Microsoft Acquires BlueTalon to Boost Azure Data Governance

Microsoft announced the acquisition of BlueTalon, a leading provider of Unified Data Access Control solutions for modern data platforms. 

While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, the data privacy and governance startup has raised USD 25.87 million so far. BlueTalon and was backed by firms like Biosys Capital, Signia Venture Partners, Maverick Capital, and Divergent Ventures.

BlueTalon will help build data privacy and governance solutions for Microsoft’s Azure cloud. “The IP and talent acquired through BlueTalon brings unique expertise at the apex of big data, security and governance,” writes Rohan Kumar, Microsoft’s corporate VP for Azure Data. “This acquisition will enhance our ability to empower enterprises across industries to digitally transform while ensuring the right use of data with centralised data governance at scale through Azure.”

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“The data landscape has changed rapidly over the past few years, enabling tremendous opportunity for enterprises to transform digitally,” says Kumar in his blog post, adding, “Data estates are increasingly diverse with fit-for-purpose systems (NoSQL, RDBMs, Data Lakes & Big Data, SaaS apps, etc.) spanning on-premises and cloud environments capable of processing data of all shapes and sizes. This rapid evolution has empowered data professionals including data engineers, data scientists and data analysts to do much more, but at the same time has vastly increased the size and diversity of data estates, making data management and governance harder than ever. In fact, 57 per cent of Gartner survey respondents cited “supporting data governance and data security” as one of the biggest challenges for their data management practice.”

“At the heart of any digital transformation is making data discovery, access and use simple, secure, compliant and trustworthy. Data privacy is one of the defining issues of our time, as evidenced by the introduction and evolution of privacy laws across the globe (e.g., GDPR, CCPA, etc.). As technology becomes more ingrained in our lives and our work, it must be simple to understand and control what data is collected and easily manage who has access to that data and for what purpose,” says Kumar.

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BlueTalon has built technology for private data centres. “We realised the technology could be used to help govern data in new data systems such as Hadoop. Our customers soon started asking for us to extend our coverage to other databases – they were building large data estates that had a heterogeneous mix of data platforms. With the help of an amazing and talented team, we were able to build the first truly Unified Data Access Control™ solution to govern on-premises data estates,” informs BlueTalon CEO Eric Tilenius, adding, “BlueTalon enterprise customers increasingly began to migrate more and more of their data to the cloud and asked us to support them in that process. As we began exploring partnership opportunities with various hyper-scale cloud providers to serve our customers better, Microsoft deeply impressed us.”

According to CrunchBase, this is Microsoft’s fourth known startup acquisition this year, following Citus Data in January, DataSense in February, and Express Logic in April.

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Over time, the acquisition could help Microsoft’s campaign to get companies feeling more comfortable with the idea of keeping sensitive data in its Azure public cloud, which competes with Amazon and other companies.