Row-Level Security With Power BI

Row-Level Security (RLS) with Power BI is a feature that allows you to control data access at the row level for specific users or roles.

@Vijay Dadi

10/23/20232 min read

By defining filters within roles, you can restrict data access to only the relevant rows for each user, ensuring that sensitive information remains protected.

Here's an overview of using RLS with Power BI:

  1. Data Access Restriction: RLS filters data access at the row level, and you can define these filters within roles.

  1. Workspace Data Access: In the Power BI service, members of a workspace have access to datasets within that workspace, and RLS doesn't restrict this general access.

  1. Configuring RLS: You can set up RLS for data models imported into Power BI using Power BI Desktop. Additionally, RLS can be configured for datasets using Direct Query, such as SQL Server. However, for live connections to Analysis Services or Azure Analysis Services, RLS configuration is done within the model, not in Power BI Desktop.

  1. Defining Roles and Rules: In Power BI Desktop, you can define roles and rules by following these steps:

    a. Import data into your Power BI Desktop report or configure a Direct Query connection.

    b. From the Modelling tab, select Manage Roles

c. Create a new role and specify a name for it

d. Select the table to which you want to apply a DAX rule.

e. Enter the DAX expression in the Table filter DAX expression box, which should return a value of true or false to control data access.

f. Validate the expression and save the role.

  1. Role Assignment: Users cannot be directly assigned roles within Power BI Desktop. Instead, role assignment is done in the Power BI service. You can enable dynamic security within Power BI Desktop using DAX functions like username() or userprincipalname() and ensuring proper relationship configurations.

  1. Validation: After creating roles, you can test and validate the results within Power BI Desktop by using the View as roles feature. This allows you to see how the data is presented for different roles.

  1. Managing Security in the Power BI Service: To manage security on your data model in the Power BI service, open the workspace where you saved your report, and follow these steps: a. Select the More options menu for a dataset. b. Choose Security to access the Role-Level Security page. c. Add members to the roles created in Power BI Desktop.

  1. Considerations and Limitations: RLS in Power BI has certain limitations, such as requiring roles and rules to be defined in Power BI Desktop, supporting only Import and Direct Query connections, and not allowing service principals to be added to RLS roles.

By utilizing RLS with Power BI, organizations can ensure that sensitive data is protected, and users only have access to the relevant information they need to perform their tasks.