“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 1/23/2017

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Above the Trend Line: machine learning industry rumor central, is a recurring feature of insideBIGDATA. In this column, we present a variety of short time-critical news items such as people movements, funding news, financial results, industry alignments, rumors and general scuttlebutt floating around the big data, data science and machine learning industries including behind-the-scenes anecdotes and curious buzz. Our intent is to provide our readers a one-stop source of late-breaking news to help keep you abreast of this fast-paced ecosystem. We’re working hard on your behalf with our extensive vendor network to give you all the latest happenings. Heard of something yourself? Tell us! Just e-mail me at: daniel@insidebigdata.com.  Be sure to Tweet Above the Trend Line articles using the hashtag: #abovethetrendline.

We’re only a few weeks into 2017 and we’re starting to receive year-prior financial reports, starting with BlueData, provider of a leading Big-Data-as-a-Service (BDaaS) software platform, announcing record financial results and a dramatic increase in adoption among new and existing customers in 2016.  BlueData sales grew by 426% during the calendar year, fueled by new wins at dozens of customers representing a range of sizes, industries, and geographies including The Advisory Board Company, AIG, Attunity, Barclays, Equifax, Intellisoft Technologies, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, JP Morgan Chase, Micron, Nasdaq, Panera Bread, Perry Preston Group, State Farm Insurance, University of Georgia, and multiple US Federal agencies. BlueData attributes its success to the increased adoption of Hadoop, Spark, and other Big Data technologies; growing interest in Docker containers, cloud computing, and Big-Data-as-a-Service among enterprise customers; the strength of its technology partner ecosystem; as well as the ground-breaking innovation of BlueData’s EPIC software platform.

In new funding news, we learned that Collibra, a leader in data governance software for business users, announced it has closed $50 million in Series C financing led by San Francisco-based ICONIQ Capital with participation from investment firm Battery Ventures and return backers Dawn Capital, Index Ventures and Newion Investments. This latest investment will help Collibra continue to fuel its rapid growth and industry leadership as a premier provider of data governance solutions. To date, Collibra has secured more than $75 million in venture funding. With this investment, Matt Jacobson, General Partner with ICONIQ, will join the Collibra board of directors; Battery General Partner Dharmesh Thakker will join the board as an observer. Organizations are increasingly adopting data governance as a “system of record” to help them exercise control over processes and methods employed by data users to improve data quality. The Collibra integrated data governance platform helps hundreds of organizations across the globe in industries including financial services, retail, healthcare, education, technology, government and others find, understand, and trust the data they need to be truly data-driven enterprises and to gain competitive advantage.

January definitely has been the month for new partnerships, collaborations, and strategic alignments starting with Narrative Science, a leader in advanced natural language generation (Advanced NLG) for the enterprise, announcing a partnership with Indix, the product information company that provides structured product data via Data-as-a-Service. The first-of-its-kind collaboration will focus on combining the world’s largest set of structured product information with advanced natural language generation to change the way brands and retailers build SEO-optimized product pages …  DataSift announced a strategic partnership with LinkedIn and unveiled PYLON for LinkedIn Engagement Insights to provide marketers around the globe with advanced insights into the activities and interests of over 467 million professionals. LinkedIn Engagement Insights is a privacy-first analytics offering from DataSift that equips marketers with an in-depth understanding of key audiences, their interests and engagement with content, and how they interact with brands on LinkedIn. With these insights, marketers can inform and optimize advertising planning and measurement, brand building activities, and content marketing on LinkedIn. DataSift’s approach to data processing provides an environment that allows for results to be aggregated, giving marketers audience-level insights while respecting LinkedIn members’ privacy and preventing private member data from being collected or viewed … Litmus Automation, an Internet of Things (IoT) platform provider, announced a partnership program for companies and organizations interested in using Litmus’ IoT platforms LoopEdge and LoopCloud to expand their IoT solutions business worldwide. One of Litmus’ first partners commented: “HMS Industrial Networks is excited to partner with Litmus Automation for cloud connectivity,” said Kevin Knake, Executive Vice President of HMS Industrial Networks. “In no time, we combined Litmus’ LoopEdge solution with our gateway to create an out-of-the-box, easy-to-use solution for pulling data off machines. Litmus is the ideal development partner: fast, knowledgeable and affordable – everything one would expect from a cutting-edge company in the IoT space.” As the market for IoT solutions is growing at a rapid rate, Litmus’ LoopEdge (edge management and applications system) and LoopCloud (backend infrastructure) IoT platforms will play a major role in almost every industry. More and more companies are looking at IoT solutions to improve their operations and expand revenue streams. For those interested in capitalizing on these growing opportunities, Litmus Automation’s Partnership Program provides proven and reliable IoT solutions to companies and their customers … Qlik®, a leader in visual analytics, announced that Rentokil Initial, one of the largest business services companies in the world, is using the Qlik Sense® analytics platform to gain better insights from its product and global company operations data. Rentokil’s partnership with Qlik supports its wider global deployment of new innovative digital pest control products and next-generation services. Qlik joins Google and PA Consulting Group to execute Rentokil’s mission to deliver its customers predictive advice and connected solutions. The cloud-based Qlik Sense platform will be used to provide visualizations of data from Rentokil’s Internet of Things (IoT) product roll out, which leverages connected digital devices to deliver new levels of proactive risk management against the threat of pest infestation – for instance, mapping weather patterns with rodent behavior or tracking swarms of insects as they cross territories …  BERG, a biopharmaceutical company uncovering health solutions through a data-driven, biological research approach, announced a multi-year agreement between BERG Analytics, a division of BERG, and BD’s MedMined™ solution. This new collaboration will leverage the combined healthcare IT expertise of BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) and BERG to focus on the development of a medication adherence algorithm that will help healthcare workers identify certain patient populations that are at the highest risk for non-adherence post-discharge. Through this innovative solution, clinicians will be able to better prioritize patient interventions and engage the most appropriate ancillary staff to improve patient outcomes once they leave the hospital.

In the new customer wins category, we heard that … With more than 1.5 million nonprofits in the U.S. alone, how can these organizations find the right supporters who share similar values? Working with 900+ million mail transactions, 140 million donations, and 40+ million individuals, DonorBureau turned to DataRobot’s cloud-based predictive analytics solution to effectively identify, understand, and connect potential donors with nonprofit organizations and ensure every mission is appropriately funded. As a result, Donor Bureau is able to understand donors’ levels of charitable giving – and in turn – personalize non-profit campaigns to gain higher ROI. More specifically, the company saw 10% improvement in accuracy at 25% of their previous expense right out of the box – and the speed at which models were built and tested jumped from 1-2 weeks to one day … As the largest independent energy supplier in the UK, First Utility is helping one million households take control of their energy consumption to reduce waste and monthly payments. First Utility is using DataStax Enterprise to build and run their Smart Meter application over other open source alternatives. With DataStax Enterprise, first Utility has seen a 5-6% decrease in energy use, as well as a dramatic increase in overall customer satisfaction and longevity.

In people movement news, we learned that Continuum Analytics, the creator and driving force behind Anaconda, the leading Open Data Science platform powered by Python, announced Scott Collison as the company’s new chief executive officer (CEO). Collison, a successful entrepreneur and former executive at VMware and Salesforce.com, also joins the Board of Directors to drive the strategy and operations of the company. Collison succeeds co-founder and fellow Board member, Travis Oliphant, who will shift his focus on accelerating innovation within the dynamic Open Data Science community and managing customer solutions as chief data scientist … Ayasdi, a leading developer of machine intelligence software, announced that Ayasdi CEO Gurjeet Singh has been appointed by HSBC, a global bank with assets under management of more than $2.5 trillion, to its newly-created Technology Advisory Board. Singh, a co-founder of Ayasdi, is the author of numerous patents on artificial intelligence, machine learning and topology. Singh joins high-profile innovators from global companies including eBay, Ripple, Token, Transmit Security and Spark Capital on the new HSBC technology advisory board. The board will leverage HSBC’s global infrastructure and culture of innovation to meaningfully contribute to digital disruption and combat cybercrime. The group will meet quarterly to provide advice and guidance on HSBC’s technology and digital strategy relating to IT infrastructure, digital opportunities, cybersecurity and creative technology.

And finally, we received more commentary on the newest MongoDB related attacks. Researchers are seeing similar destructive attacks now hitting Hadoop and CouchDB deployments – the attackers are wiping data:

After the string of attacks on MongoDB instances in the past weeks, it was only a matter of time before other databases got targeted as well,” said Dome9 Co-Founder and CEO Zohar Alon. “The era of datajacking is well underway, where sensitive data is encrypted, erased and vandalized. Many of these attacks can be traced back to overly permissive security policies that expose vital internal resources to the public.”

The MongoDB ransom attack is just a precursor to the much broader database attacks we’re going to see in 2017,” said Jason Garbis, CISSP and head of products at Cryptzone. “Now that attackers understand how easy this is, any unsecured database is going to be attacked and compromised – for some malicious combination of disruption, ransom, and disclosure. We’ve already seen this begin to spread – just in the past 10 days, the attack has expand beyond MongoDB, and there are now confirmed reports of ransom attacks on other noSQL-type databases including ElasticSearch, Hadoop, and now CouchDB. These attacks should not be happening – the victims’ databases are exposed to the entire internet, without any user authentication required. Basic security principles require that these systems should default to require user authentication, and developers should confirm this before deploying these systems. Unfortunately, as we see here, it’s far too easy for organizations to unwittingly expose their assets to attack. It’s time to take a more intelligent approach to network security, which ensures that all users are validated before they obtain any access. This kind of security architecture – which is simple to deploy – can easily protect databases and other assets from unauthorized user access – even if they don’t have authentication enabled. Database, development, and security teams have got to prioritize solving this problem – and it is a problem for most organizations. If you don’t want to have a business disruption on your hands, you’ve got to protect your servers now.”


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