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Microsoft 365 App Compliance Program is designed to provide assurance to organizations and enterprise IT admins like you, that when your data interacts with a certified application, that application has undergone a security and privacy review. Microsoft 365 Certification requires a thorough assessment of an app and its underlying infrastructure against a series of security controls under these security domains:  

  • Application Security  

  • Operational Security 

  • Data Handling Security and Privacy  

  • Optional External Compliance Frameworks Review 


When an app undergoes Microsoft 365 Certification, a third-party assessor validates and assesses the app and its supporting infrastructure. An ISV must pass the controls in each of the following security domains to be awarded a certification: 


1. Application Security:
The application security domain focuses upon the following three areas:

  • GraphAPI Permission Validation – GraphAPI permission validation is carried out to validate that the app/add-in does not request overly ensures that the permissions requested are required for the functionality of the app.

  • External Connectivity Checks – Analyst will perform a walkthrough of the applications functionality to identify connections outside of Microsoft 365. Any connections which are not identified as being Microsoft or any direct connections to a service will be flagged and discussed during the assessment.

  • Application Security Testing – Application security testing in the form of penetration testing MUST be carried out if the application has any connectivity to any service not published by Microsoft. If the app operates standalone without connectivity to any non-Microsoft service or backend, then penetration testing is not required. 
    Learn More!

2. Operations Security:
This domain measures the alignment of an app’s supporting infrastructure and deployment processes with security best practices. There are various controls assessed in this layer like malware protection, patch management, vulnerability scanning and firewalls, account management and incident management, and change control to name a few.
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3. Data Handling and Privacy:
Data in transit between the application user, intermediary services, and ISV’s systems will be required to be protected by encryption through a TLS connection. If an application retrieves and stores customer data, you will be required to implement a data storage encryption scheme that follows the specification as defined Here. This domain also tests controls like data at rest, data retention and disposal, data access management and GDPR.
Learn More!


4. Optional External Compliance Review
If external security frameworks have been included within the Publisher Attestation, certification analysts will need to check the validity of those compliance audit reports as part of the Microsoft 365 Certification assessment. These external frameworks can be leveraged in your certification assessment to expedite the process. Evidence for the following supported external compliance audits include:

If you have questions, please reach out to


See the following resources to learn more about the Microsoft 365 App Compliance Program:

Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.

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