Cisco Unified Communications Manager System Guide, Release 9.0(1)
Credential policy
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Credential policy

Credential policy

This chapter provides information about Cisco Unified Communications Manager credential policy which authenticates user login credentials before allowing system access. To help secure user accounts, you can specify settings for failed logon attempts, lockout durations, password expirations, and password requirements in Cisco Unified Communications Manager Administration. These authentication rules form a credential policy.

Credential policies apply to application users and end users. You assign a password policy to end users and application users and a PIN policy to end users. The Credential Policy Default Configuration lists the policy assignments for these groups.

At installation, Cisco Unified Communications Manager assigns a static Default Credential Policy to user groups. It does not provide default credentials. The Credential Policy Default Configuration window in Cisco Unified Communications Manager Administration provides options to assign new default policies and to configure new default credentials and credential requirements for users.


Note


The system does not support empty (null) credentials. If your system uses LDAP authentication, you must configure end user default credentials immediately after installation, or logins fail.


When you add a new user to the Cisco Unified Communications Manager database, the system assigns the default policy. You can change the assigned policy and manage user authentication events with the Edit Credentials button in the user configuration window.

Configure credential policy

Cisco Unified Communications Manager authenticates user login credentials before allowing system access. To help secure user accounts, you can specify settings for failed logon attempts, lockout durations, password expirations, and password requirements in Cisco Unified Communications Manager Administration. These authentication rules form a credential policy.

Credential policies apply to application users and end users. You assign a password policy to end users and application users and a PIN policy to end users. The Credential Policy Default Configuration lists the policy assignments for these groups.

At installation, Cisco Unified Communications Manager assigns a static Default Credential Policy to user groups. It does not provide default credentials. The Credential Policy Default Configuration window in Cisco Unified Communications Manager Administration provides options to assign new default policies and to configure new default credentials and credential requirements for users.


Note


The system does not support empty (null) credentials. If your system uses LDAP authentication, you must configure end user default credentials immediately after installation, or logins fail.


When you add a new user to the Cisco Unified Communications Manager database, the system assigns the default policy. You can change the assigned policy and manage user authentication events with the Edit Credentials button in the user configuration window.

The general steps and guidelines for configuring credential policies are as follows.

Procedure
    Step 1   Use the Credential Policy Configuration windows to configure a credential policy other than the default policy.
    Step 2   Use the Credential Policy Default windows to assign a new credential policy and configure a common password for an account type.
    Step 3   To manage or monitor the credential configuration for individual users, click the Edit Credential link in the user configuration window.

    Credential policy and authentication

    The authentication function in Cisco Unified Communications Manager authenticates users, updates credential information, tracks and logs user events and errors, records credential change histories, and encodes/decodes or encrypts/decrypts user credentials for data storage.

    The system always authenticates application user passwords and end user PINs against the Cisco Unified Communications Manager database. The system can authenticate end user passwords against the corporate directory or the Cisco Unified Communications Manager database.

    If your system is synchronized with the corporate directory, either the authentication function in Cisco Unified Communications Manager or LDAP can authenticate the password.

    • With LDAP authentication enabled, user passwords and credential policies that are configured in Cisco Unified Communications Manager Administration do not apply. These defaults get applied to users that are created with directory synchronization (DirSync service).
    • When LDAP authentication is disabled, the system authenticates user credentials against the Cisco Unified Communications Manager database. With this option, administrators can assign credential policies, manage authentication events, and administer passwords. End users can change passwords and PINs at the phone user pages.

    See the Directory overview for more information about LDAP authentication.

    Credential policies do not apply to OS users or CLI users. These administrators use standard password verification procedures that the OS supports. See the Cisco Unified Communications Operating System Administration Guide for information about OS login procedures.

    Credential caching

    To improve performance, administrators can configure the enterprise parameter "Enable Caching" to True. The parameter enables Cisco Unified Communications Manager to use cached credentials for up to 2 minutes. This eliminates the need for Cisco Unified Communications Manager to perform a database lookup or invoke a stored procedure for every single login request, thereby increasing system efficiency. An associated credential policy does not get enforced until the caching duration expires.

    This setting applies to all Java applications that invoke user authentication. Setting the enterprise parameter to False turns off caching, so the system does not use cached credentials for authentication. The system ignores this setting for LDAP authentication. Credential caching requires a minimal amount of additional memory per user.

    BAT administration

    The Bulk Administration Tool (BAT) allows administrators to define common credential parameters, such as passwords and PINs, for a group of users in the BAT User Template. When you first create a user template, all the users get assigned the static Default Credential Policy.

    JTAPI/TAPI support

    Because Cisco Unified Communications Manager Java Telephony Applications Programming Interface (JTAPI) and Telephony Applications Programming Interface (TAPI) support the credential policies that are assigned to application users, developers must create applications that react to the password expiration, PIN expiration, and lockout return codes for credential policy enforcement.

    Applications use an API to authenticate with the database or corporate directory, regardless of the authentication model that an application uses.

    Credential history

    After a user is configured in the database, the system stores a history of user credentials in the database to prevent a user from entering previous credentials when the user is prompted to change credentials.

    Authentication events

    You can monitor and manage authentication activity for a user at the user Credential Configuration page, which is accessed with the Edit Credentials button in the user configuration windows. The system shows the most current authentication results, such as last hack attempt time, and counts for failed logon attempts.

    See Directory overview for more information.

    The system generates log file entries for the following credential policy events:

    • Authentication success
    • Authentication failure (bad password or unknown)
    • Authentication failure due to
      • Administrative lock
      • Hack lock (failed logon lockouts)
      • Expired soft lock (expired credential)
      • Inactive lock (credential not used for some time)
      • User must change (credential set to user must change)
      • LDAP inactive (switching to LDAP authentication and LDAP not active)
    • Successful user credential updates
    • Failed user credential updates

    Note


    If you use LDAP authentication for end user passwords, LDAP tracks only authentication successes and failures.


    All event messages contain the string "ims-auth" and the userid that is attempting authentication.

    You can view log files with the Cisco Unified Real-Time Monitoring Tool. You can also collect captured events into reports.