Audit compliance of Azure container registries using Azure Policy

Azure Policy is a service in Azure that you use to create, assign, and manage policies. These policies enforce different rules and effects over your resources, so those resources stay compliant with your corporate standards and service level agreements.

This article introduces built-in policies for Azure Container Registry. Use these policies to audit new and existing registries for compliance.

There are no charges for using Azure Policy.

Built-in policy definitions

The following built-in policy definitions are specific to Azure Container Registry:

(Azure portal)
Description Effect(s) Version
Container registries should be encrypted with a customer-managed key Use customer-managed keys to manage the encryption at rest of the contents of your registries. By default, the data is encrypted at rest with service-managed keys, but customer-managed keys are commonly required to meet regulatory compliance standards. Customer-managed keys enable the data to be encrypted with an Azure Key Vault key created and owned by you. You have full control and responsibility for the key lifecycle, including rotation and management. Learn more at Audit, Deny, Disabled 1.1.2
Container registries should not allow unrestricted network access Azure container registries by default accept connections over the internet from hosts on any network. To protect your registries from potential threats, allow access from only specific public IP addresses or address ranges. If your registry doesn't have an IP/firewall rule or a configured virtual network, it will appear in the unhealthy resources. Learn more about Container Registry network rules here: and here Audit, Disabled 1.0.1
Container registries should use private link Azure Private Link lets you connect your virtual network to Azure services without a public IP address at the source or destination. The private link platform handles the connectivity between the consumer and services over the Azure backbone network.By mapping private endpoints to your container registries instead of the entire service, you'll also be protected against data leakage risks. Learn more at: Audit, Disabled 1.0.1

See also the built-in network policy definition: Container Registry should use a virtual network service endpoint.

Assign policies


After you assign or update a policy, it takes some time for the assignment to be applied to resources in the defined scope. See information about policy evaluation triggers.

Review policy compliance

Access compliance information generated by your policy assignments using the Azure portal, Azure command-line tools, or the Azure Policy SDKs. For details, see Get compliance data of Azure resources.

When a resource is non-compliant, there are many possible reasons. To determine the reason or to find the change responsible, see Determine non-compliance.

Policy compliance in the portal:

  1. Select All services, and search for Policy.

  2. Select Compliance.

  3. Use the filters to limit compliance states or to search for policies.

    Policy compliance in portal

  4. Select a policy to review aggregate compliance details and events. If desired, then select a specific registry for resource compliance.

Policy compliance in the Azure CLI

You can also use the Azure CLI to get compliance data. For example, use the az policy assignment list command in the CLI to get the policy IDs of the Azure Container Registry policies that are applied:

az policy assignment list --query "[?contains(displayName,'Container Registries')].{name:displayName, ID:id}" --output table

Sample output:

Name                                                                                   ID
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Container Registries should not allow unrestricted network access           /subscriptions/<subscriptionID>/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/policyAssignments/b4faf132dc344b84ba68a441
Container Registries should be encrypted with a Customer-Managed Key (CMK)  /subscriptions/<subscriptionID>/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/policyAssignments/cce1ed4f38a147ad994ab60a

Then run az policy state list to return the JSON-formatted compliance state for all resources under a specific policy ID:

az policy state list \
  --resource <policyID>

Or run az policy state list to return the JSON-formatted compliance state of a specific registry resource, such as myregistry:

az policy state list \
 --resource myregistry \
 --namespace Microsoft.ContainerRegistry \
 --resource-type registries \
 --resource-group myresourcegroup

Next steps