Azure Policy assignment structure

Policy assignments are used by Azure Policy to define which resources are assigned which policies or initiatives. The policy assignment can determine the values of parameters for that group of resources at assignment time, making it possible to reuse policy definitions that address the same resource properties with different needs for compliance.

Note

For more information on Azure Policy scope, see Understand scope in Azure Policy.

You use JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) to create a policy assignment. The policy assignment contains elements for:

For example, the following JSON shows a policy assignment in DoNotEnforce mode with dynamic parameters:

{
    "properties": {
        "displayName": "Enforce resource naming rules",
        "description": "Force resource names to begin with DeptA and end with -LC",
        "metadata": {
            "assignedBy": "Cloud Center of Excellence"
        },
        "enforcementMode": "DoNotEnforce",
        "notScopes": [],
        "policyDefinitionId": "/subscriptions/{mySubscriptionID}/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/policyDefinitions/ResourceNaming",
        "nonComplianceMessages": [
            {
                "message": "Resource names must start with 'DeptA' and end with '-LC'."
            }
        ],
        "parameters": {
            "prefix": {
                "value": "DeptA"
            },
            "suffix": {
                "value": "-LC"
            }
        }
        "identity": {
            "type": "SystemAssigned"
        }
        "resourceSelectors": []
        "overrides": []
    }
}

All Azure Policy samples are at Azure Policy samples.

Display name and description

You use displayName and description to identify the policy assignment and provide context for its use with the specific set of resources. displayName has a maximum length of 128 characters and description a maximum length of 512 characters.

Metadata

The optional metadata property stores information about the policy assignment. Customers can define any properties and values useful to their organization in metadata. However, there are some common properties used by Azure Policy. Each metadata property has a limit of 1024 characters.

Common metadata properties

  • assignedBy (string): The friendly name of the security principal that created the assignment.

  • createdBy (string): The GUID of the security principal that created the assignment.

  • createdOn (string): The Universal ISO 8601 DateTime format of the assignment creation time.

  • parameterScopes (object): A collection of key-value pairs where the key matches a strongType configured parameter name and the value defines the resource scope used in Portal to provide the list of available resources by matching strongType. Portal sets this value if the scope is different than the assignment scope. If set, an edit of the policy assignment in Portal automatically sets the scope for the parameter to this value. However, the scope isn't locked to the value and it can be changed to another scope.

    The following example of parameterScopes is for a strongType parameter named backupPolicyId that sets a scope for resource selection when the assignment is edited in the Portal.

    "metadata": {
        "parameterScopes": {
            "backupPolicyId": "/subscriptions/{SubscriptionID}/resourcegroups/{ResourceGroupName}"
        }
    }
    
  • updatedBy (string): The friendly name of the security principal that updated the assignment, if any.

  • updatedOn (string): The Universal ISO 8601 DateTime format of the assignment update time, if any.

  • evidenceStorages (object): The recommended default storage account that should be used to hold evidence for attestations to policy assignments with a manual effect. The displayName property is the name of the storage account. The evidenceStorageAccountID property is the resource ID of the storage account. The evidenceBlobContainer property is the blob container name in which you plan to store the evidence.

    {
      "properties": {
        "displayName": "A contingency plan should be in place to ensure operational continuity for each Azure subscription."
        "policyDefinitionId": "/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/policyDefinitions/{definitionId}",
        "metadata": {
          "evidenceStorages": [
            {
              "displayName": "Default evidence storage",
              "evidenceStorageAccountId": "/subscriptions/{subscriptionId}/resourceGroups/{rg-name}/providers/Microsoft.Storage/storageAccounts/{storage-account-name}",
              "evidenceBlobContainer": "evidence-container"
            }
          ]
        }
      }
    }
    

Resource selectors (preview)

The optional resourceSelectors property facilitates safe deployment practices (SDP) by enabling you to gradually roll out policy assignments based on factors like resource location, resource type, or whether a resource has a location. When resource selectors are used, Azure Policy will only evaluate resources that are applicable to the specifications made in the resource selectors. Resource selectors can also be leveraged to narrow down the scope of exemptions in the same way.

In the following example scenario, the new policy assignment will be evaluated only if the resource's location is either China East or China North.

{
    "properties": {
        "policyDefinitionId": "/subscriptions/{subId}/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/policyDefinitions/ResourceLimit",
        "definitionVersion": "1.1",
        "resourceSelectors": [
            {
                "name": "SDPRegions",
                "selectors": [
                    {
                        "kind": "resourceLocation",
                        "in": [ "chinaeast", "chinanorth" ]
                    }
                ]
            }
        ]
    },
    "systemData": { ... },
    "id": "/subscriptions/{subId}/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/policyAssignments/ResourceLimit",
    "type": "Microsoft.Authorization/policyAssignments",
    "name": "ResourceLimit"
}

When you're ready to expand the evaluation scope for your policy, you just have to modify the assignment. The following example shows our policy assignment with two additional Azure regions added to the SDPRegions selector. Note, in this example, SDP means to Safe Deployment Practice:

{
    "properties": {
        "policyDefinitionId": "/subscriptions/{subId}/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/policyDefinitions/ResourceLimit",
        "definitionVersion": "1.1",
        "resourceSelectors": [
            {
                "name": "SDPRegions",
                "selectors": [
                    {
                        "kind": "resourceLocation",
                        "in": [ "chinaeast", "chinaeast2", "chinanorth", "chinanorth2" ]
                    }
                ]
            }
        ]
    },
    "systemData": { ... },
    "id": "/subscriptions/{subId}/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/policyAssignments/ResourceLimit",
    "type": "Microsoft.Authorization/policyAssignments",
    "name": "ResourceLimit"
}

Resource selectors have the following properties:

  • name: The name of the resource selector.

  • selectors: (Optional) The property used to determine which subset of resources applicable to the policy assignment should be evaluated for compliance.

    • kind: The property of a selector that describes what characteristic will narrow down the set of evaluated resources. Each kind can only be used once in a single resource selector. Allowed values are:

      • resourceLocation: This is used to select resources based on their type. Cannot be used in the same resource selector as resourceWithoutLocation.

      • resourceType: This is used to select resources based on their type.

      • resourceWithoutLocation: This is used to select resources at the subscription level which do not have a location. Currently only supports subscriptionLevelResources. Cannot be used in the same resource selector as resourceLocation.

    • in: The list of allowed values for the specified kind. Cannot be used with notIn. Can contain up to 50 values.

    • notIn: The list of not-allowed values for the specified kind. Cannot be used with in. Can contain up to 50 values.

A resource selector can contain multiple selectors. To be applicable to a resource selector, a resource must meet requirements specified by all its selectors. Further, up to 10 resource selectors can be specified in a single assignment. In-scope resources are evaluated when they satisfy any one of these resource selectors.

Overrides (preview)

The optional overrides property allows you to change the effect of a policy definition without modifying the underlying policy definition or using a parameterized effect in the policy definition.

The most common use case for overrides is policy initiatives with a large number of associated policy definitions. In this situation, managing multiple policy effects can consume significant administrative effort, especially when the effect needs to be updated from time to time. Overrides can be used to simultaneously update the effects of multiple policy definitions within an initiative.

Let's take a look at an example. Imagine you have a policy initiative named CostManagement that includes a custom policy definition with policyDefinitionReferenceId corpVMSizePolicy and a single effect of audit. Suppose you want to assign the CostManagement initiative, but do not yet want to see compliance reported for this policy. This policy's 'audit' effect can be replaced by 'disabled' through an override on the initiative assignment, as shown below:

{
    "properties": {
        "policyDefinitionId": "/subscriptions/{subId}/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/policySetDefinitions/CostManagement",
        "overrides": [
            {
                "kind": "policyEffect",
                "value": "disabled",
                "selectors": [
                    {
                        "kind": "policyDefinitionReferenceId",
                        "in": [ "corpVMSizePolicy" ]
                    }
                ]
            }
        ]
    },
    "systemData": { ... },
    "id": "/subscriptions/{subId}/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/policyAssignments/CostManagement",
    "type": "Microsoft.Authorization/policyAssignments",
    "name": "CostManagement"
}

Overrides have the following properties:

  • kind: The property the assignment will override. The supported kind is policyEffect.

  • value: The new value which will override the existing value. The supported values are effects.

  • selectors: (Optional) The property used to determine what scope of the policy assignment should take on the override.

    • kind: The property of a selector that describes what characteristic will narrow down the scope of the override. Allowed value for kind: policyEffect is:

      • policyDefinitionReferenceId: This specifies which policy definitions within an initiative assignment should take on the effect override.
    • in: The list of allowed values for the specified kind. Cannot be used with notIn. Can contain up to 50 values.

    • notIn: The list of not-allowed values for the specified kind. Cannot be used with in. Can contain up to 50 values.

Note that one override can be used to replace the effect of many policies by specifying multiple values in the policyDefinitionReferenceId array. A single override can be used for up to 50 policyDefinitionReferenceIds, and a single policy assignment can contain up to 10 overrides, evaluated in the order in which they are specified. Before the assignment is created, the effect chosen in the override is validated against the policy rule and parameter allowed value list (in cases where the effect is parameterized).

Enforcement mode

The enforcementMode property provides customers the ability to test the outcome of a policy on existing resources without initiating the policy effect or triggering entries in the Azure Activity log.

This scenario is commonly referred to as "What If" and aligns to safe deployment practices. enforcementMode is different from the Disabled effect, as that effect prevents resource evaluation from happening at all.

This property has the following values:

Mode JSON Value Type Remediate manually Activity log entry Description
Enabled Default string Yes Yes The policy effect is enforced during resource creation or update.
Disabled DoNotEnforce string Yes No The policy effect isn't enforced during resource creation or update.

If enforcementMode isn't specified in a policy or initiative definition, the value Default is used. Remediation tasks can be started for deployIfNotExists policies, even when enforcementMode is set to DoNotEnforce.

Excluded scopes

The scope of the assignment includes all child resource containers and child resources. If a child resource container or child resource shouldn't have the definition applied, each can be excluded from evaluation by setting notScopes. This property is an array to enable excluding one or more resource containers or resources from evaluation. notScopes can be added or updated after creation of the initial assignment.

Note

An excluded resource is different from an exempted resource. For more information, see Understand scope in Azure Policy.

Policy definition ID

This field must be the full path name of either a policy definition or an initiative definition. policyDefinitionId is a string and not an array. The latest content of the assigned policy definition or initiative will be retrieved each time the policy assignment is evaluated. It's recommended that if multiple policies are often assigned together, to use an initiative instead.

Non-compliance messages

To set a custom message that describes why a resource is non-compliant with the policy or initiative definition, set nonComplianceMessages in the assignment definition. This node is an array of message entries. This custom message is in addition to the default error message for non-compliance and is optional.

Important

Custom messages for non-compliance are only supported on definitions or initiatives with Resource Manager modes definitions.

"nonComplianceMessages": [
    {
        "message": "Default message"
    }
]

If the assignment is for an initiative, different messages can be configured for each policy definition in the initiative. The messages use the policyDefinitionReferenceId value configured in the initiative definition. For details, see policy definitions properties.

"nonComplianceMessages": [
    {
        "message": "Default message"
    },
    {
        "message": "Message for just this policy definition by reference ID",
        "policyDefinitionReferenceId": "10420126870854049575"
    }
]

Parameters

This segment of the policy assignment provides the values for the parameters defined in the policy definition or initiative definition. This design makes it possible to reuse a policy or initiative definition with different resources, but check for different business values or outcomes.

"parameters": {
    "prefix": {
        "value": "DeptA"
    },
    "suffix": {
        "value": "-LC"
    }
}

In this example, the parameters previously defined in the policy definition are prefix and suffix. This particular policy assignment sets prefix to DeptA and suffix to -LC. The same policy definition is reusable with a different set of parameters for a different department, reducing the duplication and complexity of policy definitions while providing flexibility.

Identity

For policy assignments with effect set to deployIfNotExist or modify, it is required to have an identity property to do remediation on non-compliant resources. When using identity, the user must also specify a location for the assignment.

Note

A single policy assignment can be associated with only one system- or user-assigned managed identity. However, that identity can be assigned more than one role if necessary.

# System-assigned identity
 "identity": {
    "type": "SystemAssigned"
  }
# User-assigned identity
  "identity": {
    "type": "UserAssigned",
    "userAssignedIdentities": {
      "/subscriptions/SubscriptionID/resourceGroups/testResourceGroup/providers/Microsoft.ManagedIdentity/userAssignedIdentities/test-identity": {}
    }
  },

Next steps