Overview of enterprise application ownership in Azure Active Directory

A user in Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is automatically added as an application owner when they register an application. The ownership of an enterprise application is assigned by default only when a user with no administrator roles (Global Administrator, Application Administrator etc.) creates a new application registration. In all other cases, ownership isn't assigned by default to an enterprise application. Users can be owners of enterprise applications but groups can't be assigned as owners.

As an owner of an enterprise application in Azure AD, a user can manage the organization-specific configuration of the application, such as single sign-on, provisioning, and user assignment. An owner can also add or remove other owners. Unlike Global Administrators, owners can manage only the enterprise applications they own. The owners have the same permissions as application administrators scoped to an individual application. To learn more about the permissions that an owner of an application has, see Ownership permissions

Note

The application may have more permissions than the owner, and thus would be an elevation of privilege over what the owner has access to as a user. An application owner can create or update users or other objects while impersonating the application. The elevation of privilege to owners can raise a security concern in some cases depending on the application's permissions.

FAQ

What do you do with applications where the owner is no longer with the organization?

If you have an ownerless application in your tenant, you can access the audit log for the application to investigate other users who may be involved in configuring the application. However, there are limitations on how long audit logs are stored. See Azure AD audit log reporting.

You may also see other users who have scoped permissions on the application by navigating to “Roles and Administrators” tab. Once you find the right person to own the application, a user with a highly privileged administrative role in the organization can assign the new owner for the application. See Assign enterprise application owners.

As a best practice, we recommend proactive monitoring applications in your environment to ensure there are at least two owners, where possible, to avoid the situation of ownerless apps. Additionally, you should utilize the serviceManagementReference property on the application object to reference the team contact information from your enterprise Service or Asset Management Database. The serviceManagementReference property ensures you have team contact even if an individual leaves the organization.

How do you add yourself as an owner of an enterprise application?

Existing owners of an application can add other users as the owners. Also, users with a privileged role such as Application Administrator or the Cloud Application Administrator can assign owners to applications in the organization. If you aren't an administrator, work with an administrator in your organization to assign you as the owner of the application.

How can you find all the applications that you own?

  • You can navigate to Enterprise Applications, then select All Applications
  • Select Add filter, then use owned by to search for apps owned by you or any other person.

Next steps