Tag Archives: Privacy Levels/Data Protection Firewall

Privacy Levels in Dataflows: Impacted by Staging?

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Staging data is common in the world of Microsoft Power BI dataflows. Computed entities, linked entities and Microsoft Fabric’s “enable staging” options all result in intermediate output being staged to disk and/or a database.

Does this staging affect privacy levels? Yes! It can change which privacy level is being applied.

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Privacy Levels in Dataflows: Click to Continue? (Or Not!)

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If you’ve built a Power BI dataflow that combines between sources, most likely you’ve been stopped by a prompt asking if you want to “continue” because there is a risk that data could be revealed from one source to another.

Screenshot of prompt:
The evaluation was canceled because combining data from multiple sources may reveal data from one source to another. Click Continue if the possibility of revealing data is okay. 

[Continue button]

The prompt’s wording makes it sound like you must choose “continue” in order to be able to use dataflows to output data derived from more than one data source—but is continuing truly mandatory?

Dataflow's options dialog showing privacy setting "Allow combing data from multiple sources. This could expose sensitive or confidential data to an unauthorized person" checked.

The seeming necessity of enabling this option is reinforced by how the corresponding setting appears in the dataflow’s Options dialog. Clicking “continue” in the above prompt sets this checkbox. Its wording implies that it must be checked in order for Power Query to be able to combine between multiple data sources: If you don’t check it, you won’t be allowed to combine data from more than one source—or so it (incorrectly) seems.

Thankfully, in most cases, you do no need to enable this option in order to combine between sources.  

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Privacy Level Descriptions Revised

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Last week, Microsoft Power BI’s privacy level descriptions were revised.

Previously, Microsoft documentation implied that the data protection firewall imposed unilateral, bidirectional isolation between data sources having incompatible privacy levels. In actuality, the direction of data flow is factored in when determining whether data folding can take place between sources. Privacy level documentation now reflects this.

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