Windows authentication (or Integrated Windows Authentication) is a process where connections to applications or external systems are automatically authenticated with the currently logged on Windows user. This functionality was first made available in Windows 2000.

IWA is not actually a standard or authentication protocol, but is a process that relies on the underlying authentication protocols used by Windows and an application that is aware of them to transparently pass authentication information along to the requesting server or service.

There is a brief summary of IWA/WA on Wikipedia, here.

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