Turn auditing on or off

Audit logging is turned on by default for Microsoft 365 and Office 365 enterprise organizations. This includes organizations with E3/G3 or E5/G5 subscriptions. When auditing in the 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 auditing 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 auditing 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 auditing on or off

  • You have to be assigned the Audit Logs role in Exchange Online to turn auditing 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 auditing 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 auditing on or off. This is because the underlying cmdlet is an Exchange Online PowerShell 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.

  • To verify that auditing is turned on, you can run the following command in Exchange Online PowerShell:

    Get-AdminAuditLogConfig | FL UnifiedAuditLogIngestionEnabled
    

    The value of True for the UnifiedAuditLogIngestionEnabled property indicates that auditing is turned on.

Turn on auditing

If auditing is not turned on for your organization, you can turn it on in the compliance center or by using Exchange Online PowerShell. It may take several hours after you turn on auditing before you can return results when you search the audit log.

Use the compliance center to turn on auditing

  1. Go to https://compliance.microsoft.com and sign in.

  2. In the left navigation pane of the Microsoft 365 compliance center, click Show all, and then click Audit.

    If auditing is not turned on for your organization, a banner is displayed prompting you start recording user and admin activity.

    Banner on Audit page

  3. Click the Start recording user and admin activity banner.

    It may take up to 60 minutes for the change to take effect.

Use PowerShell to turn on auditing

  1. Connect to Exchange Online PowerShell

  2. Run the following PowerShell command to turn on auditing 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.

Turn off auditing

You have to use Exchange Online PowerShell to turn off auditing.

  1. Connect to Exchange Online PowerShell

  2. Run the following PowerShell command to turn off auditing.

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

    • In Exchange Online PowerShell, run the following command:

      Get-AdminAuditLogConfig | FL UnifiedAuditLogIngestionEnabled
      

      The value of False for the UnifiedAuditLogIngestionEnabled property indicates that auditing is turned off.

    • Go to the Audit page in the Microsoft 365 compliance center.

      If auditing is not turned on for your organization, a banner is displayed prompting you start recording user and admin activity.