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What are Microsoft Purview's governance solutions?

Microsoft Purview's data governance solutions create one place for you to manage your on-premises, multicloud, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) data. Using the Microsoft Purview Data Catalog, Data Map, Data Sharing, Data Estate Insights, and Policies you can:

  • Create an up-to-date map of your business' entire data landscape.
  • Empower your users to find useful, trustworthy data.
  • Classify your sensitive information, so it's visible and you can manage it.
  • Automatically map your data's lineage so you can see where it's coming from and where it's going.
  • Enable your business' data curators and security administrators with the tools they need to manage and secure your data estate.

Graphic showing Microsoft Purview's high-level architecture.


Looking to govern your data in Microsoft 365 by keeping what you need and deleting what you don't? Use Microsoft Purview Data Lifecycle Management.

Data Map

Microsoft Purview automates data discovery by providing data scanning and classification for assets across your data estate. Metadata and descriptions of discovered data assets are integrated into a holistic map of your data estate. Microsoft Purview Data Map provides the foundation for data discovery and data governance. Microsoft Purview Data Map is a cloud native PaaS service that captures metadata about enterprise data present in analytics and operation systems on-premises and cloud. Microsoft Purview Data Map is automatically kept up to date with built-in automated scanning and classification system. Business users can configure and use the data map through an intuitive UI and developers can programmatically interact with the Data Map using open-source Apache Atlas 2.2 APIs. Microsoft Purview Data Map powers the Microsoft Purview Data Catalog, the Microsoft Purview Data Estate Insights and the Microsoft Purview Data Policy as unified experiences within the Microsoft Purview governance portal.

For more information, see our introduction to Data Map.

Atop the Data Map, there are purpose-built apps that create environments for data discovery, access management, and insights about your data landscape.

App Description
Data Catalog Finds trusted data sources by browsing and searching your data assets. The data catalog aligns your assets with friendly business terms and data classification to identify data sources.
Data Estate Insights Gives you an overview of your data estate to help you discover what kinds of data you have and where it is.
Data Sharing Allows you to securely share data internally or cross organizations with business partners and customers.
Data Policy A set of central, cloud-based experiences that help you provision access to data securely and at scale.

Data Catalog

With the Microsoft Purview Data Catalog, business and technical users can quickly and easily find relevant data using a search experience with filters based on lenses such as glossary terms, classifications, sensitivity labels and more. For subject matter experts, data stewards and officers, the Microsoft Purview Data Catalog provides data curation features such as business glossary management and the ability to automate tagging of data assets with glossary terms. Data consumers and producers can also visually trace the lineage of data assets: for example, starting from operational systems on-premises, through movement, transformation & enrichment with various data storage and processing systems in the cloud, to consumption in an analytics system like Power BI. For more information, see our introduction to search using Data Catalog.

Data Estate Insights

With the Microsoft Purview Data Estate Insights, the chief data officers and other governance stakeholders can get a bird’s eye view of their data estate and can gain actionable insights into the governance gaps that can be resolved from the experience itself.

For more information, see our introduction to Data Estate Insights.

Data Sharing

Microsoft Purview Data Sharing enables organizations to securely share data both within your organization or cross organizations with business partners and customers. You can share or receive data with just a few clicks. Data providers can centrally manage and monitor data sharing relationships, and revoke sharing at any time. Data consumers can access received data with their own analytics tools and turn data into insights.

For more information, see our introduction to Data Sharing.

Data Policy

Microsoft Purview Data Policy is a set of central, cloud-based experiences that help you manage access to data sources and datasets securely and at scale.

  • Manage access to data sources from a single-pane of glass, cloud-based experience
  • Enables at-scale access provisioning
  • Introduces a new data-plane permission model that is external to data sources
  • It's seamlessly integrated with Microsoft Purview Data Map and Catalog:
    • Search for data assets and grant access only to what is required via fine-grained policies.
    • Path to support SaaS, on-premises, and multicloud data sources.
    • Path to create policies that leverage any metadata associated to the data objects.
  • Based on role definitions that are simple and abstracted (for example: Read, Modify)

For more information, see our introductory guides:

  • Data owner access policies (preview): Provision fine-grained to broad access to users and groups via intuitive authoring experience.
  • Self-service access policies (preview): Self-Service: Workflow approval and automatic provisioning of access requests initiated by business analysts that discover data assets in Microsoft Purview’s catalog.
  • DevOps policies: Provision IT operations personnel access to SQL system metadata, so that they can monitor performance, health and audit security, while limiting the insider threat.

Here are the benefits of the Data Policy app:

Principle Benefit
Simplify Permissions are bundled into role definitions that are abstracted and consistent across data source types, like Read and Modify.
Reduce the need of permission expertise for each data source type.
Reduce effort Graphical interface lets you navigate the data object hierarchy quickly.
Supports policies on entire Azure resource groups and subscriptions.
Enhance security Access is granted centrally and can be easily reviewed and revoked.
Reduces the need for privileged accounts to configure access directly at the data source.
Supports the Principle of Least Privilege via data resource scopes and common role definitions.

Traditional challenges that Microsoft Purview seeks to address

Challenges for data consumers

Traditionally, discovering enterprise data sources has been an organic process based on communal knowledge. For companies that want the most value from their information assets, this approach presents many challenges:

  • Because there's no central location to register data sources, users might be unaware of a data source unless they come into contact with it as part of another process.
  • Unless users know the location of a data source, they can't connect to the data by using a client application. Data-consumption experiences require users to know the connection string or path.
  • The intended use of the data is hidden to users unless they know the location of a data source's documentation. Data sources and documentation might live in several places and be consumed through different kinds of experiences.
  • If users have questions about an information asset, they must locate the expert, or team responsible for that data and engage them offline. There's no explicit connection between the data and the experts that understand the data's context.
  • Unless users understand the process for requesting access to the data source, discovering the data source and its documentation won't help them access the data.

Challenges for data producers

Although data consumers face the previously mentioned challenges, users who are responsible for producing and maintaining information assets face challenges of their own:

  • Annotating data sources with descriptive metadata is often a lost effort. Client applications typically ignore descriptions that are stored in the data source.
  • Creating documentation for data sources can be difficult and it's an ongoing responsibility to keep documentation in sync with data sources. Users might not trust documentation that's perceived as being out of date.
  • Creating and maintaining documentation for data sources is complex and time-consuming. Making that documentation readily available to everyone who uses the data source can be even more so.
  • Restricting access to data sources and ensuring that data consumers know how to request access is an ongoing challenge.

When such challenges are combined, they present a significant barrier for companies that want to encourage and promote the use and understanding of enterprise data.

Challenges for security administrators

Users who are responsible for ensuring the security of their organization's data may have any of the challenges listed above as data consumers and producers, and the following extra challenges:

  • An organization's data is constantly growing and being stored and shared in new directions. The task of discovering, protecting, and governing your sensitive data is one that never ends. You need to ensure that your organization's content is being shared with the correct people, applications, and with the correct permissions.
  • Understanding the risk levels in your organization's data requires diving deep into your content, looking for keywords, RegEx patterns, and sensitive data types. For example, sensitive data types might include Credit Card numbers, Social Security numbers or Bank Account numbers. You must constantly monitor all data sources for sensitive content, as even the smallest amount of data loss can be critical to your organization.
  • Ensuring that your organization continues to comply with corporate security policies is a challenging task as your content grows and changes, and as those requirements and policies are updated for changing digital realities. Security administrators need to ensure data security in the quickest time possible.

Microsoft Purview advantages

Microsoft Purview is designed to address the issues mentioned in the previous sections and to help enterprises get the most value from their existing information assets. The catalog makes data sources easily discoverable and understandable by the users who manage the data.

Microsoft Purview provides a cloud-based service into which you can register data sources. During registration, the data remains in its existing location, but a copy of its metadata is added to Microsoft Purview, along with a reference to the data source location. The metadata is also indexed to make each data source easily discoverable via search and understandable to the users who discover it.

After you register a data source, you can then enrich its metadata. Either the user who registered the data source or another user in the enterprise can add more metadata. Any user can annotate a data source by providing descriptions, tags, or other metadata for requesting data source access. This descriptive metadata supplements the structural metadata, such as column names and data types that are registered from the data source.

Discovering and understanding data sources and their use is the primary purpose of registering the sources. Enterprise users might need data for business intelligence, application development, data science, or any other task where the correct data is required. They can use the data catalog discovery experience to quickly find data that matches their needs, understand the data to evaluate its fitness for purpose, and consume the data by opening the data source in their tool of choice.

At the same time, users can contribute to the catalog by tagging, documenting, and annotating data sources that have already been registered. They can also register new data sources, which are then discovered, understood, and consumed by the community of catalog users.

Lastly, Microsoft Purview Data Policy app provides a superior solution to keep your data secure.

In-region data residency

Microsoft Purview processes data and stores metadata information, but does not store customer data. Data is processed in its data region, and customer metadata stays within the region where Microsoft Purview is deployed. For regions with data residency requirements, customer data stays within its region, and customer metadata is always kept within the same region where Microsoft Purview is deployed.

Next steps


Check if Microsoft Purview is available in your region on the regional availability page.

To get started with Microsoft Purview, see Create a Microsoft Purview account. For pricing information see, Pricing for Microsoft Purview.