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Security and Data Modelling Influencers

Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform

In the last step, we discussed Security and Data Modelling Influencers. In this step, we explore Security within the Power Platform.

Security

When modelling business data, there are few fundamental concepts that help you to represent, model and secure the data stored within the system.

  • Ownership describes who owns the specific set of data. Ownership can be used to govern access for specific users and user roles.

  • Security boundaries define the scope where specific sets of data can be secured. Boundaries can be as broad as the entire organisation and as granular as an individual attribute.

  • Legislative requirements often place additional restrictions within the data model. They can vary and often defined by standards on different levels:

    • Organisations – for example, government bodies may have specific security requirements

    • Industries – healthcare implementation standards will govern access to the patient information

    • Countries or regions – various privacy legislations such as GDPR

All of these will influence how you represent, model, and secure your data.

Data Modelling Influencers

There are multiple factors that need to be considered when designing the data model for an app.

Security requirements – Security surrounding the organisation’s data governs its accessibility for users, as detailed above.

User Experience – Users will need to make use of the data stored – navigation and user experience matter.

Data Location / Retention – Not all data is allowed to be stored. Often times data from services can’t be cached. Some companies have internal policies that govern the use of data, some data is protected by government laws and some data has specific requirements for storage (for example, personally identifiable information or credit card numbers).

Self Service Reporting – If it takes a data architect to navigate the data model, chances are that many of the tools from Power BI and Export to Excel will be less valuable to the user. Most self-service features of Dynamics 365 allow navigation between one level of relationships.

Existing systems – Whether legacy system or not, the presence and interaction/integration requirements with the existing systems will heavily affect the data model. Additional considerations must be given to the existing user experience and the transition from the legacy system.

Globalisation – Implementations across multiple geographical regions, multi-lingual requirements and multi-currency requirements will all influence the data model.

Tools

Common Data Services allow high levels of abstraction when creating and dealing with metadata and are very agile, allowing for easy changes and adaptions. However, the formalisation of the data model is always helpful. Depending on your business requirements, team composition, and skills, you can use formal tools such as Entity Relationship Diagram modellers and Microsoft Visio, or less formal use-case diagrams, or even pen and paper.

Up next, we learn about Data Management Features and Recommendations.

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Dynamics 365: Using Power Platform Applications

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