“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 2/1/2021

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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.

Let’s start out our regular industry buzz-fest with some new funding news … Databricks, the Data and AI company, today announced a $1 Billion investment in response to the rapid global adoption of its unified data platform. The Series G funding, led by new investor Franklin Templeton, puts Databricks at a $28 billion post-money valuation. Franklin Templeton is joined by other new investors including Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Fidelity Management & Research LLC, and Whale Rock, along with new strategic investors Amazon Web Services (AWS), CapitalG and Salesforce Ventures. Existing investors participating in the round include Microsoft, Andreessen Horowitz, Alkeon Capital Management, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Coatue Management, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. and Tiger Global Management … Verusen, the company that leverages AI to build the intelligent, connected supply chain, announced an $8 million Series A co-led by Forte Ventures and Flyover Capital. The round includes new investment from BMW i Ventures and continued participation from Glasswing Ventures, Zetta Venture Partners, Kubera VC, and Engage. The funds will be used to support the company’s seven-fold sales growth in 2020, including its global expansion and scaled delivery of its purpose-built AI, machine learning (ML) and neural network technologies to create the self-learning supply chain for customers in more than 25 countries … Starburst announced an undisclosed investment from David Schneider who will bring his expertise from leadership positions at ServiceNow, EMC, and Data Domain to help build and scale Starburst’s growth strategy. The news comes on the heels of Starburst’s $100M series C financing, as the company continues its rapid growth to meet the fundamental shift in how organizations approach data access and analytics … Australian global data analytics software business Phocas Software announced a AU$45 million (US$34 million) capital raise to accelerate its growth in America and the United Kingdom, expand into new industries and develop its core products. Ellerston Capital led the capital raise with a AU$35 million (US$27 million) equity investment. OneVentures, an existing shareholder who first invested in the company in 2018, provided an additional AU$10 million (US$7 million) equity financing, reinforcing the venture capital firm’s confidence in the company. Phocas is a cloud-based data analytics Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company with operations in the US, Australia and the UK. It is a growing, profitable company which should reach circa AU$50million in revenue by July 1, 2021. The business employs 200 people and has more than 1,900 mid-market customers, including Karcher, Burson Automotive, Repco, Henry Schein, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Fiskars Royal Doulton in Australia. Litex Industries, American Metals Supply, Dixie Plywood and Equipment Controls Company in the U.S. And Ruroc, Bayliss and Harding, Savona, Midfix and Wessex Packaging in the UK … Run:AI, the provider of innovative orchestration and virtualization software for artificial intelligence, announced that it has raised an additional $30M in funding. The Series B round was led by Insight Partners, with participation from existing investors TLV Partners and S-Capital, bringing Run:AI’s total venture financing to $43M. Lonne Jaffe, Managing Director at Insight Partners, will also join Run:AI’s board. Run:AI, which launched in 2019, will use the investment to fund rapid expansion and recruitment … Pinecone Systems Inc., a machine learning (ML) cloud infrastructure company, left stealth with $10m in seed funding. The investment was led by Wing Venture Capital, and Wing’s Founding Partner, Peter Wagner, will be joining the Pinecone board. Built by the team behind Amazon SageMaker and founded by scientist and former AWS Director Edo Liberty, Pinecone makes large-scale real-time inference as simple as querying a database.

In M&A news we have … Rapid7, Inc. (NASDAQ: RPD), a leading provider of security analytics and automation, today announced it has acquired Alcide.IO Ltd., a leading provider of Kubernetes security based in Tel Aviv, Israel. This is the second acquisition Rapid7 has made in the cloud security market in the past nine months, having acquired DivvyCloud, a leader in Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) this past April. Together, these acquisitions will enhance Rapid7’s ability to provide a cloud native security platform to its customers and facilitate continuous management of risk and compliance across their cloud environments … LogRhythm, the company powering today’s security operations centers (SOCs), announced it has acquired MistNet, a cloud-based analytics platform that delivers vast network visibility and accurate threat detection. The acquisition will allow LogRhythm to deliver intelligent, machine-learning based detection and response capabilities that incorporate network detection, user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA), endpoint detection and response data (EDR), and additional MITRE ATT&CK detections to solve current and emerging security and risk problems … CData Software, a leading provider of standards-based drivers and data access solutions for real-time data integration, announced the acquisition of forceAmp.com LLC, the developers of DBAmp and a longtime Salesforce Partner trusted by Fortune 500 companies and leading global enterprises. This acquisition brings together leaders in Salesforce data connectivity and integration … Algolia, a leading Search-as-a-Service company, announced that it has acquired MorphL, a Google Digital News Initiative-funded startup, to help power Algolia’s new AI offering. This new suite of API-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) models enables developers, data scientists, and marketers to predict users’ intent, personalize online experiences, and create highly-targeted offers. To feed the desire for users’ expectations for instant gratification, companies are depending more and more on modern technologies such as AI. However, applying AI to every point in a user’s journey can be complex. Historically, developers’, data scientists’, and marketers’ options have been limited to a reliance on either “opaque” proprietary or open source offerings, or to build their own models from scratch — which could take several weeks or months … Kin + Carta (KCT), the global digital transformation consultancy, announced the acquisition of Cascade Data Labs, a Portland, Oregon-based company with a focus on data science. The acquisition supports the expansion of Kin + Carta’s data transformation practice, one of the fastest-growing parts of the business. Cascade Data Labs offers end-to-end data science expertise across all of the interrelated disciplines required to execute and drive business value, including data integration, data architecture, data science, data engineering, and data visualization. The firm strives to align all of the disciplines required to successfully execute a coherent vision of the end product while keeping a vigilant focus on driving value for the business.

In the new customer wins department we learned … Altair, (Nasdaq: ALTR) a global technology company providing solutions in data analytics, simulation, and high-performance computing (HPC), announced that is has signed a memo of understanding (MoU) with Rolls-Royce Germany to collaboratively connect artificial intelligence (AI) and engineering to derive business value across Rolls-Royce’s engineering, testing, and design of aerospace engines. Industries globally are increasingly seeking ways to leverage data analytics and AI to significantly increase revenues, cut costs, and reduce risks. Forward-thinking organizations like Rolls-Royce Germany are undergoing groundbreaking digital transformations and have identified engineering as a key area. In particular, the collaboration with Altair will address structural analysis and testing, bringing together vast amounts of historical product and in-service data from disparate sources to unlock new AI-driven engineering use cases to drive significant business value … Kinetica, the streaming data warehouse that combines historical and streaming data analysis with powerful location intelligence and AI, announced a five-year contract with the Air Force to deliver a streaming data warehouse for the NORAD and USNORTHCOM Pathfinder program that will tie independent systems together across air, land, sea, space, and cyber domains, creating a fused operational picture. This contract transitions and expands on capabilities demonstrated during a one-year prototyping effort with NORAD and USNORTHCOM and DIU, the Department of Defense organization that exclusively works with commercial companies to solve national security challenges … Architecting how data enables the world to solve its biggest problems, Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) announced that the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), in partnership with Qumulo, a breakthrough leader in file data management for hybrid cloud environments, is employing Western Digital’s Ultrastar DC HC550 18TB HDDs and Ultrastar DC SN640 NVMeTM SSDs for ongoing COVID-19 research and vaccine rollout … Global leading tire company Hankook Tire is further driving its digital transformation by partnering with the leading analytics platform, Tableau Software. Through this partnership, Hankook will be equipped with advanced data analytics and agile user interface platform for next generation business intelligence. Taking the initiative to further develop its digital capabilities, Hankook is pursuing a digitalization of its office through Tableau’s data-driven analytics platform. Known for its easy to use functions such as the Tableau Prep (intuitive data handling through drag-and-drop) and the calculated field function which helps user to process the data into a more usable form, Tableau enhances data based decision and visual analysis. Based on Tableau’s software platform, Hankook created a standard database processing algorithm which enabled accumulation of globally-scattered data, expediting the decision-making process. As a result, analyzing and reporting tasks has been minimized and more time can now be allocated to deriving valuable insights from a business perspective … AI.Reverie has been awarded a $950,000,000 ceiling indefinite-delivery/indefinite- quantity contract for the maturation, demonstration and proliferation of capability across platforms and domains, leveraging open systems design, modern software and algorithm development in order to enable Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2). This contract is part of a multiple award multi-level security effort to provide development and operation of systems as a unified force across all domains (air, land, sea, space, cyber, and electromagnetic spectrum) in an open architecture family of systems that enables capabilities via multiple integrated platforms. The contract follows collaboration between the Air Force and AI.Reverie in 2020 to improve AI-guided navigation and intelligence gathering. AI.Reverie generates fully annotated data at scale with an efficiency that makes AI training fast, flexible and productive. Gartner recently recognized the technology by naming AI.Reverie a “Cool Vendor” in AI Core Technologies.

We also learned of several new partnerships, alignments and collaborations … Exabeam, the security analytics and automation company, announced a partnership with Snowflake, the Data Cloud company, to augment Snowflake data lakes with Exabeam security analytics and automation. The partnership enables organizations to identify risks and respond swiftly to incidents across their entire business ecosystem … EY announced an alliance with ASAPP, an artificial intelligence research-driven company, and Ernst & Young LLP (EY US), to help customer service contact centers use artificial intelligence (AI) to transform customer experience (CX) interactions with consumers. Alongside EY US consulting teams’ experience in business transformation, the alliance can help EY clients scale the ASAPP platform across their operations for a true omnichannel experience that integrates voice, messaging and web channels to improve service, sales effectiveness and efficiency, increase sales conversions and accelerate digital adoption. As companies face increased customer service call volume, high agent turnover and flat or declining customer satisfaction scores, transforming these processes allows large enterprises to redefine how they interact with their customers. The ASAPP AI platform helps solve a major economic equation for contact centers. By automating burdensome tasks and directing contact center agents on the right things to say, along with the most successful actions to take — informed by machine learning models — the ASAPP AI platform increases agent productivity and satisfaction, and reduces costs … Alteryx, Inc. (NYSE: AYX), a leader in analytic process automation (APA), announced a partnership with Snowflake, the Data Cloud company, that further integrates Alteryx analytics automation and data science capabilities with Snowflake’s platform. The combination provides customers with automated data pipelining, faster data processing and speeds analytics outcomes at scale … ALTR, provider of advanced data security for data-driven enterprises, and Aptitive, a data and analytics consultancy focused on modern data architectures, have partnered to drive innovation in the cloud. Aptitive will leverage ALTR DSaaS technology to help companies develop secure, tech-forward data solutions that support business performance and cloud-based IT optimization. An analytics and data consulting firm specializing in business strategy and technical development, Aptitive helps customers solve complex business challenges with modern data management, insight, delivery and processing capabilities.

In the new people movement category we heard … SingleStore, The Database of NowTM for cloud-native modern applications, has announced the addition of a seasoned executive to push forward the company’s innovative vision. Oliver Schabenberger joins as chief innovation officer, reporting to CEO Raj Verma … SQream, provider of a data analytics acceleration platform that enables enterprises to gain critical business insights, much faster, from their massive data stores, announced the appointment of Benny Yehezkel as Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). Reporting to CEO Ami Gal, Yehezkel will guide worldwide business to facilitate the company’s next stage of growth … Agiloft, a global standard in contract and commerce lifecycle management, announced the appointment of Andy Wishart as chief product officer (CPO). Wishart will provide leadership and direction to further accelerate innovation in Agiloft’s no-code contract lifecycle management (CLM) platform … Neo4j, a leader in graph technology, announced that Kristin Thornby has joined the company’s executive management team as Vice President of People. This latest addition rounds out a series of significant senior-level appointments that will propel Neo4j through its next phase of growth and expansion. Thornby is an accomplished people leader known for building award-winning cultures from the ground up in both fast-growing startups and multinational corporations. She has extensive experience in developing systems and processes that align people around corporate missions and values … Databricks, the Data and AI company, announced the appointment of Elena Donio and Jonathan Chadwick to its Board of Directors. With decades of experience leading and advising high-growth software companies, both industry veterans will serve strategic roles as the company continues to scale and prepare for its next phase of growth … Alation Inc., a leader in enterprise data intelligence solutions, announced the appointment of Tracy Eiler as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Eiler is responsible for driving Alation’s marketing strategy to scale the company and help customers in their quest to become data-driven enterprises and foster data culture. Eiler has more than 25 years of experience building and scaling high-performance B2B technology marketing teams. She has experience in analytics and data management, and has worked across many SaaS revenue models including commercial, enterprise, and channel. Eiler is recognized as one of the 15 Most Influential Women in B2B Marketing and a B2B Demand Marketing Game Changer. She is also a founding Board Member of the non-profit Women In RevenueIncorta, a leading next-generation enterprise data and analytics platform, announced the appointment of Scott Jones as Chief Executive Officer, replacing Osama Elkady. As the founder of Incorta’s Direct Data Mapping and unified analytics solution, Osama will remain at the company as Chief Technology Officer (CTO), where he will work with current Fortune 1000 customers and the engineering team to lead product strategy and innovation … Redis Labs, the home of Redis and provider of Redis Enterprise, named Taimur Rashid as the company’s Chief Business Development Officer. Rashid brings to the company nearly two decades of experience in incubating new market opportunities and expanding the market reach for iconic enterprise software companies, the past 15 years being with leading cloud service providers … CloudSphere, which provides governance across security posture, identity, compliance and cost management in the cloud, announced the appointment of Jane Gilson as the company’s CEO successor to Patrick McNally. In her role, Gilson will leverage her extensive international experience, her background with Software as a Service models and her understanding of cloud customer needs to help CloudSphere scale to the next level as demand for the platform increases. Gilson’s background spans growing a multi-billion-dollar division at Google, heading worldwide business strategy at Microsoft, co-founding a venture backed company and mentoring several technology startups … Brightflag, the AI-powered legal spend management and matter management platform , announced the appointment of Jill Altruda as the company’s new Vice President of Marketing. Altruda will direct global marketing strategy for Brightflag, drive customer acquisition, and oversee all customer-facing communications.

In AI patent news we heard from IBM … 2020 brought with it unprecedented global challenges and in turn underscored the need for scientific thinking and science-led action. In the face of a global pandemic, technology companies stepped-up and delivered research-backed innovations and solutions to help the world at-large. 

For IBM, this commitment to scientific discovery and exploration has long been in the company’s DNA for more than 100 years. Fostering a culture of innovation and curiosity has led IBM employees, researchers, and scientists to invent and drive forward products and solutions not only for its clients, but for society. One piece of this innovation strategy is prioritizing the value and investment in R&D. To that end, the IFI released its annual list of US patents rankings — and IBM leads for the 28th consecutive year,  both in terms of total patents issued – more than 9,000 –  and in key categories like AI, hybrid cloud, quantum computing and security. This innovation feeds directly into the company’s business strategy, as it deploys products and technologies to help its clients serve and empower their customers. 

  • In the field of AI, we received more than 2,300 patents. AI patents ranged from technology to make virtual agents more responsive to emotions when speaking to customers, to AI that can help people make difficult decisions — summarizing key decision points from a variety of information sources, both written and verbal, and presenting them in easy to understand visualizations. In 2020, IBM demonstrated its leadership in NLP through the launch of Project Debater, a technology that digests massive texts in order to construct a well-structured speech on a given topic, deliver it with clarity and purpose and rebut an opponent.   
  • We also received more than 1,400 security patents, including a new method for keeping data points encrypted in a fully homomorphic environment – a unique security technology that we pioneered and where we rolled out a new service in December 2020
  • IBM led in quantum computing patents. Quantum remains a major focus for IBM, and this is reflected in patents like one that simplifies the mapping of quantum molecular simulation on a quantum computer. As a result, researchers will be able to explore simulating chemical reactions on quantum computers to understand how and when the discovery process around new materials and new pharmaceuticals will be revolutionized.
  •  IBM received more than 3,000 patents related to cloud and hybrid cloud technologies. As the value of hybrid cloud technology becomes clear, one of the crucial decisions CIOs face is determining which data will be processed on premises and which will be processed in the cloud. IBM inventors developed a technology to automate this data processing categorization, which offers the potential for greatly reduced latency in hybrid cloud deployments where speed is crucial – such as GPS-generated driving instructions.  

We received a commentary from CEO of Synthesis AI, Yashar Behzadi, around a study just published from the University of Barcelona that evaluated the accuracy and bias in gender and skin color of automatic face recognition algorithms tested with real world data. Although the top solutions exceed the 99.9% of accuracy, researchers have detected some groups that show higher false positive or false negative rates. Synthesis AI creates synthetic data technologies to build more capable and ethical computer vision AI. Yashar said:

“The researchers highlight the issue of Bias prevalent in today’s AI systems that disproportionately impact specific ethnicities. As AI systems become ubiquitous and are increasingly responsible for making key decisions, companies need to mindfully develop these AI systems. To build fair and ethical AI systems, the input data needs to be well balanced and thoughtfully designed. At Synthesis AI, we focus on synthetic data generation to address the key issues of bias and privacy of human-centered data. By design, we ensure that the training data is properly balanced from inception to prevent downstream model bias. We hope with a continued focus on the issue of bias, we can collectively as a community move toward deploying fair AI systems.”  

We received a commentary from Buno Pati, CEO of Infoworks and partner at Centerview Capital, about the way that data will play a role in the management and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine:

“The management and distribution of COVID vaccine developments will not be successful unless issues with data agility and analytics are resolved in a timely manner. Data analytics and data science will play a critical role informing the management and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. As we’re entering the deployment stage, data will be the key to managing and distributing the vaccine in a prioritized, equitable, efficient and effective manner. Accelerating deployment and delivery will require trustworthy data to inform decision-making and adjustments along the way. Knowing that speed is of the essence, modern automated data management systems will be required to deliver the agility needed.”

We received a comment from industry analyst Patrick Moorhead’s on his take on Intel’s recent earnings report:   

“Even in the midst of Intel’s 7nm manufacturing challenges, the company pulled off a phenomenal Q4 significantly exceeding expectations by $20B in revenue and $1.52 EPS. Tiger Lake demand looks strong on the PC side and I think, based on its 33% growth, likely gained market share. While the datacenter business did better than expected, it was weighed down by the cloud ingestion cycle, competition, and continued decline in enterprise and  government purchases. Mobileye was a huge standout, driving 39% quarterly revenue growth and 93% improvement in profitability. Mobileye is on its way to be an over billion dollar annualized business, a real accomplishment. The company is forecasting a Q1 revenue decline, but keep in mind, that does not include memory business it is spinning off to Hynix. We’ll have to see if the company says anything about 7nm and outside foundry use but it wasn’t mentioned in the release.”

The battle of databases continues to develop and Cockroach announced a major round of funding. We received a commentary about this funding from Shane Johnson, Senior Director of Product Marketing at MariaDB:

CockroachDB’s recent funding announcement shows 2021 is well on its way to seeing relational databases expand their scope to include even the most challenging workloads. Not long ago, businesses had to give up data integrity and SQL when they required greater scalability. Now, with databases like CockroachDB and MariaDB Xpand, they can grow forever – and without compromise, getting all of the benefits of a relational database plus unlimited scalability.

The Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) announced that NVIDIA has violated the TPC’s Fair Use Policy. In the paper “State of RAPIDS: Bridging the GPU Data Science Ecosystem,” presented at NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference (GTC) 2020, and in associated company blogs and marketing materials, NVIDIA claims that it has “outperformed by nearly 20x the record for running the standard big data analytics benchmark, known as TPCx-BB.” Since NVIDIA has not published official TPC results, and instead compared results from derived workloads to official TPC results, the comparisons are invalid:

“The TPC actively encourages publicizing of TPC results by all organizations, including the press, market researchers, financial analysts and non-profit organizations,“ said Mike Brey, chairman of the TPC Steering Committee.  “However, to ensure that users and readers of TPC results are given a fair and complete representation of TPC data, the TPC requests that all users follow the Fair Use rules, outlined in TPC policies, when publishing or publicizing results.”

The TPC is working with NVIDIA to resolve the issue and make all relevant corrections.

And finally, we received a number of commentaries about the recent Data Privacy Day:

“For the past year, online activity has grown by over 35%  and that represents an increasing amount of data generated at a rapid rate,” comented Or Lenchner, CEO of Luminati Networks. “This data is a critical asset to businesses and especially healthcare organizations, however, ethics and professional responsibility must be at the heart of data collection strategies. Data Privacy Day is an important day in the calendar serving as a reminder to enterprises, governments and smaller organizations around the world that they need to be more transparent and open when it comes to collecting online data. Organizations of all sizes need to evaluate how they use data as the world becomes increasingly digital and ensure they take ownership for their own data protection and collection practices, otherwise they put themselves at great risk of losing the trust of their community and consumers.”

In the wake of COVID-19 remote work cybersecurity concerns and the high-profile SolarWinds hack, we’ve seen security elevate in importance and the protection of sensitive data has become more of a shared responsibility across the company,” commented James Carder, CSO of LogRhythm. “Organizations are realizing that IT and security teams aren’t the only ones with something to lose in the event of a breach; the whole business is at stake. The board doesn’t want to risk a security breach or be found negligent based on a lack of investment in security. With more and more companies experiencing breaches and people’s personal information being shared with so many businesses, Data Privacy Day serves as an important reminder for organization leaders to acknowledge their shared responsibility for cybersecurity and effective data protection across the entire business. For companies that aren’t currently operating in this way, it is a time for them to take a step back and make a plan to prioritize it in 2021. For consumers, it is a time to develop a better understanding of how companies are using their data. Just a few weeks ago, WhatsApp updated its privacy policy to state that the company reserves the right to share data such as phone numbers, IP addresses, and payments made through the app with Facebook and other Facebook-owned platforms like Instagram. Consider this: if it’s free or low priced, then you (and your information) are the payment. As we’ve seen with the recent additions and revisions to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), a U.S. privacy statute that governs residents of California, states are beginning to place more stringent requirements on themselves and businesses operating within their borders to protect their residents’ data. While there is currently no federal data privacy law in the U.S. that compares to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), we can expect to see more states step up to lead change in privacy policy in 2021 and beyond that ultimately could influence federal privacy laws.”

“Develop a security aware culture,” commented Ian Pitt, CIO, LogMeIn. “It can often be the human element that is the weakest link in security, with employees failing to change default passwords or using the same credentials across multiple accounts. This is especially true when no emphasis has been made on security awareness. Keep your employees educated on what is confidential and sensitive data, and the steps they can take to protect both their own and their customer’s information. Creating a stronger “cyber smart” security culture takes time and lots of education, but is critical to data security in a work from anywhere environment.”

“Data Privacy Day is an ideal time to build awareness and start an open dialogue about how individuals’ data is being leveraged by companies,” commented Jasen Meece, CEO of Cloudentity. “It’s important to put the power of data back into consumers’ hands so they can decide how their data is being used and shared. After the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) passed in November 2020, many other states and countries may follow suit in implementing data and privacy laws to give consumers control of their personal data. However, adhering to privacy standards can be challenging for companies, especially as applications become more complex with the addition of distributed services, APIs, and serverless resources all collecting and passing user data across environments. When it comes to managing consumer identity, API Protection is a key leg of the identity stool, dictating how the app handles user data, identity governance and who has access to private data. Companies need to ensure that they request customer consent to access or use their private information required to deliver their services. Every user consent action and the contextual information needed to establish some form of identity needs to be captured to prove compliance with legislation and to respect the data privacy of their customers.”  

“As we mark Data Privacy Day this year, it’s important to note that 2020 was another record year for data breaches, with 36 billion records exposed according to data from Risk Based Security,” commented Kushal Shah, Ekata’s Chief Product Officer. “As the volume of compromised personally identifiable information (PII) grows, so does the risk of fraud, making digital identity verification even more crucial to businesses and consumers. The ready availability of stolen consumer data is fueling a rapid increase in sophisticated fraud tactics such as synthetic identities and account takeovers. At Ekata, our proprietary network monitors linkages and associations across billions of data elements to identify real-time predictable patterns that correspond to the behavior of genuine customers versus those of fraudsters. We then analyze the transaction queries using complex machine learning to help businesses confidently approve more customer transactions and weed out bad actors. While technology can certainly contribute to stopping fraud, businesses need to be better stewards of the data they collect. When it comes to safeguarding the data of our clients and their end-users, we maintain high privacy and security standards, following the guiding principle of “Data for Good.” We offer processes for data subjects to view, correct, or delete information above and beyond what is required by law, and we implement role-based access controls to prevent unnecessary exposure of personal information.”

“2020 saw a boom in remote workforces for companies spanning most industries and sub sectors,” commented Lex Boost, CEO, Leaseweb USA. “Businesses shifted, en masse, from having a system in place for remote work as the exception, to remote work as the rule. This shift caused many businesses to solve immediate issues of business continuity, on both the large and minute scale. Data Privacy Day comes as we all begin settling into the comfort of normalcy of remote working, and provides an opportunity for business leaders to consider whether their current hosting solutions are meeting business needs. Companies should take this opportunity to reassess their current office environment and corresponding data strategies. Organizations leveraging an on-prem data strategy should consider restructuring to a data center model. As office spaces continue to remain largely unoccupied, the security of data housed on-premises increases in vulnerability–both to malicious actors and to unforeseen events like natural disasters. A hosting provider can offer a variety of solutions and configurations (i.e. dedicated servers, hybrid cloud, colocation, etc.) that moves your data to an offsite location with enhanced physical and cybersecurity measures. Many hosting providers have the extra layer of protection by offering 24/7 security-related support services to guarantee your data is secure at all times. Hosting providers are required to comply with critical and stringent standards such as ISO 27001, SOC type 1, HIPAA, GDPR and CCPA. The physical buildings where the data centers are located are also typically gated, and require identification to enter. During Data Privacy Day this year, it’s important for organizations to remember that protecting data doesn’t have to be a job done alone. As we continue to telecommute, it is important to rely on hosting providers for an extra layer of protection and peace of mind.” 

Convention 108 turns 40 today, and with every entry to a new decade, it offers a good time to reflect and rethink,” commented Amy Yeung, General Counsel & Chief Privacy Officer at Lotame. “The increased advocacy and education of data privacy worldwide deserves celebration, but, our policies are creating unintended outcomes. The emphasis on consumer consent, while good intentioned and important, neglects to account for the operational aspects of data definitions, collection and combination. This is where we’ve lost the plot as a privacy community. Disclosures don’t change industry behavior nor do they make it easier for consumers. We need more voices in our debate, outside the legal community, and within and across businesses to make real change and do right by consumer privacy.”

We’re likely going to see technology following the latest workplace/workforce trends, such as increased reliance on remote-enablement tech, collaboration and internal communications tools, IoT sensors and cloud storage to support a hybrid and distributed workforce,” commented Lewis Carr, Senior Director at Actian. “For example, Kubernetes managed containers, seen as critical in the Cloud and for DevOps, will start to be used in IoT and front-end mobile environments and standards, such as Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC). This container model will be applied within 5G, WLAN-6 and edge fixed networks to support enterprises with both IoT and branch and remote environments with isolated channels to improve security (something missing from earlier Wireless standards). These MEC platforms will bring rich interactive applications found today in the Cloud and Data Centers all the way down to the Edge, collocating them with edge networks and directly placing real value at the edge. This is critical because it means issues around data privacy and sovereignty, latency and QoS can be better solved by placing applications – and AI to support more intelligence within them – directly next to end-users where there is more accountability for data versus when it traverses multiple ownership domains. Data privacy and security have never been more prudent as work and life remain largely online, but as with any technology, the policies and use will always need to be embedded into the software and technology to improve data privacy.

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