November 14, 2023

Navigating Power BI Governance for Enterprises: A Spotlight on Power BI Sentinel


David McQuinlan, Power BI Specialist


Good governance is essential to any Power BI environment, but large enterprises, in particular, often lack adequate measures to ensure this happens. Without robust governance, you risk a lack of data security, integrity, flexibility and accessibility. The superhero looking after your city.

One way to achieve better governance, and more control over your vast number of reports and dashboards, is by using Power BI Sentinel: a SaaS application that works alongside your Power BI estate.

Here’s my pick of features within Power BI Sentinel to help you achieve this:

1. Automatic Report Backups

Store all your Power BI documents in one safe place so when ‘disaster’ strikes, it’s one less thing to worry about.

How it works

Power BI Sentinel will take care of an automatic daily/weekly backup of each report in every workspace you choose, keeping all the versions of your reports with easy access and download for recovery.

All backups are loaded and saved in your Azure storage. Simply select the files from particular workspaces you deem important enough to backup, then decide how frequently you’d like them saved to Azure.

Note: Depending on your organisation’s file size, you will need to match your Azure storage to cover enough space for your backups (this is an affordable step that’s required for the full benefits of report backups – similar to Google Drive storage for photos).

What does this mean for you?

  • If someone on your team edits a report incorrectly, you can find the original in minutes.
  • If you accidentally delete an important file, you can reload the file before any recent edits were made.
  • In fact, you could delete your entire Power BI estate and still have all your backups safely stored.

2. Change Tracking

A digital life-raft! Like automatic report backups, change tracking is super helpful when strange new errors crop up.

How it works

Power BI tracks every change made to your charts and reports, right down to the nitty-gritty details, like who changed a graph from yellow to blue. So when an error arises, you can see exactly what has been changed to cause the error, who made the change, and where the last working version of your document can be found.

What does this mean for you?

  • Instead of starting from scratch to fix an error, you can save time (& stress) by asking Power BI Sentinel to ‘show change tracking’.
  • With one click, you can see what’s causing the error and fix it.
  • Change tracking is always working in the background, so when the moment comes that you need it (which many businesses will), it’s there, ready to go.

3. Usage Audit Log

Make sure you’re getting bang for your buck with your Power BI license or upgrades by monitoring the adoption rate and usage of reports.

How it works

Monitor how many users from which workspaces are accessing specific reports. Over time, you can monitor which reports are being used efficiently and which are not. You can see how reports are being distributed, whether it’s via the Power BI app or a personal workspace. That way, you can decipher when to refresh old datasets and reports.

What does this mean for you?

Make educated changes to your workspaces and reports, knowing who may be affected and the extent of these changes. Note that other pre-built Power BI templates can do similar things but are often limited to 7-day activity logs. Power BI Sentinel’s usage log works day in and day out for the most accurate info at all times.


For most New Zealand businesses, a minimal plan of US$300 per month will be enough to get you up and running.

Tier 1: Up to 250 reports, US$300 per month (NZD$400)

  • This plan includes up to 250 reports, which is perfect for those looking to get started. Then, once you’re ready to scale up, simply move up to the next tier.

Tier 2: Up to 1000 reports, US$800 per month (NZD$1600)

Tier 3: Up to 5000 reports, US$2000 per month (NZD$8000)

Interested in Power BI Sentinel?