a token has been requested in FULL mode, it will create a full ThoughtSpot session in the browser and application. The token for Full access mode persists through several sessions and stays valid until another token is generated.

    • REPORT_BOOK_VIEW

      Allows access to only one object at a time. The token request for this access mode requires you to specify the GUID of the Liveboard or answer. If your application user requires access to another object, a new token request must be sent.

    id

    String. The GUID of the Liveboard or answer. This attribute is required only for the REPORT_BOOK_VIEW access mode.

ThoughtSpot verifies the authentication server’s request and returns a login token.

When the authenticator server returns the token to the user’s web browser, the client application can send an API request with the login token and a fully encoded redirect URL to the /tspublic/v1/session/login/token endpoint.

GET https://<ThoughtSpot-host>/callosum/v1/tspublic/v1/session/login/token?username=<user>&auth_token=<token>&redirect_url=<full-encoded-url-with-auth-token>

The request URL must include the following attributes:

username

String. The username of the user requesting access to the ThoughtSpot content.

auth_token

String. The login token obtained from ThoughtSpot to authorize the API request.

redirect_url

String. The URL to which the user is redirected after successful authentication. The URL is fully encoded and includes the login token obtained from ThoughtSpot.

For example, if the user has requested access to a specific visualization on a Liveboard, the redirect URL includes the domain URL of the client application, the login token obtained for the user, and the visualization and Liveboard GUIDs.

https://<redirect-domain>/?authtoken=<user_auth_token>&embedApp=true&primaryNavHidden=true#/embed/viz/<pinboard_id>/<visualization_id>

If the request is valid, ThoughtSpot allows access to the requested content.

Token validity

Based on the following conditions, tokens stay valid for a length of time:

  • A token stays valid indefinitely until another token for any user is generated.

  • When a new token is generated using the same secret_key, the previous token will expire after five minutes.

  • When a new secret_key is generated for the ThoughtSpot server and the first new login token is obtained using the new secret_key, all tokens generated using the previous secret_key become invalid.

  • If users make multiple attempts to log in to ThoughtSpot using an invalid or expired token, they may get locked out of their accounts.

To set a consistent five-minute expiration time, you can generate a second token to start the expiration clock for the previous login token sent to the user’s browser.

Disable trusted authentication

To disable the trusted authentication service:

  1. Log in to the Linux shell using SSH.

  2. Execute the tscli tokenauthentication disable command.

tscli tokenauthentication disable

When you disable trusted authentication, the secret key becomes invalid. Your application may become inoperable until you generate another secret key and obtain a new login token.