Quickstart: Create a policy assignment to identify non-compliant resources using Azure CLI

The first step in understanding compliance in Azure is to identify the status of your resources. In this quickstart, you create a policy assignment to identify non-compliant resources using Azure CLI. The policy is assigned to a resource group and audits virtual machines that don't use managed disks. After you create the policy assignment, you identify non-compliant virtual machines.

Azure CLI is used to create and manage Azure resources from the command line or in scripts. This guide uses Azure CLI to create a policy assignment and to identify non-compliant resources in your Azure environment.

When assigning a built-in policy or initiative definition, it's optional to reference a version. Policy assignments of built-in definitions default to the latest version and automatically inherit minor version changes unless otherwise specified.


  • If you don't have an Azure account, create a free account before you begin.
  • Azure CLI.
  • Visual Studio Code.
  • Microsoft.PolicyInsights must be registered in your Azure subscription. To register a resource provider, you must have permission to register resource providers. That permission is included in the Contributor and Owner roles.
  • A resource group with at least one virtual machine that doesn't use managed disks.

Connect to Azure

From a Visual Studio Code terminal session, connect to Azure. If you have more than one subscription, run the commands to set context to your subscription. Replace <subscriptionID> with your Azure subscription ID.

az login

# Run these commands if you have multiple subscriptions
az account list --output table
az account set --subscription <subscriptionID>

Register resource provider

When a resource provider is registered, it's available to use in your Azure subscription.

To verify if Microsoft.PolicyInsights is registered, run Get-AzResourceProvider. The resource provider contains several resource types. If the result is NotRegistered run Register-AzResourceProvider:

az provider show \
  --namespace Microsoft.PolicyInsights \
  --query "{Provider:namespace,State:registrationState}" \
  --output table

az provider register --namespace Microsoft.PolicyInsights

The Azure CLI commands use a backslash (\) for line continuation to improve readability. For more information, go to az provider.

Create policy assignment

Use the following commands to create a new policy assignment for your resource group. This example uses an existing resource group that contains a virtual machine without managed disks. The resource group is the scope for the policy assignment. This example uses the built-in policy definition Audit VMs that do not use managed disks.

Run the following commands and replace <resourceGroupName> with your resource group name:

rgid=$(az group show --resource-group <resourceGroupName> --query id --output tsv)

definition=$(az policy definition list \
  --query "[?displayName=='Audit VMs that do not use managed disks']".name \
  --output tsv)

The rgid variable stores the resource group ID. The definition variable stores the policy definition's name, which is a GUID.

Run the following command to create the policy assignment:

az policy assignment create \
  --name 'audit-vm-managed-disks' \
  --display-name 'Audit VM managed disks' \
  --scope $rgid \
  --policy $definition \
  --description 'Azure CLI policy assignment to resource group'
  • name creates the policy assignment name used in the assignment's ResourceId.
  • display-name is the name for the policy assignment and is visible in Azure portal.
  • scope uses the $rgid variable to assign the policy to the resource group.
  • policy assigns the policy definition stored in the $definition variable.
  • description can be used to add context about the policy assignment.

The results of the policy assignment resemble the following example:

"description": "Azure CLI policy assignment to resource group",
"displayName": "Audit VM managed disks",
"enforcementMode": "Default",
"id": "/subscriptions/{subscriptionID}/resourceGroups/{resourceGroupName}/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/policyAssignments/audit-vm-managed-disks",
"identity": null,
"location": null,
"metadata": {
  "createdBy": "11111111-1111-1111-1111-111111111111",
  "createdOn": "2024-02-23T18:42:27.4780803Z",
  "updatedBy": null,
  "updatedOn": null
"name": "audit-vm-managed-disks",

If you want to redisplay the policy assignment information, run the following command:

az policy assignment show --name "audit-vm-managed-disks" --scope $rgid

For more information, go to az policy assignment.

Identify non-compliant resources

The compliance state for a new policy assignment takes a few minutes to become active and provide results about the policy's state.

Use the following command to identify resources that aren't compliant with the policy assignment you created:

policyid=$(az policy assignment show \
  --name "audit-vm-managed-disks" \
  --scope $rgid \
  --query id \
  --output tsv)

az policy state list --resource $policyid --filter "(isCompliant eq false)"

The policyid variable uses an expression to get the policy assignment's ID. The filter parameter limits the output to non-compliant resources.

The az policy state list output is verbose, but for this article the complianceState shows NonCompliant:

"complianceState": "NonCompliant",
"components": null,
"effectiveParameters": "",
"isCompliant": false,

For more information, go to az policy state.

Clean up resources

To remove the policy assignment, run the following command:

az policy assignment delete --name "audit-vm-managed-disks" --scope $rgid

To sign out of your Azure CLI session:

az logout

Next steps

In this quickstart, you assigned a policy definition to identify non-compliant resources in your Azure environment.

To learn more about how to assign policies that validate resource compliance, continue to the tutorial.