Plan for communication compliance


Microsoft Purview Communication Compliance provides the tools to help organizations detect regulatory compliance (for example, SEC or FINRA) and business conduct violations such as sensitive or confidential information, harassing or threatening language, and sharing of adult content. Built with privacy by design, usernames are pseudonymized by default, role-based access controls are built in, investigators are opted in by an admin, and audit logs are in place to help ensure user-level privacy.

Before getting started with communication compliance in your organization, there are important planning activities and considerations that should be reviewed by your information technology and compliance management teams. Thoroughly understanding and planning for deployment in the following areas will help ensure that your implementation and use of communication compliance features goes smoothly and is aligned with the best practices for the solution.

Watch the video below to learn how to fulfill regulatory compliance requirements with communication compliance:

For more information and an overview of the planning process to address compliance and risky activities in your organization, see Starting an insider risk management program.

You can also check out the Microsoft Mechanics video for how insider risk management and communication compliance work together to help minimize data risks from users in your organization.


Communication compliance is currently available in tenants hosted in geographical regions and countries supported by Azure service dependencies. To verify that communication compliance is supported for your organization, see Azure dependency availability by country/region.


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.

Work with stakeholders in your organization

Identify the appropriate stakeholders in your organization to collaborate for taking actions on communication compliance alerts. Some recommended stakeholders to consider including in initial planning and the end-to-end communication compliance workflow are people from the following areas of your organization:

  • Information technology
  • Compliance
  • Privacy
  • Security
  • Human resources
  • Legal

Plan for the investigation and remediation workflow

Select dedicated stakeholders to investigate and review the alerts and cases on a regular cadence in the Microsoft Purview portal or the Microsoft Purview compliance portal. Make sure you understand how you'll assign users and stakeholders to different communication compliance role groups in your organization.


After configuring your role groups, it may take up to 30 minutes for the role group permissions to apply to assigned users across your organization.

Configure permissions

There are six role groups used to configure initial permissions to manage communication compliance features. To make Communication compliance available as a menu option in Microsoft Purview compliance portal and to continue with these configuration steps, you must be assigned to one those groups. For more information, see Enable permissions for communication compliance.

Scoped users

Before you start using communication compliance, you must determine who needs their communications reviewed. In the policy, user email addresses identify individuals or groups of people to apply the policy to. Some examples of these groups are Microsoft 365 Groups, Exchange-based distribution lists, Viva Engage communities, and Microsoft Teams channels. You also can exclude specific users or groups from checking with a specific exclusion group or a list of groups. For more information about groups types supported in communication compliance policies, see Get started with communication compliance.


Users covered by communication compliance policies must have either a Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance license, an Office 365 Enterprise E3 license with the Advanced Compliance add-on, or be included in an Office 365 Enterprise E5 subscription. If you don't have an existing Enterprise E5 plan and want to try communication compliance, you can sign up for a trial of Office 365 Enterprise E5.


When you create a communication compliance policy, you must determine who reviews the messages of the scoped users. In the policy, user email addresses identify individuals or groups of people to review scoped communications. All reviewers must have mailboxes hosted on Exchange Online, must be assigned to either the Communication Compliance Analysts or Communication Compliance Investigators role groups, and must be assigned in the policy they need to investigate. When reviewers are added to a policy, they automatically receive an email message that notifies them of the assignment to the policy and provides links to information about the review process.

Groups for scoped users and reviewers

To simplify your setup, we recommend you create groups for people who need their communications reviewed and groups for people who review those communications. If you're using groups, you might need several. For example, if you want to identify communications between two distinct groups of people, or if you want to specify a group that isn't in scope. When you assign a Distribution group in the policy, the policy detects all emails from each user in Distribution group. When you assign a Microsoft 365 group in the policy, the policy detects all emails sent to that group, not the individual emails received by each group member.


Before you create a policy, you should decide whether you want to apply an adaptive scope for users or groups. For more information, see Adaptive policy scopes for compliance solutions.

Adding groups and distribution lists to communication compliance policies are part of the overall conditions and rules set, so the maximum number of groups and distribution lists that a policy supports varies depending on the number of conditions also added to the policy. Each policy should support approximately 20 groups or distribution lists, depending on the number of additional conditions present in the policy.

The following chart can help you configure groups in your organization for communication compliance policies:

Policy Member Supported Groups Unsupported Groups
Scoped users
Excluded users
Distribution groups
Microsoft 365 Groups
Dynamic distribution groups
Nested distribution groups
Mail-enabled security groups
Microsoft 365 groups with dynamic membership
Reviewers None Distribution groups
Dynamic distribution groups
Nested distribution groups
Mail-enabled security groups


Protecting the privacy of users that have policy matches is important and can help promote objectivity in data investigation and analysis reviews for communication compliance alerts. This setting applies only to user names displayed the communication compliance solution. It doesn't affect how names are displayed in other compliance solutions or admin center.

For users with a communication compliance match, you can choose one of the following settings in Communication compliance settings:

  • Show anonymized versions of usernames: User names are anonymized to prevent users in Communication Compliance Analysts role group from seeing who is associated with policy alerts. Users in the Communication Compliance Investigators role group will always see user names, not the anonymized versions. For example, a user 'Grace Taylor' would appear with a randomized pseudonym such as 'AnonIS8-988' in all areas of the communication compliance experience. Choosing this setting anonymizes all users with current and past policy matches and applies to all policies. User profile information in the communication compliance alert details won't be available when this option is chosen. However, user names are displayed when adding new users to existing policies or when assigning users to new policies. If you choose to turn off this setting, user names are displayed for all users that have current or past policy matches.
  • Do not show anonymized versions of usernames: User names are displayed for all current and past policy matches for communication compliance alerts. User profile information (the name, title, alias, and organization or department) is displayed for the user for all communication compliance alerts.

Plan for communication compliance policies

Creating communication compliance policies is quick and easy with the pre-defined templates for analyzing potentially inappropriate content, sensitive information, and regulatory compliance issues. Custom communication compliance policies allow the flexibility for detecting and investigation issues specific to your organization and requirements.

When planning for communication compliance policies, consider the following areas:

  • Consider adding all users in your organization as in-scope for your communication compliance policies. Identifying specific users as in-scope for individual policies are useful in some circumstances, however most organizations should include all users in communication compliance policies optimized for harassment or discrimination detection.
  • Decide whether you want to apply an adaptive scope to your communication compliance policy. For more information, see Adaptive policy scopes for retention. Creating multiple policies can result in higher administrative overheads.
  • Configure the percentage of communications to review at 100% to ensure that policies are catching all issues of concern in communications for your organization.
  • You can analyze communications from third-party sources for data imported into mailboxes in your Microsoft 365 organization. To include review of communications in these platforms, you'll need to configure a third-party connector to these services before messages meeting policy conditions are detected by a communication policy.
  • Policies can support detecting languages other than English in custom communication compliance policies. Build a custom keyword dictionary of offensive words in the language of your choice or build your own machine learning model using trainable classifiers in Microsoft 365.
  • All organizations have different communication standards and policy needs. Detect specific keywords using communication compliance policy conditions or detect specific types of information with custom sensitive information types.

Migrating between Microsoft 365 US Government Cloud and the commercial cloud

If you migrate your organization from the Microsoft 365 US Government Cloud to the worldwide commercial cloud or from the worldwide commercial cloud to the Government Cloud, active cases and alerts will not be migrated. Close any alerts and cases before starting the migration.

Create a communication compliance policy walkthrough

Want to see an in-depth walkthrough of setting up a new communication compliance policy and remediating an alert? Check out the following 15-minute video to see a demonstration of how communication compliance policies can help you detect potentially inappropriate messages, investigate potential violations, and remediate compliance issues.

Ready to get started?

To configure communication compliance for your Microsoft 365 organization, see Configure communication compliance or check out the case study for Contoso and how they quickly configured a communication compliance policy to detect potentially inappropriate content in Microsoft Teams, Exchange Online, and Viva Engage communications.