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Upgrading to Unity Catalog? Here’s What You Need to Know (Part 2)

|Marketing Specialist

This April, Databricks announced end-of-life for their Standard tier workspaces, meaning that Databricks customers will either need to upgrade to the Premium or Enterprise tier or migrate to a different platform by April 25, 2025. For data teams currently on a Standard tier Databricks plan, this is not necessarily a straightforward decision. One major factor to consider is that upgrading your Databricks tier involves adopting Unity Catalog, Databricks’ data governance solution. 


In the first post in our Unity Catalog series, we gave an overview of Unity Catalog, including its main capabilities and limitations in the realm of data access control. To continue this discussion, this post will focus on the value of integrating Databricks Unity Catalog with a Data Security Platform such as Satori, for comprehensive data management and governance across your entire data stack, inside and outside of Databricks.

Better Together with a Data Security Platform

The main duty of a data security platform is ensuring secure access to data, allowing efficient policy management, and making compliance simple. This helps lower risk, prevent data breaches, simplify audits, and make the work of data teams more efficient.

By linking Databricks’ Unity Catalog’s robust access control features with the advanced capabilities of a Data Security Platform like Satori, you’re creating a top-tier setup for managing data access and security. Satori extends Unity Catalog’s basic access control capabilities, making it fit for complex use cases and more comprehensive security on your data platform.

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Universal Access Control

Satori universally applies security policies to all your databases, data warehouses, and data lakes without changing your data model. All controls and reporting are centralized into one platform, reducing fatigue from the constant context switching that comes with point solutions.

For example: ACME has data on Databricks with Unity catalog, but is also using Microsoft SQL Server and other data and analytics platforms. By using Satori you can set security and access policies from a single platform, and they will be enforced on all your data and analytics.

Self-Service Data Portal

Satori’s vision is to help data teams win with data, and never lose control. One of the best ways we’ve seen our customers move faster while maintaining data security and compliance standards is by implementing self-service data access. Satori meets data consumers where they are, allowing users to request and access data through an intuitive data portal, through platforms like Slack, Jira, and Salesforce, or through the command line

RBAC, ABAC, and Just-in-time data access

RBAC, ABAC, and Just-in-time (JIT): ABAC allows you to define data security policies based on who users are, rather than what they do. Another important capability that is often left out of the conversation is temporary data access, also known as just-in-time. This allows users to gain access to sensitive data for a limited time, after which they must request access again.

Dynamic data masking

In the past, dynamic masking on Unity Catalog required creating dynamic views, which added some setup and maintenance overhead. Today, Unity Catalog supports data masking directly on the table itself, a definite improvement.

Satori takes Unity Catalog’s data masking features to the next level, especially for less technical compliance teams. If you’re not a data engineer, Unity Catalog can have a steeper learning curve. Data masking in Satori is easy for a few reasons; for one, through Satori’s data portal users can mask data universally across multiple data stores and BI tools, without additional configuration. Furthermore, users can create reusable masking profiles, which define the set of transformations to apply to each specified data type when setting security policies. Masking profiles can be applied to data detected and tagged by Satori’s data classification and tagging mechanism to fully automate the definition process. Read more about data masking in Satori here

Additional data governance benefits

Unity Catalog’s robust access control features, combined with Satori’s Data Security Platform (DSP), allow you to cover the more extensive data governance requirements your organization may have.

Automatic Sensitive Data Discovery

Where are your areas of vulnerability? The first step towards securing your data is knowing what needs protection and where it is. Satori’s DSP extends the capabilities of Unity Catalog by providing automatic sensitive data discovery. It continuously scans your entire data environment to identify any sensitive information, making sure nothing slips through the cracks. 

Automatic Classification and Tagging

What type of data are you handling? Satori’s DSP doesn’t just discover sensitive data, it automatically classifies and tags them too. It determines the nature of the data (such as PII, financial, or customer data) and tags them accordingly. This feature combines beautifully with Unity’s flexible role-based access control, allowing your team to apply permissions based on data type and sensitivity.

Satori scans all the data to locate sensitive information and automatically classifies sensitive data based on pre-existing classifiers. Additionally, if the data steward wants to change a pre-existing classifier to a Satori one, they can do so easily. 


Data Security Posture Management (DSPM)

How secure are you, really? Databricks’ access control features allow you to manage who has access to what data. But how can you tell if your controls are effectively protecting your vulnerable data? Enter Satori’s DSPM. It helps to continuously monitor and manage your organization’s data security posture, offering valuable insights and actionable recommendations to enhance your security measures.

Single Pane of Glass Auditing to Prove Compliance

Is your data security policy compliant? With Satori’s DSP, you have your audit trail sorted across your entire data environment. You get a comprehensive view of all data access, modifications, policy changes, and security events in a single dashboard. This makes proving compliance significantly easier, turning audit nightmares into stories of success. In the words of Laura Peaslee, Director of Data Engineering at Kandji, “our data engineers were the first to pass the audit.”


Since its announcement in 2021, Unity Catalog has undoubtedly been a game-changer for Databricks users, in that it created a layer to unify data governance across your Databricks environment, allowing for extensive integration with additional data management tools. Together with a Data Security Platform like Satori, strengthen your organization’s data access and security policy initiatives, as well as compliance automation practices. It’s your job to make data both accessible and secure, and Satori is here to help.

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About the author
|Marketing Specialist

Idan is a marketing specialist at Satori, with a focus on social media and digital marketing. Since relocating from Silicon Valley to Tel Aviv in 2021, Idan has honed her marketing skills in various Israeli cybersecurity startups.

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