Remote Identity for SSH

Last modified on October 20, 2023

You can use a Remote Identity, instead of a leased credential, with StrongDM to proxy authentication with your SSH resources. Actions are executed via the user’s account (that is, the Remote Identity) with the resource, while user-level auditing and monitoring occur on the resource side via native logging.

Utilizing a Remote Identity results in your native server logs identifying the particular user performing an action, rather than identifying all actions conducted via StrongDM connections as being performed by the single leased user account. The username employed is the user’s Remote Identity set in their StrongDM user account.

Set Up Remote Identities

Set up your server and user account

  1. Create your server if you do not have one already.
  2. Create or identify an account on the server that StrongDM can use to check its health. This user should have SSH access to the machine. Built-in accounts such as ubuntu or ec2-user are a good choice.

Add the resource in StrongDM

  1. In the Admin UI, create the resource by going to Infrastructure > Servers and clicking Add server.

  2. Select SSH (Certificate Based) server as the server type.

  3. Set all required SSH server properties. Pay particular attention to the following:

    • For Authentication, set Remote Identities.
    • For Healthcheck Username, set the SSH user account name (for example, ubuntu).
    SSH Certificate Based Server Settings with Remote Identities as Authentication Type
    SSH Certificate Based Server Settings with Remote Identities as Authentication Type
  4. After you have set all the required properties, click Create to save the resource.

Add the Remote Identity to the user’s settings

  1. In the Admin UI, go to Access > Users and select the user who is going to use a Remote Identity.

  2. In that user’s settings, for Remote Identity, enter the SSH user account name (for example, ubuntu).

    User Settings > Remote Identity
    User Settings > Remote Identity

Configuration is now complete. You may now start using Remote Identities to authenticate with your SSH resource.