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Solved: How do I use nested groups in a Fortinet Single-Sign-On?

This article describes how nested groups can be used in a Fortinet Single-Sign-On context.


Nested groups, in an Active Directory environment, refer to a group which is in turn a member of another group – one group is nested inside another.

This can present some challenges to group filtering, in particular the following scenario:

  • User A is member of group 1.
  • Group 1 is member of group 2 (nested inside group 2).
  • The FSSO setup is filtering on group 2, not explicitly group 1.

The expectation might be that Collector Agent detects logins for user A, notices a membership for group 1 explicitly, and notices the indirect membership in group 2, shares this information with FortiGate, and FortiGate treats the user A as a member of group 1 and group 2, even though the user is only explicitly a member of group 1.

However, this is not automatically the case.

Collector Agent only detect nested groups in advanced mode.

The following settings are required to support nested groups in FSSO:

  • On FortiGate, in the External Connector set the group filter source to Local and select groups from an LDAP server to function as group filter.
  • On Collector Agent, switch it to Advanced Mode under Directory Access Information settings (this requires running the Collector Agent as administrator).

Alex Lim is a certified IT Technical Support Architect with over 15 years of experience in designing, implementing, and troubleshooting complex IT systems and networks. He has worked for leading IT companies, such as Microsoft, IBM, and Cisco, providing technical support and solutions to clients across various industries and sectors. Alex has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the National University of Singapore and a master’s degree in information security from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also the author of several best-selling books on IT technical support, such as The IT Technical Support Handbook and Troubleshooting IT Systems and Networks. Alex lives in Bandar, Johore, Malaysia with his wife and two chilrdren. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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