Define Azure Resource Manager Policies

3 minute read

Azure Resource Manager policies provide you with the ability to manage risk within you Azure environment. You can write policies to enforce certain situations.

  • A policy setting is default set to allow.
  • Policies are described by policy definitions in a policy definition language (if-then conditions).
  • You create polices with JSON formatted files.

Policies that you have defined can be assigned to certain scopes:

  • Subscription
  • Resource Group
  • Resource type

Within the definition of the policies you can define the below actions:

  • Deny: Blocks the resource request
  • Audit: Allows the request but adds a line to the activity log. These can be used to start action within Azure Automation.
  • Append: Adds specified information to the resource. For example tagging the resource with useful information.

I started to create Azure Resource Manager Policies and created a GitHub repository to save them and share them.

Within this repository you have the option to add policies and work together on them to get a default set of policies.

The repository also contains a script files to assign the policies to specific resources.


One of the policies within the repository is a policy to ensure that resources are created within the Europe regions.

The policy is described in if-then conditions, if the resource is not created in West-Europe (westeurope) or North-Europe (northeurope) the creation of the resource will be declined (deny).

    "$schema": "",
    "if": {
        "not": {
            "field": "location",
            "in" : ["northeurope" , "westeurope"]
    "then": {
     "effect": "deny"   

In the policy file the schema file specified to get type-ahead functionality within JSON editors.

This policy can be assigned to a resource with executing two PowerShell commands:

  1. New-AzureRmPolicyDefinition
  2. New-AzureRmPolicyAssignment

With the first command the definition is created, and saved to a PowerShell object.

$policy = New-AzureRmPolicyDefinition -Name [Policy Name] -Description [Policy Description] -Policy [Path to Policy JSON File]

The second command is then used to assign the policy to a certain scope.

New-AzureRmPolicyAssignment -Name [Policy Name] -PolicyDefinition $policy -Scope [Scope]

Putting everything together and making the script as generic as possible you have the following script to assign a policy to a resource group.

$policyName = Read-Host "Specify the name of the policy";
$policyDescription = Read-Host "Specify the description of the policy"
$policyFile = Read-Host "Path to json policy file";
$resourceGroup = Read-Host "Specify the resource group";

#Login to the Azure Resource Management Account

#Let the user choose the right subscrition
Write-Host "---------------------------------------------------------------------"
Write-Host "Your current subscriptions: " -ForegroundColor Yellow
Write-Host "Enter the Subscription ID to deploy to: " -ForegroundColor Green
$sub = Read-Host 
Set-AzureRmContext -SubscriptionId $sub

$subId = (Get-AzureRmContext).Subscription.SubscriptionId
$subName = (Get-AzureRmContext).Subscription.SubscriptionName

Write-Host "Policy is applied to the resource group: $resourceGroup in subscription: $subName"
$policy = New-AzureRmPolicyDefinition -Name $policyName -Description $policyDescription -Policy $policyFile;

#Assign the Azure Policy
New-AzureRmPolicyAssignment -Name $policyName -PolicyDefinition $policy -Scope "/subscriptions/$sub/resourceGroups/$resourcegroup"

After assigning the policy and trying to create a resource in another region will result in a error message. Sometimes this can still be a really descriptive message as shown in the image below.

Policy Message