Exempt resources from recommendations

When you investigate security recommendations in Microsoft Defender for Cloud, you usually review the list of affected resources. Occasionally, a resource will be listed that you feel shouldn't be included. Or a recommendation will show in a scope where you feel it doesn't belong. For example, a resource might have been remediated by a process not tracked by Defender for Cloud, or a recommendation might be inappropriate for a specific subscription. Or perhaps your organization has decided to accept the risks related to the specific resource or recommendation.

In such cases, you can create an exemption to:

  • Exempt a resource to ensure it isn't listed with the unhealthy resources in the future, and doesn't impact your secure score. The resource will be listed as not applicable and the reason will be shown as "exempted" with the specific justification you select.

  • Exempt a subscription or management group to ensure that the recommendation doesn't impact your secure score and won't be shown for the subscription or management group in the future. This relates to existing resources and any you create in the future. The recommendation will be marked with the specific justification you select for the scope that you selected.

For the scope you need, you can create an exemption rule to:

  • Mark a specific recommendation as "mitigated" or "risk accepted" for one or more subscriptions, or for an entire management group.
  • Mark one or more resources as "mitigated" or "risk accepted" for a specific recommendation.

Before you start

This feature is in preview. The Azure Preview Supplemental Terms include additional legal terms that apply to Azure features that are in beta, preview, or otherwise not yet released into general availability. This is a premium Azure Policy capability that's offered at no additional cost for customers with Microsoft Defender for Cloud's enhanced security features enabled. For other users, charges might apply in the future.

  • You need the following permissions to make exemptions:

    • Owner or Security Admin or Resource Policy Contributor to create an exemption
    • To create a rule, you need permissions to edit policies in Azure Policy. Learn more.
  • You can create exemptions for recommendations included in Defender for Cloud's default Microsoft cloud security benchmark standard, or any of the supplied regulatory standards.

  • Custom recommendations can't be exempted.

  • In addition to working in the portal, you can create exemptions using the Azure Policy API. Learn more Azure Policy exemption structure.

Define an exemption

To create an exemption rule:

  1. In the Defender for Cloud portal, open the Recommendations page, and select the recommendation you want to exempt.

  2. In Take action, select Exempt.

    Create an exemption rule for a recommendation to be exempted from a subscription or management group.

  3. In the Exempt pane:

    1. Select the scope for the exemption.

      • If you select a management group, the recommendation will be exempted from all subscriptions within that group
      • If you're creating this rule to exempt one or more resources from the recommendation, choose "Selected resources" and select the relevant ones from the list
    2. Enter a name for the exemption rule.

    3. Optionally, set an expiration date.

    4. Select the category for the exemption:

      • Resolved through 3rd party (mitigated) – if you're using a third-party service that Defender for Cloud hasn't identified.


        When you exempt a recommendation as mitigated, you aren't given points towards your secure score. But because points aren't removed for the unhealthy resources, the result is that your score will increase.

      • Risk accepted (waiver) – if you’ve decided to accept the risk of not mitigating this recommendation

    5. Enter a description.

    6. Select Create. Steps to create an exemption rule to exempt a recommendation from your subscription or management group.

After creating the exemption

After creating the exemption it can take up to 30 minutes to take effect. After it takes effect:

  • The recommendation or resources won't impact your secure score.
  • If you've exempted specific resources, they'll be listed in the Not applicable tab of the recommendation details page.
  • If you've exempted a recommendation, it will be hidden by default on Defender for Cloud's recommendations page. This is because the default options of the Recommendation status filter on that page are to exclude Not applicable recommendations. The same is true if you exempt all recommendations in a security control.

Next steps

Review exempted resources in Defender for Cloud.