OpenLDAP Internal and External Authentication

Building out a platform that has a number of systems that will each need authentication. Some of these systems are public facing websites that will be used by the public and other systems are internal use only. Started to build out an OpenLDAP instance to support this, but then wondered if I should be doing more regarding public external users and trusted internal users. Could set this up with a ldap domain and then separate children, one for external and one for internal, but that seems like a potential security risk. Do people typically run two ldap servers and use a cron to sync the intranet ldap users to the dmz ldap or is there a best practice for this?

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Ryan Quinn
DigitalOcean Employee
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December 15, 2016
Accepted Answer

As I am by no means an expert on OpenLDAP I asked our security team about your question. Our director of security’s advice on best practices for this situation is:

Your web presence should leverage a read only slave of the directory, and should only replicate the credentials required for the authentication of the service rather than a full copy of your directory.

For getting a better handle on OpenLDAP best practices and uses this is a great resource.

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