What is Azure AD Privileged Identity Management?

Privileged Identity Management (PIM) is a service in Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) that enables you to manage, control, and monitor access to important resources in your organization. These resources include resources in Azure AD, Azure, and other Microsoft Online Services such as Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Intune. The following video introduces you to important PIM concepts and features.

Reasons to use

Organizations want to minimize the number of people who have access to secure information or resources, because that reduces the chance of a malicious actor getting that access, or an authorized user inadvertently impacting a sensitive resource. However, users still need to carry out privileged operations in Azure AD, Azure, Microsoft 365, or SaaS apps. Organizations can give users just-in-time privileged access to Azure resources and Azure AD. There is a need for oversight for what those users are doing with their administrator privileges.

What does it do?

Privileged Identity Management provides time-based and approval-based role activation to mitigate the risks of excessive, unnecessary, or misused access permissions on resources that you care about. Here are some of the key features of Privileged Identity Management:

  • Provide just-in-time privileged access to Azure AD and Azure resources
  • Assign time-bound access to resources using start and end dates
  • Require approval to activate privileged roles
  • Enforce multi-factor authentication to activate any role
  • Use justification to understand why users activate
  • Get notifications when privileged roles are activated
  • Conduct access reviews to ensure users still need roles
  • Download audit history for internal or external audit

What can I do with it?

Once you set up Privileged Identity Management, you'll see Tasks, Manage, and Activity options in the left navigation menu. As an administrator, you'll choose between options such as managing Azure AD roles, managing Azure resource roles, or privileged access groups. When you choose what you want to manage, you see the appropriate set of options for that option.

Screenshot of Privileged Identity Management in the Azure portal

Who can do what?

For Azure AD roles in Privileged Identity Management, only a user who is in the Privileged role administrator or Global administrator role can manage assignments for other administrators. You can grant access to other administrators to manage Privileged Identity Management. Global Administrators, Security Administrators, Global readers, and Security Readers can also view assignments to Azure AD roles in Privileged Identity Management.

For Azure resource roles in Privileged Identity Management, only a subscription administrator, a resource Owner, or a resource User Access administrator can manage assignments for other administrators. Users who are Privileged Role Administrators, Security Administrators, or Security Readers do not by default have access to view assignments to Azure resource roles in Privileged Identity Management.


Privileged Identity Management supports the following scenarios:

Privileged Role administrator permissions

  • Enable approval for specific roles
  • Specify approver users or groups to approve requests
  • View request and approval history for all privileged roles

Approver permissions

  • View pending approvals (requests)
  • Approve or reject requests for role elevation (single and bulk)
  • Provide justification for my approval or rejection

Eligible role user permissions

  • Request activation of a role that requires approval
  • View the status of your request to activate
  • Complete your task in Azure AD if activation was approved


To better understand Privileged Identity Management and its documentation, you should review the following terms.

Term or concept Role assignment category Description
eligible Type A role assignment that requires a user to perform one or more actions to use the role. If a user has been made eligible for a role, that means they can activate the role when they need to perform privileged tasks. There's no difference in the access given to someone with a permanent versus an eligible role assignment. The only difference is that some people don't need that access all the time.
active Type A role assignment that doesn't require a user to perform any action to use the role. Users assigned as active have the privileges assigned to the role.
activate The process of performing one or more actions to use a role that a user is eligible for. Actions might include performing a multi-factor authentication (MFA) check, providing a business justification, or requesting approval from designated approvers.
assigned State A user that has an active role assignment.
activated State A user that has an eligible role assignment, performed the actions to activate the role, and is now active. Once activated, the user can use the role for a preconfigured period-of-time before they need to activate again.
permanent eligible Duration A role assignment where a user is always eligible to activate the role.
permanent active Duration A role assignment where a user can always use the role without performing any actions.
time-bound eligible Duration A role assignment where a user is eligible to activate the role only within start and end dates.
time-bound active Duration A role assignment where a user can use the role only within start and end dates.
just-in-time (JIT) access A model in which users receive temporary permissions to perform privileged tasks, which prevents malicious or unauthorized users from gaining access after the permissions have expired. Access is granted only when users need it.
principle of least privilege access A recommended security practice in which every user is provided with only the minimum privileges needed to accomplish the tasks they are authorized to perform. This practice minimizes the number of Global Administrators and instead uses specific administrator roles for certain scenarios.

License requirements

Using this feature requires an Azure AD Premium P2 license. To find the right license for your requirements, seeĀ Comparing generally available features of the Free, Office 365 Apps, and Premium editions.

For information about licenses for users, see License requirements to use Privileged Identity Management.

Next steps