Common Conditional Access policy: Require multifactor authentication for admins accessing Microsoft admin portals

Microsoft recommends securing access to any Microsoft admin portals like Microsoft Entra, Microsoft 365, Exchange, and Azure. Using the Microsoft Admin Portals app organizations can control interactive access to Microsoft admin portals.

User exclusions

Conditional Access policies are powerful tools, we recommend excluding the following accounts from your policies:

  • Emergency access or break-glass accounts to prevent tenant-wide account lockout. In the unlikely scenario all administrators are locked out of your tenant, your emergency-access administrative account can be used to log into the tenant to take steps to recover access.
  • Service accounts and service principals, such as the Microsoft Entra Connect Sync Account. Service accounts are non-interactive accounts that aren't tied to any particular user. They're normally used by back-end services allowing programmatic access to applications, but are also used to sign in to systems for administrative purposes. Service accounts like these should be excluded since MFA can't be completed programmatically. Calls made by service principals won't be blocked by Conditional Access policies scoped to users. Use Conditional Access for workload identities to define policies targeting service principals.
    • If your organization has these accounts in use in scripts or code, consider replacing them with managed identities. As a temporary workaround, you can exclude these specific accounts from the baseline policy.

Create a Conditional Access policy

  1. Sign in to the Microsoft Entra admin center as at least a Conditional Access Administrator.
  2. Browse to Protection > Conditional Access.
  3. Select Create new policy.
  4. Give your policy a name. We recommend that organizations create a meaningful standard for the names of their policies.
  5. Under Assignments, select Users or workload identities.
    1. Under Include, select Directory roles and choose built-in roles like:

      • Global Administrator
      • Application Administrator
      • Authentication Administrator
      • Billing Administrator
      • Cloud Application Administrator
      • Conditional Access Administrator
      • Exchange Administrator
      • Helpdesk Administrator
      • Password Administrator
      • Privileged Authentication Administrator
      • Privileged Role Administrator
      • Security Administrator
      • SharePoint Administrator
      • User Administrator


      Conditional Access policies support built-in roles. Conditional Access policies are not enforced for other role types including administrative unit-scoped or custom roles.

    2. Under Exclude, select Users and groups and choose your organization's emergency access or break-glass accounts.

  6. Under Target resources > Cloud apps > Include, Select apps, select Microsoft Admin Portals.
  7. Under Access controls > Grant, select Grant access, Require authentication strength, select Multifactor authentication, then select Select.
  8. Confirm your settings and set Enable policy to Report-only.
  9. Select Create to create to enable your policy.

After administrators confirm the settings using report-only mode, they can move the Enable policy toggle from Report-only to On.

Next steps

Conditional Access templates

Use report-only mode for Conditional Access to determine the results of new policy decisions.