Review any “Don’t know” reviewees prior to the end of an access review

TL;DR – Steps to create access reviews that meet strict compliance requirements by allowing auditors to review any “Don’t know” reviewees prior to the end of a review.

This is a short blog post to document the steps to create an access review that ensures strict compliance requirements around attestation are met. This is a scenario that came up last week while I was delivering one of the Rockstar training sessions and I can’t believe I haven’t documented this yet, so here it is!

The challenge

Many auditors have a requirement to ensure reviewers of access to groups, applications, etc. provide definitive answers. The challenge here is that Access Reviews within Entra Identity Governance provide an option for reviewers to choose “Approve“, “Deny“, or “Don’t know”. So, you can see how “Don’t know” does not meet that definitive answer requirement.

The solution

Fortunately, Access Reviews also provides a feature that allows us to configure multi-stage access reviews, with up to three stages. And within that feature, there is the option to only move to the next stage the “Reviewees marked as “Don’t Know“.

The results

During the first stage, the reviewer gets to review all the members of the group, as shown below. And as you can see, the reviewer, Adele, has approved 5 of them, denied 1, and selected “Don’t know” for 2 of them.

We can also see this from the admin portal as well, as shown below.

So, when the first stage is completed and the next stage approver gets the list to review, this is what they see.

They can see that in the previous stage Adele selected “Don’t know” for 2 of them, which are the ones this approver gets to review. So, this is where the auditor would step in to make that final decision and therefore prevent any reviewees that were neither approved, nor denied.

At the end of both stages, you end up with all users either being denied or approved, and none of them have “Don’t know” as the outcome.

I hope this post is useful and clarifies the options available to meet this specific requirement to provide definitive answers during access reviews.

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