Auditing solutions in Microsoft Purview
Microsoft Purview auditing solutions provide an integrated solution to help organizations effectively respond to security events, forensic investigations, internal investigations, and compliance obligations. Thousands of user and admin operations performed in dozens of Microsoft 365 services and solutions are captured, recorded, and retained in your organization's unified audit log. Audit records for these events are searchable by security ops, IT admins, insider risk teams, and compliance and legal investigators in your organization. This capability provides visibility into the activities performed across your Microsoft 365 organization.
If you're not an E5 customer, use the 90-day Microsoft Purview solutions trial to explore how additional Purview capabilities can help your organization manage data security and compliance needs. Start now at the Microsoft Purview compliance portal trials hub. Learn details about signing up and trial terms.
Microsoft Purview Audit (Standard) provides with you with the ability to log and search for audited activities and power your forensic, IT, compliance, and legal investigations.
Enabled by default. Audit (Standard) is turned on by default for all organizations with the appropriate subscription. That means records for audited activities are captured and searchable. The only setup that required is to assign the necessary permissions to access the audit log search tool (and the corresponding cmdlet) and make sure that user's are assigned the right license for Microsoft Purview Audit (Premium) features.
Thousands of searchable audit events. You can search for a wide-range of audited activities that occur is most of the Microsoft 365 services in your organization. For a list of the activities you can search for, see Audit log activities. For a list of the services and features that support audited activities, see Audit log record type.
Audit search tool in the Microsoft Purview compliance portal. Use the Audit log search tool in the compliance portal to search for audit records. You can search for specific activities, for activities performed by specific users, and activities that occurred with a date range.
Search-UnifiedAuditLog cmdlet. You can also use the Search-UnifiedAuditLog cmdlet in Exchange Online PowerShell (the underlying cmdlet for the search tool) to search for audit events or to use in a script. For more information, see:
Export audit records to a CSV file. After running the Audit log search tool in the compliance portal, you can export the audit records returned by the search to a CSV file. This lets you use Microsoft Excel sort and filter on different audit record properties. You can also use Excel Power Query transform functionality to split each property in the AuditData JSON object into its own column. This lets you effectively view and compare similar data for different events. For more information, see Export, configure, and view audit log records.
Access to audit logs via Office 365 Management Activity API. A third method for accessing and retrieving audit records is to use the Office 365 Management Activity API. This lets organizations retain auditing data for longer periods than the default 180 days and lets them import their auditing data to a SIEM solution. For more information, see Office 365 Management Activity API reference.
180-day audit log retention. When an audited activity is performed by a user or admin, an audit record is generated and stored in the audit log for your organization. In Audit (Standard), records are retained for 180 days, which means you can search for activities that occurred within the past six months.
The default retention period for Audit (Standard) has changed from 90 days to 180 days. Audit (Standard) logs generated before October 17, 2023 are retained for 90 days. Audit (Standard) logs generated on or after October 17, 2023 follow the new default retention of 180 days.
Starting November 30, 2023, Classic Search will be retired in place of New Search. New search includes enhancements such as faster search times, additional search options, ability to save searches, and more.
Audit (Premium) builds on the capabilities of Audit (Standard) by providing audit log retention policies, longer retention of audit records, high-value intelligent insights, and higher bandwidth access to the Office 365 Management Activity API.
- Audit log retention policies. You can create customized audit log retention policies to retain audit records for longer periods of time up to one year (and up to 10 years for users with required add-on license). You can create a policy to retain audit records based the service where the audited activities occur, specific audited activities, or the user who performs an audited activity.
- Longer retention of audit records. Microsoft Entra ID, Exchange, OneDrive, and SharePoint audit records are retained for one year by default. Audit records for all other activities are retained for 180 days by default, or you can use audit log retention policies to configure longer retention periods.
- Audit (Premium) intelligent insights. Audit records for intelligent insights can help your organization conduct forensic and compliance investigations by providing visibility to events such as when mail items were accessed, or when mail items were replied to and forwarded, or when and what a user searched for in Exchange Online and SharePoint Online. These intelligent insights can help you investigate possible breaches and determine the scope of compromise.
- Higher bandwidth to the Office 365 Management Activity API. Audit (Premium) provides organizations with more bandwidth to access auditing logs through the Office 365 Management Activity API. Although all organizations (that have Audit (Standard) or Audit (Premium)) are initially allocated a baseline of 2,000 requests per minute, this limit will dynamically increase depending on an organization's seat count and their licensing subscription. This results in organizations with Audit (Premium) getting about twice the bandwidth as organizations with Audit (Standard).
For more detailed information about Audit (Premium) features, see Audit (Premium) in Microsoft 365.
Comparison of key capabilities
The following table compares the key capabilities available in Audit (Standard) and Audit (Premium). All Audit (Standard) functionality is included in Audit (Premium).
|Capability||Audit (Standard)||Audit (Premium)|
|Enabled by default|
|Thousands of searchable audit events|
|Audit search tool in the compliance portal|
|Export audit records to CSV file|
|Access to audit logs via Office 365 Management Activity API 1|
|180-day audit log retention|
|1-year audit log retention|
|10-year audit log retention 2|
|Audit log retention policies|
1 Audit (Premium) includes higher bandwidth access to the Office 365 Management Activity API, which provides faster access to audit data.
2 In addition to the required licensing for Audit (Premium) (described in the next section), a user must be assigned a 10-Year Audit Log Retention add-on license to retain their audit records for 10 years.
Microsoft 365 services that support auditing
You can search the unified audit log for activities performed in different Microsoft 365 services. The following table lists the Microsoft 365 services, apps, and features that are supported by the unified audit log.
|Microsoft 365 service or feature||Record types|
|Microsoft Entra ID||AzureActiveDirectory, AzureActiveDirectoryAccountLogon, AzureActiveDirectoryStsLogon|
|Azure Information Protection||AipDiscover, AipSensitivityLabelAction, AipProtectionAction, AipFileDeleted, AipHeartBeat|
|Data loss prevention (DLP)||ComplianceDLPSharePoint, ComplianceDLPExchange, DLPEndpoint|
|eDiscovery (Standard + Premium)||Discovery, AeD|
|Encrypted message portal||OMEPortal|
|Exact Data Match||MipExactDataMatch|
|Exchange Online||ExchangeAdmin, ExchangeItem, ExchangeItemAggregated|
|Microsoft 365 Defender||AirInvestigation, AirManualInvestigation, AirAdminActionInvestigation, MS365DCustomDetection|
|Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365||CopilotInteraction|
|Microsoft Defender Experts||DefenderExpertsforXDRAdmin|
|Microsoft Defender for Identity (MDI)||MicrosoftDefenderForIdentityAudit|
|Microsoft Planner||PlannerCopyPlan, PlannerPlan, PlannerPlanList, PlannerRoster, PlannerRosterSensitivityLabel, PlannerTask, PlannerTaskList, PlannerTenantSettings|
|Microsoft Project for the web||ProjectAccessed, ProjectCreated, ProjectDeleted, ProjectTenantSettingsUpdated, ProjectUpdated, RoadmapAccessed,RoadmapCreated, RoadmapDeleted, RoadmapItemAccessed,RoadmapItemCreated,RoadmapItemDeleted, RoadmapItemUpdated, RoadmapTenantSettingsUpdated, RoadmapUpdated, TaskAccessed, TaskCreated,TaskDeleted, TaskUpdated|
|Microsoft Purview Information Protection (MIP) labels||MIPLabel, MipAutoLabelExchangeItem, MipAutoLabelSharePointItem, MipAutoLabelSharePointPolicyLocation|
|Microsoft To Do||MicrosoftToDo, MicrosoftToDoAudit|
|OneDrive for Business||OneDrive|
|Power Apps||PowerAppsApp, PowerAppsPlan|
|Sensitive information types||DlpSensitiveInformationType|
|Sensitivity labels||MIPLabel, SensitivityLabelAction, SensitivityLabeledFileAction, SensitivityLabelPolicyMatch|
|SharePoint Online||SharePoint, SharePointFileOperation,SharePointSharingOperation, SharePointListOperation, SharePointCommentOperation|
|SystemSync||DataShareCreated, DataShareDeleted, GenerateCopyOfLakeData, DownloadCopyOfLakeData|
|Threat Intelligence||ThreatIntelligence, ThreatIntelligenceUrl, ThreatFinder, ThreatIntelligenceAtpContent|
For more information about the operations that are audited in each of the services listed in the previous table, see the Audit log activities article.
The previous table also identifies the record type value to use to search the audit log for activities in the corresponding service using the Search-UnifiedAuditLog cmdlet in Exchange Online PowerShell or by using a PowerShell script. Some services have multiple record types for different types of activities within the same service. For a more complete list of auditing record types, see Office 365 Management Activity API schema.
For more information about using PowerShell to search the audit log, see:
Before you get started, review the subscription requirements for Audit (Standard) and Audit (Premium).
Set up Microsoft Purview auditing solutions
To get started using the auditing solutions in Microsoft Purview, see the following setup guidance.
Set up Audit (Standard)
The first step is to set up Audit (Standard) and then start running audit log searches.
Verify that your organization has a subscription that supports Audit (Standard) and if applicable, a subscription that supports Audit (Premium).
Assign permissions in Exchange Online to people in your organization who use the audit log search tool in the compliance portal or use the Search-UnifiedAuditLog cmdlet. Specifically, users must be assigned the Audit Manager or Audit Reader role groups in the compliance portal (preview) or the View-Only Audit Logs or Audit Logs roles in Exchange Online.
Search the audit log. After completing step 1 and step 2, users in your organization can use the audit log search tool (or corresponding cmdlet) to search for audited activities.
For more detailed instructions, see Set up Audit (Standard).
Set up Audit (Premium)
If your organization has a subscription that supports Audit (Premium), perform the following steps to set up and use the additional capabilities in Audit (Premium).
Set up Audit (Premium) for users. This step consists of the following tasks:
- Verifying that users are assigned the appropriate license or add-on license for Audit (Premium).
- Turning on the Audit (Premium) app/service plan must be for those users.
- Enabling the auditing of intelligent insights and then turning on the Audit (Premium) app/service plan for those users.
Enable Audit (Premium) events to be logged when users perform searches in Exchange Online and SharePoint Online.
Set up audit log retention policies. In addition to the default policy that retains Exchange, SharePoint, and Microsoft Entra audit records for one year, you can create additional audit log retention policies to meet the requirements of your organization's security operations, IT, and compliance teams.
Search for crucial Audit (Premium) events and other activities when conducting forensic investigations. After completing step 1 and step 2, you can search the audit log for Audit (Premium) events and other activities during forensic investigations of compromised accounts and other types of security or compliance investigations.
For more detailed instructions, see Set up Audit (Premium).
Training your security operations team, IT administrators, and compliance investigators team in the fundamentals for Audit (Standard) and Audit (Premium) can help your organization get started more quickly using auditing to help with your investigations. Microsoft Purview provides the following resource to help these users in your organization getting started with auditing: Describe the eDiscovery and audit capabilities of Microsoft Purview.