Microsoft Azure Purview – A Comprehensive Solution for Effective Data Governance

Shaheen Mulla

Posted On Jan 22, 2021   |   6 Mins Read

Microsoft Azure Purview – A Comprehensive Solution for Effective Data Governance

With WorkTech driving the future of workplaces and an increasing number of disruptive technologies being adopted in organizations to meet the needs of a hybrid ecosystem, technology is here to stay. As an outcome of this situation, tech-enabled collaboration and productivity systems are going to take the center stage. All this will ultimately result in large data being created which not only has to be managed but governed and protected. A comprehensive solution that in any way can ease data related operations while incorporating data security and compliance is the need of the hour. Microsoft Azure Purview promises to fill this gap.

It is therefore not a surprise that Microsoft Azure Purview has been making quite a buzz since its release in December 2020. This is a ‘unified data governance solution’ that assists in the resolution of many of the data and data-security related pain points when it comes to on-premise, multi-cloud, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) data. Though it might require an understanding of the data governance process for one to work on the same, Purview takes care of the security of the entire data estate providing a bird’s eye view of the data.

Data Everywhere
In the current era of digital transformation, data is at the core of everything that we see or do. It is all-pervasive – getting generated through diverse sources and scattered across multiple locations. It may therefore not be an exaggeration if one were to say that everything in the business ecosystem today revolves around data. As one glances through the entire data estate, one cannot miss noticing the increasing volume of data that gets piled up with each passing day. This data is indeed a critical asset that can be leveraged to learn more about customers, user habits, web traffic, demographics, and many other business-critical insights.

However, there is also a flip side to this. If not dealt with properly, data can become incoherent, unknown, untraced, and useless. Untreated data can snowball into a huge problem. Data is therefore a very significant asset that needs to be treated with care and caution.

A Data Engineer plays a pivotal role not only in effective management but also in the proper maintenance of data. Just in case there is any mismanagement, the consequences can be dire. A little slip here or there could cause cascading damage that would then need a lot of effort and time, on his/her part, to get things back on track. The fundamental principle of handling data in well-defined silos provides better tracking of data. Before using this data for analysis any further, it needs to be brought into a usable shape using data cleaning processes and transformation pipelines, which is a major challenge.

Intelligence Through Insights
Data Analysts use data to derive insights and take leading decisions for the betterment of the organization. The better the data, the better is the intelligence derived from it. Erroneous data, which is also called ‘bad data’ or ‘dark data’, when pre-processed and analyzed incorrectly can result in bad decision-making. Hence the data, along with all the processes associated with it, should not only be taken seriously but also be maintained with equal care. With advances in technology and everything around us starting from our gadgets to our day-to-day transactions, to the payment mechanisms becoming tech-enabled, every digital footprint has the propensity to be used and misused. This is the reason why even governments are bringing in stringent mechanisms and strictures around data governance.

The time that we live in is called ‘the age of data’. The entire data management and analysis processes require going through certain steps to satisfy accessibility, security, maintainability, and compliance factors. Data governance is not only for big organizations but organizations of any size. In a world full of ‘database source’ trends, the home-grown excel-based solutions are one of the primary sources of data management, even today.

Important Considerations
Whatever be the approach, ‘security’ in today’s time is an integral factor to be considered while putting any data strategy in place. Though there may be home-grown security mechanisms in place, they do not suffice anymore because mandatory government compliance and regulations such as CCPA and GDPR require stringent measures. If these obligations are not catered to, data could lie in a compromising position and the entire business could get affected. This is where the significance of data governance comes into the picture. Proper authorization and security of the data is thus a non-negotiable for any data engineer. The basics that have to be in place for this are:

  • Ensuring that there are no ‘confidential data’ leaks
  • Automated processing of data thus avoiding manual intervention
  • Tracking and tracing every data flow

Intelligent ways to enable governance, compliance and pampering of the data is now a necessity for the entire DataOps process.

Welcome Microsoft Azure Purview

Microsoft Azure Purview establishes the foundation for unified data governance. It promises to cut down on manual and custom efforts to discover and classify data. The primary features of Purview include:

  • Data governance to authorize, categorize, and trace the data
  • Data map to establish proper relationships between the data sources in the data estate
  • Data catalog to enable automated data discovery along with semantic search and not text-based search which will, in turn, save a lot of time for the data analysts
  • Data lineage tracking to understand the effect of the changes in data fields across all the processes running in the organization
  • Generating insights about the usage of the data sources

I believe that some of the quick gains that Purview brings for us data engineers are:

  • Save 80% time of Analysts thanks to data catalog, the data discovery technique of Purview
  • Insights into data usage and the data flow of the entire data estate
  • Impact analysis and data lineage that helps in the identification of all the areas which would be affected as a result of changes in a specific data-field
  • Setting confidentiality levels and avoidance of the confidential data leaks

Purview has been made available for a public preview free of cost for now so that more and more people can get to explore it. The overarching benefits that Purview promises to deliver are:

  • Availability of the entire data sources in the single view
  • Better protection of data
  • Data Analysts spending lesser time in the data discovery
  • Data lineage tracking
  • Impact analysis and root cause analysis of the processes

With handy single-point solutions like Purview, Data Analysts will have additional bandwidth to focus on more important things. When leveraged in a proper way, with the right expertise to utilize its complete potential, Purview might just be a recommended solution for a lot of our data-related challenges.

You can also check out our point of view session on ‘ How to Tap into Your Data Using Azure Purview‘.