A Guide to Administrative Units in Azure Active Directory

Administrative Units in Azure Active Directory

Azure Active Directory is a cloud-based IAM solution that allows organizations to control/secure access to their resources. Azure AD provides a number of amazing features which lets businesses manage users, groups, and applications. Administrative Units is one of those superb features which allows organizations to delegate admin privileges to specific users and groups. In this article, we will take a closer look at how we can create Administrative Units and how we can use them to improve the security of the business.

What are Administrative Units?

Administrative Units provide complete control of the delegation of resources to a User or group in a secure manner. Delegating resources to specific groups or Users is a way to reduce the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive information in an organization.


A simple example is that the UK Helpdesk team wants a Password administrator role for UK Users, while if you allow them this role, they will be able to reset passwords for all users. Administrative Units assigned to only UK users group can limit this role to only UK users.

How to Create Administrative Units in Azure AD.

Creation process of Administrative Units is quite a simple process. We will follow the above example and create an Administrative Unit for the UK Help desk team.

Add Administrative Units

  • Enter a Name “UK Help Desk Team” and a description for Administrative Unit, and then  Click Next

Administrative Unit naming

Once Administrative Unit has been created, you can select one of the administrative roles  ( Password administrator ) and assign it to Users, You can select multiple users in Add assignments windows.

Administrative Units Assign Roles

  • On the Review + create page, verify all the information and click create.

Create Administrative Units

  • Administrative Unit has been created next step is to assign one of the following resources. In this example, we will assign to one of our groups.

Role & Administrators

  • Click on the newly create Administrative Unit, Click Add, and select the group to which you want to assign this administrative unit.

Add Administrative Unit for Groups


You can also convert your Administrative Unit membership type form assigned to Dynamic Administrative Unit. Dynamic Administrative Unit allows the addition of resources based on Azure Active Directory attributes such as department, location, etc. At the time of writing this article, the Dynamic Administrative Units feature is still in preview and not advised to use in production.

Dynamic Administrative Units

Benefits of Using Administrative

Improved Security: By delegating administrative privileges to specific users using Administrative Units can reduce the risk of unauthorized access and it helps to improve the overall security posture of the business.

Enhanced Control: Administrative Unit only allows access to those resources which you want to provide to different users and groups. This feature provides great control over access to resources.

Simplified management: By grouping resources into Administrative Units, organizations can simplify the management of their Azure AD environment. This can help to reduce errors and improve overall reliability.

Benefits of Using Administrative Units

  • Delegating privileges carefully.
  • Creating a naming convention for your Administrative Units.
  • Regularly reviewing and updating your Administrative Units.
  • Limiting the number of Administrative Units in your environment.
  • Documenting your Administrative Unit configurations.

Azure AD administrative units provide a valuable solution for organizations to delegate administrative tasks, increase security, and improve management efficiency. By grouping resources and users into logical units, administrators can enforce policies and streamline processes. The flexibility and granularity of administrative units allow organizations to customize their directory management and maintain a secure environment for their users. Overall, Azure AD administrative units are a powerful tool for effective directory management.

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