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Interview with Informatica CEO

November 26, 2015

Blogger and Datameer CEO Stefan Groschupf interviews Anil Chakravarthy, acting CEO of Informatica, in a series of posts on his blog, Big Data & Brews. The two executives discuss security in the cloud, data infrastructure, schemas, and the future of data. There are four installments as of this writing, but it was an exchange in the second iteration, “Big Data  Brews: Part II on Data Security with Informatica,” that  captured our attention. Here’s Chakravarthy’s summary of the challenge now facing his company:

Stefan: From your perspective, where’s the biggest growth opportunity for your company?

Anil: We look at it as the intersection of what’s happening with the cloud and big data. Not only the movement of data between our premise and cloud and within cloud to cloud but also just the sheer growth of data in the cloud. This is a big opportunity. And if you look at the big data world, I think a lot of what happens in the big data world from our perspective, the value, especially for enterprise customers, the value of big data comes from when they can derive insights by combining data that they have from their own systems, etc., with either third-party data, customer-generated data, machine data that they can put together. So, that intersection is good for, and we are a data infrastructure provider, so those are the two big areas where we see opportunity.

It looks like Informatica is poised to make the most of the changes prompted by cloud technology. To check out the interview from the beginning, navigate to the first installment, “Big Data & Brews: Informatica Talks Security.”

Informatica offers a range of data-management and integration tools. Though the company has offices around the world, they maintain their headquarters in Redwood City, California. They are also hiring as of this writing.

Cynthia Murrell, November 26, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


MarkLogic Does Ecommerce

November 25, 2015

On their blog, MarkLogic announces they are “Eliminating Shopper Fatigue: Making Online Commerce Faster, More Accurate.” Anyone who has tried to shop online for a very particular item understands the frustration. Despite all the incentives to quickly serve up exactly what a customer is looking for, ecommerce sites still struggle with searches that get too specific. Writer (and MarkLogic chief marketing officer) Michaline Todd gives this example: A site that sells 652 different versions of a “screwdriver” returns zero results to the phrase “one-quarter-inch slotted magnetic screwdriver.” You know it must be there somewhere, but you have to comb through the 652 screwdriver entries to find it. That or give up and drive to the local hardware store, where a human will hook you up with exactly what you need. Good for local business, but bad for that ecommerce site.

Todd says the problem lies in traditional relational databases, upon which any eCommerce sites are built. These databases were not meant to handle unstructured data, like supplier-created product descriptions. She describes her company’s solution to the problem, which naturally includes MarkLogic’s NoSQL technology:

“The beauty of NoSQL is that it’s a schema-agnostic data model that ingests data in whatever its current form. Codifyd uses MarkLogic to quickly and reliably merge millions of data points from thousands of suppliers into a product catalogue for each of its clients. By gathering such fine-tuned information instantaneously, Codifyd recommends products matched to specific attributes in real time, increasing customer trust, loyalty and retention. This more precise information also allows retailers to bundle relevant product offers in a set, improving upselling and increasing the average order size. For example, a retailer can serve up the ‘one-quarter-inch slotted magnetic screwdriver’ the customers searched for as well as a toolkit that contains that particular screwdriver.”

Todd notes that Codifyd also dramatically speeds up the process of posting entries for new products, since unstructured data can be reproduced as-is. Launched in 2001, MarkLogic proudly declares that theirs is the only enterprise-level NoSQL platform in existence. The company is headquartered in San Carlos, California, and maintains offices around the world.

Cynthia Murrell, November 25, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


Search Experts Looking for Work? Rejoice

November 23, 2015

The article titled 17 Tools to Make LinkedIn Work for You on TNW provides some thoughtful commentary on how to make the best use of the social media platform LinkedIn. The article begins by emphasizing how important and relevant LinkedIn still is, particularly for people in Sales, who use the service to gather information and research prospects. It goes on to highlight the difficulty facing salespeople when it comes to searching LinkedIn, and the myriad of tools and Chrome extensions available to simplify search. The first on the list is Crystal,

“Language matters. How you communicate with someone, the words you use, how you structure your requests etc. affects their initial perception of you. And that’s what Crystal helps with. The standalone app as well as its Chrome extension allows you to profile Linkedin users profiles to detect their personality. And suggest the best ways to communicate with them. Crystal can tell you what to write in an email or how to create a message that engages them in a way they’d expect from you.”

Other resources include SalesLoft Prospector, which aids in building lists of targeted leads with contact information in tow, Elink.Club for LinkedIn, which visits 800 targeted profiles a day with the expectation that just under 10% of those users will, in turn, return the visit and become acquainted, and, which helps users establish mutual friends and social media commonalities with the profiles they view.

Chelsea Kerwin, November 23, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Data and Information: Three Cs for an Average Grade

November 21, 2015

I read “Why Companies Are Not Engaging with Their Data.” The write up boils down the “challenge” to three Cs; that is, a mnemonic which makes it easy to pinpoint Big Data clumsiness.

The three Cs are:

  • Callowness
  • Cost
  • Complexity.

How does one get past the notion of inexperience? I suppose one muddles through grade school, high school, college, and maybe graduate school. Then one uses “experience” to get a job and one can repeat this process with Big Data. How many organizations will have an appetite for the organic approach to inexperience? Not many I assert. We live in a quick fix, do it now environment which darned well better deliver an immediate pay off or “value.” Big Data may require experience but the real world wants instant gratification.

Cost remains a bit of a challenge, particularly when revenues are under pressure. Data analytics can be expensive when done correctly and really costly if done incorrectly.

Complexity. Math remains math. Engineering data management systems tickles the fancy of problem solvers. Combine the two, and the senior management of many firms are essentially clueless about what is required to deliver outputs which are on the money and with budgets.

The write up states:

As a recent report from Ernst & Young points out ‘Most organizations have complex and fragmented architecture landscapes that make the cohesive collation and dissemination of data difficult.

In short, big hat, no cattle. Just like the promises of enterprise search vendor to make information accessible to those making business decisions, the verbal picture painted by marketers is more enticing than the shadow cast by Big Data’s Cs. I see that.

Stephen E Arnold, November 21, 2015

IBM Launches Informative Blog

November 20, 2015

IBM has created a free blog that features information about the company: IBM’s InfoSphere Master Data Management Roundup. Besides the general categories of Headlines and Videos, readers can explore articles under Science, Technology, Business, and two IBM-specific categories, #Bluemix and #IBM. If you love to watch as Big Blue gets smaller, you will find this free newspaper useful in tracking some of the topics upon which IBM is building its future.

Oddly, though, we did not spot any articles from Alliance at IBM  on the site. Some employees are unhappy with the way the company has been treating its workers, and have launched that site to publicize their displeasure. Here’s their Statement of Principles:

“Alliance@IBM/CWA Local 1701 is an IBM employee organization that is dedicated to preserving and improving our rights and benefits at IBM. We also strive towards restoring management’s respect for the individual and the value we bring to the company as employees. Our mission is to make our voice heard with IBM management, shareholders, government and the media. While our ultimate goal is collective bargaining rights with IBM, we will build our union now and challenge IBM on the many issues facing employees from off-shoring and job security to working conditions and company policy.”

It looks like IBM has more to worry about than sliding profits. Could the two issues be related?

Cynthia Murrell, November 20, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

ACA Application Process Still Vulnerable to Fraudulent Documents

November 20, 2015

The post on Slashdot titled Affordable Care Act Exchanges Fail to Detect Counterfeit Documentation relates the ongoing issue of document verification within the Affordable Care Act (ACA) process. The Government Accountability Office) GAO submitted fake applications to test the controls at the state and federal level for application and enrollment in the ACA. The article states,

“Ten fictitious applicants were created to test whether verification steps including validating an applicant’s Social Security number, verifying citizenship, and verifying household income were completed properly. In order to test these controls, GAO’s test applications provided fraudulent documentation: “For each of the 10 undercover applications where we obtained qualified health-plan coverage, the respective marketplace directed that our applicants submit supplementary documentation we provided counterfeit follow-up documentation, such as fictitious Social Security cards with impossible Social Security numbers, for all 10…”

The GAO report itself mentions that eight of the ten fakes were failed at first, but later accepted. It shows that among the various ways that the fake applications were fraudulent included not only “impossible” Social Security Numbers, but also duplicate enrollments, and lack of employer-sponsored coverage. Ultimately, the report concludes that the ACA is still “vulnerable.” Granted, this is why the GOA conducted the audit of the system, to catch issues. The article provides no details on what new controls and fixes are being implemented.
Chelsea Kerwin, November 20, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Icann Is an I Won’t

November 16, 2015

Have you ever heard of Icann?  You are probably like many people within the United States and have not heard of the non-profit private company.  What does Icann do?  Icann is responsible for Internet protocol addresses (IP) and coordinating domain names, so basically the company is responsible for a huge portion of the Internet.  According to The Guardian in “The Internet Is Run By An Unaccountable Private Company. This Is A Problem,” the US supposedly runs the Icann but its role is mostly clerical and by September 30, 2015 it was supposed to hand the reins over to someone else.

The “else” is the biggest question.  The Icann community spent hours trying to figure out who would manage the company, but they ran into a huge brick wall.  The biggest issue is that the volunteers want Icann to have more accountability, which does not seem feasible. Icann’s directors cannot be fired, except by each other.  Finances are another problem with possible governance risks and corruption.

A supposed solution is to create a membership organization, a common business model for non-profits and will give power to the community.  Icann’s directors are not too happy and have been allowed to add their own opinions.  Decisions are not being made at Icann and with the new presidential election the entire power shift could be off.  It is not the worst that could happen:

“But there’s much more at stake. Icann’s board – as ultimate authority in this little company running global internet resources, and answerable (in fact, and in law) to no one – does have the power to reject the community’s proposals. But not everything that can be done, should be done. If the board blunders on, it will alienate those volunteers who are the beating heart of multi-stakeholder governance. It will also perfectly illustrate why change is required.”

The board has all the power and the do not have anyone to hold them accountable.  Icann directors just have to stall long enough to keep things the same and they will be able to give themselves more raises.

Whitney Grace, November 16, 2015
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Yahoo 2015: A Xoogler in the Drink, Calls in the MBAs for a Rescue

November 10, 2015

Years ago, when Google was a foundling, the myth of the brilliance of the Googler was fresh, new. Xooglers have had a good run. Work at the 24×7, wild and wonderful outfit for a few years. Then cash in and become an investment banker, an entrepreneur, or a senior manager.

Yahoo did the Xoogler thing. There was chatter years ago that the Yahoo was going to be a big deal in the exciting Internet world with mobile, smart software, semantics, apps, and original content.

How is that working out?

I read “Yahoo Hires McKinsey to Mull Reorg, as Mayer Demands Exec Pledge to Stay” to find out. Interesting analysis from a person in a good position to observe and gather information. Among the tidbits I jotted down were:

  • The new swing for the fences initiative is Project Index. Index? That’s an exciting concept.
  • Yahoo does not want to lose key staff. Who does?
  • The top Xoogler hired the bluest of the blue chip consulting firms to help put some revenues on the books.

Okay, another big plan. Just like those at Google except and this is a classic “but for” construction—ad revenue. Google has it. Yahoo has less. A home run is unlikely to win the game in which Yahoo finds itself.

Losing staff? The fix is not to lock a professional down in my opinion. Working with a company is a choice. When folks decide not to work with an outfit, no contract will fix the free agent mentality of certain folks. The effort may cause people to bail out.

And the McKinsey thing? Blue chip consulting is a darned exciting type of work. Who is the client? The Xoogler? The Board of Directors? The stakeholders? Consider the answer, gentle reader. Blue chip consulting firms may not have all the answers, but the blue chip firms know how to set their agenda and then follow up.

What will McKinsey do? Preserve McKinsey. Yahoo may be in for some surprises because not even the smartest Xooglers in the world see opportunity quite the same way blue chip consulting firms do.

McKinsey did not hire Yahoo. Yahoo allegedly hired McKinsey. Who has the power now?

Stephen E Arnold, November 10, 2015

Quote to Note: Axil Springer on Planning

November 5, 2015

Here’s a delicious statement attributed to Mathias Doepfner, an Axil Springer big gun. For context, remember that Axil Springer bought the Financial Times for something north of $1.3 billion. Now the quote:

“A takeover of this size … is neither planned nor foreseeable.”

Maybe an impulse buy like Google’s purchase of Motorola? I assume that Volkswagen did not plan or foresee the consequences of its emission control software behavior. German management approaches certain decisions in an interesting way: Neither planned nor foreseeable.

Stephen E Arnold, November 5, 2015

It Is Not a Bird in the Law Firm

November 3, 2015

In science-fiction, artificial intelligence is mostly toyed around with in robots and androids.  Machines that bear artificial intelligence either try to destroy humanity for their imperfection or coexist with humanity in a manner that results in comedic situations.  In reality, artificial intelligence exists in most everyday objects from a mobile phone to a children’s toy.  Artificial intelligence is a much more common occurrence than we give our scientists credit for and it has more practical applications than we could imagine.  According to PR Newswire one of the top artificial intelligence developers has made a new deal for their popular product, “RAVN Systems’ Artificial Intelligence Platform Is Deployed At Berwin Leighton Paisner.”

RAVN Systems is known for their top of line software in enterprise search, unstructured big data analytics, knowledge management, and, of course, artificial intelligence. The international law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner recently deployed RAVN Systems’s  RAVN Applied Cognitive Engine (RAVN ACE).  RAVN ACE will work in the law firm’s real estate practice, not as a realtor, but as the UK’s first contract robot.  It will use cutting-edge AI to read and interpret information from documents, converting unstructured data into structured output.  RAVN ACE will free up attorneys to complete more complex, less menial tasks.

“Matthew Whalley, Head of Legal Risk Consultancy at BLP commented, ‘The robot has fast become a key member of the team. It delivers perfect results every time we use it. Team morale and productivity has benefited hugely, and I expect us to create a cadre of contract robots throughout the firm. If the reaction to our first application is any indication, we will be leading the implementation of AI in the Law for some time to come.’ ”

RAVN ACE has more applications than writing real estate contracts.  It can be deployed for financial services, media, telecommunications, and more.  Taking over the menial tasks will save on time , allowing organizations to reinvest time into other projects.

Whitney Grace, November 3, 2015

Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

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