Power BI vNext SSAS Connector and Security

As you’ve probably heard, Power BI vNext will allow you to keep your data on premises in SSAS MD and Tabular data models while your reports in the cloud can connect to these data models on premises. Currently, the Analysis Services connector support only Tabular models while plans for MD have been announced as well. Currently, SSAS understand Windows security only and you might wonder what needs to be put in place for security to work.

Interestingly, if your users have used their work e-mail addresses to sign up for Power BI and your company is using Active Directory, you don’t need do synchronize your AD with Azure using DirSync. That’s because Power BI will pass the user identity on the connection string using the EffectiveUserName property. Consequently, connectivity and data security will work as usual. On the other hand, if users used an .onmicrosoft.com e-mail address, DirSync is required. Microsoft explains this in more details in the “Why you might need use DirSync to connect to an on-premises Analysis Services Server” document.

While this definitely simplifies the effort to get Windows security working, it doesn’t help if custom security, such as Forms Authentication, is required, such as to integrate Power BI with custom applications. Embedding Power BI reports on custom applications and supporting custom security are on the Power BI top wish list and I hope Microsoft will support this scenario soon as well.