Microsoft Corp on Thursday announced a new cloud-based tool designed to help corporate customers understand where data is scattered throughout their operations and whether they are in compliance with data privacy regulations. “Azure Purview, a new data governance solution in public preview.” Purview helps businesses map all their data, no matter where it resides, and provides an end-to-end view of their data estate.

Although Microsoft is known for its Windows operating system and applications such as Office, the company has built a large business in cloud computing, helping store and process huge amounts of data for corporate customers.

Last year, it introduced a tool called Azure Synapse that is being used by companies such as FedEx Corp to analyze the flow of its 16 million daily packages.

Azure Synapse Analytics meanwhile leverages on-demand or provisioned resources to ingest, prepare, manage, and serve data for business intelligence. Azure Synapse Analytics changes how enterprises store data and gain insight by bringing together data warehousing, big data, data integration, and AI.”

But for large companies, stores of data have become so large and distributed across so many countries, that Microsoft is rolling out a tool called Azure Purview to help companies better understand precisely what information they have and where it resides.

In particular, the tool is designed to help data privacy and risk management officials ensure their companies are in compliance with rules such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, John “JG” Chirapurath, vice president of Azure data, artificial intelligence and edge, told Reuters in an interview.

The new tool uses artificial intelligence to detect sensitive or regulated data and can automatically mask it out, for example by redacting data on European customers from a sales report to US employees who are not authorised to access it.

“It’s one thing to generate insights from data, but it’s another thing to ask questions about the data itself. Can we use this data? Are we being responsible with the fair use of this data?” said Chirapurath. “These might seem like esoteric terms, but they are vital to how we run modern businesses. You have to be able to trust your data.”

Microsoft said on Thursday the service was being used by a handful of customers, and Chirapurath said it was expected to become generally available “shortly”. Reuters.

Microsoft Azure purview.

Azure Purview Review

With Azure Purview, Microsoft is launching a new unified data governance service that helps you manage and govern your on-premises, multicloud, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) data. Easily create a holistic, up-to-date map of your data landscape with automated data discovery, sensitive data classification, and end-to-end data lineage. Empower data consumers to find valuable, trustworthy data.

According to Kumar, Purview automates the discovery of data, cataloging of data, mapping of data, lineage tracking — with the intention of giving our customers a very good understanding of the breadth of the data estate that exists to begin with, and also to ensure that all these regulations that are there for compliance, like GDPR, CCPA, etc, are managed across an entire data estate in ways which enable you to make sure that they don’t violate any regulation,.

In addition to launching Purview, the Azure team also today launched into general availability Azure Synapse, Microsoft’s next-generation data warehousing and analytics service. The idea behind Synapse is to give enterprises — and their engineers and data scientists — a single platform that brings together data integration, warehousing and big data analytics.

Azure Purview includes three main components:

  • Data discovery, classification, and mapping: Azure Purview will automatically find all of an organization’s data on-premises or in the cloud, even those managed by other providers, and evaluate the characteristics and sensitivity of the data.
  • Data catalog: Azure Purview enables all users to search for trusted data using a simple web-based experience. Visual graphs let users quickly see if data of interest is from a trusted source.
  • Data governance: Azure Purview provides a bird’s-eye view of a company’s data landscape, enabling data officers to efficiently govern data use. This enables key insights such as the distribution of data across environments, how data is moving, and where sensitive data is stored.

Microsoft says these improvements will help break down the internal barriers that have traditionally complicated and slowed data governance. Furthermore, Purview’s roadmap includes governance policies to help with compliance for the EU’s GDPR and California’s CCPA.

Finally, Azure Purview provides “a bird’s-eye view of a company’s data landscape,” which enables more-efficient governance of data use, Microsoft said.

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