Microsoft Purview unveiled to simplify sensitive data management

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Microsoft today announced the launch of a platform that brings together some of its existing data management and risk management capabilities while adding several new features to improve data security and privacy.

The platform, Microsoft Purview, is a combination of the solutions previously known as Azure Purview and Microsoft 365 Compliance. However, integrating the two solutions in this way opens up new opportunities for the business teams responsible for protecting their organization’s data, said Alym Rayani, general manager of compliance and privacy at Microsoft.

And while only a few new features are available with this initial announcement, the intent is to continue to add the capabilities of Microsoft Purview over time — ultimately delivering unique value to customers, he said. Rayani.

“I don’t know anyone who has taken this perspective to bring these two different audiences together,” he said. “When I talk to clients, they get really excited about this — because it’s clearly meeting a pain point that they’re feeling.”

The first new capability Microsoft Purview will introduce will make sensitivity labels visible in both the Microsoft Purview compliance portal (formerly Microsoft 365 Compliance) and the Microsoft Purview governance portal (formerly Azure Purview).

With this new feature, administrators can apply sensitivity labels to data consistently, across platform and data type, Rayani said. Now, “labels travel with the data and are recognized by whatever services you extend it to,” he said.

However, labeling is only the first step — and Microsoft plans to extend this integrated approach to “a full set of actions in the future,” including enforcement actions, Rayani said.

Uniform solution

Currently, the market has “dozens of products” that force security, data management, compliance and legal teams to stitch together a patchwork of solutions, he said. This approach is not effective for safety and consumes a lot of resources, according to Rayani.

“We believe a unified solution is vital to improve security, privacy and compliance,” he said. “Microsoft Purview embodies that simplified and more integrated approach to data.”

By combining the capabilities of Azure Purview and Microsoft 365 Compliance, officers can complete individual tasks faster and more efficiently, Rayani said.

And crucially, this “central data hub” unifies risk management and data governance, allowing these functions to work together in new ways, he said.

Other New Features

Other new capabilities that Microsoft is announcing include the launch of Microsoft Purview Data Loss Prevention for macOS, which is generally available. Microsoft is also significantly expanding its catalog of sensitive information types, with the release of more than 50 new classifications.

As for the capabilities around sensitivity labels, Rayani noted that sensitivity labels created in Microsoft 365 can also be extended to Azure, SharePoint, Teams, Power BI, and SQL. For example, “if you apply a label to an office document and scan it into Azure, the label flows to Azure,” he said.

Microsoft started this functionality because “as you go on the data journey, the first place is, ‘Give me the data map — the integration — then give me the ability to classify data,'” Rayani said. “That’s the beginning of how you manage information. And so that was a natural starting point for this.”

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