In the world of Power BI, there are some configurations in the Desktop tool and some on the Service. One of these critical configurations is the Tenant Settings of the Power BI administrator panel. Tenant settings have a list of highly important configurations across your Power BI tenant. If you miss configuring the settings properly, it may result in leaking the data, authorizing people who should not be authorized to see reports and many other catastrophic scenarios. In this article and video, you will learn the configurations available in Tenant settings and the recommended options for each. If you want to learn more about Power BI, read the Power BI book from Rookie to Rock Star.
Power BI Administrator
By default, the Office 365 administrator is the Power BI administrator. However, You can add a specific Power BI administrator by selecting the Power BI administrator role in Office 365 Portal. Here are the details of assigning a Power BI administrator role to a user.
Login to http://portal.office.com with an Office 365 administrator account. Go to the admin panel.
Find the user in the list of active users, and select it from the list.
Then click on Manage Roles. Under Admin center access, expand the Show all by category, and then from the list, select Power BI Administrator.
You can also use some PowerShell scripts to assign the Power BI Administrator role to a user.
The Power BI Administrator can access tenant settings from the Power BI Service. To do that, you need to click on the setting icon and select Admin Portal.
From Admin Portal, you will be able to click on Tenant Settings. (Note that you can access this page only if you are a Power BI Administrator. to learn how to be a Power BI administrator). If you are not a Power BI Administrator, then under Admin Portal, you will perhaps just see Capacity settings.
Configurations of Tenant Settings are categorized into groups. Since the first public release of Power BI until now, there have been many features added to the Power BI, and with new additions come new configurations. The Tenant Settings configuration list has expanded gradually to a bit list of options nowadays. Below, you will learn some of the most important parts of these configurations.
Help and support settings
You can set some links to be used for help and support throughout your organization. When a user in your tenant logs in to the Power BI service and they click on the help icon, they can be redirected to a specific URL or page you want them to see for documentation or FAQ. To set these, you can use the “Get Help” information setup.
The settings you apply here would then be used in the get help links available in the Power BI service for the users. You have the option to set this for the entire organization or only for a specific group of people (this type of categorization exists in most of the configurations of the Tenant settings).
There are some other options here, which mostly affect your support or development team by allowing them to try some of the new paid features or getting a message when they want to publish a report.
Workspaces are the heart of collaboration in the Power BI Service environment. It is better to control who can create the workspace. This is one of the options that I recommend only be enabled for the Power BI development group in your organization. The usage of datasets across workspaces is however a very good option to be on for the entire organization. This will enable users to use a shared dataset and avoid creating silos of Power BI objects.
You can enable sensitivity labels in Power BI. This feature is using Microsoft Purview Information Protection, which has a separate licensing structure. It would require some prerequisite setup, and then you can use the option provided in this section.
Export and Sharing Settings
This is a large section of settings; you get any configuration about sharing across your tenant (except sharing with Apps or other methods), the ability to export or copy and paste etc.
There are a few options to allow external users to access Power BI, and even to enable them to manage and edit the Power BI content in your organization. Set these as you require.
Publish to Web
This configuration can be enough reason for you to access the Tenant Setting page. By default, everyone in your organization can publish their reports on the web! If you don’t know about Publish to web, read this post. Publish to web will make the Power BI content publicly available. This is a very dangerous option to be ON always. You have to make sure that you either disable this option or allow a very restricted group of people to use the option.
Export, Copy, Print, Integrate Data
There are some options for enabling or disabling exporting functioalities such as export to Excel or to CSV, as well as ability to download reports, create live connection to a dataset, export reports as different formats or event image files and print.
Some of these configuration options are shown below, but there are more in the list, such as Allowing DirectQuery connection to Power BI dataset in order to create chained dataset, enabling the integration with Microsoft Teams and PowerPoint etc.
Power BI contents can be marked as certified, which shows that they have been through a process of testing and quality check. It is important that only a certain group within the organization have the ability to certify Power BI objects and not everyone. I will explain this later in another article about certification and endorsment.
In accition to this setting, there are some discovery option, which are important to be on, such as Make promoted content and certified content discoverable.
Content Pack and App Settings
Content Pack and Power BI Apps are ways of sharing Power BI reports. The content pack method is almost obsolete , but the Power BI App method is a prevalent way of sharing these days. In this section, you have options to configure this method of sharing.
Push apps to end users
This is one of the very new options added to the tenant settings. Without this option selected, Power BI apps won’t automatically be pushed to the end user’s apps section. With turning this option ON, any apps created will be automatically pushed to users. You won’t need to go and GET the app from each user’s profile individually. This is a very good option to be turned ON. However, you might want to limit it to a specific group in the organization.
Configurations in the Integration settings are related to integrating Power BI with other technologies, such as ArcGIS, XMLA endpoint, Azure Maps, Snowflake, Redshift, Google BigQuery etc.
Some of the options above are very helpful and essential to use, such as XMLA endpoint. This gives you the ability to connect to the Power BI dataset using third party tools and build a better data model in Power BI. Some of them are specific to some visuals, such as Map and filled map. Because some of the maps data will be processed in the servers, it requires the tenant admin to agree with that term before allowing to use it. The same is valid for sign sign on abilities with services such as Snowflake, Redshirt, Google BigQuery etc.
Custom Visual settings
Custom visuals are one of the great add-ins for Power BI visualization. Custom visuals are built by third parties. Not all of the custom visuals are supported continuously in a satisfactory status. Also, some of the custom visuals are paid visuals. As a Power BI administrator, you may want to restrict your tenant’s usage of custom visuals by changing this option. Or you may only want to allow certified custom visuals (which have been through a bit of extra process for validation).
There are many existing visuals for R, and Leila Etaati also has written a book about R and Power BI together.
Audit and usage settings
The Power BI usage metrics work with audit logs and give you a detailed analysis of the usage and consumption of your Power BI content. Options in this section are related to the audit log and usage metrics. You can enable the usage for content creators (which Is recommended to be on), and also enable per-user data in the usage metrics (which helps to identify activities of each user).
Create audit logs for internal activity auditing and compliance
The audit logs will be created by this option, and users of the organization can use it for monitoring and data analysis.
Usage metrics for content creators
Content creators are people who create Power BI reports, dashboards and datasets. By default, content creators have access to the usage metrics report monitoring the usage of their content. You can change the option here if you want to turn off this feature.
Per-user data in usage metrics for content creators
Usage metrics data can also include the per-user individual metrics. Per-user data is useful, especially if you want to monitor usage by users to see they are using the content shared with them or not. This is an example of a usage metrics report with per-user data:
As a Developer, you can leverage Power BI Embedded API and embed reports or dashboards into an application. This is a really powerful feature, which can be turned on or off from here. To learn more about Power BI Embedded, read this post.
There are also other developer configurations which you can set for the usage of APIs. Power BI has a good list of admin APIs which helps third party applications (or even PowerShell scripts) to interact with Power BI objects in the service and automate part of the Power BI administration process.
The options above can be good options to enable for a group of developers to enhance the way that Power BI is used throughout the organization.
Dataflow, Template Apps, Datamarts, etc
There are many configurations that enables or disables the use and creation of objects such as Dataflows, Datamarts, Metrics, the installation of Template apps, and many of the new and preview features in Power BI.
The Admin portal also has some other sections which are helpful for a Power BI administrator. One monitoring part of the Admin portal is usage metrics of all Power BI content across the tenant. This can be accessed from the Admin Portal and then Usage Metrics.
The usage metrics here are different from the usage metrics for each dashboard and report. The usage metrics for Power BI administrator gives an overall monitoring view of which users use most of the content, and which dashboards or reports have been used most. How many dashboards, reports, or data sets exist in the tenant? It will reveal some information about workspaces and much more information. The usage metrics however, is not flexible and you cannot customize it. I have explained a way that you can build your own usage metrics report including all the audit data in here in this article.
If you enabled the Publish to Web feature of Power BI in the tenant settings, then you need to monitor what are the content users published with this option. The Embed Codes section of the Admin portal will tell you which report is published to the web by which user. You have the option to see the report or delete the embed code (Deleting the embed code will not delete the report, it will only un-publish it from the web link).
You can add a Power BI visual designed by your organization here. You will need the *.pbiviz file to upload here.
Then you can enter the details of the visual
These visuals will then be available in Power BI Desktop; from My Organization
As the admin of the tenant, you can see the full list of Power BI workspaces, if they are defined under a premium capacity and their status.
If you want to set up your organization logo and colors for the Power BI service, you can easily set it up in this place.
Power BI administrator has access to specific parts of the Admin portal such as Tenant Settings, Manage Embed Codes, Organization Visuals, Usage Metrics etc. Tenant Settings has many configurations you need to be careful of those options. For example, Publish to web, or Integration Settings are important options to consider. The Admin portal and tenant settings are getting updated in each version of the Power BI service. There were some options that I did not explain in this article, as their use are either obvious or is related to a different topic (for example, Azure connections are related sometimes to creating external dataflow in Power BI that stores the data in your own Azure Data Lake Storage subscription).