Monthly Archives: August 2016
Galactic Exchange, a Silicon Valley-headquartered big data startup with engineering teams split between Kharkiv (Kharkov), Eastern Ukraine and Menlo Park, California has raised $ 1.25 million from Floodgate and Signia Venture Partners. The deal, which closed in early August, has just been announced publicly.
The two California-based VC firms had already backed the startup in its seed funding round one year ago, Galactic Exchange’s cofounder Konstantin Kladko told Ukraine Digital News.
After an important research effort in the field of big data, Galactic Exchange has developed a container-virtualized cluster compute platform called ClusterGX. This software is intended to let businesses use big data in the simplest, fastest and cheapest possible way. ClusterGX allows companies to “create a Hadoop/Spark cluster in five minutes with zero required big data, container or clustering experience.”
“We are excited to be an early investor in Galactic Exchange,” said Rick Thompson, a founding partner at Signia who has joined the board of Galactic Exchange. “They have built a powerful platform that will transform the legacy expectations regarding the skill-set hurdles that have to be overcome to make a big data roll-out successful.”
“We love working with teams that disrupt the status quo, and Galactic is going to do just that,” the investor added.
The ClusterGX product line will be available for general download at the end of September to coincide with the O’Reilly Strata+Hadoop World event in New York.
Born in Kharkiv, Kladko moved to Silicon Valley in 1998. “I was a physicist at Los Alamos National Lab and then Stanford University. At Stanford, I was working with Bob Laughlin, who was 1998 Nobel Prize Winner in Physics,” he recalled.
Kladko also founded Wi-Fi software provider Сloudessa, which was sold to U.K. operator Global Reach, according to the Ukrainian media.
Another cofounder of Galactic Exchange is Robert Mustarde, a serial startup entrepreneur who moved from the U.K. to Silicon Valley in 2006. Mustarde was an investor in Galactic Exchange’s first seed round. He joined the startup as full-time CEO after the product prototype was developed, Kladko told Ukraine Digital News.
Galactic Exchange, Inc. develops software to enable the industry’s easiest and fastest possible deployment and management of powerful container-enabled compute clusters for Big Data. The C… All Galactic Exchange news »
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A world-class BI analytics team is one that can point to regular, steady improvement in the questions they are asked to answer.
Today we are announcing two features to assist organizations in meeting their security and compliance requirements as they deploy Power BI. First, Power BI now supports Azure AD Conditional Access to provide more control for how users access Power BI. Second, Power BI Auditing (available in Preview) allows administrators to monitor important user activities. Read on for all of the details.
Azure AD Conditional Access for Power BI
Power BI lets business users keep a finger on the pulse of their business by monitoring the most important and sensitive data from across their organization. As a result, securing access to Power BI is of paramount importance. We’ve heard over and over again how critical it is for organizations to apply additional security to Power BI to protect their data, while not impacting access to other services.
With this said, we are excited to announce Azure AD Conditional Access policies for Power BI are now available. This offers simple ways for organizations to secure access to Power BI and help protect against the risk of stolen or phished credentials by requiring multi-factor authentication (MFA) or blocking access based on network location for Power BI.
Setting up conditional access policies for Power BI is simple and only takes a few clicks.
1. Navigate to manage.windowsazure.com and sign-in with your account (you need to be an admin on the tenant to setup the conditional access policy). Next, navigate to your directory.
2. Click on Applications->Power BI –> Configure
3. Set “Enable Access Rules” to ON.
Next, you need to specify the users that the access rules apply to. By default, the policy will apply to all users that have access to the application.
Next you need to choose the actual access rule that will be applied. You have the following options:
1. Always require MFA
2. Require MFA when not at work
3. Block access when not at work.
Once a policy is configured, it will be automatically applied when a user attempts to sign in to Power BI.
For example, let’s say that an admin has configured conditional access policy requiring MFA for only Power BI. When a user visits the Office 365 portal, they will be seamlessly signed-in and they can access their email.
But when they try to navigate to Power BI, they will be asked to complete an MFA challenge.
Conditional access works regardless of whether you access Power BI through the web or any of the Power BI mobile apps (windows, android or iOS). You can also use these policies in conjunction with the preview of device-based policies mentioned here.
You can secure access to Power BI even further by enabling these conditional access policies can be enabled alongside Risk Based Conditional Access policy available with Azure AD Identity Protection.
The risk based policies give an advanced baseline of coverage, challenging users for MFA or blocking access as risk is detected.
Note: Conditional Access requires all users to have Azure Active Directory Premium Licenses.
Power BI Auditing Preview
Help your organization meet regulatory requirements or implement internal compliance controls with the new Preview of Power BI Auditing. Auditing events are stored when users view Power BI content, export data, or make changes to important settings. When you need to examine user activity, audit logs can be viewed in the Office 365 Security and Compliance Portal, with easy tools to search by user, date, and type of activity. For advanced scenarios and automation, the same audit logs can be accessed with PowerShell commands.
Auditing is a feature of Power BI Pro and user-level auditing events will only be available for Pro users. In this Preview, auditing is available for customers in the United States. We are looking forward to your feedback and to expanding Auditing to other regions in the future.
One day Dropbox may well get its head around the best-practice methods for handling customer data breaches, but today is not that day.
News broke on Tuesday that details of 68,680,741 user accounts had been found online, apparently the result of a data breach back in 2012. The files reportedly contained the users’ email addresses, plus their salted and hashed passwords.
Dropbox’s response was to email the affected users, who could be forgiven for not realising it was about a data breach.
“Resetting passwords from mid-2012 and earlier,” was the subject line.
“We’re reaching out to let you know that if you haven’t updated your Dropbox password since mid-2012, you’ll be prompted to update it the next time you sign in. This is purely a preventative measure, and we’re sorry for the inconvenience,” the email read.
“To learn more about why we’re taking this precaution, please visit this page on our Help Center. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
If users did click through, they’d had to have scrolled down four sub-headings before they were finally told there’d been a data breach — and even then, it was only after yet more softening of the message.
“Our security teams are always watching out for new threats to our users. As part of these ongoing efforts, we learned about an old set of Dropbox user credentials (email addresses plus hashed and salted passwords) that we believe were obtained in 2012. Our analysis suggests that the credentials relate to an incident we disclosed around that time.
“Based on our threat monitoring and the way we secure passwords, we don’t believe that any accounts have been improperly accessed. Still, as one of many precautions, we’re requiring anyone who hasn’t changed their password since mid-2012 to update it the next time they sign in.”
I reckon there’s a few problems with that messaging, though I’ll come back to that. There’s more to worry about.
First, there’s a problem with the secondary authentication protocol: it isn’t being used.
Assume for the moment that the bad guys have obtained a user’s password. They can log in to Dropbox. Then, if they’re forced to change the password, this is what they see.
The bad guys enter a new password, and it’s game over.
What should happen? The secondary authentication protocol should be brought into play. For Dropbox, that’s the user’s email address.
Once the user has entered the old password, they should be emailed a one-time time-limited token, one of those emails that says “Click here to enter you new password”. That way the bad guys need to have gained access to the user’s email account as well. Not perfect, but a significant additional hurdle.
Second, even when a user does change their password, Dropbox says that any logged-in sessions on other devices will still be active — and that would include any sessions created by the bad guys before the user changed the password.
What should happen? When there’s any suspicion that an account may have been compromised, all logged-in sessions should be logged out immediately. When the user logs back in, they should be forced to change their password immediately — not merely prompted to do it when they get around to it.
OK, sure, in this particular instance Dropbox says their threat monitoring and password storage strategy give them a clean bill of health. So far, we have no reason to doubt that.
But Dropbox has form.
In 2014, Dropbox waved away security concerns, despite having written that “there’s nothing more important to us than keeping your stuff safe and secure”.
In 2012, Dropbox clearly failed to reset everyone’s passwords after a potential data breach. If they had done, they wouldn’t be asking users to reset them now, right?
And in 2011, Dropbox left a bunch of users’ files open to the internet, yet brushed away concerns by claiming it was only “a very small number of users (much less than 1 percent)” who might have been affected. That’s no consolation if you were one of them.
Dropbox, like so many other organisations, is presumably worried that users will be scared away by security breaches, so they soften the language. But experience and research show that when it comes to data breaches, owning up actually increases trust.
So here’s how I’d have handled Dropbox’s latest problems — apart from fixing those secondary authentication and session management problems.
“Security Message”, I’d have written in an email to every user, having previously shoved the PR and marketing teams into a canal.
“We’ve had a security problem. So far our investigations suggest that your account hasn’t been accessed by anyone else. See below for the details. But to be sure, we need you to reset your password. It might also be a good idea to turn on two-factor authentication (2FA).”
I’d list the steps users need to take, and then the rest of the details — including the steps we’d already taken to investigate and rectify the problem, and when we’d be emailing them an update.
Yes, I’d say “problem” not “issue”, because that’s what it is. And yes, I’d email every user, because why not? It builds trust.
One day Dropbox should start paying attention to this sort of best-practice advice, and today is that day.
Data clustering is the process of grouping items together based on similarities between the items of a group. Clustering can be used for data compression, data mining, pattern recognition, and machine learning. Examples of applications include clustering consumers into market segments, classifying manufactured units by their failure signatures, identifying crime hot spots, and identifying regions with similar geographical characteristics. Once clusters are defined, the next step may be to build a predictive model.
TIBCO Spotfire makes it easy to perform clustering with these two popular out of box user-friendly solutions:
1. K-means Clustering
2. Hierarchical Clustering
The k-means method is a popular and simple approach to perform clustering and Spotfire line charts help visualize data before performing calculations. In order to perform k-means clustering, you need to create a line chart visualization in which each line is an element you would like to represent (which can be Customer ID, Store ID, Region, Village, Well, Wafer and so on).
Next, the user can select multiple attributes on the Y-axis, which can be on the same scale or can use multiple scales. Select [Column Names] as X-axis so that Multiple Y attributes are represented as points on the line. It is important to note that null values will not be used in your clustering calculations. The Spotfire data panel allows you to view and even replace null values before performing clustering.
Once you have your line chart ready, select Tools > k-means clustering:
You can select the distance measure and number of clusters as input for calculation. It is also possible to update existing the calculation:
Here is quick explanation of the distance measure option:
The result of this calculation is a categorical column, which automatically assigns each line to a cluster group and displays each cluster group in a separate trellis panel in the resulting clustered line chart. The clustered line chart visualization provides ease of interpretation. It is important to note that this new categorical column called “ K-means Clustering” can be updated.
Hierarchical clustering arranges items in a hierarchy with a treelike structure based on the distance or similarity between them. The graphical representation of the resulting hierarchy is a tree-structured graph called a dendrogram. In Spotfire, hierarchical clustering and dendrograms are strongly connected to heat map visualizations which provide visual insights into data and ease of interpretation.
The algorithm used for hierarchical clustering in Spotfire is a hierarchical agglomerative method. For row clustering, the cluster analysis begins with each row placed in a separate cluster. Then the distance between all possible combinations of two rows is calculated using a selected distance measure. The two most similar clusters are then grouped together and form a new cluster. In subsequent steps, the distance between the new cluster and all remaining clusters is recalculated using a selected clustering method. The number of clusters is thereby reduced by one in each iteration step. Eventually, all rows are grouped into one large cluster. The order of the rows in a dendrogram are defined by the selected ordering weight. The cluster analysis works the same way for column clustering.
The Spotfire user guide provides details about distance measures and clustering methods that can be used for performing calculations.
The hierarchical clustering calculation results in a heat map visualization with the specified dendrograms. A cluster column is also added to the data table and made available in the filters panel.
Clustering with variable importance data function
This data function accepts an input table with numeric columns and uses k-means clustering to find groups of rows that belong to clusters. Next, a random forest model is built to find out which variables are most influential in determining the clusters. The two most influential variables are returned and can be plotted on a scatter plot. If a logarithmic transform is appropriate, this is applied prior to the clustering and variable importance calculation.
It wasn’t long ago that virtual reality felt like pure fiction. Members of Star Trek’s USS Enterprise used virtual reality to explore simulated environments — anything from traveling to lush forests to solving complicated mysteries. Bringing this technology to reality, however, felt “highly illogical,” as Spock would say. But today, not only has VR arrived, but experts say it’s the next big thing for marketing.
VR provides viewers with complete immersion into a 360-degree experience, often using headsets that isolate them from the outside environment. For marketers, this is the holy grail. Viewers are completely engrossed, engaged and attentive to your messaging – and isolated in your world, by choice. In fact, Gartner predicts that virtual reality marketing is positioned at a vital transition point, at the beginning of the growth cycle. Yet brands that decide to leverage this technology must do so correctly to drive optimal engagement. Here are six examples to inspire your efforts.
1. Red Bull — Creating Adventures for Viewers
Red Bull created a 360-degree video that invites viewers on an expedition to an active volcano, while integrating brand elements throughout the VR experience. This short clip gives viewers a detailed experience that approximates what it would feel like to be immersed in the actual experience. This video, which was released just a few months ago, captured 311,607 views.
Key takeaway. Create exciting experiences for your B2B customers that promote engagement through VR. Subtly integrate brand elements throughout the video.
2. Oreo – Using Creativity and Imagination
Engage readers through integrating imagination and fiction into your VR experience. For example, Oreo created a 360-degree video that welcomes viewers inside the “Oreo Wonder Vault.” Once inside the vault, the video explains the magical origins of the company’s cupcake-flavored Oreo cookies. In the B2B marketplace, you may not be able to welcome viewers into “imaginary vaults,” but you can use some fictional elements (and even humorous themes) to keep viewers engaged and entertained by your brand.
Key takeaway. Don’t be too serious with VR. Create videos that are fun and engage viewers on many different levels.
3. Volvo – XC90 Test Drive – Simulating an Experience
Volvo recently created a VR video that allowed viewers to test drive the company’s XC90 luxury SUV, taking viewers on a virtual ride throughout the country. For this campaign, the company used Google Cardboard, which transforms smartphones into functional VR headsets with cardboard, two lenses and a magnet.
Key takeaway: Leverage VR to let prospects feel like they’re actually experiencing your products – without visiting a physical location. This is a great opportunity for B2B companies that frequently give product demos. Put your buyer right in that drivers’ seat!
4. Merrell Shoes — Launching a New Product
When launching a new product, whether it’s shoes or new software, spreading awareness and getting the word out is key. Potential customers must know not only that your offering exists, but also how it solves their largest problems. Merrell Shoes leveraged VR when launching its new hiking boot, the Capra.
The company’s agency designed a VR experience called “Trailscape,” that took viewers on a challenging, dangerous hike in the Dolomites, in Italy, complete with an avalanche. The audience (virtually) travels to a set that is specifically mapped to the virtual experience. The campaign was successful in spreading awareness, capturing 12,396 YouTube views.
Key takeaway. If you determine that VR is good for your target audience, use it to assist with product launches. It helps generate excitement and buzz around your products, and the cooler it is, the more it will get shared.
5. Tesco Pele — Conducting Marketing Research
B2B marketers know that capturing market research is one part science and one part art. Tesco, a British supermarket chain, used VR to help the company better understand how the company can merchandise shelves faster, and redesign and improve store layout. For example, they created a virtual store so people could walk around in it before they built it (to make sure the design was successful). Tesco’s been far forward for a long time; in 2011 it opened a virtual supermarket in a Korean subway station: a wall-length billboard designed to look like a series of supermarket shelves. It displayed images and prices, and people could buy products with their smart phones.
Now the company is promoting Tesco Pele, a video that shows customers putting on virtual reality goggles and cruising the aisles of a virtual Tesco supermarket (and then stepping onto a soccer pitch, justifying the Pele connection). Do you think they see this as a way to introduce people to online grocery shopping, or make it a more satisfying experience?
Key takeaway. Look for new and exciting uses of virtual technology to create a stronger brand and better experiences for customers. And dropping a famous, beloved name never hurts.
6. New York University — Delivering Education
New York University is actively using VR for its recruitment efforts. Students accepted into the engineering program are sent a cardboard VR device and download instructions for an app to take a virtual tour of Mars. They are communicating to prospective students, who are making the decision of which university to attend, that if they select NYU, they will be cutting edge.
NYU is using VR to educate and communicate a distinct message to its target audience. B2B marketers also need resources to create awareness and education around the products they promote. VR can assist with accomplishing this in a new and innovative way.
Key takeaway. Identify potential opportunities for VR to help educate and inform your target audience, while keeping the content fun and entertaining.
4 Tips for Success
Are you thinking about using VR for an upcoming marketing campaign? If so, here are four tips to consider before launching your efforts.
- Consider your audience. VR isn’t for every audience, so evaluate your audience first before making the leap. Are they currently using VR? Would they be open to using this technology?
- Create a “try before you buy” experience. For example, IKEA released an interactive VR kitchen experience in which customers could virtually remodel their kitchen. Using VR, they got a 360-degree view while switching around kitchen colors and styles to truly understand what the finished outcome would look like.
- Engage your customers in a story. For example, the popular television series “Game of Thrones” created an experience that allows viewers to fully immerse themselves in a VR experience related to the show. Within three hours, the VR video captured over 1.7 million views. So if your brand’s story is highly visual and can include movement, tell it through VR.
- Create really amazing content. VR offers brands an opportunity to capture attention and engage with their audiences. But to reap the full benefits, you must create amazing content. For example, Tom’s Shoes used VR to highlight the company’s mission. The company created a short, inspirational VR clip that connects customers with a Colombian child who benefited from the purchase of shoes.
Moving Forward With Success
Virtual technology has come a long way since the Star Trek days, but now that it’s here, marketers are uncovering new and interesting ways to use this technology to connect with customers. They are communicating the value proposition of their products in much greater, immersive detail.
But the key to success is knowing whether VR is right for your audience. And, when trying it, making frequent course adjustments and not being afraid of missteps. Albert Einstein famously said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Building on your successes (and failures) through VR will provide amazing experiences for customers, high levels of engagement and brand loyalty that produces excellent long-term results.
Have you used VR in your marketing efforts? Please share your experience below.
Feline birthday balloons attraction.
“This is Why We Can’t Have Birthday Parties.”
Image courtesy of http://cheezburger.com/8468613888/this-is-why-we-cant-have-birthday-parties-funny-cat-pictures.
Shanghai-based online recruitment app HunterOn says it has raised RMB200 million to expand its recruitment services to more sectors, including finance, healthcare and consumer.
UOB Venture Management, an investment arm of Singapore’s United Overseas Bank Group, led the series C round, and existing investor IDG Capital Partners also participated in the round.
Founded in 2012, HunterOn provides a platform connecting recruiters and headhunters. Its web and mobile apps aggregate 20,000 headhunting companies and 60,000 headhunters, providing services to 30,000 companies.
The company previously raised US$ 10 million in a series A round from IDG and China Growth Capital in 2014. It completed a US$ 20 million series B financing led by Sequoia Capital with participation from IDG Capital in the same year.
The hiring of senior level professionals is mostly conducted via headhunters in China, and HunterOn is creating an Alibaba-like platform for human resources, UOB Venture Management said in a statement.
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Security roles in Dynamics CRM can be configured to disable both custom and system Dashboards, which can be useful if a company adopts an existing solution but its users do
Hadoop may not be the first data platform you consider when you think about cybersecurity, but maybe it should be.
That was the argument made by Rocky DeStefano, Cloudera Inc.’s cybersecurity subject matter expert, at the company’s recent event in Boston. Hadoop actually has some advantages that make it a good fit for staging cybersecurity analytics, he explained.
The biggest advantage, DeStefano said, is it can ingest just about any data type. This is important in the realm of cybersecurity because there are several different data types that can be useful in cybersecurity predictive analytics, including server logs, web traffic data and network user data.
The second key factor is the depth of analytics tools that make up the Hadoop ecosystem. Whether analysts want to use R, Mahout, Pig or Hive, they have options. This is particularly attractive to data scientists, who are increasingly entering the realm of cybersecurity. DeStefano said the ability to support advanced analytics makes Hadoop an attractive option.
The fact that Hadoop is generally optimized for large-scale batch data processing operations, while cybersecurity is more of a real-time endeavor, may be one stumbling block. But DeStefano said the platform can be geared toward faster data execution. The core elements of Hadoop — the MapReduce data processes framework and the Hadoop Distributed File System — aren’t commonly used alone in cybersecurity, DeStefano said. Substituting MapReduce for the Spark data processing engine is one option to speed up analytics. There are also vendor products — DeStefano mentioned Securonix — built on top of Hadoop that are optimized for near-real-time cybersecurity analytics.
Enterprises face unprecedented cybersecurity challenges, with nearly every week bringing news of a new organization being hacked. DeStefano said using Hadoop for cybersecurity analytics helps organizations be more proactive about protecting assets, predicting which are likely to be the target of intruders and how to keep hackers out of the network.
“Defense is thinking about how to predict what will be attacked,” he said. “That puts you in a position of power.”