Protect global administrator accounts in your Microsoft 365 Enterprise test environment
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:
- Create the Microsoft 365 Enterprise test environment.
- Protect your dedicated global administrator account.
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.
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.
- On a separate tab, open the Microsoft 365 admin center.
- Under Active users, click Add a user.
- On the New user page, type DedicatedAdmin in First name, Display name, and Username.
- 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.
- Clear Make this user change their password when they first sign in.
- Click Roles, and then click Global administrator.
- Click Product licenses, and then turn the Enterprise Mobility + Security E5 and Office 365 Enterprise E5 licenses on.
- Click Add.
- On the User was added page, clear Send password in email, and then click Close.
Next, create a new group named GlobalAdmins and add the DedicatedAdmin account to it.
- On the Microsoft 365 admin center tab, click the groups icon in the left navigation, and then click Groups.
- Click Add a group.
- On the New Group page, type GlobalAdmins.
- Click Select owner click your global administrator account, and then click Add > Close.
- In the list of groups, click the GlobalAdmins group.
- On the GlobalAdmins page, click Edit for Member, and then click Add members.
- In the list, click the DedicatedAdmin account, and then click Save > Close > Close > Admin center.
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.
- In a new tab of your browser, go to https://portal.azure.com.
- Click Azure Active Directory > Conditional access.
- On the Conditional access – Policies blade, click Baseline policy: Require MFA for admins (preview).
- On the Baseline policies… blade, click Use policy immediately > Save.
This second policy blocks access to global administrator account authentication when the sign-in risk is medium or high.
- On the Conditional access – Policies blade, click New policy.
- On the New blade, type Global administrators in Name.
- In the Assignments section, click Users and groups.
- On the Include tab of the Users and groups blade, click Select users and groups > Users and groups > Select.
- On the Select blade, click the GlobalAdmins > Select > Done.
- In the Assignments section, click Conditions.
- On the Conditions blade, click Sign-in risk, click Yes for Configure, click High and Medium, and then click Select and Done.
- In the Access controls section of the New blade, click Grant.
- On the Grant blade, click Block access, and then click Select.
- On the New blade, click On for Enable policy, and then click Create.
- 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 on the user account. 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.
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