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Projects and Purposes

Immuta projects combine users and data sources under a common purpose. Sometimes this purpose is for a single user to organize their data sources or to control an entire schema of data sources through a single projects screen; however, most often this is an Immuta purpose for which the data has been approved to be used and will restrict access to data and streamline team collaboration.

Project components

  • Project members: The users who will create, manage, and use projects.
  • Purposes: Purposes allow governors to define exceptions to policies based on how a user will use the data.
  • Data sources: Projects create an environment within Immuta where the user will only see the data sources within the project, despite their subscription to other data sources.
  • Subscription policy: Project users with the appropriate permissions can set a subscription policy on a project to control the users who can join.
  • Documentation and discussions: Project users can create documentation and have discussions within the Immuta project page, allowing for an easy and consistent trail of communication.
  • Equalization: Project equalization ensures that the data in the project looks identical to all members, regardless of their level of access to data.
  • Workspaces: With equalization enabled, project users can create Snowflake or Databricks workspaces where users can view and write data.
  • Derived data sources: Derived data sources are the data sources that come from workspaces. Once they are created, they automatically inherit policies from their parent sources.
  • Masked joins: Within a project, users can join masked columns.

Members

The features and capabilities of each user differ based on the user's role within the project and within Immuta. Roles and their capabilities are outlined below.

Project role capabilities
Project owner Users with the CREATE_PROJECT permission can
Project governor Users with the GOVERNANCE permission can
Project manager Users with the PROJECT _MANAGEMENT permission can
Project member Once subscribed to a project, all users can

Purposes

Best practice: purposes

Consider purposes as attributes. Attributes identify a user, and purposes identify why that user should have access.

Data governors and users with the PROJECT_MANAGEMENT permission are responsible for configuring and approving project purposes and acknowledgement statements.

Purposes help define the scope and use of data within a project and allow users to meet purpose restrictions on policies. Governors create and manage purposes and their sub-purposes, which project owners then add to their project(s) and use to drive data policies. Project owners can also create a purpose; however, they remain in a staged state until a governor or project manager approves the purpose request.

Sub-purposes

Purposes can be constructed as a hierarchy, containing nested sub-purposes, much like tags in Immuta. This design allows more flexibility in managing purpose-based restriction policies and transparency in the relationships among purposes.

For example, if the purpose Research included Marketing, Product, and Onboarding as sub-purposes, a governor could write the following global policy:

Limit usage to purpose(s) Research for everyone on data sources tagged PHI.

This hierarchy allows you to create this as a single purpose instead of creating separate purposes, which must then each be added to policies as they evolve.

Now, any user acting under the purpose or sub-purpose of Research - whether Research.Marketing or Research.Onboarding will meet the criteria of this policy. Consequently, purpose hierarchies eliminate the need for a governor to rewrite these global policies when sub-purposes are added or removed. If new projects with new Research purposes are added, the relevant global policy will automatically be enforced.

Acknowledgement statements

Projects with purposes require owners and subscribers to acknowledge that they will only use the data for those purposes by affirming or rejecting acknowledgement statements. Each purpose has its own acknowledgement statement, and a project with multiple purposes requires users to accept more than one acknowledgement statement. Immuta keeps a record of each project member's response to the acknowledgement statement(s) and records the purpose, the time of the acknowledgement, and the text of the acknowledgement. Purposes can use Immuta's default acknowledgement statement or one customized by a data governor.

If users accept the statement, they become a project member. If they reject the acknowledgement statement, they are denied access to the project.

Project contexts

When a user is working within the context of a project, they will only see the data in that project. This helps to prevent data leaks when users collaborate. Users can switch project contexts to access various data sources while acting under the appropriate purpose. By default, there will be no project selected, even if the user belongs to one or more projects in Immuta.

When users change project contexts, queries reflect users as acting under the purposes of that project, which may allow additional access to data if there are purpose restrictions on the data source(s). This process also allows organizations to track not just whether a specific data source is being used, but why.

Schema projects

Schema projects are a collection of data sources that Immuta creates when multiple data sources belong to the same schema. For information about schema projects, see the Schema project guide.