Do people at your organisation ever struggle with finding business data? If so, you’re not alone. According to one recent study, 43% of companies are unable to locate critical information, and many more are unsure what they’ve got and where it’s stored. In a way, this isn’t surprising. Across industries, we’re collecting far more data than ever before, in far more places and in many different formats.  

But this situation has some serious drawbacks – especially when it comes to security and compliance. And that’s where Microsoft Purview, a new package of tools from the tech giant, aims to help.  

So, what is Microsoft Purview, what can you do with it, and how might it help? 

What is Microsoft Purview? 

Launched in April 2022, Microsoft Purview is a suite of tools that helps organisations do two closely related things: data management and data governance.  

On the data management front, Purview gives you a way of mapping all the data you hold, regardless of its format or location (on-premises as well as across multiple clouds). This then gives you a single place to start from when you’re searching for data. Microsoft Purview also gives your employees (and potentially even customers) an easier way of searching your company’s databases.   

In terms of data governance, it helps you classify data sensitivity, and therefore helps with meeting the requirements of the GDPR and similar regulations. It also gives you tools for monitoring data usage – who’s viewed, downloaded or uploaded information. And it provides governance controls, so you can set it to delete files that are no longer needed, for instance.   

Purview isn’t exactly a new product. Microsoft themselves describe it as a repackaging of various solutions that were already available. But the idea is to give you a bunch of helpful data management tools in one place.  

Webinar on-demand: Company-wide security in Microsoft 365 

How can Microsoft Purview be used? 

Every business is different, so the way they use Microsoft Purview will be unique to them. That said, the following two examples help illustrate some of its benefits.  

  1. Retail business 

Say a chain of sports gear shops decided to modernise a few years ago by launching an eCommerce site. When the company set up the online store, they opted to use a whole new cloud-based inventory and customer management system, keeping it separate from the on-prem tech they used for their bricks and mortar shops. However, this has led to a lot of inefficiencies. The eCommerce side of the business can’t tell if certain products are in stock in the physical shops. Meanwhile, high street staff are unable to find out what inventory is available online.  

And this is where Purview could help. It would allow the company to bring together all its data from the two different systems. They could then build a universal inventory dashboard, and make it much easier to find stock.  

  1. Financial services firm 

Imagine a financial advisory which collects large amounts of data about its clients, including plenty of highly sensitive personal information. As the firm’s employees now regularly work from home, the company needs to know who’s accessing what and where – and keep a log of this in case they ever get audited.  

Purview could help here too. It can show where all customer data is stored, and so the firm would be able to check security measures are in place and apply appropriate access permissions across the board.  

Recommended: What is Microsoft Cloud for financial services? 

Why use Microsoft Purview? 

Using Purview can potentially help organisations achieve several things at once. These include: 

  • Making it easier to find all your data 

As noted above, organisations today hold vast quantities of data. Finding it is often very time consuming, and many simply don’t know what they hold nor where it is. Purview maps it all for you, and therefore makes finding data easier.  

  • Helps you do more with your data 

On a related note, being able to find your data unlocks its value. After mapping it out, you might realise that two datasets you hold could help with identifying some trend, customer behaviour, or other valuable insight.  

  • Identify any unsecured data 

Using Purview should also help show up any unsecured data – or data usage. You can then apply rules to manage access.  

Suggested: How does your company’s data protection strategy compare? 

  • One tool for all data governance activities  

There are already many data governance and data discovery tools out there (including within Microsoft’s own product family). But Purview aims to be comprehensive – it gives you one place to do all data management tasks, potentially simplifying processes for you.  

  • A solution for how we work today 

With the massive rise in remote work, mobile devices and cloud technologies, there’s a real need for a more unified approach to how organisations deal with their data. Microsoft Purview might just offer the solution.  

  • Changes how organisations think about data 

Arguably, one of the most important things Purview does is to change how we think about data. Right now, many organisations have a data governance team, who are all about making sure it’s kept safe and compliant. The company then has a separate data management and discovery team, whose goal is making sense of the data. With a tool like Purview, it brings those two teams together – and hopefully makes their processes smarter and more efficient.  

Don’t forget: The importance of backing up cloud data 

Get started with Microsoft Purview 

If you ever struggle finding, managing and controlling access to your company’s data, then Microsoft Purview could well provide a very useful package of tools and services to make your job easier. And FITTS can help you get up and running with the platform. Our experienced consultants work with you to map out your data, discover what you’ve got, and apply appropriate security and governance strategies.  

Contact us today to learn more about using Microsoft Purview.