Power BI Access to External Users

As the world is turning virtual, we are in dire need of collaboration. Sharing Power BI reports give people access to reports and dashboards. Sharing reports could be within the organization or outside the organization. In this article, we will discuss, how to share Power BI reports outside the organization i,e, with external users.

Let’s assume that you belong to the organization AzureOps.org and you want to share reports with Guest.com users. There are 3 broad ways to achieve this.

  1. Duplicate guest user accounts in target Power BI organization (AzureOps.org) – Duplicate guest accounts in the target organization is not so popular and users will have to remember 2 credentials.
  2. Power BI embedded with custom authentication – Use Power BI embedded SKU and embed Power BI reports and authenticate external users using custom authentications.
  3. Azure B2B Power BI sharing with external users – Sharing reports with external users require you to invite external (Guest.com) users into your organization AzureOps.org

The best way to share Power BI reports with external users is using Azure B2B.

What is Azure B2B

Azure Active Directory Business to business (B2B) collaboration is a feature within External Identities that lets you invite guest users to collaborate with your organization.

B2B Power BI sharing with external users

There are two different ways you can invite extenal users into your organisaiton.

Azure Active Directory level

Add guest,com email addresses as an external user in your organization AzureOps.org Azure active directory. And grant access to Power BI workspaces to these guest users based on needs.

Power BI App level

Create an app in Power BI App workspace in AzureOps,org tenant. Now, grant access to Guest.com users directly on this app.

Power BI app sharing with external users.

In both the above ways, the user must accept the invitation of the external access. Now, external users can have access to Power BI reports using their Guest.com email addresses.

What license is needed?

Guest.com users or security groups can access Power BI reports in AzureOps.org tenant only if.

  1. AzureOps.org has Power BI premium capacity (P SKU).
  2. If tom@guest.com does not have a pro license in Guest.com Power BI, And AzureOps buys a pro license for Tom in AzureOps.org Power BI tenant.
  3. tom@guest.com already have a pro license in their Guest.com tenant.

We can even grant access to an external security group in AzureOps.org tenant, so we don’t need to worry about what all external users should have access to reports. In this case, Guest.com can manage their users in a security group say AzureOpsTeam@guest.com and AzureOps.org just need to grant access to this group in one of the above 2 ways.  With this, AzureOps.org doesn’t need to maintain individual external users. However, external parties (Guest.com) must ensure that all users in the security group have Pro licenses.  

Controlling access

Limit access to content (admin portal)

Limit access to AzureOps Power BI through the admin portal. So, external users will have limited privileges in the AzureOps Power BI workspace. If we use Power BI apps to share reports, we can limit access to report content in the app.

Limit access to data (RLS)

Limiting access to data can be done with row-level security (RLS) the same way as we do for internal users. So, roles can be created in Power BI with specific data access, and external users or groups can be added to these roles.

Pro tips:

  1. We can create only one app per workspace.
  2. If we share reports using Power BI apps, external users must store the app link.

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Kunal Rathi

Been working on the Microsoft data platforms for more than a decade. Helping customers transform their data into insights, Cloud & DevOps enthusiast.