Administrative units

Administrative units let you subdivide your organization into smaller units, and then assign specific administrators that can manage only the members of those units. They also allow you to assign administrative units to members of role groups in Microsoft Purview solutions, so that these administrators can manage only the members (and associated features) of those assigned administrative units.

For example, you could use administrative units to delegate permissions to administrators for each geographic region in a large multi-national organization or for grouping administrator access by department within your organization. You can create region or department-specific policies or view user activity as a result of those policies and administrative unit assignment. You can also use administrative units as an initial scope for a policy, where the selection of users eligible for the policy depends on membership in administrative units.

If you are using adaptive scopes for compliance policies, see How adaptive scopes work with Microsoft Entra administrative units.

Administrative units support in Microsoft Purview

The following Microsoft Purview compliance solutions support administrative units:

Solution Configuration support
Data lifecycle management Role groups, retention policies, and retention label policies
Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Role groups and DLP policies
Communication compliance Role groups and policies
Insider risk management Role groups and policies
Records management Role groups, retention policies, retention label policies, and adaptive scopes
Sensitivity labeling Role groups, sensitivity label policies, and auto-labeling policies

The configuration for administrative units automatically flows down to the following features:

You can add users and groups to administrative units by using the following built-in role groups:

  • Communication Compliance
  • Communication Compliance Admins
  • Communication Compliance Analysts
  • Communication Compliance Investigators
  • Compliance Administrator
  • Compliance Data Administrators
  • Global Reader
  • Information Protection
  • Information Protection Admins
  • Information Protection Analyst
  • Information Protection Investigators
  • Information Protection Readers
  • Insider Risk Management
  • Insider Risk Management Admins
  • Insider Risk Management Analysts
  • Insider Risk Management Investigators
  • Insider Risk Management Session Approvers
  • Insider Risk Management Approvers
  • Organization Management
  • Records Management
  • Security Administrator
  • Security Operator
  • Security Reader

When you assign role groups, you can select individual members or groups, and then the Assign admin units option to select administrative units that have been defined in Microsoft Entra ID:

Assign admin units option when you edit role groups.


Assign admin units is always available when you've created custom role groups. You can assign administrative units for any custom role group.

These administrators, referred to as restricted administrators, can now select one or more of their assigned administrative units to automatically define the initial scope of policies that they create or edit. Only if administrators don't have administrative units assigned (unrestricted administrators), will they be able to assign policies to the entire directory without selecting individual administrative units.


After you've assigned administrative units to members of the role groups, these restricted administrators will no longer be able to see and edit existing policies. However, there's no operational change to these policies and they remain visible and can be edited by unrestricted administrators.

Restricted administrators will also no longer be able to see historical data using features that support administrative units, such as activity explorer and alerts. They remain visible to unrestricted administrators. Going forward, restricted administrators will be able to see this related data for their assigned administrative units only.


In addition to being able to configure and view alerts, users with the Information Protection Analyst and Information Protection Investigator roles can search audit logs using the Search-UnifiedAuditLog cmdlet.

Prerequisites for administrative units

Before configuring administrative units for Microsoft Purview compliance solutions, make sure your organization and users meet the following subscription and licensing requirements:

  • Microsoft Entra ID P1 or P2 licensing

  • Microsoft Purview licensing:

    • Microsoft 365 E5/A5/G5
    • Microsoft 365 E5/A5/G5/F5 Compliance or F5 Security & Compliance
    • Microsoft 365 E5/A5/G5/F5 Information Protection & Governance
    • Microsoft 365 E5/A5/F5 Insider Risk Management

Configure and use administrative units

Complete the following steps to configure and use administrative units with Microsoft Purview compliance solutions:

  1. Create administrative units to restrict the scope of role permissions in Microsoft Entra ID.

  2. Add users and distribution groups to administrative units.


    Members of Dynamic Distribution Groups don't automatically become members of an administrative unit.

  3. If creating a geographic region or department-based administrative units, configure administrative units with dynamic membership rules.


    You can't add groups to an administrative unit that uses dynamic membership rules. If needed, create two administrative units, one for users and one for groups.

  4. Use any of the role groups from the Microsoft Purview compliance solutions that support administrative units to assign administrative units to members.

Now, when these restricted administrators create or edit policies that support administrative units, they can select administrative units so that only the users in those administrative units are eligible for the policy:

  • Unrestricted administrators don't have to select administrative units as part of the policy configuration. They can keep the default of the entire directory, or select one or more administrative units.
  • Restricted administrators must now select one or more administrative units as part of the policy configuration.

Further into the policy configuration, administrators who selected administrative units must then include or exclude (if supported) individual users and groups from the administrative units that they previously selected for the policy.

For information about administrative units that is specific to each supported solution, see the following sections: