“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 4/1/2019

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Above the Trend Line: your industry rumor central is a recurring feature of insideBIGDATA. In this column, we present a variety of short time-critical news items grouped by category such as M&A activity, people movements, funding news, industry partnerships, customer wins, 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 you a one-stop source of late-breaking news to help you keep 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.

This week I attended a local, industry-specific tech conference for the Real Estate industry – CREtech. Yes, now even real estate is waking up to data! I enjoyed a panel on AI and a presentation of data science and machine learning with a classification model for home prices using the BigML auto ML tool. Good stuff!

In new funding news, we heard … FrontdeskAI, a leading developer of artificial intelligence (AI) assistants for small businesses, and the fastest adopted AI assistant in the wellness market, announced it has closed an additional $2million in seed funding, bringing its total seed funding to $4.2million. This round of seed funding was led by pi Ventures, an India based VC fund, and will help FrontdeskAI accelerate product development, increase customer acquisition and investigate new vertical markets. Previous seed rounds include $1.1million in June 2018, led by Blue Pointe Capital, and $1.1million in November 2018, led by Speciale Invest. pi Ventures partner, Abishek Surendran, will join the FrontdeskAI board which includes BluePointe Ventures managing partner, Sandeep Sardana, and Speciale Invest managing partner, Vishesh Rajaram … Austin-based Magnitude Software Inc. – a leader in unified application data management solutions – announced $179 million equity investment from 3i Group plc., a leading international private equity firm. Magnitude has more than tripled revenue, tripled profits and tripled its global footprint in 3+ years through solid organic growth and strategic acquisitions.

We also learned of some new M&A activity … Axway acquired 100% of the share capital of Streamdata.io, a software publisher based in France and the United States specializing in real-time data distribution. Streamdata.io’s expertise strengthens the capabilities of Axway’s AMPLIFY™ hybrid integration platform, notably the API Management offering, by providing new technology capabilities and methodology. Streamdata.io brings two important additions to Axway’s AMPLIFY™. The first is event-driven API management, enabling integration and application leaders to evolve beyond just supporting request-response APIs, to now supporting real-time and event-driven use cases. The second is a methodology for the digital transformation journey designed around full lifecycle API adoption and maturity.

In new partnerships, alignments, and collaborations we heard … Pepperdata, a leader in big data Application Performance Management (APM), and Cloudwick, leading provider of digital business services and solutions to the Global 1000, announced a collaborative offering for enterprises migrating their big data to Amazon Web Services (AWS). Pepperdata provides Cloudwick with a baseline of on-premises performance, maps workloads to optimal static and on-demand instances, diagnoses any issues that arise during migration, and assesses performance after the move to ensure the same or better performance and SLAs … GeoSpock® – the extreme-scale spatial big data integration company that provides analytics, builds insight, and enables predictions across space and time – announced a new partnership with X-Locations – the Japan-based location AI platform company. The companies will be collaborating on a series of projects in Japan to raise awareness of the importance of location intelligence, as well as to demonstrate how and why we should be leveraging this data. The partnership will see X-Locations integrate GeoSpock’s unique spatial big data platform – which offers extreme geospatial scale and the hyper-efficient retrieval of data – into their products to improve speed of query, increase scale capacity, and reduce cost … SQream, developer of SQream DB, the GPU-accelerated data warehouse designed for rapidly analyzing massive data stores at a fraction of the cost, announced a new agreement with LG Uplus, the mobile carrier owned by LG Corporation. The partnership is expected to improve LG Uplus’ network operations and efficiencies, reduce costs and downtime, and offer better quality of service to customers. Critical to the collaboration is the use of the IBM POWER9-based IBM Power Systems AC922 server with NVIDIA V100 Tensor Core GPUs and IBM FlashSystem 9100 storage to grow LG Uplus’ capacity to perform faster queries of massive amounts of data previously unavailable with its current infrastructure. LG Uplus becomes SQream’s first customer in South Korea as the company grows its worldwide market share within the telecom industry … Snowflake Computing, the data warehouse built for the cloud, announced a new partnership with the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Formula One team to support the team’s winning ambitions and drive data-based decision making in the 2019 F1™ racing season. Aston Martin Red Bull Racing will use Snowflake’s cloud-built data warehouse to gain a more holistic view of its business. Partnership will enable Snowflake to tap into exciting marketing opportunities with the Team. In Formula One racing, where every millisecond counts and data insight is essential for performance, the very best technology and innovation are vital to achieving success. Partnerships are key to helping Aston Martin Red Bull Racing reach new benchmarks in performance. By tapping into Snowflake’s built-for-the-cloud data warehouse, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing will be able to obtain data in real time to enable more effective business strategies.

In people movement news we learned … People.ai, creators of the only Revenue Intelligence System powered by AI, announced Godfrey Sullivan has joined its board of directors. As the former CEO of Splunk, Inc., Sullivan led the company’s initial public offering (IPO). Splunk was considered the first significant big data company to enter the public market, and its IPO is considered one of the most successful in Silicon Valley history. Sullivan has sat on Splunk’s board of directors since 2008 and from 2011-2019 was chairman, and he was named to the board of directors for CrowdStrike in 2017 … Wave Computing®, the Silicon Valley company that is accelerating artificial intelligence (AI) from the datacenter to the edge, has hired Michael Schroeder as its Chief People Officer. Reporting to Derek Meyer, Wave’s CEO, Schroeder will oversee Wave’s global talent acquisition, organizational development, culture and diversity efforts … Alegion, a leading training data preparation platform for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, announced the appointment of Ryan Suneson as the company’s new vice president of finance. In his role, Suneson will provide financial advisement for Alegion’s expansion in Austin and abroad. Prior to joining Alegion, Suneson served as director and senior director of financial planning and analysis for Spredfast, an Austin-based social media software company. Under his leadership, the company raised a $50 million series F funding round and completed a $440 million acquisition/merger with Vista Capital & Lithium Technologies. Suneson also helped scale the company’s finance processes while revenue grew by 700 percent over three years.

And finally, in observance of World Backup Day on March 31, we have a number of commentaries from the vendor ecosystem. Enjoy!

World Backup Day is a great reminder for companies large and small to not only make sure to determine which data to back up, but also where to back it up,” said Angela Restani, VP of Marketing at Hedvig. “As we’ve seen this year with a scary amount of natural disasters, major floods, fires, or tornadoes can physically wipe out a business – taking all that critical data with it. Because of this, building a multi-site or cloud back up architecture can literally determine the difference between the success or failure of your organization. Today’s businesses generate mountains of data at a pace that is only accelerating. The digital universe more than doubles every two years, and will balloon to 44 trillion gigabytes in 2020 from 4.4 trillion gigabytes in 2013. That’s an astounding amount of data that must be backed up and protected in case of hardware/software failure, malicious actors, human error, or natural disasters. Companies of all sizes from small businesses to large enterprises need to have a backup strategy that can keep up with this data explosion and sustain any kind of disruption.”

World Backup Day is a great time to celebrate what you’re doing to protect your enterprise’s data today – and plan for how you will continue to protect it in the future,” said Penny Gralewski, Solutions Marketing Lead at Commvault. “Planning is important as tomorrow’s backups may look very different than the backups you are doing today. Unforeseen or unexpected business changes – M&As that bring in new types of IT infrastructure or much larger amounts of critical data to protect, or new corporate leadership demanding implementation of cloud-first IT strategies – might require you to radically change your data protection strategy. World Backup Day is also an excellent time to evaluate your data protection strategy and confirm that it provides you with the agility and scalability you need transform the way protect your data as business conditions change. For example, increasingly enterprises are embracing multi-cloud or hybrid IT strategies that require data protection strategies that can quickly move data to the cloud while still being able to quickly recover this data on-premises or to a variety of cloud storage options. Does your current data protections strategy allow you to do this, without creating downtime that can negatively impact the business?

A well-formulated backup strategy is critical to business survival, and IT teams are under more pressure to ensure protection for the data of organizations. World Backup Day serves as a reminder for enterprises and individuals to continue to remain proactive when it comes to managing their data. Not only should organizations have a backup strategy, it is also extremely important for IT teams to test it regularly. The first time a business tests their backup tactics should not be during an emergency. Data needs to be easily recoverable and accessible when needed, as a data loss can have devastating effects on a company’s reputation,” said Neil Barton, CTO, WhereScape.

Mission-critical data fuels the speed of today’s businesses, which is why it’s essential that backup and disaster recovery plans are made a top priority. World Backup Day is an important reminder of this reality, with many organizations forgetting a few essentials to a solid backup plan. First, performing backups as frequently as possible often falls by the wayside of priorities, but this is a very effective way to prevent data loss. Moreover, the location of your backup must be kept top-of-mind, the closer it is to the primary data, the better. In addition, cyberthreats like ransomware came about after many legacy backup and disaster recovery plans were created, so it’s important to ensure that IT infrastructure is secure and safeguarded with a disaster recovery plan. Finally, while emphasis is frequently on the recovery point of when your last backup was taken, recovery time is just as important. The bottom line is backup and disaster recovery plans must be assessed consistently to safeguard data and protect organizations from being taken off guard by the next disaster,” said Alan Conboy, office of the CTO, Scale Computing.

Losing important data can be absolutely devastating to a business’s operations, customers, and even reputation. But it can be hard for internal IT teams to manage the required technologies on their own. Managed data backups are one of the most vital services an MSP can provide its clients, who depend on them to protect their data, ensure disaster recovery, and maintain business continuity. You never know when a natural disaster will strike your customer, or when they will be the target of a cyberattack. World Backup Day serves as a great reminder for MSPs on the importance of helping clients establish a comprehensive and well-formulated backup strategy that includes proactive monitoring, remediation and advanced troubleshooting. And with the ease and availability of cloud backup solutions, there’s no reason MSPs shouldn’t make it a top priority for clients,” said Jason Magee, CEO, ConnectWise.

In an age where ransomware poses a very real threat, on World Backup Day, many organizations will be considering the most effective ways of keeping their data safe in case of attack. But ransomware attacks can have a much larger impact than temporarily denying access to certain files or systems in exchange for payment—the demanded ransom amounts often pale in comparison to the collateral damage and downtime costs they cause. This includes the destruction of data on backup disks, such as records being kept for compliance, corporate governance and other business reasons. Unfortunately, this insidious software is almost always detected after the damage has already occurred, when the hacker demands a ransom. The key to detecting and stopping ransomware is to find attackers in your system before they begin to encrypt files or data.  One way is deploying user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA), which can detect the telltale signs of ransomware as it enters your IT environment.  A behavior-based approach baselines normal user behavior, which provides the context necessary to track any ransomware-triggered deviations, and helps you identify an attack earlier in its kill chain, such as during the infection, staging, or scanning phases—before encryption occurs,” said Trevor Daughney, VP, product marketing, Exabeam.

Data has become an integral component of our personal and professional lives, and today’s organizations can never know when a disaster may strike or in what form. Cyberattackers have the ability to hack into servers and delete all saved data, but natural disasters such as fires and floods and even human error can have just as catastrophic results. That’s why World Backup Day serves as a reminder for every organization to create or revisit its disaster recovery plan and learn about what other backup options are available. DR plans don’t have to be overly complicated. They just need to exist — and be regularly tested to ensure they work as planned. To help, start with the basics – data replication copies data in real- or near-real time, giving you a more up-to-date version of your data, and typically is performed in the cloud. Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) may be the most comprehensive option by providing a recovery point objective of a few seconds or allowing you to reach back further if needed, also the ability to recover applications instantly and automatically, and a lower price tag by eliminating software licenses and hardware. While these are just a few options available, your organization should always be striving to learn more and do more to protect its irreplaceable data,” said Trevor Bidle, VP of information security and compliance, US Signal.

On World Backup Day, it’s important to be aware of the risks that come with storing vast amounts of sensitive information, such as paper documents and digital records siloed on hard drives and tape drives, in file rooms or at third party facilities. In these places, data and information are not only vulnerable to being misplaced or damaged, but also face a whole host of security issues and risks. Rather than spending valuable time and effort determining which records we can afford to protect, or how to save them after trouble strikes, companies should aim to protect all their data regardless of the source. The most important thing any company can do to secure and backup its records is to digitize them and make them accessible securely in the cloud. Once records are digitized and stored in the cloud, a disaster recovery plan is automatically in place, because records are no longer reliant on the physical storage where they were kept,” said Alex Fielding, founder & iCEO, Ripcord.

When we celebrate World Backup Day in our interconnected age, it is increasingly important that organizations not only backup their data, but that their network has a backup plan as well. It’s no longer a question of whether your business will lose Internet connectivity, it’s when. In some areas Internet connectivity can experience service disruption up to several times a month, which exposes businesses to risks of lost revenue, reduced productivity and customer experience issues. New technologies including 4G LTE failover, Gigabit-Class LTE, cloud-based management and orchestration and software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) are important to keep in mind. It is key to look for solutions that prioritize and protect many more applications during primary WAN outages, allowing enterprises to keep their operations running as usual without interruption,” said Ken Hosac, VP of IoT strategy and business development, Cradlepoint.

World Backup Day is a perfect opportunity for businesses to ask themselves the following questions: How much time am I prepared to have mission-critical functions unavailable? How much data am I prepared to lose? How much money will it cost while these services are not available? If these questions are raising concerns, then you need to address your Backup strategy now. The most valuable assets should be prioritized and organizations need to be demanding about the quality, scalability and reliability of Backup solutions. The process of backing up data is pivotal to a successful Disaster Recovery plan,” said Eltjo Hofstee, managing director, Leaseweb UK.

In 2011, World Backup Day began to remind us of the importance of having a copy of our information. And while the significance of this day has only grown in the years since it was first celebrated, backup technology has barely begun to evolve. From tape, to hard drive and now cloud, which is really tape in many cases, the target and management have changed, yet fundamentally it is still based on periodic snapshots of information. But in an ‘always-on’ business landscape, how can an organization feel protected with an antiquated backup strategy? The answer is it can’t. Data is the primary currency and competitive differentiator, it should all be protected by continuous replication which ensures every change, update or added piece of data is always available. This World Backup Day, don’t settle for the status quo of backup, demand more. Demand continuous, with the reassurance that all data is protected up to a moment before anything disrupts it,” said Rob Strechay, senior vice president of product, Zerto.

In order to provide the utmost protection for your data, it is absolutely necessary in today’s corporate world to have the proper backup and data recovery system. Luckily, archive storage solutions are available to help eliminate data loss as well as provide added layers of security from tampering, corruption and ransomware. These archive storage solutions are additionally able to increase the efforts of driving cost and performance benefits by simply allowing for greater long-term retention of data. For a data backup strategy to reach its highest potential, the strategy should include data protection, enhanced security features and peak performance of storage,” said Rod Harrison, VP of engineering of StorCentric.


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