By Garrett Becker

Do you struggle with data modeling and data sources?  Our team of certified Microsoft Power BI analysts have been working with our customers to leverage the end-to-end platform to create powerful insights into their business. Through our work, we have identified several best practices or lessons learned we want to share to help you on your journey in building a data-driven culture through business intelligence.

The fourth in our series is focused on security and administration functions.  The challenges of securing data and managing your resources are real. But we have 8 best practices to help you!

1. Enable Row-Level Security (RLS)

  • Based on defined user roles in the Power BI report, this feature will limit which data records users can view
  • Helps define needs by user and limits data scope

2. Use the built-in Power BI connectors to various sources (such as Intuit® QuickBooks™, Amazon® Web Services™, Microsoft® Azure™, etc.)

  • Utilizing these already developed data connectors in the Power BI desktop apps builds in security from the start
  • Power BI shields your login credentials from other users who access the file, and will periodically ask you to sign in again to verify your identity
  • Power BI is not an integrated development environment and so does not have the capability to house environment variables, therefore API keys and other credentials will not be found and stolen

3. Schedule automated data refreshes in Power BI Service

  • Click on the desired dataset in Power BI Service, and then “Refresh” at the top, then “Schedule refresh”
  • Under the settings you can select the login credentials you wish to use to connect to online data sources, and define how often/what time data refreshes should occur
  • Additionally, if the refresh fails, you can add-in addresses to receive notifications

Quickly set up automated data refreshes

4. Add Viewers, Contributors, Members and Administrators to Power BI Service workspaces

  • Add members of your organization to access workspace at four levels: Viewer, Contributor, Member, and Administrator by clicking on the “Access” tab in the service workspace; Credentials for each include:
    • Viewer: Read-only access
    • Contributor: Above and create, edit, copy, and delete workspace items privileges
    • Member: Above and can feature dashboards on the Service, share items and allow others to reshare, and publish/republish dashboards
    • Administrator: Above and add/remove other users including administrators privileges

5. Enable Object-Level Security (OLS)

  • On the Modeling tab in the ribbon, you can create roles in “Manage Roles” which allows you to control which groups can access certain tables in the data model
  • Verify security settings are correct by clicking “View as” to test out the data model view according to your requirements

6. Use the Performance Analyzer in Power BI Desktop to measure your dashboard’s efficiency

  • First click on “Start recording” and then click through different visuals on your report
  • Upon stopping recording, you will see a list of each visual and how long it took each to query the data and render the information onto the page
  • This provides insight into the details of your report performance and identifies bottlenecks and areas of improvement

7. Utilize Metrics in Power BI Service

  • For tracking key performance indicators across a business or project, consider using scorecards in the “Metrics” section of Power BI Service
  • You can add different owners, start and end dates, statuses, and even multiple targets for a metric to reach
  • Easily connect metric values to existing data sets for hands off tracking
  • Keep current performances visible to your team and organization

Set up metric scorecards to keep track of progress

8. Submit your ideas to the Power BI development team

  • If you have thoughts on how Power BI could be better, you can click on the “Submit an Idea” button on the “Help” tab of the ribbon
  • Here you can see others’ ideas and vote on which ones the team should prioritize
  • This page can also help you figure out clever ways of implementing solutions in the application

We can help

Contact a team member to learn more about our Data Analytics services. Check out our first, second, and third Power BI resource articles about Best Practices in Data Modeling and Source.

The information provided in this communication is of a general nature and should not be considered professional advice. You should not act upon the information provided without obtaining specific professional advice. The information above is subject to change.