Azure AD Logs in Log Analytics - lots of flaws

3 minutes read

If you haven’t heard, Azure Active Directory (AAD) can now route logs to places like Storage Accounts, Event Hubs and Azure Log Analytics.
Right now this is still in preview, but in my experience it works very well, except for one flaw! The only way to configure this feature is via the Azure Portal. :-(
Not necessarily the end of the world, as you will likely only be doing this once per tenant (Azure Active Directory), but I definitely prefer to have everything documented in code.
Especially if you are a consultant and are being asked to build lots of Azure environments for different customers, yes, you need to automate your work!

PowerShell and Azure API

Unfortunately, at this time, there is no PowerShell or other CLI command that I could find that will configure AAD diagnostic settings. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t automate it to some degree.
With a bit of help from Fiddler I managed to find the API endpoint that is being called to configure these settings.${SETTINGS_NAME}?api-version=2017-04-01-preview Oh, I also wanted to mention one other flaw, you need to have the Azure PowerShell module installed.
I haven’t tested my code with the new Az module yet, but that will follow at some point. Reason for this is because of another flaw in this process, and yes, to me it’s a flaw.
This specific API that we are going to call requires a particular user claim in the token that we are going to use to authenticate against the API which is called user_impersonation. This claim can only be acquired by a real user actually logging in. So be prepared to be prompted during this process.

We cannot use a fully silent workflow, unless we want to use an AAD user without MFA. Nobody wants that, so I won’t be showing that.

I also assume that you have already created a Log Analytics workspace. If not, go and do that now with the tool of your choice. Check here for an example of how to do it in PowerShell.

PowerShell “hack” to the rescue

Below script will do the following things, and obvious disclaimer, you will run this at your own risk:

  • configure a “Diagnostics Settings” setting on your AAD tenant storing all your
    • AuditLogs
    • SignInLogs
  • in your Log Analytics Workspace so that you can then query your logs from Log Analytics

We are leveraging a built-in service principal (client_id) for this, which essentially mimics the “Azure PowerShell” login workflow and then maps your user’s permissions onto that application.

Replace the first five variables with your specific values.
My tests have shown that the user you need to log in as requires the following permissions:

  • Global Administrator on your AAD tenant
  • Read permissions on the Log Analytics workspace
Import-Module AzureRm -Force


$LA_WORKSPACE_ID ='/subscriptions/{0}/resourcegroups/{1}/providers/microsoft.operationalinsights/workspaces/{2}' -f $SUBSCRIPTION_ID, $LA_RESOURCEGROUP_NAME, $LA_WORKSPACE_NAME

$clientId = '1b730954-1685-4b74-9bfd-dac224a7b894' #built-in client id for "azure powershell"
$redirectUri = 'urn:ietf:wg:oauth:2.0:oob' #redirectUri for built-in client
$graphUri = ''
$authority = '{0}' -f $TENANTID
$authContext = New-Object Microsoft.IdentityModel.Clients.ActiveDirectory.AuthenticationContext -ArgumentList $authority

$authResult = $authContext.AcquireToken($graphUri, $clientId, $redirectUri, "Always")
$token = $authResult.AccessToken

$uri = '{0}?api-version=2017-04-01-preview' -f $SETTINGS_NAME

$body = @{
  id = "/providers/microsoft.aadiam/providers/microsoft.insights/diagnosticSettings/{0}" -f $SETTINGS_NAME
  properties = @{
    logs = @(
        category = "AuditLogs"
        enabled = $true
        retentionPolicy = @{
          days = 0
          enabled = $false
        category = "SignInLogs"
        enabled = $true
        retentionPolicy = @{
          days = 0
          enabled = $false
    metrics = @()
    workspaceId = $LA_WORKSPACE_ID

Invoke-WebRequest -Uri $uri -Body $(ConvertTo-Json $body -Depth 4) -Headers @{Authorization = "Bearer $token"} -Method Put -ContentType 'application/json'

The result of running this script can be seen here in the following two images.

azure ad diagnostics azure ad diagnostics settings

Looking ahead

So far Microsoft doesn’t seem to see it as a problem that there is no built-in PowerShell cmdlet to create this setting or a fully silent way of running this, like we get with almost all other things where we can request a Bearer token for a Service Principal and then execute tasks.
Let’s see if this will change in the near future. I sure hope so.


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