A Guide to Azure Purview [Key Features & Best Practices]

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In the increasingly complex regulatory and digital environment of today, small to midsize businesses (SMBs) face the challenge of leveraging their data assets securely and compliantly. Microsoft Azure Purview emerges as a pivotal solution for IT decision-makers in these highly regulated sectors, offering a comprehensive suite for managing data governance. This guide explores Azure Purview, detailing its functionalities, implementation best practices, and how it stands in relation to Azure Data Catalog, alongside insights into its pricing and training avenues.

Introduction to Azure Purview

As businesses navigate the data-driven landscape, the necessity for robust data governance becomes undeniable. Designed to address the increasing complexities and regulatory requirements faced by businesses in managing their data, Microsoft Azure Purview provides organizations with cloud-native tools for data discovery, classification, cataloging, lineage tracking, and compliance management. Initially, Azure Purview was the amalgamation of several discrete Microsoft tools for business data encryption and cataloging such as “Information Rights Management” and “Information Protection” that was pulled together in response to the growing demand for a holistic approach to data governance. However, in 2022 Microsoft expanded some of Azure Purview's capabilities and renamed their product to “Microsoft Purview.” This new name better reflected the service's expansion beyond the Azure ecosystem, emphasizing its capability to govern data across the entire Microsoft 365 suite, including services like Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, and Exchange, as well as third-party data sources and platforms. But as this blog post will focus on the cloud-oriented aspects of the product, we will refer to this solution by its original “Azure Purview” name.

What is Azure Purview?

What is Azure Purview

Azure Purview is a unified data governance service designed to provide businesses with a comprehensive view of their data estate, no matter where it resides-on-premises, across cloud environments, or in SaaS applications. Azure Purview is engineered to enhance visibility, ensure compliance, and facilitate data-driven decision-making.

Key Features of Azure Purview

Azure Purview stands out for its rich feature set, tailored to empower businesses to manage their data effectively:

Data Discovery and Classification

The ability to automatically discover and classify sensitive and regulated data stands as a cornerstone for ensuring compliance and securing data assets. Azure Purview's data discovery and classification feature is engineered to meet these needs, especially critical for SMBs navigating the complex landscape of regulatory compliance. Here are some real-world examples that highlight the efficacy and indispensability of Azure Purview's capabilities in this domain:

  • Healthcare Sector Compliance - Consider a small to midsize healthcare provider managing patient data across multiple locations and cloud environments. With stringent Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations governing the protection of patient health information (PHI), the risk of non-compliance poses significant legal and financial threats. Azure Purview steps in to automatically identify and classify PHI data across the provider's entire data estate, including electronic health records, patient billing information, and insurance documents. By tagging sensitive data and applying predefined compliance policies, Azure Purview ensures that access is restricted, data is encrypted, and audit trails are maintained, thereby upholding HIPAA compliance and securing patient data against breaches.
  • Financial Services Data Protection - In the financial services industry, an SMB offering investment advice and processing credit applications must adhere to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), which mandates the protection of sensitive financial information. Azure Purview's discovery and classification engine can scan through databases and cloud storage to find and classify data such as social security numbers, account numbers, and credit histories. By doing so, it enables the firm to implement access controls and encryption policies specific to the identified data types, ensuring GLBA compliance and protecting customer information from unauthorized access and data leaks.
  • Retailer Adhering to PCI DSS - A retail SMB operating both brick-and-mortar stores and an online shopping platform needs to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) to protect cardholder data. Azure Purview's data discovery and classification capability can automatically locate and classify cardholder data stored in various repositories, including transaction logs, customer databases, and payment gateways. With this visibility, the retailer can apply stringent security measures such as encryption, access controls, and monitoring, specifically tailored to the classified data, thus maintaining PCI DSS compliance and safeguarding customer payment information.

Data Cataloging and Lineage Tracking

Data Cataloging and Lineage Tracking

The ability to catalog data and track its lineage is not just a matter of regulatory compliance—it's a cornerstone of operational integrity and transparency. Azure Purview's data cataloging and lineage tracking functionalities provide an invaluable asset in this endeavor. The following presents several real-world scenarios where these capabilities play a pivotal role in ensuring compliance and fostering data-driven decision-making:

  • Enhancing Financial Reporting Accuracy - A small financial firm is under constant scrutiny to ensure its reporting meets the standards set by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Accurate financial reporting is not just a regulatory requirement but a critical factor in maintaining investor trust. Azure Purview aids this firm by cataloging financial data from various sources and tracking its lineage. This means every piece of data used in financial reports can be traced back to its origin, through every transformation it undergoes, to its final presentation. This level of transparency and traceability not only helps in meeting SEC compliance but also in identifying and correcting discrepancies in financial data before they impact reports, thus safeguarding the firm's credibility.
  • Streamlining Pharmaceutical Research Data - In the pharmaceutical industry, regulatory compliance, particularly with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is paramount. A small to midsize biotech company conducting research and trials must ensure that all data related to drug efficacy and safety is meticulously cataloged and its lineage clearly documented. Azure Purview facilitates this by providing a comprehensive catalog of research data, including trial results, patient data, and lab notes, while also tracking the lineage of this data from initial collection through analysis and into the reporting phase. This capability is crucial for FDA audit trails, ensuring that all data used in drug approval processes is accurate, complete, and verifiable, thereby accelerating the path to market for life-saving medications.
  • Protecting Customer Data in E-Commerce - For an SMB in the e-commerce sector, adhering to regulations like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is a significant concern. The CCPA requires businesses to provide consumers with information about the collection, use, and sharing of their personal data.

Data Governance and Compliance

For industries where regulatory compliance is stringent, data governance and compliance are not just operational facets; they are imperative to legal and ethical business operations. Azure Purview provides a robust framework for data governance and compliance, offering tools and functionalities specifically designed to navigate the complex landscape of regulations and standards. Here are three ways Azure Purview's governance and compliance features can be applied in real-world scenarios, demonstrating its critical role in maintaining regulatory adherence:

  1. Compliance with GDPR for Data Privacy - Consider an American SMB with a global customer base, including customers in the European Union (EU), which brings General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance into play. GDPR mandates strict rules on data privacy and the handling of personal data, with significant penalties for non-compliance. Azure Purview aids this SMB in establishing a comprehensive data governance strategy that includes the classification of personal data, monitoring of data access, and implementation of privacy policies. For instance, when personal data of EU citizens is identified within the company's systems, Azure Purview can ensure that data handling practices comply with GDPR requirements, such as data minimization, consent management, and the right to erasure, thus safeguarding against hefty fines and reputational damage.
  2. Managing SOX Compliance in Accounting Practices - For SMBs in the financial sector, compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) is critical. SOX imposes rigorous requirements on financial reporting and data handling to protect investors from fraudulent accounting activities. An SMB specializing in accounting services can leverage Azure Purview to catalog financial data, monitor changes, and manage access controls, ensuring that financial records are accurate, complete, and only accessible to authorized personnel. This capability is instrumental in creating an audit trail that satisfies SOX compliance, demonstrating the integrity of financial reports and the effectiveness of internal controls.
  3. Adhering to HIPAA in Healthcare Data Management - A healthcare provider SMB must navigate the complexities of HIPAA, which requires the protection of sensitive patient health information. Azure Purview's governance and compliance features enable the provider to classify health data, implement access controls, and monitor data usage. By ensuring that patient information is handled in accordance with HIPAA regulations, Azure Purview not only helps protect patient privacy but also avoids the substantial penalties associated with non-compliance. Additionally, Azure Purview can facilitate the secure sharing of health data for research under HIPAA's Privacy Rule, provided it is de-identified or a waiver is obtained, thus supporting healthcare innovation while maintaining compliance.

Integration with Azure Services

Integration with Azure Services

The integration of Azure Purview with other Azure services provides a comprehensive ecosystem for SMBs to manage their data governance, security, and compliance needs effectively. Let's explore three practical examples of how Azure Purview's integration with various Azure services can empower SMBs to meet compliance standards while optimizing their data management and analysis processes:

  1. Strengthening Data Security with Azure Security Center - An SMB in the financial sector is under constant pressure to protect sensitive customer data in compliance with regulations like the GLBA. By integrating Azure Purview with Azure Security Center, the SMB can enhance its data security posture. This integration allows for the continuous assessment of data security across the SMB's Azure data estate, identifying vulnerabilities and recommending actions to remediate them. For instance, Azure Security Center can detect when sensitive financial data stored in Azure Blob Storage is improperly shared or lacks adequate encryption, triggering alerts and guiding the SMB in enforcing stricter security controls, thereby ensuring GLBA compliance.
  2. Enhancing Data Analytics Compliance with Azure Synapse Analytics - A healthcare firm faces the challenge of analyzing large volumes of patient data while adhering to HIPAA regulations. Integrating Azure Purview with Azure Synapse Analytics enables the SMB to conduct complex data analytics in a compliant manner. Azure Purview ensures that data within Azure Synapse Analytics is accurately classified and governed according to HIPAA requirements, including the management of access controls and monitoring of data use. This integration facilitates the secure analysis of patient data, enabling the SMB to derive insights into patient care and operational efficiency without compromising data privacy or regulatory compliance.
  3. Streamlining Compliance Reporting with Azure Monitor - For any small business owner subject to SOX compliance, maintaining and demonstrating the integrity of financial reporting processes is crucial. By integrating Azure Purview with Azure Monitor, the SMB can automate the monitoring and logging of data activities across its Azure resources, a key requirement for SOX compliance. Azure Monitor collects and analyzes logs from Azure Purview, providing real-time insights into data access and modification activities. This capability not only aids in detecting potential compliance violations but also streamlines the preparation of compliance reports, showcasing the SMB's commitment to maintaining accurate and transparent financial records.

Advanced Analytics and Insights

Azure Purview's advanced analytics and insights capabilities provide SMBs with a powerful tool for navigating the complexities of regulatory compliance while unlocking new opportunities for business optimization. Here are three common scenarios of how these capabilities can be leveraged to address compliance concerns while driving business value:

  1. Optimizing Retail Inventory Management - Consider a retail SMB striving to optimize its inventory levels while adhering to consumer protection regulations. With Azure Purview, the retailer can utilize advanced analytics to gain insights into customer buying patterns, seasonal trends, and product performance. This analysis helps in making data-driven decisions on inventory purchases, reducing both overstock and stockouts, and ensuring compliance with regulations regarding product availability and consumer rights. By analyzing sales data in correlation with supply chain information, Azure Purview enables the retailer to maintain optimal inventory levels, enhancing operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.
  2. Predictive Maintenance in Manufacturing - Imagine a manufacturing SMB operating under strict environmental and safety regulations. This business can leverage Azure Purview's analytics capabilities for predictive maintenance. By collecting and analyzing data from manufacturing equipment, Azure Purview provides insights into equipment health, predicts potential failures, and recommends preventive maintenance actions. This predictive approach not only ensures compliance with safety regulations by preventing equipment malfunctions but also minimizes downtime and operational costs. Through advanced analytics, the manufacturer can maintain a proactive stance on equipment maintenance, ensuring regulatory compliance and operational efficiency.
  3. Enhancing Financial Compliance through Transaction Analysis - For an SMB in the financial sector, monitoring transactions for compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) and fraud prevention regulations is paramount. Azure Purview's advanced analytics capabilities enable the SMB to analyze transaction patterns, identify anomalies, and flag potentially fraudulent activities. This level of insight is crucial for maintaining compliance with AML regulations and protecting against financial fraud. By leveraging data from transaction logs, customer profiles, and external databases, Azure Purview helps the financial SMB to implement effective monitoring and reporting systems, ensuring compliance and safeguarding its operations and reputation.

Best Practices for Azure Purview Implementation

Best Practices for Azure Purview Implementation

Effective implementation of Azure Purview in a regulated SMB context involves strategic planning and execution:

  • Establish Clear Data Governance Roles and Responsibilities: Define a governance team with explicit roles to oversee and implement data policies and compliance measures.
  • Regularly Scan and Classify Data Sources: Automate the discovery and classification of data to ensure comprehensive protection and compliance.
  • Leverage Automation for Data Cataloging and Lineage Tracking: Utilize automation to maintain an up-to-date data catalog, essential for efficient data management and analysis.
  • Integrate Azure Purview with Existing Data Governance Frameworks: Ensure Purview complements and enhances existing governance structures for a unified approach.
  • Monitor and Audit Data Access and Usage: Implement continuous monitoring to oversee data access, ensuring adherence to governance policies and regulatory requirements.

Azure Data Catalog vs Purview

While Azure Data Catalog provides basic capabilities for data discovery and management, Azure Purview offers a more advanced, holistic approach to data governance, making it the superior choice for businesses facing complex regulatory demands. The key differences between the two are:


Azure Data Catalog

Azure Purview


A fully managed cloud service designed to serve as a system of registration and system discovery for enterprise data assets.

A unified data governance service that provides holistic, automated data management and governance across on-premises, multi-cloud, and SaaS environments.

Primary Use Case

Data asset discovery and management.

Comprehensive data governance, including data discovery, classification, cataloging, and lineage tracking, along with compliance management.

Data Discovery and Classification

Allows for manual data asset registration and annotation.

Automates data discovery and classification across a wide range of data sources, enhancing data protection and compliance efforts.

Data Cataloging

Provides a centralized catalog for data assets with manual tagging and descriptions.

Offers a comprehensive data catalog that includes automated metadata extraction, classification, and lineage tracking.

Data Lineage Tracking

Limited support for data lineage, primarily through manual documentation.

Advanced data lineage capabilities, automatically documenting the flow and transformation of data across systems.

Data Governance and Compliance

Basic capabilities for cataloging and managing data assets.

Robust governance tools, including automated policy enforcement, compliance management, and sensitive data protection.

Integration with Azure Services

Integrates with Azure services, but with limited scope and capabilities.

Deep integration with the Azure ecosystem, enhancing data analytics, security, and compliance across Azure services.

Target Audience

Organizations looking for a simple solution to catalog and discover data assets.

SMBs to large enterprises require comprehensive data governance solutions, especially in regulated industries.

Advanced Analytics and Insights

Limited analytics capabilities, focusing on data discovery and catalog use cases.

Provides advanced analytics and insights into data usage, quality, and operational efficiency, driving informed business decisions.

Azure Purview Pricing

Azure Purview's pricing model involves several components, including the volume of data scanned, the number of assets cataloged and possibly features related to data governance, compliance, and security. The pricing can be complex, but at a high level most IT leaders wanting to leverage Azure Purview can expect the following:

Pricing Component



Data Map Capacity

Charges are based on the amount of data cataloged and managed within Purview.

Measured in data map units, billed monthly.

Scanning and Classification

Fees for scanning data sources and classifying data.

May vary by data source type and volume of data.

Data Governance

Subscription fee for data governance and policy management features.

Could be tiered based on features and capabilities.

Compliance and Risk Management

Additional charges for advanced compliance and risk assessment tools.

Optional, based on usage or subscription.

Add-ons and Integrations

Costs associated with third-party service integrations or additional modules.

Depends on the specific services or features added.

Because of the complexity of factors related to Azure Purview pricing, it is recommended that IT leaders at SMBs without dedicated financial operations resources consult with cloud service providers that specialize in Microsoft licensing like Amaxra.

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Azure Purview Training

To maximize the benefits of Azure Purview, Microsoft offers comprehensive training resources, including documentation, tutorials, and hands-on labs. These resources are designed to equip IT professionals with the knowledge and skills to implement and manage Azure Purview effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions for Azure Purview

How Does Azure Purview Ensure Data Compliance?

Azure Purview automates data discovery and classification, aiding in regulatory compliance by identifying and securing sensitive data.

Can Azure Purview Integrate with Non-Azure Data Sources?

Yes, Azure Purview is designed to manage data across on-premises, multi-cloud, and SaaS applications, ensuring comprehensive governance.

What Types of Analytics Does Azure Purview Provide?

A: Azure Purview offers advanced analytics on data usage, quality, and efficiency, enabling businesses to derive actionable insights.


For IT decision-makers in SMBs navigating the complexities of data governance in regulated industries, Azure Purview offers a comprehensive, scalable solution. Its advanced features, combined with strategic implementation practices, ensure businesses can leverage their data assets securely and compliantly. To explore how Azure Purview can transform your data governance strategy, IT leaders are encouraged to contact the experts at Amaxra. Engaging with Amaxra's professionals can provide the insights and support necessary to deploy Azure Purview effectively, turning data governance into a strategic advantage for your business.

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