Using sensitivity labels with PowerBI

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I think it was around Ignite 2019 or the MVP Summit that I first was enlightened on the information protection integration with PowerBI. Last week I was reminded of this integration option by one of my co-workers and I decided to (finally ;-)) take a closer look. So in this short blog, I’ll show you how to set this up and how it works.

Does it really makes sense to use information protection with PowerBI? Yes, it does. PowerBI can be used to access and manage a lot of information. Some or all of this information can be sensitive. So it does make sense to protect this information when downloaded.

Yep, that is the functionality of Microsoft Information Protection and PowerBI. When information is exported to Excel, PowerPoint or PDF, the label will be applied when the document is opened. And this is great functionality. But wait: what about Azure Purview? Well, at the end of this blog I’ll show you some of the options there as well.

Configuring PowerBI

One of the first things to do is to connect PowerBI with Microsoft Information Protection. And the settings for this can be found in the PowerBI admin portal | Tenant settings. Here you can activate the setting and also configure which users can set the classification label.

Sensitivity labels Excel, PowerPoint and PDF

When enabled, you can set the label on dashboards, datasets and reports. This is very simple. For example: just go to the settings of the dataset. Here you’ll find the Sensitivity label option – just select the required label.

In your overview, you’ll notice the sensitivity labels displayed and this will also be part of the dataset information page. On a report, the label is displayed at the top op this report.

Now that this information has been labeled, let’s see how this works when downloading the information. Let’s stick with the report for now. I exported the information to Excel, PowerPoint and PDF. And as you might expect, the label was added to the files correctly. I love to see this work in Adobe btw 🙂

Again, I must reiterate this, the sensitivity labels is applied to the exported data. The label will not effect the access level to the dataset. As you are reminded off when changing this access level.

What about Azure Purview?

Well….. as it happens, Azure Purview also allows for the scanning of PowerBI data-sources. It will show you an overview of all your PowerBI assets and it will also display the label connected to PowerBI information. If I’m reading the documentation correctly, this is also the current functionaliteit.

For more information on how to use Azure Purview and PowerBI: Use Power BI with Azure Purview to achieve better data governance and discovery | Microsoft Power BI Blog | Microsoft Power BI

So, I hope this explains some of the functionality regarding information protection and PowerBI. It’s very easy to configure. But it still is a manual process. This might change in the future, so Ill keep you posted 🙂 Here’s a short video of this functionality.

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