Prepare for multiple workspaces and tenants in Microsoft Sentinel

To prepare for your deployment, you need to determine whether a multiple workspace architecture is relevant for your environment. In this article, you learn how Microsoft Sentinel can extend across multiple workspaces and tenants so you can determine whether this capability suits your organization's needs. This article is part of the Deployment guide for Microsoft Sentinel.

If you've decided to set up your environment to extend across workspaces, see Extend Microsoft Sentinel across workspaces and tenants and Centrally manage multiple Microsoft Sentinel workspaces with workspace manager.

The need to use multiple Microsoft Sentinel workspaces

When you onboard Microsoft Sentinel, your first step is to select your Log Analytics workspace. While you can get the full benefit of the Microsoft Sentinel experience with a single workspace, in some cases, you might want to extend your workspace to query and analyze your data across workspaces and tenants.

This table lists some of these scenarios and, when possible, suggests how you might use a single workspace for the scenario.

Requirement Description Ways to reduce workspace count
Sovereignty and regulatory compliance A workspace is tied to a specific region. To keep data in different Azure geographies to satisfy regulatory requirements, split up the data into separate workspaces.
Data ownership The boundaries of data ownership, for example by subsidiaries or affiliated companies, are better delineated using separate workspaces.
Multiple Azure tenants Microsoft Sentinel supports data collection from Microsoft and Azure SaaS resources only within its own Microsoft Entra tenant boundary. Therefore, each Microsoft Entra tenant requires a separate workspace.
Granular data access control An organization might need to allow different groups, within or outside the organization, to access some of the data collected by Microsoft Sentinel. For example:
  • Resource owners' access to data pertaining to their resources
  • Regional or subsidiary SOCs' access to data relevant to their parts of the organization
Use resource Azure RBAC or table level Azure RBAC
Granular retention settings Historically, multiple workspaces were the only way to set different retention periods for different data types. This is no longer needed in many cases, thanks to the introduction of table level retention settings. Use table level retention settings or automate data deletion
Split billing By placing workspaces in separate subscriptions, they can be billed to different parties. Usage reporting and cross-charging
Legacy architecture The use of multiple workspaces might stem from a historical design that took into consideration limitations or best practices which don't hold true anymore. It might also be an arbitrary design choice that can be modified to better accommodate Microsoft Sentinel.

Examples include:
  • Using a per-subscription default workspace when deploying Microsoft Defender for Cloud
  • The need for granular access control or retention settings, the solutions for which are relatively new
Re-architect workspaces

Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP)

In case of an MSSP, many if not all of the above requirements apply, making multiple workspaces, across tenants, the best practice. The MSSP can use Azure Lighthouse to extend Microsoft Sentinel cross-workspace capabilities across tenants.

Microsoft Sentinel multiple workspace architecture

As implied by the requirements above, there are cases where a single SOC needs to centrally manage and monitor multiple Microsoft Sentinel workspaces, potentially across Microsoft Entra tenants.

  • An MSSP Microsoft Sentinel Service.

  • A global SOC serving multiple subsidiaries, each having its own local SOC.

  • A SOC monitoring multiple Microsoft Entra tenants within an organization.

To address these cases, Microsoft Sentinel offers multiple-workspace capabilities that enable central monitoring, configuration, and management, providing a single pane of glass across everything covered by the SOC. This diagram shows an example architecture for such use cases.

Diagram showing extend workspace across multiple tenants: architecture.

This model offers significant advantages over a fully centralized model in which all data is copied to a single workspace:

  • Flexible role assignment to the global and local SOCs, or to the MSSP its customers.

  • Fewer challenges regarding data ownerships, data privacy and regulatory compliance.

  • Minimal network latency and charges.

  • Easy onboarding and offboarding of new subsidiaries or customers.

In the following sections, we'll explain how to operate this model, and particularly how to:

  • Centrally monitor multiple workspaces, potentially across tenants, providing the SOC with a single pane of glass.

  • Centrally configure and manage multiple workspaces, potentially across tenants, using automation.

Next steps

In this article, you learned how Microsoft Sentinel can extend across multiple workspaces and tenants.