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Post By Admin Last Updated At 2021-06-23
Explain Power BI Security Best Practices

Security is the major aspect of any business entity which is a technique to restrict data access to a user. It helps to secure the data of a reporting system within any organization. This is a critical system where an authorized user only can access data. To implement Power BI Security, you need to set up certain rules and conditions to enforce data access rules. Moreover, Power BI has the best useful option for sharing reports and dashboards easily that a user produces. 

In this blog, I am going to share my views on Power BI Security at the row level, how to implement it, and the best practices of it.

Due to the rapidly changing world towards digital transformation, security is a major concern for many businesses. As the BI platforms often deal with some strategic information within any enterprise, it needs end-to-end protection. Today Power BI offers Cloud level security to the crucial business data. Users may have questions that How secure is my data in the cloud platform? What security measures are there to protect my sensitive data? The answer to these types of questions is the Power BI Security and its best practices. 

Power BI Security system has earned good credentials and the highest security classifications of the industry. Today many national security agencies, financial institutions, etc trust this Microsoft product with their most sensitive and crucial information. 

Let us discuss the important points of the Power BI Security system.

Power BI Security

Power BI Security best practices

Power BI Row Level Security

Power BI Row Level Security is useful to restrict the data access for the assigned users. In this regard, the filters allow the restriction to data access at row level and the user can define the filters within roles. But it has to note that within the Power BI service, the members have the access to the datasets within the workspace where they work. So, Power BI RLS doesn’t have the authority to restrict such data access. 

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Moreover, using Power BI Desktop, you can easily configure RLS for various data models imported into PBI. Also, you can configure Power BI Row Level Security on datasets that use DirectQuery (DQ) like SQL Server. Earlier we were only able to apply Row Level Security within on-premises Analysis/Azure Analysis Services models other than Power BI. Besides, for these Analysis Services live connections, you need to configure RLS with the on-premise model. But the security option may not be available for the live connection datasets. 

Interpreting roles and rules in Power BI Desktop

A user can easily define and describe the roles and rules in PBI Desktop. While a user publishes data with PBI, it automatically publishes the role definitions. This is the most important aspect of Power BI Security at the row level. Hence, to define these security roles, let us discuss the steps to follow:

  • At first, import data into the Power BI Desktop report panel. Otherwise, you can also configure a DQ connection. 
  • Then go to the Modeling tab there
  • Next, select the “Manage Role” option.
  • Then select “Create” within the Manage Roles window.
  • Next, you have to give a suitable Name to the role under the Role. 
  • Later, you have to select the Table under the Tables section, to which you are willing to apply the DAX rule. 
  • Then in the next table, you should enter the DAX expression that returns a value whether True or False.

Note: A user can use the username() in this section which has a certain format within the PBI Desktop. 

  1. h)  Then after creating the DAX expression, you have to choose the CheckBox option above the expression box. This is for validating the expression.

Note: In the expression box, a user needs to use commas to separate the DAX expression functions. This is useful even if you use Semicolon Separators (:) generally. 

  1. i)  Then finally, select the “Save” option. 

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Here, you cannot allow any role to the user within the PBI Desktop. But you can assign them a role within Power BI Service. Hence, you can apply dynamic security within the PBI Desktop by using DAX functions.  Also, you configure the connections properly.

Further, Power BI RL Security filtering uses the single-directional filter as a default filter. This is instead, whether the relations are set to single or bi-directional. Moreover, you have the option to enable bi-directional cross-filter using row-level security. This is possible through selecting the relation and checking the “Apply Security filter in both directions” check box. 

Validating roles within Power BI Desktop

After the creation of the roles, you need to test and validate the roles within the Power BI Desktop. 

Here you need to select “View Roles” from the modeling tab. 

Here you can see the different Roles you have built earlier.

Then you select a role and then select the “OK” applying for the same role. 

Here the report provides the relevant data for the role.

Moreover, you can choose Other User here and provide a given user.

In the PBI desktop, the Other User presents different results. These results come only if you are using dynamic security based on the DAX expressions. 

Then finally select the OK option. The report will display the result based on what the user can see.

In this way, you can validate roles within the PBI Desktop for the Power BI Security. 

Manage security on the given model

You can also manage your data security based on the model you design. For this, you need to follow some steps within the workspace. 

  1. Select- More-Options menu from the given dataset.
  2. Then select the “Security” option.

Now, the Security will take you to the Power BI Row-Level Security page. Here you can add some members to the role you build within the PBI Desktop. The major twist here is that only the owners of the particular dataset can the Security position. In case, the dataset exists within a Group, then the admins of that group only can the security. 

In this way, you can manage your model security within Power BI Security.

Working with different members 

WIthin the PBI Service, you can add members to the role by giving the e-mail address or giving the security group name. Further, you cannot add more Groups that you built within Power BI but you can add members.

Moreover, to set up the row-level security within the Power BI Security system you can use the below groups.

  1. Distribution Group
  2. Mail-enabled Group
  3. Security Group

In this regard, Office 360 groups don’t support and cannot be added to any of the roles. 

Similarly, you can also remove the members from the group.

Further, you can also validate the role within the Power BI Service using a few steps.

All you have to do that select the MORE Options from the menu.

Then choose the Test data as Role.

Here you will see the various reports available for this role. But dashboards are not visible.

Also, test other roles by selecting the “Now Viewing As”. 

After, that if you’re willing to return to the normal view, then select the “Back to row-level Security” option.

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Limitations of row-level security

In Power BI Security, there are certain limitations of row-level security. The existing limitations on cloud models for row-level security. 

If you have defined roles & rules earlier within the Power BI service. Then you must re-build them in the PBI Desktop.

You can describe the RLS only on the datasets built within the PBI Desktop by you. In order to enable RLS for the datasets built within MS Excel, you need to convert the files to PBI Desktop first.

Further, here only the import, ETL, and DQ links offer support. Live Connections only handles the on-premise model of the PBI.

Thus, these are the limitations of row-level Power BI Security. 

Advantages of Power BI

There are many useful benefits of the Power BI and its security system.  

You can access data more easily than ever before with flexibility.

It is very easy to implement and use for different users. Implementing this tool requires very few resources that support cross-platforms. 

Moreover, it offers robust security and access control systems over the other platforms. It provides better control over the systems that deal with sensitive data. 

Also, compatible with cloud platforms in offering different services.

Accessing the data is also very easy in a visual format with various reports and dashboards. 

By using PBI, it becomes easier to audit any file within the organization. It saves much time to complete the audit process within the time rather than it takes manually. 

Power BI Security is applied as a protection wall against intrusions. They are potential and can harm resources.

Lastly, we can say that it is very easy to learn and gain skills.

Final Words

Here we reached the conclusion on the topic of Power BI best Practices and their uses. Power BI security is useful to control the data access for the users with no authority. It secures sensitive data from different users’ intrusion. Also, it is very easy to set up following a few steps and creating reports. Power BI Security practices are important for every enterprise in order to secure data from outsiders. Power BI Security is an important part of the reporting system of an entity with proper controls. Applying such best practices in any enterprise can feel great and secured.

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