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New Collibra, Snowflake integration enhances data governance

The new tool aims to enable customers to quickly put protections on sensitive data without requiring them to write code so that business users can securely work with data.

Collibra released Collibra Protect for Snowflake, a new tool designed to enable business users to put access controls on data and protect sensitive information while ensuring they can work quickly and efficiently to make data-informed decisions.

The data governance tool, which is still in beta, was unveiled on June 15 during Snowflake Summit 2022, the cloud data platform vendor's user conference.

Collibra, founded in 2008 and based in New York City, is a cloud-based data management vendor whose Data Intelligence Cloud is a full-featured data management platform that enables customers to automate their data preparation process. Key features in its toolkit are data scoring, which measures data quality, and data governance capabilities that enable users to comply with regulations.

Peers include fellow data management vendors Alation and Informatica, among others.

Snowflake, meanwhile, was founded in 2012 and is based in Bozeman, Mont. Its cloud data warehouse enables customers to access and work with their data.

Competitors include cloud computing giants such as AWS, Google and Microsoft. Snowflake's initial public stock offering in 2020 set the record for the most profitable IPO ever by a technology vendor.

In January 2022, Snowflake Ventures, the venture capital division of Snowflake, invested in Collibra. The release of Collibra Protect for Snowflake marks the first tool the two vendors have developed together as a result of the investment.

New capabilities

According to a report by PwC, more than 90% of consumers want companies to be more proactive about protecting their personal data.

Collibra Protect for Snowflake is designed to do that, while at the same time enabling self-service users to confidently work with data. Using Collibra Protect, joint customers of the two vendors will be able to use Collibra's no-code interface to create policies that hide their organizations' sensitive data, and then apply those policies to ensure the data is protected across Snowflake.

A sample dashboard from Collibra
A sample screenshot from Collibra demonstrates how its browser extension enables users to better understand their Tableau dashboard.

In addition, with the new tool, Collibra will provide organizations with information about their data so that those organizations can know which tailored policies should be put in place to protect personally identifiable information (PII) and other sensitive data.

One of the main problems that has arisen as organizations have migrated their data to the cloud is identifying their PII and how to give only certain people access to that data -- while still enabling others to access the data they need to do their work, according to Laura Sellers, Collibra's chief product officer.

That's the intent of Collibra Protect for Snowflake, she noted.

"If you think about the cloud migration story, organizations need to have policies in place," Sellers said. "Today, it requires developers and engineers -- and what Collibra brings to the table is enabling the business user to quickly go in, classify the PII and set policies through an easy-to-use interface, and then push them down into Snowflake for enforcement."

Sellers added that by enabling business users to easily set policies, data can be used to inform decisions faster than when organizations have to wait for data engineers to prepare data and set policies.

"People want to be able to get data in the hands of users quickly, and without the ability to easily set policies on top of the data to make sure people are accessing what they should have access to, it makes the data stale because there's too much development effort," she said. "It's about the speed of access to get data that's been migrated into Snowflake."

This is an intriguing integration and partnership because it connects Collibra to the very dynamic user base and market potential of Snowflake.
Donald FarmerFounder and principal, TreeHive Strategy

Collibra Protect for Snowflake stands to be significant for customers of the two vendors, according to Donald Farmer, founder and principal at TreeHive Strategy.

He noted, however, that Snowflake's still-evolving platform lacks some of the sophisticated security features of more established cloud data warehouses, such as Microsoft's Azure Synapse and Oracle's Autonomous Data Warehouse.

"This is an intriguing integration and partnership because it connects Collibra to the very dynamic user base and market potential of Snowflake," Farmer said. "But it also shows ... that it is difficult to protect sensitive data in Snowflake, because in terms of fine-grained security, the platform is still behind more established data warehouses."

Using the new tool, Snowflake customers will be able to get that added -- and desired -- security, Farmer continued.

"Now, users can apply necessary governance features downstream in a catalog," he said. "This does make better governance a practical reality for Snowflake customers."

Still, Farmer noted that data privacy and data security measures undertaken by self-service business users with a no-code tool are never as robust as when done by database administrators and data architects.

Roadmap

The plan is to make Collibra Protect for Snowflake generally available in November, according to Sellers. And once the integration with Snowflake is generally available, Collibra plans to add similar data governance integrations with cloud vendors AWS, Databricks, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure -- all slated for release in 2023.

Sellers noted that Collibra is already active in the Azure ecosystem and has close partnerships with Databricks, AWS and Google Cloud.

"We're definitely targeting the cloud providers and not looking at the legacy providers," she said.

Beyond Collibra Protect, the vendor has plans to improve its user experience and is working to make it easier for data consumers to find the data they need, according to Sellers.

Meanwhile, as the emphasis on self-service analytics increases, and data governance frameworks become critical to both ensuring organizations remain compliant with government regulations and enabling business users to confidently work with data, Collibra is in a strong position, according to Farmer.

"Governance is still top of mind for many executives, and indeed, governance concerns are still a significant brake on analytics adoption and data sharing in many enterprises," he said. "Collibra is knocking on that door."

In addition, through integrations with growing vendors like Snowflake and Databricks that expose its capabilities to new audiences, Collibra has an opportunity to enlarge its user base, Farmer continued.

"These integrations are gradually expanding their user base and making them ever more of an enterprise essential," he said.

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