What is Microsoft Dataverse, and How Does it Store and Secure Data?

Dataverse storage logo in a cloud icon with multiple devices connected

Dataverse is a cloud-based storage space that organisations use to store business application data securely.

Power Apps and Microsoft Dynamics 365 applications, including Sales and Customer Service modules, sit on Dataverse and use this to store their data. By enabling apps to be built directly against this data, Dataverse avoids third-party integration to unify data and maintain a single source of truth across each workflow.

Previously called the Common Data Service, Dataverse allows structured and unstructured data to be integrated from multiple sources into a single store used in Dynamics 365 and other model-driven apps.

Data Storage

Data held in Dataverse is organised as a set of tables where each table represents a specific collection of records. This includes a base set of standard tables such as activities or contacts, which are built into applications, as well as custom tables which reflect entities which are specific to an organisation or industry.

The addition of Dynamics 365 licencing introduces app-specific tables, for example, Opportunities and Leads with Dynamics 365 Sales.

A table contains rows/records that are used to store data. Each table consists of columns (previously called fields), such as business name, website, postcode, etc.

File attachments can also be stored within Dataverse as unstructured data.

The Dataverse storage model provides three types of cloud capacity where consumption is tracked in the Power Platform Admin Centre for:

  • Database Capacity - transactional database storage for entity definitions and record data.
  • File Capacity - storing attachments on emails and notes in Dynamics 365 apps and Power Apps, including images, PDFs, documents and spreadsheets.
  • Log Capacity - audit logs tracking record and attribute data changes, including field value updates, security role updates, and date/time of access.

Dataverse Security

Dataverse uses enterprise-grade Azure Active Directory (AAD) identity and access management controls to ensure only authorised users access this environment, data and reports.

With security built-in at the platform level, administrators can define security permissions once, which will apply to an authenticated user regardless of which app or service they use to access Dataverse.

To access any data stored in Microsoft Dataverse, users must be assigned a security role which determines which tables, columns, features and other components they can interact with.

By default, several out-of-the-box roles are provided with each Dataverse instance, so administrators do not need to build a security model.

    Dataverse Integration

    Dataverse can work with any app as data can be viewed or integrated using connectors. The Dynamics 365 App for Outlook is an example; it allows Outlook users to associate emails with contacts and other standard and custom Dataverse tables.

    In-built connectors allow Power Platform products to interact directly with Dataverse; these include Power Automate, Power Apps, Power BI and Power Virtual Agents. Third-party applications can be connected using a Web API.

    Data does not always need to exist in Dataverse. This can also be viewed within Dataverse by using virtual tables where data is sourced from an external database, such as an Azure SQL Database.

    Business Logic & Rules

    Business rules and logic defined in a Dataverse table will be applied to model-driven apps across Dynamics 365 and Power Apps, ensuring data consistency regardless of how teams and individual users access the data.

    Dataverse provides multiple configurable logic engines which can be applied to application development. Examples include rollup and calculation columns, synchronous workflows, and business rules, including actions to show/hide columns and set default values.

    What are Model-Driven Apps?

    First-party Dynamics 365 apps, including D365 Marketing and Field Service and custom Power Apps, are model-driven apps.

    These model-driven applications feature a prebuilt set of forms, views, dashboards, and processes accessible in a responsive user interface. Each model-driven app is built into Dataverse to provide a consistent look and user experience across diverse workflows.

    Want to know more?

    Are you looking to get started with Dynamics 365 and Dataverse, or want to use your CRM better? Take a look at our Dynamics Implementation and Support services.


    If you have any questions about Dataverse or Microsoft storage and security, please reach out by filling in a call back request below.

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