In November 2023 at Microsoft Ignite, we announced Microsoft-managed policies and the auto-rollout of multifactor authentication (MFA)-related Conditional Access policies in customer tenants. Since then, we've rolled out report-only policies for over 500,000 tenants. These policies are part of our Secure Future Initiative, which includes key engineering advances to improve security for customers against cyberthreats that we anticipate will increase over time.
This follow-up blog will dive deeper into these policies to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of what they entail and how they function.
Multifactor authentication for admins accessing Microsoft admin portals
Admin accounts with elevated privileges are more likely to be attacked, so enforcing MFA for these roles protects these privileged administrative functions. This policy covers 14 admin roles that we consider to be highly privileged, requiring administrators to perform multifactor authentication when signing into Microsoft admin portals. This policy targets Microsoft Entra ID P1 and P2 tenants, where security defaults aren't enabled.
Multifactor authentication for per-user multifactor authentication users
Per-user MFA is when users are enabled individually and are required to perform multifactor authentication each time they sign in (with some exceptions, such as when they sign in from trusted IP addresses or when the remember MFA on trusted devices feature is turned on). For customers who are licensed for Entra ID P1, Conditional Access offers a better admin experience with many additional features, including user group and application targeting, more conditions such as risk- and device-based, integration with authentication strengths, session controls and report-only mode. This can help you be more targeted in requiring MFA, lowering end user friction while maintaining security posture.
This policy covers users with per-user MFA. These users are targeted by Conditional Access and are now required to perform multifactor authentication for all cloud apps. It aids organizations' transition to Conditional Access seamlessly, ensuring no disruption to end user experiences while maintaining a high level of security.
This policy targets licensed users with Entra ID P1 and P2, where the security defaults policy isn't enabled and there are less than 500 per-user MFA enabled enabled/enforced users. There will be no change to the end user experience due to this policy.
Multifactor authentication and reauthentication for risky sign-ins
This policy will help your organization achieve the Optimal level for Risk Assessments in the NIST Zero Trust Maturity Model because it provides a key layer of added security assurance that triggers only when we detect high-risk sign-ins. “High-risk sign-in” means there is a very high probability that a given authentication request isn't the authorized identity owner and could indicate brute force, password spray, or token replay attacks. By dynamically responding to sign-in risk, this policy disrupts active attacks in real-time while remaining invisible to most users, particularly those who don't have high sign-in risk. When Identity Protection detects an attack, your users will be prompted to self-remediate with MFA and reauthenticate to Entra ID, which will reset the compromised session.
This policy covers all users in Entra ID P2 tenants, where security defaults aren't enabled, all active users are already registered for MFA, and there are enough licenses for each user. As with all policies, ensure you exclude any break-glass or service accounts to avoid locking yourself out.
Microsoft-managed Conditional Access policies have been created in all eligible tenants in Report-only mode. These policies are suggestions from Microsoft that organizations can adapt and use for their own environment. Administrators can view and review these policies in the Conditional Access policies blade. To enhance the policies, administrators are encouraged to add customizations such as excluding emergency accounts and service accounts. Once ready, the policies can be moved to the ON state. For additional customization needs, administrators have the flexibility to clone the policies and make further adjustments.
Call to Action
Don't wait – take action now. Enable the Microsoft-managed Conditional Access policies now and/or customize the Microsoft-managed Conditional Access policies according to your organizational needs. Your proactive approach to implementing multifactor authentication policies is crucial in fortifying your organization against evolving security threats. To learn more about how to secure your resources, visit our Microsoft-managed policies documentation.
Principal Group Product Manager, Microsoft
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