9 Replies Latest reply on Oct 3, 2017 8:10 AM by Rebecca Lee

    Security of sensitive data on Tableau public

    Sarah McGraw

      The data I am working with contains some information that, by law, is only permitted to be stored on approved secure servers. I will be publishing analyses on Tableau public, and I am trying to figure out what the security considerations will be when publishing extract-based analyses to Tableau Public.

       

      I know that I can apply filters upon importing data into Tableau, and it's my understanding that that will prevent the filtered data from getting into Tableau in the first place (rather than importing and then concealing it in some way). Most of the time, that will work for me.

       

      However, what if the sensitive data is necessary for analysis? In that case, is the full (post-extract) source data itself uploaded in any form to Tableau Public along with the workbook, or just the aggregate data necessary to produce the charts? For example, I have some data that can only be published at a certain level of aggregation. I would not want to filter such data out of my extract because I would want it available for inclusion in regional analysis, but I would still need to ensure that it is impossible to access the source, (even for Tableau employees or anyone else with back-end access).

       

      Thank you!

        • 1. Re: Security of sensitive data on Tableau public
          Tom W

          If you can publish aggregated data but not the row level data, I would pre-aggregate the data and sit Tableau on top of that.

          If you can't even have the aggregated version available to the public, then I would question why you're using Tableau Public at all? You should consider Tableau Online or Tableau Server if this is true.

           

          You say you need to make sure Tableau employees cannot get access - is this at the aggregate or row level data? If it's only at row level, then my first point applies - preaggregate it and publish the aggregate only. If you don't want Tableau employees having access to either, your only option is Tableau Server

          • 2. Re: Security of sensitive data on Tableau public
            Sarah McGraw

            Hi Tom,

             

            Thanks for that super-speedy response. If I understand your reply, you are saying that published workbooks DO have the raw data bundled with (anything on the "Data Source" tab), even if that data does not make it into any visualizations--which means I need to ensure that any potentially sensitive information is filtered out upon initial import into Tableau. Did I get that right?

            • 3. Re: Security of sensitive data on Tableau public
              Tom W

              Anything you see in the 'View Data' button of the source will be included with the workbook. It doesn't mean it's going to be visible to people in Tableau Public (as there are settings to lock that down I'm pretty sure) but if you're going for a blanket 'nobody under any circumstances, including people at Tableau should ever be able to see this' then you'll need to only bring into Tableau the data you're comfortable with sharing.

              • 4. Re: Security of sensitive data on Tableau public
                Sarah McGraw

                Thank you, this is what I needed to know.

                • 5. Re: Security of sensitive data on Tableau public
                  Matt Lutton

                  Tableau Public is intended for Public data. There are no security settings that can restrict that in Tableau Public, as far as I know (someone please correct me if I'm wrong on this point, but I am fairly certain)

                   

                  When our users want to publish content without the ability to see the underlying data, they must move to Tableau Online or Tableau Server as alternatives to Public. Since, in most cases, anyone can download a workbook published on public, anyone can then access the data within that workbook. Be very careful about publishing anything with sensitive data on Public -- we at Tableau do NOT want you to go through that!

                   

                  I hope this helps.  Please let let us know if you have any more questions or concerns.

                  • 6. Re: Security of sensitive data on Tableau public
                    Sarah McGraw

                    It does help! But just to be abundantly/ excessively clear....any sensitive data associated with a workbook would still exist on Tableau Public's server even if the option to download the workbook is disabled...right?

                    • 7. Re: Security of sensitive data on Tableau public
                      Matt Lutton

                      I cannot claim to be a Tableau Public expert, by any means, but yes -- I think Tom and I will both agree that is a safe assumption. I think the option to disable downloads is a newer one, but I would still expect the data to be accessible by Tableau, although I don't know there's any reason for them to ever look at it. That being said, when considering Tableau Public, I personally prefer that customers think of it as a place to publish ONLY Non-Sensitive data. When authors want to permission content and allow/disallow certain behaviors for end-users, Tableau Server and/or Tableau Online fulfill these needs.

                       

                      I am a trainer for the company but I cannot verify every comment I've said above without checking with others -- I just know it's a safe bet to consider anything on Public as available to the public.

                      • 8. Re: Security of sensitive data on Tableau public
                        Tom W

                        Sarah McGraw wrote:

                         

                        It does help! But just to be abundantly/ excessively clear....any sensitive data associated with a workbook would still exist on Tableau Public's server even if the option to download the workbook is disabled...right?

                        Yes

                        • 9. Re: Security of sensitive data on Tableau public
                          Rebecca Lee

                          I didn't see any mention aggregate extracts as an option. I'm not a Tableau expert but they could be a solution for you. Consider using one extract (or your existing live data source) with the sensitive data necessary for your desktop analyses and when you figure out the aggregated data/visualizations you want to share, you can create a second, aggregated extract that you're comfortable/able to share on Tableau Public. The trick is to be really careful that when you're publishing to Tableau Public, you're using a workbook with the aggregated extract and not the one with the sensitive record-level data.