Activity policies

Applies to: Microsoft Cloud App Security

Activity policies allow you to enforce a wide range of automated processes using the app provider’s APIs. These policies enable you to monitor specific activities carried out by various users, or follow unexpectedly high rates of one certain type of activity.

After you set an activity detection policy, it starts to generate alerts - alerts are only generated on activities that occur after you create the policy.

Custom alerts

Activity policies allow custom alerts to be sent or actions taken when user activity is detected. For example, you want to know every time:

  • A user tries to sign in and fails 70 times in one minute
  • A user downloads 7,000 files
  • A user is logged in from Afghanistan

You can set activity alerts to be sent to yourself or to the user when these events occur. You can even suspend the user until you have finished investigating what happened.

To create a new activity policy, follow this procedure:

  1. In the console, click on Control followed by Policies.

  2. Click Create policy and select Activity policy.

    activity policy menu

  3. Give your policy a name and description, if you want you can base it on a template, for more information on policy templates, see Control cloud apps with policies.

  4. To set which actions or other metrics will trigger this policy, work with the Activity filters.

  5. Under Activity match parameters, select when a policy violation will be triggered. Choose to trigger when a single activity matches the filters or only when a specified number of Repeated activities are detected.

    • If you choose Repeated activity, you can set In a single app. This setting will trigger a policy match only when the repeated activities occur in the same app. For example, five downloads in 30 minutes from Box trigger a policy match.
  6. Configure the Actions that should be taken when a match is found.

Take a look at these examples:

  • Multiple failed logins

    You can set policy so that you receive an alert when a large number of failed logins within a short time period occurs. To configure this sort of policy, choose the appropriate activity filter in the New Activity Policy page.

    Beneath the Activity filters field, configure the parameters for which the alert will be triggered.

    Policy example for multiple failed sign-in attempts

  • High download rate

    You can set your policy so that you receive an alert when there has been an unexpected or uncharacteristic level of downloading activity. To configure this sort of policy, under Rate parameters, choose the parameters to trigger the alert.

    high download rate example

Activity policy reference

This section has reference details about policies, explanations for each policy type, and the fields that can be configured for each policy.

An Activity policy is an API-based policy that enables you to monitor your organization's activities in the cloud. The policy takes into account over 20 file metadata filters including device type and location. Based on the policy results, notifications can be generated and users can be suspended from the cloud app. Each policy is composed of the following parts:

  • Activity filters – Enable you to create granular conditions based on metadata.

  • Activity match parameters – Enable you to set a threshold for the number of times an activity repeats to be considered to match the policy. Specify the number of repeated activities required to match the policy. For example, set a policy to alert when a user has 10 unsuccessful login attempts in a 2-minute time frame. By default, **Activity match parameter raises a match for every single activity that meets all of the activity filters.

    • Using Repeated activity you can set the number of repeated activities, the duration of the time frame in which the activities are counted. You can also specify that all activities should be performed by the same user and in the same cloud app.
  • Actions – The policy provides a set of governance actions that can be automatically applied when violations are detected.

Next steps

Data protection policies

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