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Microsoft Purview – A Comprehensive Guide for IT Leaders

In today’s data-driven world, managing and governing data is crucial for businesses to remain compliant, secure, and efficient. Microsoft Purview, a unified data governance service, is at the forefront of addressing these challenges.

This article will delve deep into what Microsoft Purview is, its core features, and why it is a vital tool for IT leaders.

What is Microsoft Purview?

Microsoft Purview is a cloud-based solution designed to help organisations discover, classify, understand, and manage their data across on-premises, multi-cloud, and software-as-a-service environments. It aims to offer a bird’s-eye view of an organisation’s data landscape, ensuring data compliance and security.

During its launch, Microsoft highlighted Purview’s ability to discover sensitive data and its lineage across various sources, automate data discovery, classification, and end-to-end data lineage, and create a holistic, up-to-date map of data landscape.

One of the standout features of Purview is its ability to seamlessly scan and classify data from a multitude of sources. This includes not only databases but also big data stores, both in on-premises environments and across various cloud platforms. By doing so, it offers businesses a holistic view of their data landscape, ensuring that sensitive data, such as personal identifiers and financial information, is easily identifiable and managed appropriately.

Beyond its data discovery and classification capabilities, Purview’s robust framework equips organisations to protect their sensitive information more efficiently. Instead of relying on traditional, often fragmented, data management solutions, Purview presents a more streamlined and integrated approach. This not only helps in enhancing an organisation’s risk and compliance posture but also in unlocking the true potential of their data by making it more accessible and understandable to those who need it.

From Azure Purview to Microsoft Purview

Azure Purview, initially launched as a part of the Azure platform, was later rebranded to “Microsoft Purview” to reflect its broader scope and utility beyond just the Azure ecosystem. Launched in April 2022, Microsoft Purview brings together the former Azure Purview and the former Microsoft 365 Compliance portfolio under one brand into a more unified platform.

The shift underscores Microsoft’s goal to provide an all-encompassing data governance tool, catering not just to Azure users but also to businesses operating in multi-cloud, on-site, and SaaS setups. Purview streamlines the understanding and management of data across different platforms, ensures its protection, and enhances risk and compliance management more efficiently than other conventional solutions currently available.

Core Features of Microsoft Purview

Data Discovery and Classification: Automatically discovers and classifies sensitive data across various sources, ensuring you know where crucial data resides.

Data Cataloguing: Offers a centralised view of technical, operational, and business-related data. Users can easily find trustworthy datasets and embark on data-driven projects confidently.

Sensitive Data Insights: Provides in-depth insights about where sensitive data resides, how it’s moving, and how it’s being used.

Automated Data Lineage Visualisation: Enables understanding of how data flows and transforms across its lifecycle, facilitating impact analysis and ensuring data accuracy.

Regulatory Compliance and Auditing: Simplifies the process of regulatory compliance, with built-in support for GDPR, CCPA, and other regulations.

Why IT Leaders Should Consider Microsoft Purview

Unified Data Visibility: IT leaders need a holistic view of their organisation’s data landscape. Purview offers unified visibility, ensuring leaders can make informed decisions about data storage, usage, and compliance.

Risk Mitigation: By classifying and monitoring sensitive data, IT leaders can preemptively identify and mitigate risks related to data breaches or misuse.

Operational Efficiency: With automated data discovery and lineage visualisation, IT operations can streamline data-related processes, reducing time spent on data tracing and quality checks.

Ensuring Compliance: In a world with ever-evolving data protection regulations, staying compliant is paramount. Purview offers tools and insights to make regulatory adherence simpler and more straightforward.

Strategies for Implementing Microsoft Purview

Microsoft Purview seamlessly integrates with a range of Microsoft services like Azure Data Factory, Power BI, and Azure Synapse Analytics. Moreover, its extensive API capabilities mean it can be integrated into non-Microsoft systems with relative ease.

Start with a Data Audit: Before deploying Purview, conduct a thorough data audit. Understand where your data resides, its nature, and its significance to the business.

Prioritise Sensitive Data: Use Purview’s data classification to immediately identify and secure sensitive data. This ensures that your organisation’s most critical data assets are safeguarded from the get-go.

Engage Stakeholders: Data governance isn’t just an IT issue. Engage stakeholders across departments to ensure everyone understands the importance of data governance and how Purview plays a role.

Continuous Monitoring: Set up Purview to continuously monitor and classify new data. This proactive approach ensures that your data landscape remains transparent and controlled.

Microsoft Purview Compliance Manager for Risk Assessment

Microsoft Purview Compliance Manager is an integral feature of the Microsoft Purview compliance portal. Its primary purpose is to provide organisations with clear insights into their compliance stance, helping them identify potential areas of risk and recommending actions to mitigate them.

One of the standout offerings of the Compliance Manager is its premium template, tailored for building assessments that align with specific regulations. This customised template can be conveniently found in the assessment templates page within the Compliance Manager, ensuring a streamlined process for organisations to begin their compliance journey.

Building assessments in Compliance Manager is a structured process:

Access the Template: Begin by navigating to the assessment templates page in Compliance Manager. Here, you’ll find the premium template tailored for specific regulations.

Customise Your Assessment: While the template provides a robust framework, every organisation’s needs are unique. Customise the assessment parameters to match your organisation’s specific requirements and business processes.

Execute the Assessment: Once set up, run the assessment to evaluate your organisation’s current compliance posture. This will provide a clear picture of areas that adhere to regulations and those that might be lacking.

Review & Take Action: Post-assessment, Compliance Manager will provide a detailed report, highlighting potential risk areas and offering recommendations. Prioritise these actions based on the level of risk associated and implement the suggested changes.

Monitor & Reassess: Regulatory landscapes and business processes evolve. Periodically revisit and re-run your assessments to ensure continuous compliance.

Challenges and Considerations

While Microsoft Purview offers a host of benefits, IT leaders should be aware of potential challenges. As your organisation grows, so does your data. Ensure that your Purview implementation scales in tandem, and that your Purview strategy should be scalable and adaptive.

With multi-cloud and hybrid environments becoming the norm, managing data across various sources can also be a challenge. Ensure that your IT team and other stakeholders are adequately trained on Purview’s features and best practices to maximise its potential.

Conclusion

For IT leaders, Microsoft Purview represents a transformative approach to data governance. By offering unified data visibility, automated classification, and robust compliance tools, Purview ensures that organisations can harness the power of their data responsibly and efficiently. As data continues to be an organisation’s most valuable asset, tools like Purview will be indispensable in the IT leader’s toolkit.

If you’re considering implementing Microsoft Purview or need expert guidance on data governance within your IT environment, contact us at A1 Technologies.

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