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By default, Active Directory is configured with a default domain password policy. This policy defines the password requirements for Active Directory user accounts such as password length, age and so on. This password policy is configured by group policy and linked to the root of the domain. To view the password policy follow these steps. As I understand it what is stored is a hash of the password and the date/time when the password was set. When a user logging on enters the password that value and the date/time when the password was last set are used to re-calculate the stored hash. If this is the same as the stored hash, the assumption is that the user entered a valid password. This does not work in Active Directory; GPOs with Active Directory Password Policy settings linked anywhere but the root of the domain have no effect whatsoever on user password requirements. The reasoning makes sense in some way – Password Policy settings appear under the ‘computer settings’ scope and thus have no bearing on user objects. In Azure Active Directory B2C (Azure AD B2C), a tenant represents your directory of consumer users. Each Azure AD B2C tenant is distinct and separate from any other Azure AD B2C tenant. An Azure AD B2C tenant is different than an Azure Active Directory tenant, which you may already have.

Password Policy ensures that a user password is strong and is changed in a periodic manner so that it becomes highly impossible for an attacker to crack the password.

To edit Password Policy settings:

  • Go to Start Menu → Administrative Tools → Group Policy Management
  • In the console tree, expand the Forest and then Domains. Select the domain for which the Account policies have to be set
  • Double-click the domain to reveal the GPOs linked to the domain.
  • Right-click Default Domain Policy and select Edit. A Group Policy Editor console will open.
  • Now, navigate to Computer Configuration → Policies → Windows Settings → Security Settings → Account Policies → Password Policy
  • Double-click Password Policy to reveal the six password settings available in AD. Right-click any one of these settings and select Properties to define the policy setting
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  • The Properties dialog box of each policy setting will have two tabs. The Security Policy Setting tab is where the value for that setting is set. The Explain tab gives a brief description about the policy setting and its default values

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  • In the Security Policy Setting tab, check the Define this Policy Setting check box and enter the desired value. Click Apply and then OK

The six Password Policy settings available in Active Directory:

Enforce Password History

This setting determines the number of new passwords that have to be set, before an old password can be reused. It ensures that old passwords are not used continuously by users which will render the Minimum Password Age policy setting useless. The value can be set between 0 and 24. The default value is 24 on domain controllers and 0 on stand-alone servers.

For example, if the Enforce Password History value is set to 10, then the user must set 10 different password when the password expires before setting his/her password to an old value.

If the value is set to 0, then the password history is not remembered, and the user can reuse their old password when their password expires.

Maximum Password Age

This setting determines the maximum number of days a password can be used. Once the Maximum password age expires, users must change their password. It ensures that users don’t stick with one password forever. The value can be set between 0 and 999 days. The default value is 42.

For example, if the Maximum Password Age value is set to 60, then the user must change his/her password after every 60 days.

If the value is set to 0, then the password never expires, and the user is not required to change his/her password ever.

Minimum Password Age

This setting determines the minimum number of days a password must be in use before it can be changed. Only when the minimum password age expires, users are allowed to change their password. It ensures that users don’t change their password too often. The value can be set between 0 and 999 days. The default value is 1 for domain controllers and 0 for stand-alone servers.

For example, if the Minimum Password Age is set to 10, then the user cannot change his/her password for 10 days after the last password change.

This setting is used to ensure the effectiveness of Enforce Password History setting. If the Minimum Password Age is set to 0, then the user can change his/her password every 2 minutes or so until the value set for Enforce Password History is reached and reuse his/her favorite old password. By setting the Minimum Password Age to a certain value, a user cannot change his/her password often enough to render the Enforce Password History setting ineffective.

The value for Minimum Password Age should always be less than the Maximum Password Age.

Minimum Password Length

This setting determines the minimum number of characters a password should contain. The value can be set between 0 and 14. The default value is 7 on domain controllers and 0 on stand-alone servers.

For example, if the Minimum Password Length is set to 6, then the password must contain at least 6 characters.

If it is set to 0, then no password is required.

Passwords must meet complexity requirements

This setting determines whether the password must meet the complexity requirements specified. If this setting is enabled, passwords must meet the following requirements.

  • Not contain the user’s account name or part of the user’s full name that exceed two consecutive characters
  • The password is at least six characters long
  • The password contains characters from at least three of the following four categories:
    • English uppercase characters (A – Z)
    • English lowercase characters (a – z)
    • Base 10 digits (0 – 9)
    • Non-alphanumeric (For example: $, #, or %)

By default, this setting is enabled on domain controllers and disabled on stand-alone servers.

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Store Passwords using reversible encryption

This security setting determines whether the password is stored using reversible encryption. If a password is stored using reversible encryption, then it becomes easier to decrypt the password. This setting is useful in certain cases, where an application or service requires the username and password of a user to perform certain functions. This setting should be enabled, only if it is absolutely necessary. By default, this setting is disabled.

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In Azure Active Directory B2C (Azure AD B2C), a tenant represents your directory of consumer users. Each Azure AD B2C tenant is distinct and separate from any other Azure AD B2C tenant. An Azure AD B2C tenant is different than an Azure Active Directory tenant, which you may already have. In this article, you learn how to manage your Azure AD B2C tenant.

Supported Azure AD features

Azure AD B2C relies the Azure AD platform. The following Azure AD features can be used in your Azure AD B2C tenant.

FeatureAzure ADAzure AD B2C
GroupsGroups can be used to manage administrative and user accounts.Groups can be used to manage administrative accounts. Consumer accounts don't support groups.
Inviting External Identities guestsYou can invite guest users and configure External Identities features such as federation and sign-in with Facebook and Google accounts.You can invite only a Microsoft account or an Azure AD user as a guest to your Azure AD tenant for accessing applications or managing tenants. For consumer accounts, you use Azure AD B2C user flows and custom policies to manage users and sign-up or sign-in with external identity providers, such as Google or Facebook.
Roles and administratorsFully supported for administrative and user accounts.Roles are not supported with consumer accounts. Consumer accounts don't have access to any Azure resources.
Custom domain namesYou can use Azure AD custom domains for administrative accounts only.Consumer accounts can sign in with a username, phone number, or any email address. You can use custom domains in your redirect URLs.
Conditional AccessFully supported for administrative and user accounts.A subset of Azure AD Conditional Access features is supported with consumer accounts Lean how to configure Azure AD B2C custom domain.

Other Azure resources in your tenant

In an Azure AD B2C tenant, you can't provision other Azure resources such as virtual machines, Azure web apps, or Azure functions. You must create these resources in your Azure AD tenant.

Azure AD B2C accounts overview

The following types of accounts can be created in an Azure AD B2C tenant:

In an Azure AD B2C tenant, there are several types of accounts that can be created as described in the Overview of user accounts in Azure Active Directory B2C article.

  • Work account - A work account can access resources in a tenant, and with an administrator role, can manage tenants.
  • Guest account - A guest account can only be a Microsoft account or an Azure Active Directory user that can be used to access applications or manage tenants.
  • Consumer account - A consumer account is used by a user of the applications you've registered with Azure AD B2C.

For details about these account types, see Overview of user accounts in Azure Active Directory B2C. Any user who will be assigned to manage your Azure AD B2C tenant must have an Azure AD user account so they can access Azure-related services. You can add such a user by creating an account (work account) in your Azure AD B2C tenant, or by inviting them to your Azure AD B2C tenant as a guest user.

Use roles to control resource access

When planning your access control strategy, it's best to assign users the least privileged role required to access resources. The following table describes the primary resources in your Azure AD B2C tenant and the most suitable administrative roles for the users who manage them.

ResourceDescriptionRole
Application registrationsCreate and manage all aspects of your web, mobile, and native application registrations within Azure AD B2C.Application Administrator
Identity providersConfigure the local identity provider and external social or enterprise identity providers.External Identity Provider Administrator
API connectorsIntegrate your user flows with web APIs to customize the user experience and integrate with external systems.External ID User Flow Attribute Administrator
Company brandingCustomize your user flow pages.Global Administrator
User attributesAdd or delete custom attributes available to all user flows.External ID User Flow Attribute Administrator
Manage usersManage consumer accounts and administrative accounts as described in this article.User Administrator
Roles and administratorsManage role assignments in Azure AD B2C directory. Create and manage groups that can be assigned to Azure AD B2C roles.Global Administrator, Privileged Role Administrator
User flowsFor quick configuration and enablement of common identity tasks, like sign-up, sign-in, and profile editing.External ID User Flow Attribute Administrator
Custom policiesCreate, read, update, and delete all custom policies in Azure AD B2C.B2C IEF Policy Administrator
Policy keysAdd and manage encryption keys for signing and validating tokens, client secrets, certificates, and passwords used in custom policies.B2C IEF Keyset Administrator

Add an administrator (work account)

To create a new administrative account, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal with Global Administrator or Privileged Role Administrator permissions.

  2. Select the Directory + subscription filter in the top menu, and then select the directory that contains your Azure AD B2C tenant.

  3. Under Azure services, select Azure AD B2C. Or use the search box to find and select Azure AD B2C.

  4. Under Manage, select Users.

  5. Select New user.

  6. On the User page, enter information for this user:

    • Name. Required. The first and last name of the new user. For example, Mary Parker.
    • User name. Required. The user name of the new user. For example, [email protected].The domain part of the user name must use either the initial default domain name, <yourdomainname>.onmicrosoft.com.
    • Groups. Optionally, you can add the user to one or more existing groups. You can also add the user to groups at a later time.
    • Directory role: If you require Azure AD administrative permissions for the user, you can add them to an Azure AD role. You can assign the user to be a Global administrator or one or more of the limited administrator roles in Azure AD. For more information about assigning roles, see Use roles to control resource access.
    • Job info: You can add more information about the user here, or do it later.
  7. Copy the autogenerated password provided in the Password box. You'll need to give this password to the user to sign in for the first time.

  8. Select Create.

The user is created and added to your Azure AD B2C tenant. It's preferable to have at least one work account native to your Azure AD B2C tenant assigned the Global Administrator role. This account can be considered a break-glass account.

Invite an administrator (guest account)

You can also invite a new guest user to manage your tenant. The guest account is the preferred option when your organization also has Azure AD because the lifecycle of this identity can be managed externally.

To invite a user, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal with Global Administrator or Privileged Role Administrator permissions.

  2. Select the Directory + subscription filter in the top menu, and then select the directory that contains your Azure AD B2C tenant.

  3. Under Azure services, select Azure AD B2C. Or use the search box to find and select Azure AD B2C.

  4. Under Manage, select Users.

  5. Select New guest account.

  6. On the User page, enter information for this user:

    • Name. Required. The first and last name of the new user. For example, Mary Parker.
    • Email address. Required. The email address of the user you would like to invite. For example, [email protected].
    • Personal message: You add a personal message that will be included in the invite email.
    • Groups. Optionally, you can add the user to one or more existing groups. You can also add the user to groups at a later time.
    • Directory role: If you require Azure AD administrative permissions for the user, you can add them to an Azure AD role. You can assign the user to be a Global administrator or one or more of the limited administrator roles in Azure AD. For more information about assigning roles, see Use roles to control resource access.
    • Job info: You can add more information about the user here, or do it later.
  7. Select Create.

An invitation email is sent to the user. The user needs to accept the invitation to be able to sign in.

Resend the invitation email

If the guest didn't receive the invitation email, or the invitation expired, you can resend the invite. As an alternative to the invitation email, you can give a guest a direct link to accept the invitation. To resend the invitation and get the direct link:

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.

  2. Select the Directory + subscription filter in the top menu, and then select the directory that contains your Azure AD B2C tenant.

  3. Under Azure services, select Azure AD B2C. Or use the search box to find and select Azure AD B2C.

  4. Under Manage, select Users.

  5. Search for and select the user you want to resend the invite to.

  6. In the User Profile page, under Identity, select (Manage).

  7. For Resend invite?, select Yes. When Are you sure you want to resend an invitation? appears, select Yes.

  8. Azure AD B2C sends the invitation. You can also copy the invitation URL and provide it directly to the guest.

Add a role assignment

You can assign a role when you create a user or invite a guest user. You can add a role, change the role, or remove a role for a user:

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal with Global Administrator or Privileged Role Administrator permissions.
  2. Select the Directory + subscription filter in the top menu, and then select the directory that contains your Azure AD B2C tenant.
  3. Under Azure services, select Azure AD B2C. Or use the search box to find and select Azure AD B2C.
  4. Under Manage, select Users.
  5. Select the user you want to change the roles for. Then select Assigned roles.
  6. Select Add assignments, select the role to assign (for example, Application administrator), and then choose Add.

Remove a role assignment

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If you need to remove a role assignment from a user, follow these steps:

  1. Select Azure AD B2C, select Users, and then search for and select the user.
  2. Select Assigned roles. Select the role you want to remove, for example Application administrator, and then select Remove assignment.

Review administrator account role assignments

As part of an auditing process, you typically review which users are assigned to specific roles in the Azure AD B2C directory. Use the following steps to audit which users are currently assigned privileged roles.

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal with Global Administrator or Privileged Role Administrator permissions.
  2. Select the Directory + subscription filter in the top menu, and then select the directory that contains your Azure AD B2C tenant.
  3. Under Azure services, select Azure AD B2C. Or use the search box to find and select Azure AD B2C.
  4. Under Manage, select Roles and administrators.
  5. Select a role, such as Global administrator. The Role Assignments page lists the users with that role.

Delete an administrator account

Active Directory Password Requirement

To delete an existing user, you must have a Global administrator role assignment. Global admins can delete any user, including other admins. User administrators can delete any non-admin user.

  1. In your Azure AD B2C directory, select Users, and then select the user you want to delete.
  2. Select Delete, and then Yes to confirm the deletion.

The user is deleted and no longer appears on the Users - All users page. The user can be seen on the Deleted users page for the next 30 days and can be restored during that time. For more information about restoring a user, see Restore or remove a recently deleted user using Azure Active Directory.

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Protect administrative accounts

It's recommended that you protect all administrator accounts with multi-factor authentication (MFA) for more security. MFA is an identity verification process during sign-in that prompts the user for a more form of identification, such as a verification code on their mobile device or a request in their Microsoft Authenticator app.

You can enable Azure AD security defaults to force all administrative accounts to use MFA.

Next steps