Microsoft Compliance Manager framework

Microsoft finally release the Compliance Manager:

This framework is designed to help companies getting and staying GDPR compliant or do other audits like ISO 27001:2013.

This article is focusing on GDPR topics.

Services included in this cloud service assessment

SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, Microsoft Booking, Microsoft Graph API, Microsoft Analytics, Microsoft Planner, Microsoft Stream, Office Delve, Office 365 Groups, Office 365 Video, Sway, Microsoft StaffHub, Microsoft PowerApps, Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business

Microsoft Managed Controls

Article 4 Number 8 of the GDPR defines that an entity that processes data on behalf of another is considered to be a contract data processor. Therefore Microsoft, with its services Office 365 & Azure is clearly a contract data processor within the meaning of Article 4 Number 8 of the GDPR.


Because of this there are also topics that Microsoft has to fulfill and the contracting entity had to check. These topics are aggregated in the “Microsoft Managed Controls” section of Compliance Manager.

The topics in this section are passed and tested by a third party independent auditor. We can get the details about every topic in the Compliance Manager as you can see in this example:

Customer Managed Controls

Not every GDPR article is about IT systems. Because of this not every article is covered by theCompliance Manager framework. In the section “Customer Managed Controls” Microsoft offers an audit tool that can be used to organize you GDPR compliance journey for Office 365 & Azure.

Features to organize GDPR compliance journey

  1. Assessment a topic to a responsible person
  2. Upload and manage documents
  3. Track status
  4. Test date
  5. Track test result
  6. Detailed description for each topic
  7. Documentation about your implementation details
  8. Documentation about your test plan & management response




You can use the Compliance Manager framework web UI to work with an auditor or you can also export the results as an Excel files.


The GDPR is structured by the following topics:

  • General provisions (Article 1 – 4)
  • Principles (Article 5 – 11)
  • Rights of the data subject (Article 12 – 23)
  • Controller and processor (Article 24 -43)
  • Transfers of personal data to third countries or international organisations (Article 44 – 50)
  • Independent supervisory authorities (Article 51 – 59)
  • Cooperation and consistency (Article 60 – 76)
  • Remedies, liability and penalties (Article 77 – 84)
  • Provisions relating to specific processing situations (Article 85 – 91)
  • Delegated acts and implementing acts (Article 92 – 93)
  • Final provisions (Article 94 – 99)

(only the highlighted topics are covered by the Compliance Manager framework)

Microsoft as a Software company is using different topics:

  • Discover
  • Manage
  • Protect
  • Report

Even the Compliance Manager framework is using a different structure. The framework is separated in:

  •  Office 365 in-Scope Cloud Services (List of covered services)
  • Microsoft Managed Controls (Topics Microsoft has to fulfill)
  • Customer Managed Controls (Topics the customer has to fulfill)


So we need to do a mapping.

The following matrix is showing the chapters, the articles and the subitems covered by Compliance Manager framework. You can use this in you company-wider GDPR audit to get a clear overview of what is relevant in the context of Office 365

& Azure and what is covered by the Microsoft Compliance Manager framework.

File can be downloaded here -> LINK


Not every article need to be fulfilled by every company. In detail it depends on your company structure and what you do in detail with personal data. A general evaluation of which of these articles apply in a specific individual case, must be analyzed in a legally robust manner.

This article and the Excel Matrix was created to the best of the author’s knowledge and according to careful research. However it cannot and does not intend to replace an in-depth legal, process, and technical assessment.

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