Enable Defender for Cloud on all subscriptions in a management group

You can use Azure Policy to enable Microsoft Defender for Cloud on all the Azure subscriptions within the same management group (MG). This is more convenient than accessing them individually from the portal, and works even if the subscriptions belong to different owners.

To onboard a management group and all its subscriptions:

  1. As a user with Security Admin permissions, open Azure Policy and search for the definition Enable Microsoft Defender for Cloud on your subscription.

    Screenshot showing the Azure Policy definition Enable Defender for Cloud on your subscription.

  2. Select Assign and ensure you set the scope to the MG level.

    Screenshot showing how to assign the definition Enable Defender for Cloud on your subscription.

    Tip

    Other than the scope, there are no required parameters.

  3. Select Remediation, and select Create a remediation task to ensure all existing subscriptions that don't have Defender for Cloud enabled, will get onboarded.

    Screenshot that shows how to create a remediation task for the Azure Policy definition Enable Defender for Cloud on your subscription.

  4. Select Review + create.

  5. Review your information and select Create.

When the definition is assigned, it will:

  • Detect all subscriptions in the MG that aren't yet registered with Defender for Cloud.
  • Mark those subscriptions as “non-compliant”.
  • Mark as "compliant" all registered subscriptions (regardless of whether they have Defender for Cloud's enhanced security features on or off).

The remediation task will then enable Defender for Cloud's basic functionality on the non-compliant subscriptions.

Optional modifications

There are various ways you might choose to modify the Azure Policy definition:

  • Define compliance differently - The supplied policy classifies all subscriptions in the MG that aren't yet registered with Defender for Cloud as “non-compliant”. You might choose to set it to all subscriptions without Defender for Cloud's enhanced security features enabled.

    The supplied definition, defines either of the 'pricing' settings below as compliant. Meaning that a subscription set to 'standard' or 'free' is compliant.

    Tip

    When any Microsoft Defender plan is enabled, it's described in a policy definition as being on the 'Standard' setting. When it's disabled, it's 'Free'. To learn about the differences between these plans, see Microsoft Defender for Cloud's enhanced security features.

    "existenceCondition": {
        "anyof": [
            {
                "field": "microsoft.security/pricings/pricingTier",
                "equals": "standard"
            },
            {
                "field": "microsoft.security/pricings/pricingTier",
                "equals": "free"
            }
        ]
    },
    

    If you change it to the following, only subscriptions set to 'standard' would be classified as compliant:

    "existenceCondition": {
          {
            "field": "microsoft.security/pricings/pricingTier",
            "equals": "standard"
          },
    },
    
  • Define some Microsoft Defender plans to apply when enabling Defender for Cloud - The supplied policy enables Defender for Cloud without any of the optional enhanced security features. You might choose to enable one or more of the Microsoft Defender plans.

    The supplied definition's deployment section has a parameter pricingTier. By default, this is set to free, but you can modify it.

Next steps:

Now that you've onboarded an entire management group, enable the enhanced security features.