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Microsoft BI Approach for Business Intelligence Security

According to the ComputerWorld survey, about 50% of businesses increase their IT security budget allocation, while 41% see analytic tools as investments. In another survey, 35% of the companies see Business Intelligence Security concerns as their biggest obstacles to data analysis.

Importance of Data Security in BI Tools 

Organizations that invest in data safety through business intelligence (BI) tools can benefit from strategic, confident solutions to ensure their data are highly protected from leakage by contractors or employees, potential manipulation, or outside vulnerabilities.

Business intelligence security tools are powerful as it offers opportunities for organizations to have the right technology, processes, and people in place. So, it’s no surprise why security models and big data analytic vendors connect to different systems like accounting e-commerce, marketing automation, web analytics, and social media channels.

Encrypting BI Data 

When it comes to BI data encryption, security considerations are categorized into four, including:

  1. Process Level Security – This level of security refers to the overall set of procedures, sets, and controls a system utilizes to protect data.
  2. System-Level Security – This covers individuals who have access to what and where.
  3. Object-level Security – This refers to the tool managing the access to various components within a platform, like control over the users who can edit or access the dashboard.
  4. Data-level Security – This security architecture level determines which data is visible by the users within a data source.

Addressing BYOD Security Challenges for Data Safety 

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) continues to become popular in the workplace. However, this technology allowance faces the biggest concern in Business intelligence Security, which is data safety. That is why strong BYOD security policies came into the scene.

In addressing BYOD security challenges, organizations should focus on:

  • Data encryption 
  • Remote access applications 
  • Mobile device management 
  • Identity access management 
  • Clear BYOD security policies and education 

Implementing Data Governance and Authorization 

Data governance and authorization connect business strategies with the data policy. It is more than technology; it also deals with defining, implementing, and strengthening processes and policies for how to maintain, store, uses, and generated data across an organization. That is why the need to implement them through effective:

  • Prioritization of areas for improvement 
  • Maximizing of information availability 
  • Creation of rules, roles, and responsibilities 
Big Data Security

Implementing Best Practices for Password Policy and Access 

An organization’s first line of data security and protection is a strong password. Susceptible passwords are vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks. So, implementing the following best practices would help:

  • Minimum password length configuration 
  • Password history policy enforcement 
  • Minimum 3-day password age setup
  • Local admin password reset every 180 days
  • Annual service account password reset
  • Strong paraphrases usage at least 15 characters for domain admin accounts 
  • Password changes tracking 
  • Email password expiration notifications 
  • Granular audit policies creation 

Microsoft BI Approach for Data Security in Business Intelligence 

Microsoft Power BI plays a critical role not just in data analytics and visualization but also in Business intelligence Security. Below are the security areas where Power BI excels:

  • Data Encryption – Power BI utilizes encrypted storage in Azure SQL Database and Azure Blob Storage, depending on the data type.
  • WorkSpace Level Security – WorkSpace is where the entire datasets and related reports are stored, and users can assign different statuses, including contributor, member, or admin.
  • Row-Level Security Level – Users do not have the permission to manage or edit the content or configuration within the entire workplace to ensure security.
  • Compliance – It is the highest data security level, and Power BI is compliant since 2016 to ensure enterprises can use the BI tool legally.

MS Power BI Approach for Data Encryption At-rest and In Process 

Power BI makes any data in Azure encrypted. The BI tool handles the data at rest based on how the data is delivered for visualizations and on data source.

As data in the process, Power BI improves the dashboard performance by ensuring that data is cached for Direct Query Connections. SSRS, Excel, and other pinned visuals in the dashboards are also encrypted and cached.

Work Space Level Security in Power BI for Permissions and Roles 

Power BI ensures that the row-level security is effectively maintained at the datasets level. App permission grants the report users access to the Power BI app. Besides, various report level permissions are maintained in different access paths to the workspace between these levels. This level of Business intelligence Security has helped Power BI become a favorite choice among organizations.

Restricting Data Access with Row Level Security (RLS) in Power BI 

Row Level Security (RLS) is implemented in the Power BI data model, depending on the connection type. It is implemented in the MSAS cube, either by a tabular or multidimensional design.

RSL filters content according to the user’s role. In restricting data access, users can choose from the two options:

  1. Implementing status user role for particular access level 
  2. Creating a dynamic security user role for allocating permission to the users 

Challenges and Responsibilities in Power BI for Compliance 

No doubt, Power BI is an incredible BI and security tool. However, some users may encounter compliance responsibilities and challenges with this powerful tool. Oftentimes, users have to deal with report access, data source access, sharing reports and report data access challenges.

Fortunately, Power BI reports are connected to MS Dataverse. That way, users can take advantage of visibility on the quarterly scope evaluations status. They can also drive activities completion timely.

How to Test Your Business Intelligence Data Security

With BI tools, businesses can gather and analyze data and then transform them into meaningful and efficient information to make sophisticated business strategies and wise business decisions. So, they need to test these tools for maximum data security.

Below are the steps on how to test BI tools:

  1. Checking the data source 
  2. Checking the data transformation 
  3. Thirdly, checking the data loading 
  4. Testing the BI reports 


What do organizations across the world have in common? Organizations are vulnerable to big data breaches that can affect their finances, operations, customers, and more. Cybersecurity breach enables unauthorized individuals or groups to access a massive amount of data flowing through an organization. So, taking advantage of MS Power BI is an advantage for data security. 

Errin OConnor

Errin OConnor

With over 25 years of experience in Information Technology and Management Consulting, Errin O’Connor has led hundreds of large-scale enterprise implementations from Business Intelligence, Power BI, Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, IT Security, Azure and Hybrid Cloud efforts for over 165 Fortune 500 companies.

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