How to Achieve Compliance in Azure with the Compliance Manager

November 30, 20234 min read

Compliance Manager is a Microsoft service designed to help organizations manage and track their compliance activities related to Microsoft cloud services, such as Azure, Dynamics 365, and Microsoft 365. Compliance Manager provides a centralized dashboard, risk assessments, actionable insights, and simplified compliance processes. Here are detailed steps to achieve compliance in Azure using the Compliance Manager.

Understanding Compliance Manager

Before diving into the compliance process, it’s crucial to understand how Compliance Manager works:

  • Dashboard: Offers an overview of compliance posture across Microsoft cloud services.
  • Assessments: Provides detailed reports on compliance with various standards and regulations.
  • Control mapping: Maps Microsoft controls to standard regulations and allows organizations to add their controls.
  • Actionable insights: Suggests improvement actions for better compliance postures.
  • Documentation: Allows organizations to document their compliance activities and maintain evidence.

Setting Up the Compliance Manager

To begin with Compliance Manager in Azure, you need to set it up:

  • Sign into Microsoft 365 compliance center.
  • Navigate to Compliance Manager from the left-hand navigation panel.
  • Select the Assessments tab to view existing assessments or create new ones.
  • Use the Template option to start an assessment for a specific regulation (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA).

Creating and Managing Assessments

Creating an assessment is the cornerstone of using Compliance Manager:

  • Within Compliance Manager, click + Create assessment.
  • Choose the appropriate standard or regulation from the provided templates.
  • Define the scope of the assessment by selecting the relevant Microsoft services and platforms.
  • Assign an individual or a team responsible for managing the assessment.

Once your assessments are set up, manage them by:

  • Monitoring the compliance score, which gives an indication of your compliance posture.
  • Reviewing the recommended improvement actions.
  • Assigning tasks to team members for completing specific improvement actions.

Completion of Actions and Controls

To achieve compliance, you must act on the recommendations from Compliance Manager:

  • Navigate to the Actions tab to see what tasks have been recommended.
  • Complete these actions, such as implementing policies, features, or protocols that remediate the identified risks.
  • Document your processes, policies, and procedures within the tool.
  • Use the Manage documents feature to upload evidence of completed tasks.

Tracking and Reporting Compliance Progress

Maintaining a record of your compliance journey is essential:

  • Track the completion of improvement actions and make note of the changes in the compliance score.
  • Review the history of completed tasks and uploaded evidence for audits.
  • Use Compliance Manager’s reporting feature to generate documentation needed for regulatory reviews and audits.

Best Practices for Ongoing Compliance

Finally, ensure continuous compliance with these best practices:

  • Regular assessment: Regularly review and reassess your compliance posture to adapt to new regulations or changes in cloud services.
  • Policy alignment: Ensure internal policies align with the controls and recommendations within Compliance Manager.
  • User training: Train staff on compliance requirements and use of Compliance Manager.
  • Automate monitoring: Implement tools for continuous monitoring of compliance in your Azure environments.

By following these steps and regularly auditing your compliance standing within the Compliance Manager, your organization can better achieve and maintain compliance with regulatory standards in Azure, taking advantage of the service’s structured guidance, document management, and insightful recommendations.