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What is Microsoft Purview?

by Aware

Microsoft Purview, first launched as Azure Data Catalog, is a data governance software solution organizations can use to manage their data across multiple on-premises and multi-cloud-based platforms. In this post, we’ll discuss how Purview provides organizations control over their data assets, facilitates compliance, reduces data risks, and drives decisions through data governance solutions.


What are some of the features you get with Microsoft Purview?

By combining aspects of Azure and Microsoft 365 compliance solutions, Purview provides SaaS functionalities through several key features, including:

  • Data Cataloging—Purview automatically scans, classifies, and catalogs data assets throughout the organization’s entire data estate.
  • Data Lineage—Follows data sources, movement, and transformation across systems.
  • Data Classification and Governance—Classifies data by sensitivity labels and compliance requirements as needed for data governance.
  • Azure Service Integration—Integrates with other Azure services.
  • Third-Party System Integration—While primarily a Microsoft product, Purview can integrate with select third-party systems.
  • Data Insights and Analytics—Users can generate information on data usage, patterns, and compliance metrics to inform decision-making and data governance strategies.

What can you do with Microsoft Purview?

Purview gives organizations the ability to preserve and manage data through its lifecycle with policies and controls that ensure the data’s integrity and security in compliance with regulatory requirements.

In the Microsoft Purview Portal, this is accomplished through three sets of features: data security, data governance, and risk and compliance.

Data Security

Data security features in the Purview Portal are key to ensuring regulatory compliance and mitigating risks to sensitive data.

  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP)—Prevents unauthorized disclosure of sensitive information by monitoring data access and usage and implementing security policies to prevent data leaks.
  • Information Barriers—Restricts communication and collaboration between groups or individuals to prevent conflicts of interest, unauthorized data sharing, or regulatory noncompliance.
  • Information ProtectionProtects sensitive data through encryption, access controls, and rights management to ensure that only authorized users can use the data.
  • Insider Risk Management—Mitigates insider threats by identifying the risky or suspicious behavior of employees, contractors, or partners who may intentionally or unintentionally misuse or disclose data.
  • Privileged Access Management (PAM)—Manages sensitive resources and privileged accounts within your company’s IT infrastructure by restricting access, enforcing privilege principles, and auditing privileged activities to prevent abuse and misuse.

Data Governance

Purview’s data governance features provide organizations with the tools to manage data quality, integrity, security, and compliance across their data ecosystem.

  • Data Catalog—Collects data from multiple sources into a centralized repository to improve data visibility and accessibility for data governance.
  • Data Estate Insights—Provides insights and analytics into an organization’s data ecosystem, showcasing data usage, access patterns, quality metrics, and compliance status across the entire landscape to support governance strategies, allocation of resources, and data management optimization.
  • Data Map—Visualizes the relationships between different data assets, systems, and processes in a graphical representation of the data’s lineage, showing how data flows through the organization and how dependencies are formed
  • Data Policy—Enforces data governance policies and standards related to data classification, data discovery, access controls, data protection, retention, and compliance.
  • Data Sharing—Facilitate secure and compliant data sharing with access permissions, sharing agreements, and consent mechanisms so data only passes between authorized users.

Risk and Compliance

These features of Microsoft Purview provide audit capabilities, communication compliance, data lifecycle management, and eDiscovery to enhance governance, reduce compliance risk, and build stakeholder trust.

  • Audits—Track user activities, system events, and data modifications to ensure regulatory compliance and policy adherence and identify security incidents and breaches with audit logs.
  • Communication Compliance—Monitor and enforce policies across multiple channels, detect and prevent inappropriate behaviors, and encourage a safe work environment.
  • Compliance Manager—Assess compliance posture, identify gaps, and prioritize remediation efforts across regulatory frameworks, such as GDPR, HIPAA, and ISO.
  • Data Lifecycle Management—Create policies and processes for managing data throughout its lifecycle, governing data retention, archiving, and deletion while reducing storage costs and ensuring data security.
  • eDiscovery—Identify, preserve, and collect electronically stored information (ESI) for legal, investigative, and regulatory purposes, and export relevant data in response to litigation.

What are the benefits of using Microsoft Purview?

Microsoft Purview helps organizations fulfill many requirements of a secure and compliant workspace. The software’s systematic approach to data compliance makes it easier for companies to classify data, enforce policies, and audit data usage.

Purview also streamlines regulatory compliance, enabling companies to adhere to regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA, ISO, and more.

With Purview, data is searchable and discoverable across the Microsoft 365 suite of apps, including Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, Outlook, OneDrive, and more. This supports informed decision-making and builds trust with stakeholders.

Additionally, Purview’s considerable analytical features enable organizations to gain valuable oversight of their data landscape to better understand how their data flows, its dependencies, and how to optimize data management.

Purview integrates with the Azure environment, including Azure Data Lake Storage, Azure Synapse Analytics, and other services. This keeps the platform unified for data governance and leverages existing investments in Azure infrastructure.

What are the challenges of using Microsoft Purview?

While Purview is a powerful tool, users may face some limitations that can cause frustration. For example, Purview’s eDiscovery and search solutions lack features like advanced search capabilities or legal holds. Users are also restricted to searching by a single parameter at a time and must blend the results of multiple searches when refining results by multiple attributes.

When searching large datasets, results can take hours or days to populate. This can be costly to organizations, particularly if the eDiscovery investigation has a quick deadline.

There are also extra costs involved in running eDiscovery searches beyond typical Purview licensing requirements. First, every custodian involved in the search must be on an E5 license or equivalent add-on. Second, there are additional Azure processing and storage fees. Then, to perform the native analysis on the search index, companies need either a Microsoft Consultant or a third-party analytical solution.

Finally, Purview is only capable of searching across Microsoft products. Most companies have a data ecosystem that branches beyond a single suite of programs, meaning Zoom, Google Drive, Slack, or Workplace from Meta will be blind spots in a Purview search.

Purview’s complexity, additional fees, and lack of support for non-Microsoft products can increase the total cost of ownership and present problems for organizations seeking a comprehensive and cost-effective solution for data governance and eDiscovery. This complexity is only going to be exacerbated by Microsoft's recent move to separate Teams and Office globally following an EU antitrust investigation.

Aware—an AI-powered partner for Microsoft Purview

Microsoft Purview offers powerful data asset management and governance capabilities, though it has shortfalls. The Aware platform can fill those gaps to strengthen your company’s risk position and elevate your data security and governance.

With Aware, you can:

  • Quickly and efficiently collect context-specific information with fewer false positives with the industry’s most accurate Natural Language Processing and machine learning functionality.
  • Surface search results in easily understood formats that seamlessly integrate with existing eDiscovery workflows such as Relativity.
  • Automate and set customized rules and policies while continually ingesting the data from source in real time, so searches take minutes, not hours or days.

Using Aware, companies can reduce data loss risk, manage data security and governance, meet regulatory requirements, and speed up legal investigations in all the places where employees collaborate. Contact us today to learn how Aware can fill the gaps in Purview to complete your data governance and eDiscovery needs.


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Topics:Microsoft Teams Insights