Directory Sync

Build frictionless onboarding for entire organizations with real-time provisioning and deprovisioning of users based on changes to your customers’ directories.

Introduction

Organizations use directories from providers such as Okta or Workday to easily manage users and enforce their access to organization resources. Directories enable IT admins to activate and deactivate user accounts, create groups that inform access rules, accelerate adoption of new tools, and more. Get seamless user lifecycle management for both you and your customers by keeping your app in sync with the user directory - Directory Sync enables automatic updates for your app whenever there are changes to users, groups, or access rules in the connected directory.

The WorkOS Directory Sync API exclusively uses read-only operations. We will never mutate end-user directories.

Request a Directory Provider

Don't see a Directory Provider you need? Contact us to request a Directory Provider!

Creating an IP Allowlist

WorkOS makes use of Cloudflare to ensure security and reliability of all operations. If you are looking to create a list of allowed IP addresses for incoming requests, you can use the IP Ranges listed in the Cloudflare documentation.

What you’ll build

In this guide, we’ll take you from learning about Directory Sync and POC-ing all the way through to building production-ready features fully integrated with the WorkOS Directory Sync API.

Sign in to your WorkOS account to see code examples pre-filled with your API keys and resource IDs.

This guide will show you how to:

1

Create a new Directory in the WorkOS Dashboard.

2

Add Directory Sync to your app and fetch Directory resources.

3

Use webhooks to receive real-time events relating to Directory changes.

Before getting started

To get the most out of this guide, you’ll need:

  • A WorkOS account.
  • A directory from a Directory Provider that WorkOS supports.

API Object Definitions

Object

Definition

Directory

A Directory stores information about an Organization’s user management system (i.e. Directory Provider).

Directory User

A Directory User represents an Organization user that is active in an Organization’s Directory Provider.

Directory Group

A Directory Group is a collection of Organization users, e.g. IT admins, HR, Database admins, etc. within a Directory.

1

Create a new Directory Connection

The first step to connecting with a directory is creating an Organization in the WorkOS Dashboard. You will then be able to create a new Connection to your organization's directory. Let’s start by creating one for development in your Sandbox Project - get provider specific instructions by selecting the Identity Provider you're planning to use from the list below.

You can view and copy the unique identifier for the Directory Connection on the Directory page, once it has been set up. The id takes the form directory_*.

Directory Provider

Instructions


You can create a Connection with Azure AD SCIM by reading through our integration guide below. It provides end-to-end instructions for creating your Connection in the WorkOS Dashboard.

Connect to Azure AD SCIM

Our guide to creating a new Connection with Azure AD SCIM.

2

Add Directory Sync to your app

Let’s add Directory Sync to your app to enable fetching Directory resources programmatically.

Install the WorkOS SDK of your choice

WorkOS offers native SDKs in several popular programming languages. Choose a language below to see instructions in your application’s language.

  • Node.js

    Node.js

  • Ruby

    Ruby

  • Go

    Go

  • Python

    Python

  • PHP

    PHP

  • Laravel

    Laravel

  • .NET

    .NET

  • Java

    Java

Request an SDK

Don't see an SDK you need? Contact us to request an SDK!


Directory Sync Example Application

Node.js Example Application

Install the SDK using the command below.

Install the WorkOS SDK

npm install @workos-inc/node
You can also download the workos-node source code from GitHub.

Set environment variables

As a best practice, your WorkOS API key should be kept secret and set as an environment variable on process start. The SDK is able to read the key automatically if you store it in an environment variable named WORKOS_API_KEY; otherwise, you will need to set it manually. The Client ID should also be set dynamically based on the release environment.

Environment Variables

WORKOS_API_KEY='
sk_example_123456789
'
WORKOS_CLIENT_ID='
client_123456789
'

Fetch Directory resources


Get the details of an existing Directory User.

Get User

1const { WorkOS } = require('@workos-inc/node');
2
3const workos = new WorkOS(process.env.WORKOS_API_KEY);
4
5const directoryUserID = // ... The ID of the Directory User to fetch
6const user = await workos.directorySync.getUser(directoryUserID);
Example use case: Pre-populate user attributes for new user accounts.
3

Get real-time updates with incoming webhooks

Subscribe your app to changes in Directories by registering incoming webhooks to receive Directory Sync events.

There is currently no rate limiting on event deliveries.

Event Types

Build a webhook URL

Webhooks should use HTTPS and expect to receive POST requests with the following headers:

Key
Value
Content-Type
application/json
WorkOS-Signature
t=
${issued_timestamp}
, v1=
${signature_hash}

NOTE: WorkOS sends the header asWorkOS-Signature, but many web servers will normalize all HTTP request headers to their lowercase variants. In this case, you'll extract the workos-signature header.

See example approaches for implementing a webhook endpoint below.

Webhook endpoint

1const express = require('express')
2
3const app = express();
4
5app.use(express.json());
6
7app.post('/webhook', (req, res) => {
8 const payload = req.body;
9 const sigHeader = req.headers['workos-signature'];
10
11 // Verify the signature and process the event
12
13 res.status(200);
14});

Register the webhook

Set and save the webhook URL in the WorkOS Dashboard, so WorkOS knows where to deliver events.

The Webhook Secret is used to verify webhook requests from WorkOS. Be sure to keep the value secure.

Receive events

In order to avoid unnecessary retry requests hitting your webhook handler, we recommend using two concurrent processes for handling events: one for receiving the event, and the other for processing it.

Process A: Respond with HTTP 200 OK

On receiving an event, you should respond with an HTTP 200 OK to signal to WorkOS that the event was successfully delivered. Otherwise, WorkOS will consider the event delivery a failure and retry up to 12 times, with exponential backoff over 3 days.

Process B: Process the request

Before processing the request payload, verify the request was sent by WorkOS and not an unknown party.

WorkOS includes a unique signature in each webhook request that it sends, allowing you to verify the authenticity of the request. In order to verify this signature, you must obtain the secret that is generated for you when you set up your webhook endpoint in the WorkOS dashboard. Ensure that this secret is stored securely on your webhook endpoint server as an environment variable.

The WorkOS SDKs have methods for validating the timestamp and signature of a webhook. Examples using these methods are included below. The parameters are the payload (raw request body), the WorkOS-Signature header, and the Webhook Secret. There is an optional parameter, tolerance, that sets the time validation for the webhook in seconds. The SDK methods have default values for tolerance, usually 3-5 minutes.

Webhook validation

1import WorkOS from '@workos-inc/node';
2
3const workos = new WorkOS(process.env.WORKOS_API_KEY);
4
5const webhook = workos.webhooks.constructEvent({
6 payload: payload,
7 sigHeader: sigHeader,
8 secret: process.env.WEBHOOK_SECRET,
9});

If implementing webhook validation yourself, you'll need to use the following steps:

First, extract the timestamp and signature from the header. There are two values to parse from the WorkOS-Signature, delimited by a , character.

  1. issued_timestamp: The number of milliseconds since the epoch time at which the event was issued, prefixed by t=.
  2. signature_hash: The HMAC SHA256 hashed signature for the request, prefixed by v1=.

To avoid replay attacks, we suggest validating that the issued_timestamp does not differ too much from the current time.

Next, construct the expected signature. The expected signature is computed from the concatenation of:

  1. issued_timestamp
  2. The . character
  3. The request’s body as a utf-8 decoded string

Hash the string using HMAC SHA256, using the Webhook Secret as the key. The expected signature will be the hex digest of the hash. Finally, compare signatures to make sure the webhook request is valid.

Once you’ve determined the event request is validly signed, it’s safe to use the event, i.e. the request body, in your application’s business logic. You do not need to signal to WorkOS whether or not the event was processed successfully.

Go live checklist

Make sure you're ready to go live to production by going through this checklist.

  • Handle edge cases

    You may occasionally receive duplicate webhook events. To prevent duplicate processing of events, we suggest caching received events and implementing logic to skip processing seen events.

    Since webhook events may be delivered out of order, i.e. not in the order in which they were generated, be sure to handle accordingly. The issued_timestamp extracted from the WorkOS-Signature header can be used to determine order.

  • Register a production webhook URL in your Production Project.
  • Set and secure your Production Project's Webhook Secret.
  • Set and secure your Production Project's API key.
  • Ensure that your application can receive webhooks from WorkOS.

    Depending on your network architecture, you may need to allow incoming traffic from api.workos.com.

    WorkOS currently cannot guarantee that webhook traffic will originate from a static set of IP addresses.