Is Ad Hoc Reporting Secure?

Ad hoc reporting tools come bundled into a variety of data visualization and business intelligence solutions. With an ad hoc reporting tool, the end user generally creates a report on demand by specifying the source data and other parameters. Some tools are exceptionally easy, allowing users to drag and drop components to create interactive reports complete with drill down functions. With access to information on demand, this leaves managers with a nagging question: Is ad hoc reporting secure?

Due to the sensitive nature of business information, this is a legitimate concern. After all, you wouldn’t want everyone in the company to be able to create detailed payroll reports on demand.

As with any other company solution, your business intelligence software must be secured. Access to information should be restricted and granted to individuals based on their job roles. For example, your human resources director will have different privileges than the fleet manager. While both individuals may need to create ad hoc reports containing employee information, the fleet manager doesn’t need access to the entire personnel file in order to create a report detailing auto accidents involving employees and company cars.

Business intelligence solutions include administration and security features. While individual features may vary slightly, they generally include the following:

  • User and user group management features
  • Logon access (often integrated with existing IIS security)
  • Role-based access to data, queries, tables, and other information
  • Global filters to limit access based on region, job roles, or other parameters
  • Audit logs

While most business intelligence solutions that support ad hoc reporting include comprehensive security features, these features are only effective if you set them up and use them. It’s smart to take the time to define user roles and implement security features. A securely set up system allows each user to access as much information as their job requires.

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