Regulatory Compliance in Azure Policy

Regulatory Compliance in Azure Policy provides built-in initiative definitions to view a list of the controls and compliance domains based on responsibility (Customer, Microsoft, Shared). For Microsoft-responsible controls, we provide additional details of our audit results based on third-party attestation and our implementation details to achieve that compliance. Microsoft-responsible controls are of type static.


Regulatory Compliance is a Preview feature. For updated built-ins, the initiatives controls map to the corresponding compliance standard. Existing compliance standard initiatives are in the process of being updated to support Regulatory Compliance.

Regulatory Compliance defined

Regulatory Compliance is built on the grouping portion of an initiative definition. In built-ins, each grouping in the initiative definition defines a name (control), a category (compliance domain), and provides a reference to the policyMetadata object that has information about that control. A Regulatory Compliance initiative definition must have the category property set to Regulatory Compliance. As an otherwise standard initiative definition, Regulatory Compliance initiatives support parameters to create dynamic assignments.

Customers can create their own Regulatory Compliance initiatives. These definitions can be original or copied from existing built-in definitions. If using a built-in Regulatory Compliance initiative definition as a reference, it's recommended to monitor the source of the Regulatory Compliance definitions in the Azure Policy GitHub repo.

To link a custom Regulatory Compliance initiative to your Microsoft Defender for Cloud dashboard, see Create custom security initiatives and policies.

Regulatory Compliance in portal

When an initiative definition has been created with groups, the Compliance details page in portal for that initiative has additional information.

A new tab, Controls is added to the page. Filtering is available by compliance domain and policy definitions are grouped by the title field from the policyMetadata object. Each row represents a control that shows its compliance state, the compliance domain it's part of, responsibility information, and how many non-compliant and compliant policy definitions make up that control.

Screenshot of the Regulatory Compliance overview for the NIST SP 800-53 R4 built-in definition showing compliant and non-compliant controls.

Selecting a control opens a page of details about that control. The Overview contains the information from description and requirements. Under the Policies tab are all the individual policy definitions in the initiative that contribute to this control. The Resource compliance tab provides a granular view of each resource that's evaluated by a member policy of the currently viewed control.


An evaluation type of Microsoft managed is for a static policy definition type.

Screenshot of the Regulatory Compliance details for the Boundary Protection control of the NIST SP 800-53 R4 built-in definition.

From the same control page, changing to the Resource compliance tab shows all resources this control's policy definitions include. Filters are available for name or ID, compliance state, resource type, and location.

Screenshot of resource compliance to the Boundary Protection control of the NIST SP 800-53 R4 built-in definition.

Regulatory Compliance in SDK

If Regulatory Compliance is enabled on an initiative definition, the evaluation scan record, events, and policy states SDK each return additional properties. These additional properties are grouped by compliance state and provide information on how many groups are in each state.

The following code is an example of added results from a summarize call:

"policyGroupDetails": [{
        "complianceState": "noncompliant",
        "count": 4
        "complianceState": "compliant",
        "count": 76

Next steps