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Microsoft today announced the launch of a platform that unifies some of its existing capabilities in data governance and risk management while adding several new features, with the aim of enhancing data security and privacy.

The platform, Microsoft Purview, is a combination of the solutions formerly known as Azure Purview and Microsoft 365 Compliance. However, integrating the two solutions in this way enables new capabilities for the corporate teams responsible for protecting their organization’s data, said Alym Rayani, general manager of compliance and privacy at Microsoft.

And while just a few new features are available with this initial announcement, the plan is to continue adding to the capabilities of Microsoft Purview over time — ultimately providing a unique value to customers, Rayani said.

“I don’t know of anyone that’s taken this perspective yet of bringing together these two different audiences,” he said. “When I talk to customers, they get very excited about this — because it clearly meets a pain point that they’re feeling.”

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The first new capability that Microsoft Purview will introduce makes sensitivity labels viewable across both the Microsoft Purview compliance portal (formerly Microsoft 365 Compliance) and the Microsoft Purview governance portal (formerly Azure Purview).

This new feature allows administrators to apply sensitivity labels to data consistently, across platform and data type, Rayani said. Now, “labels travel with the data and are recognized by all the services you extend it to,” he said.

Labeling, however, is just the first step — and Microsoft plans to extend this integrated approach to “a full range of actions in the future,” including enforcement actions, Rayani said.

Unified solution

Currently, the market has “dozens of products” that force security, data governance, compliance and legal teams to stitch together a patchwork of solutions, he said. This approach is ineffective for security, and uses up resources, according to Rayani.

“We believe a unified solution is vital improving security, privacy and compliance,” he said. “Microsoft Purview embodies that simplified and more integrated approach to data.”

Combining the capabilities of Azure Purview and Microsoft 365 Compliance will enable functions officers to complete individual tasks more quickly and efficiently, Rayani said.

And crucially, this “central data hub” unifies risk management and data governance, enabling these functions to collaborate in new ways, he said.

Other new features

Other new capabilities Microsoft is announcing include the launch of Microsoft Purview Data Loss Prevention for macOS in general availability. Microsoft is also significantly expanding its catalog of sensitive information types, with the edition of more than 50 new classifiers.

In terms of the capabilities around sensitivity labels, Rayani noted that sensitivity labels created in Microsoft 365 can also be extended to Azure, SharePoint, Teams, Power BI and SQL. For example, “if you apply a label to an office document and scan it in Azure, the label will flow to Azure,” he said.

Microsoft has started with this functionality because “as you go on the data journey, the first place things start is, ‘Give me the data map — the integration — and then give me the ability to classify data,'” Rayani said. “That’s the start of how you manage information. And so that was a natural starting point for this.”

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