Turn audit log search on or off

You (or another admin) must turn on audit logging before you can start searching the audit log. When audit log search in the Security & Compliance Center is turned on, user and admin activity from your organization is recorded in the audit log and retained for 90 days, and up to one year depending on the license assigned to users. However, your organization may have reasons for not wanting to record and retain audit log data. In those cases, a global admin may decide to turn off auditing in Microsoft 365.

Important

If you turn off audit log search in Microsoft 365, you can't use the Office 365 Management Activity API or Azure Sentinel to access auditing data for your organization. Turning off audit log search by following the steps in this article means that no results will be returned when you search the audit log using the Security & Compliance Center or when you run the Search-UnifiedAuditLog cmdlet in Exchange Online PowerShell. This also means that audit logs won't be available through the Office 365 Management Activity API or Azure Sentinel.

Before you turn audit log search on or off

  • You have to be assigned the Audit Logs role in Exchange Online to turn audit log search on or off in your Microsoft 365 organization. By default, this role is assigned to the Compliance Management and Organization Management role groups on the Permissions page in the Exchange admin center. Global admins in Microsoft 365 are members of the Organization Management role group in Exchange Online.

    Note

    Users have to be assigned permissions in Exchange Online to turn audit log search on or off. If you assign users the Audit Logs role on the Permissions page in the Security & Compliance Center, they won't be able to turn audit log search on or off. This is because the underlying cmdlet is an Exchange Online cmdlet.

  • For step-by-step instructions on searching the audit log, see Search the audit log in the Security & Compliance Center. For more information about the Microsoft 365 Management Activity API, see Get started with Microsoft 365 Management APIs.

You can use the Security & Compliance Center or PowerShell to turn on audit log search in Microsoft 365. It may take several hours after you turn on audit log search before you can return results when you search the audit log. You have to be assigned the Audit Logs role in Exchange Online to turn on audit log search.

  1. Go to the Security & Compliance Center and sign in.

  2. In the Security & Compliance Center, go to Search > Audit log search.

    A banner is displayed saying that auditing has to be turned on to record user and admin activity.

  3. Click Turn on auditing.

    Click Turn on auditing

    The banner is updated to say the audit log is being prepared and that you can search for user and admin activity in a few hours.

  1. Connect to Exchange Online PowerShell

  2. Run the following PowerShell command to turn on audit log search in Office 365.

    Set-AdminAuditLogConfig -UnifiedAuditLogIngestionEnabled $true
    

    A message is displayed saying that it may take up to 60 minutes for the change to take effect.

You have to use remote PowerShell connected to your Exchange Online organization to turn off audit log search. Similar to turning on audit log search, you have to be assigned the Audit Logs role in Exchange Online to turn off audit log search.

  1. Connect to Exchange Online PowerShell

  2. Run the following PowerShell command to turn off audit log search in Office 365.

    Set-AdminAuditLogConfig -UnifiedAuditLogIngestionEnabled $false
    
  3. After a while, verify that audit log search is turned off (disabled). There are two ways to do this:

    • In PowerShell, run the following command:
    Get-AdminAuditLogConfig | FL UnifiedAuditLogIngestionEnabled
    

    The value of False for the UnifiedAuditLogIngestionEnabled property indicates that audit log search is turned off.

    • In the Security & Compliance Center, go to Search > Audit log search.

      A banner is displayed saying that auditing has to be turned on in order to record user and admin activity.