Protect global administrator accounts in your Microsoft 365 Enterprise test environment

This Test Lab Guide can only be used for Microsoft 365 Enterprise test environments.

You can prevent digital attacks on your organization by ensuring that your administrator accounts are as secure as possible. This article describes how to use Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) conditional access policies to protect global administrator accounts.

There are two phases to protecting global administrator accounts in your Microsoft 365 Enterprise test environment:

  1. Create the Microsoft 365 Enterprise test environment.
  2. Protect your dedicated global administrator account.

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Tip

Click here for a visual map to all the articles in the Microsoft 365 Enterprise Test Lab Guide stack.

Phase 1: Build out your Microsoft 365 Enterprise test environment

If you just want to test global administrator account protection in a lightweight way with the minimum requirements, follow the instructions in Lightweight base configuration.

If you want to test global administrator account protection in a simulated enterprise, follow the instructions in Pass-through authentication.

Note

Testing global administrator account protection does not require the simulated enterprise test environment, which includes a simulated intranet connected to the Internet and directory synchronization for an Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS). It is provided here as an option so that you can test global administrator account protection and experiment with it in an environment that represents a typical organization.

Phase 2: Configure conditional access policies

First, create a new user account as a dedicated global administrator.

  1. On a separate tab, open the Microsoft 365 admin center.
  2. Click Users > Active users, and then click Add a user.
  3. In the Add user pane, type DedicatedAdmin in First name, Display name, and Username.
  4. Click Password, click Let me create the password, and then type a strong password. Record the password for this new account in a secure location.
  5. Click Next.
  6. In the Assign product licenses pane, select Microsoft 365 E5 or Office 365 E5, and then click Next.
  7. In the Optional settings pane, click Roles, and then select Admin center access and Global admin. Click Next.
  8. On the You're almost done pane, click Finish adding, and then click Close.

Next, create a new group named GlobalAdmins and add the DedicatedAdmin account to it.

  1. On the Microsoft 365 admin center tab, click Groups in the left navigation, and then click Groups.
  2. Click Add a group.
  3. In the Choose a group type pane, select Security, and then click Next.
  4. In the Set up the basics pane, click Create group, and then click Close.
  5. In the Review and finish adding group pane, type GlobalAdmins, and then click Next.
  6. In the list of groups, click the GlobalAdmins group.
  7. In the GlobalAdmins pane, click Members, and then click View all and manage members.
  8. In the GlobalAdmins pane, click Add members, select the DedicatedAdmin account and your global admin account, and then click Save > Close > Close.

Next, create conditional access policies to require multifactor authentication for global administrator accounts and to deny authentication if the sign-in risk is medium or high.

This first policy requires that all global administrator accounts use MFA.

  1. In a new tab of your browser, go to https://portal.azure.com.
  2. Click Azure Active Directory > Security > Conditional Access.
  3. In the Conditional access – Policies pane, click Baseline policy: Require MFA for admins (preview).
  4. In the Baseline policy pane, click Use policy immediately > Save.

This second policy blocks access to global administrator account authentication when the sign-in risk is medium or high.

  1. In the Conditional access – Policies pane, click New policy.
  2. In the New pane, type Global administrators in Name.
  3. In the Assignments section, click Users and groups.
  4. On the Include tab of the Users and groups pane, click Select users and groups > Users and groups > Select.
  5. In the Select pane, click the GlobalAdmins group, and then click Select > Done.
  6. In the Assignments section, click Conditions.
  7. In the Conditions pane, click Sign-in risk, click Yes for Configure, click High and Medium, and then click Select and Done.
  8. In the Access controls section of the New pane, click Grant.
  9. In the Grant pane, click Block access, and then click Select.
  10. In the New pane, click On for Enable policy, and then click Create.
  11. Close the Azure portal and Microsoft 365 admin center tabs.

To test the first policy, sign out and sign in with the DedicatedAdmin account. You should be prompted to configure MFA. This demonstrates that the first policy is being applied.

See the Protect global administrator accounts step in the Identity phase for information and links to protect your global administrator accounts in production.

Next step

Explore additional identity features and capabilities in your test environment.

See also

Phase 2: Identity

Microsoft 365 Enterprise Test Lab Guides

Microsoft 365 Enterprise deployment

Microsoft 365 Enterprise documentation