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Posts from the ‘AI’ Category

How To Know If An E-Mail Is Trustworthy

How To Know If An E-Mail Is Trustworthy

 

Bottom Line: Phishing is the leading cause of all breaches, succeeding because impersonation, redirection, and social engineering methods are always improving. And, phishing is only one way e-mails are used in fraud. Businesses need to understand if an e-mail address can be trusted before moving forward with a transaction.

Microsoft thwarts billions of phishing attempts a year on Office365 alone by relying on heuristics, detonation, and machine learning, strengthened by Microsoft Threat Protection Services. In 2018 Microsoft blocked 5 billion phish e-mails in Office 365 and detonated 11 billion unique items by ATP sandboxing. Microsoft is succeeding with its cybersecurity partners in defeating phishing attacks. Phishers are going to extraordinary lengths to discover new techniques to evade detection and successfully carry out phishing attempts. By analyzing Office 365 ATP signals, Microsoft sees phishers attempt to abuse many legitimate cloud services, including Amazon, Google, Microsoft Office365, Microsoft Azure, and others. Microsoft is creating processes that identify and destroy phishing attempts without impacting legitimate applications’ performance.

Phishers’ Favorite Trojan Horse Is Office365 Followed By Cybersecurity Companies  

Phishers are hiding malicious links, scripts and, in some cases, mutated software code behind legitimate Microsoft files and code to evade detection. Using legitimate code and links as a Trojan Horse to successfully launch a phishing campaign became very popular in 2019 and continues today. Cybercriminals and state-sponsored hackers have been mutating legitimate code and applications for years attempting to exfiltrate priceless data from enterprises and governments globally. Office365 is the phisher’s Trojan Horse of choice, closely followed dozens of cybersecurity companies that have seen hackers attempt to impersonate their products. Cybersecurity companies targeted include Citrix, Comodo, Imperva, Kaspersky, LastPass, Microsoft, BitDefender, CyberRoam, and others.

Using Trojan Horses To Hijack Search Results

In 2019 Microsoft discovered a sophisticated phishing attack that combined impersonation, redirection, and social engineering methods. The phishing attack relied on using links to Google search results as a Trojan Horse to deliver URLs that were poisoned so that they pointed to an attacker-controlled page, which eventually redirected to the phishing page. Microsoft discovered that a traffic generator ensured that the redirector page was the top result for specific keywords. The following graphic explains how the phishing attack was used to poison search results:

Using this workflow, phishers attempted to send phishing e-mails that relied on legitimate URLs as their Trojan Horses from legitimate domains to take advantage of the recipient’s trust. Knowing which e-mails to trust or not is becoming foundational to stopping fraud and phishing attacks.

How Kount Is Battling Sophisticated Attacks 

Meanwhile, e-mail addresses can be a valuable source of information for businesses looking to prevent digital fraud. Misplaced trust can lead to chargebacks, manual reviews, and other undesirable outcomes. But, Kount’s Real-Time Identity Trust Network calculates Identity Trust Levels in milliseconds, reducing friction, blocking fraud, and delivering improved user experiences. Kount discovered that e-mail age is one of the most reliable identity trust signals there are for identifying and stopping automated fraudulent activity.

Based on their research and product development, Kount announced Email First Seen capabilities as part of its AI-powered Identity Trust Global Network. Email First Seen applies throughout the customer journey, from payments to account login to account creation. The Identity Trust Global Network consists of fraud and trust signals from over half a billion e-mail addresses. It also spans 32 billion annual interactions and 17.5 billion devices across 75 business sectors and 50-plus payment providers and card networks. The network is linked by Kount’s next-generation artificial intelligence (AI) and works to establish real-time trust for each identity behind a payment transaction, log in or account creation

E-mail Age Is Proving To Be A Reliable Indicator Of Trust

A favorite tactic of cybercriminals is to create as many new e-mail aliases as they need to deceive online businesses and defraud them of merchandise and payments. Kount is finding that when businesses can identify the age of an e-mail address, they can more accurately determine identity trust. Kount’s expertise is in fraud prevention effectiveness, relying on a combination of fraud and risk signals to generate a complete picture of authentication details. The following graphic illustrates what a Kount customer using Email First Seen will see in every e-mail they receive.

Kount’s Identity Trust Global Network relies on AI-based algorithms that can analyze all available identifiers or data points to establish real-time links between identity elements, and return identity trust decisions in real-time. Kount’s unique approach to using AI to improve customer experiences by reducing friction while blocking fraud reflects the future of fraud detection. Also, Kount’s AI can discern if additional authentication is needed to verify the identity behind the transaction and relies on half a billion e-mail addresses that are integral to AI-based analysis and risk scoring algorithms. Kount is making Email First Seen available to all existing customers for no charge. It’s been designed to be native on the Kount platform, allowing the information to be accessible in real-time to inform fraud and trust decisions.

Conclusion

In 2020 phishing attempts will increasingly rely on legitimate code, links, and executables as Trojan Horses to evade detection and launch phishing attacks at specific targets. Microsoft’s research and continued monitoring of phishing attempts uncovered architecturally sophisticated approaches to misdirecting victims through impersonation and social engineering.

Predicting How AI Will Improve Talent Management In 2020

Predicting How AI Will Improve Talent Management In 2020

47% of U.S.-based enterprises are using AI today for recruitment, leading all countries in the survey. U.S.-based enterprises’’ adoption of AI for recruitment soared in the last year, jumping from 22% in 2018 to 47% this year based on last years’ Harris Interactive Talent Intelligence and Management Report 2018.

  • 73% of U.S. CEOs and CHROs plan to use more AI in the next three years to improve talent management.
  • U.S.-based enterprises’’ adoption of AI for recruitment soared in the last year, jumping from 22% in 2018 to 47% this year.
  • U.S.-based enterprises lead in the use of AI to automate repetitive tasks (44%) and employee retention (42%).

These and many other fascinating insights are from a recent study completed by Harris Interactive in collaboration with Eightfold titled Talent Intelligence And Management Report 2019-2020, which provides insights into how CHROs are adopting AI today and in the future. You can download a copy here. A total of 1,350 CEOs and CHROs from the U.S., France, Germany, and the U.K. responded to the survey. One of the most noteworthy findings is how U.S-based CEOs and CHROs lead the world in prioritizing and taking action on improving their teams and their own AI skills. The more expertise they and their teams have with AI, the more effective they will be achieving operational improvements while taming the bias beast. The following graphic provides insights into how the four nations surveyed vary by their CEOs’ and CHROs’ perception of new technologies having had positive impacts, their plans for using AI in three years, and employee’s concerns about AI:

Predicting How AI Will Improve Talent Management In 2020

Predicting The Future Of AI In Talent Management

Four leading experts who are actively advising clients, implementing, and using AI to solve talent management challenges shared their predictions of how AI will improve talent management in 2020. The panel includes Kelly O. Kay, Partner, Heidrick & Struggles, Jared Lucas, Chief People Officer at MobileIron, Mandy Sebel, Senior Vice President, People at UiPath and David Windley CEO, IQTalent Partners. Mr. Kay leads the Software Practice for Heidrick & Struggles, a leading executive search and consulting firm commented: “As we all know, the talent crisis of 2019 is real and Eightfold’s application of AI on today is the most impactful approach I’ve seen and the outcomes they deliver eliminate unconscious bias, increases transparency and improves matching supply and demand of talent.” The following are their predictions of how AI will improve the following areas of talent management in 2020:

  • “Pertaining to talent attraction & acquisition-as adoption of intelligent automation and AI tools increases hiring managers and recruiters more easily uncover and surface overlooked talent pools,” said Mandy Sebel, Senior Vice President, People at UiPath.
  • “I predict that AI will become a requirement for companies in the screening of candidates due to the pervasive need to find higher-quality candidates at a faster pace,” said Jared Lucas, Chief People Officer at MobileIron.
  • “I believe the use of AI in the talent acquisition space will begin to hit critical mass in 2020. We are still in the early adopter phase, but the use of AI to match potential candidates to job profiles is catching on. Especially the use of AI for rediscovering candidates in ATS systems of larger corporations. Companies like Eightfold, Hiretual, and Atipica are leading the way,” said David Windley CEO, IQTalent Partners.
  • “Fear of job replacement will also subside, and more focus on job/role evolution as teams are experiencing firsthand how respective task elimination allows them to do more meaningful work,” commented Mandy Sebel, Senior Vice President, People at UiPath.
  • AI will provide the insights needed for CHROs to retain and grow their best talent, according to Jared Lucas, Chief People Officer at MobileIron. “I predict that AI will drive better internal mobility and internal candidate identification as companies are better able to mine their internal talent to fill critical roles,” he said.
  • Having gained credibility for executive and senior management recruiting, AI platforms’ use will continue to proliferate in 2020. “Private Equity is beginning to commercialize how AI can help select executives for roles based on competencies and experiences, which is exciting!” said Kelly O. Kay, Partner, Heidrick & Struggles.

Top 25 AI Startups Who Raised The Most Money In 2019

Top 25 AI Startups Who Raised The Most Money In 2019

  • $10.7B was invested in AI startups this year in their seed, early-stage venture, or late-stage venture funding rounds.
  •  Over half, or 57.9% of all AI startup financing rounds where either seed or pre-seed, 21.2% are Series A, 11.8% are Series B, and all others comprise 9% of all funding rounds.
  • The median AI startup funding round generated $4M with the average being $14.6M and the maximum, $319M, obtained by Vacasa.

These and many other fascinating insights are from an analysis of AI startups’ funding rounds in 2019 using Crunchbase Pro research. AI startups who have had seed, early-stage venture or late-stage venture funding since December 31, 2018, and are U.S.-based are included in the analysis which is provided here. Crunchbase Pro found 499 startups meeting the search criteria as of today.

Top 25 AI Startups Who Have Raised The Most Money In 2019

  1. Vacasa – Raised $319M from a Series C round on October 29th, Vacasa is creating and using AI-driven tools to improve their customers’ experiences renting vacation homes around the world. Their AI strategies include improving every aspect of the customer’s lifecycle from pricing through scheduling post-stay cleans. The company manages a growing portfolio of more than 14,000 vacation homes in the U.S, Europe, Central, and South America, and South Africa.
  2. Samsara – Raised $300M from a Series F round on September 10th. Samsara is an IoT platform combining hardware, software, and cloud to bring real-time visibility, analytics, and AI to operations. Samsara’s portfolio of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions combine hardware, software, and cloud to bring real-time visibility, analytics, and AI to operations. Their core strengths include vehicle telematics, driver safety, mobile workflow and compliance, asset tracking, and industrial process controls all in an integrated, open, real-time platform.
  3. TripActions – Raised $250M from a Series D round on June 27th. TripActions is a business travel platform that combines the latest AI-driven personalization with inventory and 24×7 365 live human support to serve employees, finance leaders, and travel managers alike all while empowering organizations to seize travel as a strategic lever for growth.
  4. ThoughtSpot – Raised $248M from a Series E round on August 22nd. ThoughtSpot’s AI-Driven analytics platform enables business analyst to capitalize on the expertise and shared knowledge of experienced data scientists. With ThoughtSpot, business analysts can analyze data or automatically get trusted insights pushed to you with a single click. ThoughtSpot connects with any on-premise, cloud, big data, or desktop data source. Business Intelligence and Analytics teams have used ThoughtSpot to cut reporting backlogs by more than 90% and make more than 3 million decisions and counting.
  5. CloudMinds – Raised $186M from a Series B round on February 23rd. Founded in 2015, CloudMinds’ unique Cloud Robot Service Platform consists of Human Augmented Robotics Intelligence with Extreme Reality (HARIX), a Secure virtual backbone network (VBN over 4G/5G), and Robot Control Unit (RCU). Designed by CloudMinds, XR-1 Robot is the first commercial humanoid service robot powered by our Smart Compliant Actuator (SCA) technology with precise and compliant grasping capability. Their AI Cloud Brain platform (HARIX) is designed to enable robotic intelligence through a secured network over 4G/5G. CloudMinds is focused on several core technologies, including Smart Vision, Smart Voice, Smart Motion and Human Augmentation. The following is an overview of their architecture:

Top 25 AI Startups Who Raised The Most Money In 2019

  1. Icertis – Raised $115M from a Series E round on July 17th. Icertis is an enterprise contract management platform in the cloud that solves contract management problems using AI. Using advanced algorithms, Icertis helps its customers accelerate business cycles by increasing contract velocity, protecting against risk by ensuring regulatory and policy compliance and optimizing the commercial relationships by maximizing revenue and reducing costs. 3M, Airbus, Cognizant, Daimler, Microsoft, and Roche who rely on Icertis to manage 5.7 million contracts in 40+ languages across 90+ countries, are all customers. The following is an overview of the Icertis Contract Management Platform:

Top 25 AI Startups Who Raised The Most Money In 2019

  1. SparkCognition – Raised $100M from a Series C round on October 8th. SparkCognition builds artificial intelligence systems focused on the needs of its customers in the aviation, cybersecurity, defense, Financial Services, manufacturing, maritime, and Utilities industries. SparkCognition offers four main products: DarwinTM, DeepArmor, SparkPredict, and DeepNLPTM. One of their most noteworthy products is DeepArmor, an AI-powered endpoint security solution that has trained on millions of malicious and benign files and provides industry-leading protection against a broad spectrum of threats. With millions of new malware variants showing up each month, DeepArmor uses AI to assess risk levels and thwart malware and break attempts. DeepArmor’s dashboard is shown below:

Top 25 AI Startups Who Raised The Most Money In 2019

  1. Vectra AI – Raised $100M from a Series E round on June 10th. Vectra specializes in network detection and response – from cloud and data center workloads to user and IoT devices. Its Cognito platform accelerates threat detection and investigation using artificial intelligence to collect, store, and enrich network metadata with the right context to detect, hunt and investigate known and unknown threats in real-time.
  2. Globality – Raised $100M from a Series D round on January 22nd. The January round enabled Globality to accelerate its growth through investment in its AI technology, increasing business capacity by hiring additional members of its engineering, product, and client teams, and expanding its Marketing and Sales programs. Through its AI-powered Platform, Globality is automating the procurement of B2B services and improving the RFP process. Globality efficiently matches companies with service providers that meet their specific needs, cutting the sourcing process from months to hours, and delivering savings of 20% or more for companies.
  3. Black Sesame Technologies – Raised $100M from a Series B round on April 12th.  Black Sesame Technologies is an AI digital imaging technology firm provides solutions for image processing and computing images, as well as embedded sensing platforms. The firm specializes in algorithms for smartphones, autonomous driving, and other consumer electronics. Its R & D teams are actively working on core algorithm development, ASIC design, software system, and ADAS engineering applications.
  4. Scale – Raised $100M from a Series C round on August 5th. Scale accelerates the development of AI applications by helping computer vision teams generate high-quality ground truth data. Our advanced LiDAR, video, and image annotation APIs allow self-driving, drone, and robotics teams at companies like Waymo, OpenAI, Lyft, Zoox, Pinterest, and Airbnb focus on building differentiated models vs. labeling data. Scale’s greatest strength is its API for training data, providing access to human-powered data for a multitude of use cases.
  5. AutoX – Raised $100M from a Series A round on September 16th. AutoX is a self-driving car startup that uses AI to fine-tune Location-Based Services with camera-first autonomous driving technology. In July of this year, AutoX announced a partnership with NEVS, the Swedish holding company, and electric vehicle manufacturer that bought Saab’s assets out of bankruptcy, to deploy a robotaxi pilot service in Europe by the end of 2020.
  6. DISCO – Raised $83M from a Series E round on January 24th. DISCO is a legal technology company that applies artificial intelligence and cloud computing to legal problems to help lawyers and legal teams improve legal outcomes for clients. Corporate legal departments, law firms, and government agencies around the world use DISCO as an ediscovery solution for compliance, disputes, and investigations. The company is looking to reinvent legal technology to automate and simplify complex and error-prone tasks that distract from practicing law.
  7. QOMPLX – Raised $78.6M from a Series A round on July 23rd. QOMPLX makes it faster and easier for organizations to integrate disparate internal and external data sources across the enterprise via a unified analytics infrastructure that supports better decision-making using AI at scale. This enterprise data-fabric is called QOMPLX OS: an enterprise operating system that powers QOMPLX’s decision platforms in cybersecurity, insurance, and quantitative finance. The following is an example of how the QOMPLX OS automates data management while providing greater contextual intelligence to data:

Top 25 AI Startups Who Raised The Most Money In 2019

  1. Galileo Financial Technologies – Raised $77M from a Series A round on October 17th. Galileo’s APIs are used widely throughout the neobank, payments, gig economy, investing and SaaS market segments. As of September 2019, Galileo was managing over $26B in annual payments volume, a 130% increase over September 2018. Galileo’s latest round, a $77M investment led by venture capital firm Accel with participation from Qualtrics Co-Founder & CEO Ryan Smith. The company, which is already profitable and growing rapidly, plans to use the funds to accelerate growth, including expansion into Latin America, the UK, and Europe, and for continued product expansion.
  2. BlackThorn Therapeutics – Raised 76M from a Series B round on June 13th. BlackThorn Therapeutics, Inc., is a clinical-stage neurobehavioral health company pioneering the next generation of AI technologies to advance its pipeline of targeted therapeutics for treating brain disorders. The company has engineered PathFinder, a cloud-based computational psychiatry and data platform, to enable the collection, integration, and analysis of multimodal data at great speed and scale. BlackThorn applies its data-driven approaches to create an understanding of the core underlying pathophysiology of neurobehavioral disorders and uses these insights to generate objective neuromarkers, which support drug target identification, patient stratification, and objective clinical trial endpoints.
  3. Highspot – Raised $75M from a Series D round on December 3rd. Highspot is a sales enablement platform that relies on AI technologies to elevate and add value to companies’ conversations with their customers and drive strategic growth. The platform combines intelligent content management, training, contextual guidance, customer engagement, and actionable analytics. Revenue teams use Highspot to deliver a unified buying experience that increases revenue, customer satisfaction and retention. Highspot has attained a 90% average monthly recurring usage rate and has global support across 125 countries. It’s available on the Salesforce AppExchange, Microsoft Store, Google Play and Apple AppStore.
  4. Moveworks – Raised $75M from a Series B round on November 11th. Moveworks is a cloud-based AI platform designed for large enterprises’ IT support and service desk challenges. Instead of just tracking issues, Moveworks uses advanced AI to solve IT support and service problems automatically, often with no human intervention. Customers include AutoDesk, Broadcom, Nutanix and many other Fortune 500 companies. Moveworks is backed by Bain Capital Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners and is headquartered in Mountain View, California.
  5. Reonomy – Raised $60M from a Series D round on November 7th. Reonomy is an AI-powered data platform for the commercial real estate industry. The goal of the company’s platform is to leverage big data, partnerships, and machine learning to connect the fragmented world of commercial real estate. Reonomy products enable individuals, teams, and companies to unlock new insights from property intelligence. By constantly aggregating and organizing up-to-the-minute marketplace data, Reonomy offer investors and brokers the opportunity to research nuanced property characteristics that indicate the likelihood of a future sale. Below is an example of an analysis of the San Francisco neighborhood using AI-based filtering technology:

Top 25 AI Startups Who Raised The Most Money In 2019

  1. Clari – Raised $60M from a Series D round on October 10th. Clari is a connected revenue operations platform that uses automation and AI to unlock all the activity data captured in key business systems such as marketing automation, CRM, email, calendar, phone, content management, and conversations. It automatically aligns that data to accounts and opportunities to deliver visibility, forecasting, and apply predictive insights, which results in more insight, less guesswork, and more predictable revenue. Clari helps companies by changing their revenue operations to be more connected, efficient, and predictable. Clari’s platform is used by hundreds of sales, marketing, and customer success teams at B2B companies such as Qualtrics, Lenovo, Adobe, Dropbox, and Okta to control pipeline, audit deals and accounts, forecast the business, and reduce churn. The following is an example of a Clari dashboard:

Top 25 AI Startups Who Raised The Most Money In 2019

  1. People.ai – Raised $60M from a Series C round on May 21st. People.ai is an artificial intelligence (AI) platform for enterprise revenue. People.ai helps sales, marketing, and customer success teams uncover every revenue opportunity from every customer by capturing all customer contacts, activity, and engagement to drive actionable insights across all revenue teams. People.ai enables sales leaders to be more effective at managing their teams and growing revenue by giving them a complete picture of sales activities and leveraging AI to deliver sales performance analytics, personalized coaching, one-on-one feedback, and pipeline reviews. The People.ai platform identifies and targets the buying group, and gives marketers a clear visualization of whom sales have spoken with, and which campaign has been successful in each opportunity. Using this information, marketers are able to build personas and deal models in order to better target their marketing efforts and get better campaign ROI. Customer success and services teams use People.ai to ensure they are engaging with the right people when the customer is handed off to them, but more importantly, these post-sales teams are constantly looking to align their effort and activities with the right opportunities and customers, tracking the true cost to support each customer. The following graphic illustrates the People.ai platform automatically capture all contact and customer activity data, dynamically update your CRM, and provide actionable intelligence to realize the full potential of customer-facing teams. The following graphic illustrates the People.ai platform:

Top 25 AI Startups Who Raised The Most Money In 2019

 

  1. Invoca – Raised $56M from a Series C round on October 17th. Invoca is an AI-powered call tracking and analytics platform that helps marketers drive inbound calls and turn them into sales. The platform delivers real-time call analytics to help marketers take informed actions based on data generated before and during a phone conversation. It also allows marketers to understand, in real-time, the factors affecting consumers’ intent to buy, like competitive promotional campaigns. Marketers can put the data to work directly in the platform by automating customer experience workflows during, before, and after each call. Invoca’s platform integrates with Google Marketing Platform, Facebook, Adobe Experience Cloud, and Salesforce Sales and Marketing Clouds. Invoca’s investors include Accel Partners, H.I.G. Growth Partners, Upfront Ventures, Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners, Salesforce Ventures, and Rincon Venture Partners. The following is an example of an Invoca dashboard used for measuring Google AdWords effectiveness:

Top 25 AI Startups Who Raised The Most Money In 2019

  1. Clinc – Raised $52M from a Series B round on May 20th.  Clinc is a conversational AI platform that enables enterprises to build “human-in-the-room” level, next-gen, virtual assistants. In contrast to a speech-to-text word matching algorithm, Clinc analyzes dozens of factors from the user’s input including wording, sentiment, intent, tone of voice, time of day, location, and relationships, and uses those factors to deliver an answer that represents a composite of knowledge extracted from its trained brain. Clinc’s underlying technology is based on state-of-the-art machine learning and deep neural networks (DNN)-as-a-service developed by computer science professors at the University of Michigan. Clinc is a standalone “trained brain” that has been given an initial deep knowledge of the financial and banking industry. Its machine learning capabilities enable it to expand its knowledge with every query and to then draw from that knowledge for each subsequent customer query.
  2. Biz2Credit – Raised $52M from a Series D round on June 4th. Biz2Credit is a hub connecting small business owners with lenders and service providers, and seek solutions based on their online profiles. Biz2X uses a streamlined user interface, AI-driven analytics, and a customizable white label environment to help banks enhance their core services such as offering focused customer service, growing their portfolio, and increasing the use of their products. With enhanced loan management, servicing, risk analytics and a configurable customer journey, Biz2X is helping banks like these run their lending operations at scale.
  3. Uniphore – Raised $51M from a Series C round on August 13th. Uniphore is a global Conversational AI technology company that offers a customer service platform that is powered by AI and automation technologies. The Company’s vision is to bridge the gap between people and machines through voice. Uniphore enables businesses globally to deliver transformational customer service by providing a platform of Conversational Analytics, Conversational Assistant, and Conversational Security that changes the way enterprises engage their consumers, build loyalty and realize efficiencies.

 

7 Ways AI Reduces Mobile Fraud Just In Time For The Holidays

7 Ways AI Reduces Mobile Fraud Just In Time For The Holidays

  • There has been a 680% increase in global fraud transactions from mobile apps from October 2015 to December 2018, according to RSA.
  •  70% of fraudulent transactions originated in the mobile channel in 2018.
  • RSA’s Anti-Fraud Command Center saw phishing attacks increase 178% after leading banks in Spain launched instant transfer services.
  • Rogue mobile apps are proliferating with, 20% of all reported cyberattacks originating from mobile apps in 2018 alone.

On average, there are 82 new rogue applications submitted per day to any given AppExchange or application platform, all designed to defraud consumers. Mobile and digital commerce are cybercriminals’ favorite attack surfaces because they are succeeding with a broad base of strategies for defrauding people and businesses.

Phishing, malware, smishing, or the use of SMS texts rather than email to launch phishing attempts are succeeding in gaining access to victims’ account credentials, credit card numbers, and personal information to launch identity theft breaches. The RSA is seeing an arms race between cybercriminals and mobile OS providers with criminals improving their malware to stay at parity or leapfrog new versions and security patches of mobile operating systems.

Improving Mobile Fraud Prevention With AI And Machine Learning

Creating a series of rogue applications and successfully uploading them into an AppExchange or application store gives cybercriminals immediate access to global markets. Hacking mobile apps and devices is one of the fastest-growing cybercriminal markets, one with 6.8B mobile users worldwide this year, projected to increase to 7.3B in 2023, according to The Radicati Group. The total number of mobile devices, including both phones and tablets, will be over 13B by the end of 2019, according to the research firm. And a small percentage of mobile fraud transactions get reported, with mobile fraud losses reported totaling just over $40M across 14,392 breaches according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Mobile fraud is an epidemic that needs to be fought with state-of-the-art approaches based on AI and machine learning’s innate strengths.

Traditional approaches to thwarting digital fraud rely on rules engines that thrive on detecting and taking action based on established, known patterns, and are often hard-coded into a merchant’s system. Fraud analyst teams further customize rules engines to reflect the unique requirements of the merchants’ selling strategies across each channel. Fine-tuning rules engines makes them effective at recognizing and taking action on known threat patterns. The challenge for every merchant relying on a fraud rules engine is that they often don’t catch the latest patterns in cybercriminal activity. Where rules-based approaches to digital fraud don’t scale, AI, and machine learning do.

Exploring The 7 Ways AI Is Reducing Mobile Fraud

Where rules engines are best suited for spotting existing trends in fraud activity, machine learning excels at classifying observations (called supervised machine learning) and finding anomalies in data by finding entirely new patterns and associations (called unsupervised machine learning). Combining supervised and unsupervised machine learning algorithms are proving to be very effective at reducing mobile fraud. The following are the seven ways AI and machine learning are reducing mobile fraud today:

  1. AI and machine learning reduce false positives by interpreting the nuances of specific behaviors and accurately predicting if a transaction is fraudulent or not. Merchants are relying on AI and machine learning to reduce false positives, saving their customers from having to re-authenticate who they are and their payment method. A false positive at that first interaction with a customer is going to reduce the amount of money that they spend with a merchant, so it’s very important to interpret each transaction accurately.
  2. Identifying and thwarting merchant fraud based on anomalous activity from a compromised mobile device. Cybercriminals are relying on SIM swapping to gain control of mobile devices and commit fraud, as the recent hack of Twitter’s founder Jack Dorsey illustrates. Hackers were able to transfer his telephone number using SIM swapping and by talking Dorsey’s mobile service provider to bypass the account passcode. Fortunately, only his Twitter account was hacked. Any app or account accessible on his phone could have been breached, leading to fraudulent bank transfers or purchases. The attack could have been thwarted if Jack Dorsey’s mobile service provider was using AI-based risk scoring to detect and act on anomalous activity.
  3. AI and machine learning-based techniques scale across a wider breadth of merchants than any rules-based approach to mobile fraud prevention can. Machine learning-based models scale and learn across different industries in real-time, accumulating valuable data that improves payment fraud prediction accuracy. Kount’s Universal Data Network is noteworthy, as it includes billions of transactions over 12 years, 6,500 customers, 180+ countries and territories, and multiple payment networks. That rich data feeds Kount’s machine learning models to detect anomalies more accurately and reduce false positives and chargebacks.
  4. Combining supervised and unsupervised machine learning algorithms translates into a formidable speed advantage, with fraudulent transactions identified on average in 250 milliseconds. Merchants’ digital business models’ scale and speed are increasing, and with the holidays coming up, there’s a high probability many will set mobile commerce sales records. The merchants who will gain the most sales are focusing on how security and customer experience can complement each other. Being able to approve or reject a transaction within a second or less is the cornerstone of an excellent customer buying experience.
  5. Knowing when to use two-factor authentication via SMS or Voice PIN to reduce false negatives or not, preserving customer relationships in the process. Rules engines will often take a brute-force approach to authentication if any of the factors they’re tracking show a given transaction is potentially fraudulent. Requesting customers authenticate themselves after they’re logged into a merchant’s site when they attempt to buy an item is a sure way to lose a customer for life. By being able to spot anomalies quickly, fewer customers are forced to re-authenticate themselves, and customer relationships are preserved. And when transactions are indeed fraudulent, losses have been averted in less than a second.
  6. Provide a real-time transaction risk score that combines the strengths of supervised and unsupervised machine learning into a single fraud prevention payment score. Merchants need a real-time transaction risk score that applies to every channel they sell, though. Fraud rules engines had to be tailored to each specific selling channel with specific rules for each type of transaction. That’s no longer the case due to machine learnings’ ability to scale across all channels and provide a transaction risk score in milliseconds. Leaders in this area include Kount’s Omniscore, the actionable transaction safety rating that is a result of their AI, which combines patented, proprietary supervised and unsupervised machine learning algorithms and technologies.
  7. Combining insights from supervised and unsupervised machine learning with contextual intelligence of transactions frees up fraud analysts to do more investigations and fewer transaction reviews. AI and machine learning-based fraud prevention systems’ first contribution is often reducing the time fraud analysts take for manual reviews. Digitally-based businesses I’ve talked with say having supervised machine learning categorize and then predict fraudulent attempts is invaluable from a time-saving standpoint alone. Merchants are finding AI, and machine learning-based approaches enable to score to approve more orders automatically, reject more orders automatically, and focus on those gray area orders, freeing up fraud analysts to do more strategic, rewarding work. They’re able to find more sophisticated, nuanced abuse attacks like refer a friend abuse or a promotion abuse or seller collusion in a marketplace. Letting the model do the work of true payment fraud prevention frees up those fraud analysts to do other worth that add value.

Conclusion

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, it’s time for merchants to look at how they can protect mobile transactions at scale across all selling channels. AI and machine learning are proving themselves as viable replacements to traditional rules engines that rely on predictable, known fraud patterns. With 70% of fraudulent transactions originating in the mobile channel in 2018 and the influx of orders coming in the next three months, now would be a good time for merchants to increase their ability to thwart mobile fraud while reducing false positives that alienate customers.

Sources:

RSA 2019 Current State of Cybercrime Report (11 pp., PDF, opt-in)

The Radicati Group, Mobile Statistics Report, 2019 – 2023 (3 pp., PDF, no opt-in)

U.S. Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Sentinel Network, Data Book 2018 (90 pp., PDF, no opt-in)

 

 

10 Ways AI And Machine Learning Are Improving Endpoint Security

  • Gartner predicts $137.4B will be spent on Information Security and Risk Management in 2019, increasing to $175.5B in 2023, reaching a CAGR of 9.1%. Cloud Security, Data Security, and Infrastructure Protection are the fastest-growing areas of security spending through 2023.
  •  69% of enterprise executives believe artificial intelligence (AI) will be necessary to respond to cyberattacks with the majority of telecom companies (80%) saying they are counting on AI to help identify threats and thwart attacks according to Capgemini.
  •  Spending on AI-based cybersecurity systems and services reached $7.1B in 2018 and is predicted to reach $30.9B in 2025, attaining a CAGR of 23.4% in the forecast period according to Zion Market Research.

Traditional approaches to securing endpoints based on the hardware characteristics of a given device aren’t stopping breach attempts today. Bad actors are using AI and machine learning to launch sophisticated attacks to shorten the time it takes to compromise an endpoint and successfully breach systems. They’re down to just 7 minutes after comprising an endpoint and gaining access to internal systems ready to exfiltrate data according to Ponemon. The era of trusted and untrusted domains at the operating system level, and “trust, but verify” approaches are over. Security software and services spending is soaring as a result, as the market forecasts above show.

AI & Machine Learning Are Redefining Endpoint Security

AI and machine learning are proving to be effective technologies for battling increasingly automated, well-orchestrated cyberattacks and breach attempts. Attackers are combining AI, machine learning, bots, and new social engineering techniques to thwart endpoint security controls and gain access to enterprise systems with an intensity never seen before. It’s becoming so prevalent that Gartner predicts that more than 85% of successful attacks against modern enterprise user endpoints will exploit configuration and user errors by 2025. Cloud platforms are enabling AI and machine learning-based endpoint security control applications to be more adaptive to the proliferating types of endpoints and corresponding threats. The following are the top ten ways AI and machine learning are improving endpoint security:

  • Using machine learning to derive risk scores based on previous behavioral patterns, geolocation, time of login, and many other variables is proving to be effective at securing and controlling access to endpoints. Combining supervised and unsupervised machine learning to fine-tune risk scores in milliseconds is reducing fraud, thwarting breach attempts that attempt to use privileged access credentials, and securing every identity on an organizations’ network. Supervised machine learning models rely on historical data to find patterns not discernable with rules or predictive analytics. Unsupervised machine learning excels at finding anomalies, interrelationships, and valid links between emerging factors and variables. Combining both unsupervised and supervised machine learning is proving to be very effective in spotting anomalous behavior and reducing or restricting access.
  • Mobile devices represent a unique challenge to achieving endpoint security control, one that machine learning combined with Zero Trust is proving to be integral at solving.  Cybercriminals prefer to steal a mobile device, its passwords, and privileged access credentials than hack into an organization. That’s because passwords are the quickest onramp they have to the valuable data they want to exfiltrate and sell. Abandoning passwords for new techniques including MobileIron’s zero sign-on approach shows potential for thwarting cybercriminals from getting access while hardening endpoint security control. Securing mobile devices using a zero-trust platform built on a foundation of unified endpoint management (UEM) capabilities enables enterprises to scale zero sign-on for managed and unmanaged services for the first time. Below is a graphic illustrating how they’re adopting machine learning to improve mobile endpoint security control:
  • Capitalizing on the core strengths of machine learning to improve IT asset management is making direct contributions to greater security.  IT Management and security initiatives continue to become more integrated across organizations, creating new challenges to managing endpoint security across each device. Absolute Software is taking an innovative approach to solve the challenge of improving IT asset management, so endpoint protection is strengthened at the same time. Recently I had a chance to speak with Nicko van Someren, Ph.D. and Chief Technology Officer at Absolute Software, where he shared with me how machine learning algorithms are improving security by providing greater insights into asset management. “Keeping machines up to date is an IT management job, but it’s a security outcome. Knowing what devices should be on my network is an IT management problem, but it has a security outcome. And knowing what’s going on and what processes are running and what’s consuming network bandwidth is an IT management problem, but it’s a security outcome. I don’t see these as distinct activities so much as seeing them as multiple facets of the same problem space. Nicko added that Absolute’s endpoint security controls begin at the BIOS level of over 500M devices that have their endpoint code embedded in them. The Absolute Platform is comprised of three products: Persistence, Intelligence, and Resilience—each building on the capabilities of the other. Absolute Intelligence standardizes the data around asset analytics and security advocacy analytics to allow Security managers to ask any question they want. (“What’s slowing down my device? What’s working and what isn’t? What has been compromised? What’s consuming too much memory? How does this deviate from normal performance?”). An example of Absolute’s Intelligence providing insights into asset management and security is shown below:
  • Machine learning has progressed to become the primary detection method for identifying and stopping malware attacks. Machine learning algorithms initially contributed to improving endpoint security by supporting the back-end of malware protection workflows. Today more vendors are designing endpoint security systems with machine learning as the primary detection method. Machine learning trained algorithms can detect file-based malware and learn which files are harmful or not based on the file’s metadata and content. Symantec’s Content & Malware Analysis illustrates how machine learning is being used to detect and block malware. Their approach combines advanced machine learning and static code file analysis to block, detect, and analyze threats and stop breach attempts before they can spread.
  • Supervised machine learning algorithms are being used for determining when given applications are unsafe to use, assigning them to containers, so they’re isolated from production systems. Taking into account an applications’ threat score or reputation, machine learning algorithms are defining if dynamic application containment needs to run for a given application. Machine learning-based dynamic application containment algorithms and rules block or log unsafe actions of an application based on containment and security rules. Machine learning algorithms are also being used for defining predictive analytics that define the extent of a given applications’ threat.
  •  Integrating AI, machine learning, and SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) in a single unified platform are enabling organizations to predict, detect, and respond to anomalous behaviors and events. AI and machine learning-based algorithms and predictive analytics are becoming a core part of SIEM platforms today as they provide automated, continuous analysis and correlation of all activity observed within a given IT environment. Capturing, aggregating, and analyzing endpoint data in real-time using AI techniques and machine learning algorithms is providing entirely new insights into asset management and endpoint security. One of the most interesting companies to watch in this area is LogRhythm. They’ve developed an innovative approach to integrating AI, machine learning, and SIEM in their LogRhythm NextGen SIEM Platform, which delivers automated, continuous analysis and correlation of all activity observed within an IT environment. The following is an example of how LogRhythm combines AI, machine learning, and SIEM to bring new insights into securing endpoints across a network.
  • Machine learning is automating the more manually-based, routine incident analysis, and escalation tasks that are overwhelming security analysts today. Capitalizing on supervised machine learnings’ innate ability to fine-tune algorythms in milliseconds based on the analysis of incidence data, endpoint security providers are prioritizing this area in product developnent. Demand from potential customers remains strong, as nearly everyone is facing a cybersecurity skills shortage while facing an onslaught of breach attempts.  “The cybersecurity skills shortage has been growing for some time, and so have the number and complexity of attacks; using machine learning to augment the few available skilled people can help ease this. What’s exciting about the state of the industry right now is that recent advances in Machine Learning methods are poised to make their way into deployable products,” Absolute’s CTO Nicko van Someren added.
  • Performing real-time scans of all processes with an unknown or suspicious reputation is another way how machine learning is improving endpoint security. Commonly referred to as Hunt and Respond, supervised and unsupervised machine learning algorithms are being used today to seek out and resolve potential threats in milliseconds instead of days. Supervised machine learning algorithms are being used to discover patterns in known or stable processes where anomalous behavior or activity will create an alert and pause the process in real-time. Unsupervised machine learning algorithms are used for analyzing large-scale, unstructured data sets to categorize suspicious events, visualize threat trends across the enterprise, and take immediate action at a single endpoint or across the entire organization.
  • Machine learning is accelerating the consolidation of endpoint security technologies, a market dynamic that is motivating organizations to trim back from the ten clients they have on average per endpoint today. Absolute Software’s 2019 Endpoint Security Trends Report found that a typical device has ten or more endpoint security agents installed, each often conflicting with the other. The study also found that enterprises are using a diverse array of endpoint agents, including encryption, AV/AM, and Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR). The wide array of endpoint solutions make it nearly impossible to standardize a specific test to ensure security and safety without sacrificing speed. By helping to accelerate the consolidation of security endpoints, machine learning is helping organizations to see the more complex and layered the endpoint protection, the greater the risk of a breach.
  • Keeping every endpoint in compliance with regulatory and internal standards is another area machine learning is contributing to improving endpoint security. In regulated industries, including financial services, insurance, and healthcare, machine learning is being deployed to discover, classify, and protect sensitive data. This is especially the case with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliance in healthcare. Amazon Macie is representative of the latest generation of machine learning-based cloud security services. Amazon Macie recognizes sensitive data such as personally identifiable information (PII) or intellectual property and provides organizations with dashboards, alerts, and contextual insights that give visibility into how data is being accessed or moved. The fully managed service continuously monitors data access activity for anomalies and generates detailed alerts when it detects the risk of unauthorized access or inadvertent data leaks. An example of one of Amazon Macie’s dashboard is shown below:

How AI Is Protecting Against Payments Fraud

  • 80% of fraud specialists using AI-based platforms believe the technology helps reduce payments fraud.
  • 63.6% of financial institutions that use AI believe it is capable of preventing fraud before it happens, making it the most commonly cited tool for this purpose.
  • Fraud specialists unanimously agree that AI-based fraud prevention is very effective at reducing chargebacks.
  • The majority of fraud specialists (80%) have seen AI-based platforms reduce false positives, payments fraud, and prevent fraud attempts.

AI is proving to be very effective in battling fraud based on results achieved by financial institutions as reported by senior executives in a recent survey, AI Innovation Playbook published by PYMNTS in collaboration with Brighterion. The study is based on interviews with 200 financial executives from commercial banks, community banks, and credit unions across the United States. For additional details on the methodology, please see page 25 of the study. One of the more noteworthy findings is that financial institutions with over $100B in assets are the most likely to have adopted AI, as the study has found 72.7% of firms in this asset category are currently using AI for payment fraud detection.

Taken together, the findings from the survey reflect how AI thwarts payments fraud and deserves to be a high priority in any digital business today. Companies, including Kount and others, are making strides in providing AI-based platforms, further reducing the risk of the most advanced, complex forms of payments fraud.

Why AI Is Perfect For Fighting Payments Fraud

Of the advanced technologies available for reducing false positives, reducing and preventing fraud attempts, and reducing manual reviews of potential payment fraud events, AI is ideally suited to provide the scale and speed needed to take on these challenges. More specifically, AI’s ability to interpret trend-based insights from supervised machine learning, coupled with entirely new knowledge gained from unsupervised machine learning algorithms are reducing the incidence of payments fraud. By combining both machine learning approaches, AI can discern if a given transaction or series of financial activities are fraudulent or not, alerting fraud analysts immediately if they are and taking action through predefined workflows. The following are the main reasons why AI is perfect for fighting payments fraud:

  • Payments fraud-based attacks are growing in complexity and often have a completely different digital footprint or pattern, sequence, and structure, which make them undetectable using rules-based logic and predictive models alone. For years e-commerce sites, financial institutions, retailers, and every other type of online business relied on rules-based payment fraud prevention systems. In the earlier years of e-commerce, rules and simple predictive models could identify most types of fraud. Not so today, as payment fraud schemes have become more nuanced and sophisticated, which is why AI is needed to confront these challenges.
  • AI brings scale and speed to the fight against payments fraud, providing digital businesses with an immediate advantage in battling the many risks and forms of fraud. What’s fascinating about the AI companies offering payments fraud solutions is how they’re trying to out-innovate each other when it comes to real-time analysis of transaction data. Real-time transactions require real-time security. Fraud solutions providers are doubling down on this area of R&D today, delivering impressive results. The fastest I’ve seen is a 250-millisecond response rate for calculating risk scores using AI on the Kount platform, basing queries on a decades-worth of data in their universal data network. By combining supervised and unsupervised machine learning algorithms, Kount is delivering fraud scores that are twice as predictive as previous methods and faster than competitors.
  • AI’s many predictive analytics and machine learning techniques are ideal for finding anomalies in large-scale data sets in seconds. The more data a machine learning model has to train on, the more accurate its predictive value. The greater the breadth and depth of data, a given machine learning algorithm learns from means more than how advanced or complex a given algorithm is. That’s especially true when it comes to payments fraud detection where machine learning algorithms learn what legitimate versus fraudulent transactions look like from a contextual intelligence perspective. By analyzing historical account data from a universal data network, supervised machine learning algorithms can gain a greater level of accuracy and predictability. Kount’s universal data network is among the largest, including billions of transactions over 12 years, 6,500 customers, 180+ countries and territories, and multiple payment networks. The data network includes different transaction complexities, verticals, and geographies, so machine learning models can be properly trained to predict risk accurately. That analytical richness includes data on physical real-world and digital identities creating an integrated picture of customer behavior.

Bottom Line:  Payments fraud is insidious, difficult to stop, and can inflict financial harm on any business in minutes. Battling payment fraud needs to start with a pre-emptive strategy to thwart fraud attempts by training machine learning models to quickly spot and act on threats then building out the strategy across every selling and service channel a digital business relies on.

How To Get Your Data Scientist Career Started

The most common request from this blogs’ readers is how to further their careers in analytics, cloud computing, data science, and machine learning. I’ve invited Alyssa Columbus, a Data Scientist at Pacific Life, to share her insights and lessons learned on breaking into the field of data science and launching a career there. The following guest post is authored by her.

Earning a job in data science, especially your first job in data science, isn’t easy, especially given the surplus of analytics job-seekers to analytics jobs.

Many people are looking to break into data science, from undergraduates to career changers, have asked me how I’ve attained my current data science position at Pacific Life. I’ve referred them to many different resources, including discussions I’ve had on the Dataquest.io blog and the Scatter Podcast. In the interest of providing job seekers with a comprehensive view of what I’ve learned that works, I’ve put together the five most valuable lessons learned. I’ve written this article to make your data science job hunt easier and as efficient as possible.

  • Continuously build your statistical literacy and programming skills. Currently, there are 24,697 open Data Scientist positions on LinkedIn in the United States alone. Using data mining techniques to analyze all open positions in the U.S., the following list of the top 10 data science skills was created today. As of April 14, the top 3 most common skills requested in LinkedIn data scientist job postings are Python, R, and SQL, closely followed by Jupyter Notebooks, Unix Shell/Awk, AWS, and Tensorflow. The following graphic provides a prioritized list of the most in-demand data science skills mentioned in LinkedIn job postings today. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier viewing.

Hands-on training is the best way to develop and continually improve statistical and programming skills, especially with the languages and technologies LinkedIn’s job postings prioritize.  Getting your hands dirty with a dataset is often much better than reading through abstract concepts and not applying what you’ve learned to real problems. Your applied experience is just as important as your academic experience, and taking statistics, and computer science classes help to translate theoretical concepts into practical results. The toughest thing to learn (and also to teach) about statistical analysis is the intuition for what the big questions to ask of your dataset are. Statistical literacy, or “how” to find the answers to your questions, come with education and practice. Strengthening your intellectual curiosity or insight into asking the right questions comes through experience.

  • Continually be creating your own, unique portfolio of analytics and machine learning projects. Having a good portfolio is essential to be hired as a data scientist, especially if you don’t come from a quantitative background or have experience in data science before. Think of your portfolio as proof to potential employers that you are capable of excelling in the role of a data scientist with both the passion and skills to do the job. When building your data science portfolio, select and complete projects that qualify you for the data science jobs, you’re the most interested in. Use your portfolio to promote your strengths and innate abilities by sharing projects you’ve completed on your own. Some skills I’d recommend you highlight in your portfolio include:
    • Your programming language of choice (e.g., Python, R, Julia, etc.).
    • The ability to interact with databases (e.g., your ability to use SQL).
    • Visualization of data (static or interactive).
    • Storytelling with data. This is a critical skill. In essence, can someone with no background in whatever area your project is in look at your project and gain some new understandings from it?
    • Deployment of an application or API. This can be done with small sample projects (e.g., a REST API for an ML model you trained or a nice Tableau or R Shiny dashboard).

Julia Silge and Amber Thomas both have excellent examples of portfolios that you can be inspired by. Julia’s portfolio is shown below.

  • Get (or git!) yourself a website. If you want to stand out, along with a portfolio, create and continually build a strong online presence in the form of a website.  Be sure to create and continually add to your GitHub and Kaggle profiles to showcase your passion and proficiency in data science. Making your website with GitHub Pages creates a profile for you at the same time, and best of all it’s free to do. A strong online presence will not only help you in applying for jobs, but organizations may also reach out to you with freelance projects, interviews, and other opportunities.
  • Be confident in your skills and apply for any job you’re interested in, starting with opportunities available in your network.  If you don’t meet all of a job’s requirements, apply anyway. You don’t have to know every skill (e.g., programming languages) on a job description, especially if there are more than ten listed. If you’re a great fit for the main requirements of the job’s description, you need to apply. A good general rule is that if you have at least half of the skills requested on a job posting, go for it. When you’re hunting for jobs, it may be tempting to look for work on company websites or tech-specific job boards. I’ve found, as have many others, that these are among the least helpful ways to find work. Instead, contact recruiters specializing in data science and build up your network to break into the field. I recommend looking for a data science job via the following sources, with the most time devoted to recruiters and your network:
    • Recruiters
    • Friends, family, and colleagues
    • Career fairs and recruiting events
    • General job boards
    • Company websites
    • Tech job boards.

Alyssa Columbus is a Data Scientist at Pacific Life and member of the Spring 2018 class of NASA Datanauts. Previously, she was a computational statistics and machine learning researcher at the UC Irvine Department of Epidemiology and has built robust predictive models and applications for a diverse set of industries spanning retail to biologics. Alyssa holds a degree in Applied and Computational Mathematics from the University of California, Irvine and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She is a strong proponent of reproducible methods, open source technologies, and diversity in analytics and is the founder of R-Ladies Irvine. You can reach her at her website: alyssacolumbus.com.

Which Analytics And BI Technologies Will Be The Highest Priority In 2019?

  • 82% of enterprises are prioritizing analytics and BI as part of their budgets for new technologies and cloud-based services.
  • 54% say AI, Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) are also a high investment priority.
  • 50% of enterprises say their stronger focus on metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) company-wide are a major driver of new investment in analytics and BI.
  • 43%  plan to both build and buy AI and machine learning applications and platforms.
  • 42% are seeking to improve user experiences by automating discovery of data insights and 26% are using AI to provide user recommendations.

These and many other fascinating insights are from the recent TDWI Best Practices Report, BI and Analytics in the Age of AI and Big Data. An executive summary of the study is available online here. The entire study is available for download here (39 PP., PDF, free, opt-in). The study found that enterprises are placing a high priority on augmenting existing systems and replacing older technologies and data platforms with new cloud-based BI and predictive analytics ones. Transforming Data with Intelligence (TDWI) is a global community of AI, analytics, data science and machine learning professionals interested in staying current in these and more technology areas as part of their professional development. Please see page 3 of the study for specifics regarding the methodology.

Key takeaways from the study include the following:

  • 82% of enterprises are prioritizing analytics and BI applications and platforms as part of their budgets for new technologies and cloud-based services. 78% of enterprises are prioritizing advanced analytics, and 76% data preparation. 54% say AI, machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) are also a high investment priority. The following graphic ranks enterprises’ investment priorities for acquiring or subscribing to new technologies and cloud-based services by analytics and BI initiatives or strategies. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

  • Data warehouse or mart in the cloud (41%), data lake in the cloud (39%) and BI platform in the cloud (38%) are the top three types of technologies enterprises are planning to use. Based on this finding and others in the study, cloud platforms are the new normal in enterprises’ analytics and Bi strategies going into 2019. Cloud data storage (object, file, or block) and data virtualization or federation (both 32%) are the next-most planned for technologies by enterprises when it comes to investing in the analytics and BI initiatives. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

  • The three most important factors in delivering a positive user experience include good query performance (61%), creating and editing visualizations (60%), and personalizing dashboards and reports (also 60%). The three activities that lead to the least amount of satisfaction are using predictive analytics and forecasting tools (27% dissatisfied), “What if” analysis and deriving new data (25%) and searching across data and reports (24%). Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

  • 82% of enterprises are looking to broaden the base of analytics and BI platforms they rely on for insights and intelligence, not just stay with the solutions they have in place today. Just 18% of enterprises plan to add more instances of existing platforms and systems. Cloud-native platforms (38%), a new analytics platform (35%) and cloud-based data lakes (31%) are the top three system areas enterprises are planning to augment or replace existing BI, analytics, and data warehousing systems in. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

  • The majority of enterprises plan to both build and buy Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) solutions so that they can customize them to their specific needs. 43% of enterprises surveyed plan to both build and buy AI and ML applications and platforms, a figure higher than any other recent survey on this aspect of enterprise AI adoption. 13% of responding enterprises say they will exclusively build their own AI and ML applications.

  • Capitalizing on machine learning’s innate strengths of applying algorithms to large volumes of data to find actionable new insights (54%) is what’s most important to the majority of enterprises. 47% of enterprises look to AI and machine learning to improve the accuracy and quality of information. And 42% are configuring AI and machine learning applications and platforms to augment user decision making by giving recommendations. Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

Tech Leaders Look To IoT, AI & Robotics To Fuel Growth Through 2021

  • 30% of tech leaders globally predict blockchain will disrupt their businesses by 2021.
  • IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics have the greatest potential to digitally transform businesses, making them more customer-centered and efficient.
  • 26% of global tech leaders say e-Commerce apps and platforms will be the most disruptive new business model in their countries by 2021.
  • IDC predicts worldwide IoT spending will reach $1.1T by 2021.

These and many other insights are from KPMG’s recent research study Tech Disruptors Outpace The Competition. The study can be downloaded here (PDF, 42 pp., no opt-in.).  The methodology is based on interviews with 750 global technology industry leaders, 85% of whom are C-level executives. For additional details on the methodology, please see pages 32 and 33 of the study. The study found that the three main benefits of adopting IoT, AI, and robotics include improved management of personal information, increased personal productivity, and improved customer experience through personalized real-time information. Key insights gained from the study include the following:

  • IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics have the greatest potential to digitally transform businesses, making them more customer-centered and efficient. Tech leaders also see these three core technologies enabling the next indispensable consumer technology and driving the greatest benefit to life, society, and the environment. KPMG’s research team found that tech companies are integrating these three technologies to create growth platforms for new business ventures while digitally transforming existing business processes. Tech leaders in the U.K. (21%), Japan (20%) and the U.S. (16%) lead all other nations in their plans for IoT digitally transforming their businesses by 2021. Please click on the graphic below to expand for easier reading.

  • 30% of tech leaders globally predict blockchain will disrupt their businesses by 2021. 50% of Japanese tech leaders predict that blockchain will digitally transform their industries and companies by 2021, leading all nations included in the survey.  IoT processes and the rich, real-time data stream sensors and systems are capable of delivering is predicted by tech leaders to be the primary catalyst that will enable blockchain to digitally transform their businesses. 27% of tech leaders globally expect IoT data and applications combined with blockchain to redefine their companies, supply chains and industries. Identity authentication (24%), automated trading (22%) and contracts (14%) are the 2nd through fourth-most disruptive aspects of blockchain by 2021 according to tech leaders. Please click on the graphic below to expand for easier reading.

  • 26% of global tech leaders say e-Commerce apps and platforms will be the most disruptive new business model in their countries by 2021. 19% see social media platforms creating the majority of new business models, followed autonomous vehicle platforms (14%) and entertainment platforms (11%).  KPMG’s analysis includes a ranking of top business models by country, with e-Commerce dominating four of the five regions included in the survey.

  • 50% of tech leaders expect media, transportation, healthcare, and transportation to experience the greatest digital transformation in the next three years.  Respondents most mentioned Amazon, Netflix, Alibaba, Uber, Google, and Facebook as examples of companies who will digitally transform their industries by 2021.  The following table provides insights into which industries by country will see the greatest digital transformations in the next three years. Entertainment platforms are predicted by tech leaders to have the greatest potential to digitally transform the media industry in the U.S. by 2021.

  • Tech leaders predict IoT’s greatest potential for adoption by 2021 is in consumer products, education, services, industrial manufacturing, and telecom. AI’s greatest potential to digitally transform business models is in healthcare and industrial manufacturing (both 11%), consumer products, financial, and services (10% each).  As would be expected, Robotics’ adoption and contribution to digitally transforming businesses will be most dominant in industrial manufacturing (15%), followed by healthcare (11%) and consumer, financial and services (10%). Please click on the graphic to expand for easier reading.

The State Of Cloud Business Intelligence, 2018

  • Cloud BI adoption is soaring in 2018, nearly doubling 2016 adoption levels.
  • Over 90% of Sales & Marketing teams say that Cloud BI is essential for getting their work done in 2018, leading all categories in the survey.
  • 66% of organizations that consider themselves completely successful with Business Intelligence (BI) initiatives currently use the cloud.
  • Financial Services (62%), Technology (54%), and Education (54%) have the highest Cloud BI adoption rates in 2018.
  • 86% of Cloud BI adopters name Amazon AWS as their first choice, 82% name Microsoft Azure, 66% name Google Cloud, and 36% identify IBM Bluemix as their preferred provider of cloud BI services.

These and other many other fascinating insights are from Dresner Advisory Services 2018 Cloud Computing and Business Intelligence Market Study (client access reqd.) of the Wisdom of Crowds® series of research. The goal of the 7th annual edition of the study seeks to quantify end-user deployment trends and attitudes toward cloud computing and business intelligence (BI), defined as the technologies, tools, and solutions that employ one or more cloud deployment models. Dresner Advisory Services defines the scope of Business Intelligence (BI) tools and technologies to include query and reporting, OLAP (online analytical processing), data mining and advanced analytics, end-user tools for ad hoc query and analysis, and dashboards for performance monitoring. Please see page 10 of the study for the methodology. The study found the primary barriers to greater cloud BI adoption are enterprises’ concerns regarding data privacy and security.

Key takeaways from the study include the following:

  • Cloud BI’s importance continues to accelerate in 2018, with the majority of respondents considering it an important element of their broader analytics strategies. The study found that mean level of sentiment rose from 2.68 to 3.22 (above the level of “important”) between 2017 and 2018, indicating the increased importance of Cloud BI over the last year. By region, Asia-Pacific respondents continue to be the strongest proponents of cloud computing regarding both adjusted mean (4.2 or “very important”) and levels of criticality. The following graphic illustrates Cloud BI’s growing importance between 2012 and 2018.

  • Over 90% of Sales & Marketing teams say Cloud BI apps are important to getting their work done in 2018, leading all respondent categories in the survey. The study found that Cloud BI importance in 2018 is highest among Sales/Marketing and Executive Management respondents. One of the key factors driving this is the fact that both Sales & Marketing and Executive Management are increasingly relying on cloud-based front office applications and services that are integrated with and generate cloud-based data to track progress towards goals.

  • Cloud BI is most critical to Financial Services & Insurance, Technology, and Retail & Wholesale Trade industries. The study recorded its highest-ever levels of Cloud Bi importance in 2018. Financial Services has the highest weighted mean interest in cloud BI (3.8, which approaches “very important” status shown in the figure below). Technology organizations, where half of the respondents say cloud BI is “critical” or “very important,” are the next most interested. Close to 90% of Retail/Wholesale respondents say SaaS/cloud BI is at least “important” to them. As it has been over time, Healthcare remains the industry least open to managed services for data and business intelligence.

  • Cloud BI adoption is soaring in 2018, nearly doubling 2016 adoption levels. The study finds that the percentage of respondents using Cloud BI in 2018 nearly doubled from 25% of enterprise users in 2016. Year over year, current use rose from 31% to 49%. In the same time frame, the percentage of respondents with no plans to use cloud BI dropped by half, from 38% to 19%. This study has been completed for the last seven years, showing a steady progression of Cloud BI awareness and adoption, with 2018 being the first one showing the most significant rise in adoption levels ever.

  • Sales & Marketing leads all departments in current use and planning for Cloud BI applications. Business Intelligence Competency Centers (BICC) are a close second, each with over 60% adoption rates for Cloud BI today. Operations including manufacturing and supply chains and services are the next most likely to use Cloud BI currently. Marketing and BICC lead current adoption and are contributing catalysts of Cloud BI’s soaring growth between 2016 and 2018. Both of these departments often have time-constrained and revenue-driven goals where quantifying contributions to company growth and achievement ad critical.

  • Financial Services (62%), Technology (54%), and Education (54%) industries have the highest Cloud BI adoption rates in 2018. The retail/wholesale industry has the fourth-highest level of Cloud BI adoption and the greatest number of companies who are currently evaluating Cloud BI today. The least likely current or future users are found in manufacturing and security-sensitive healthcare organizations, where 45% respondents report no plans for cloud-based BI/analytics.

  • Dashboards, advanced visualization, ad-hoc query, data integration, and self-service are the most-required Cloud BI features in 2018. Sales & Marketing need real-time feedback on key initiatives, programs, strategies, and progress towards goals. Dashboards and advanced visualization features’ dominance of feature requirements reflect this department’s ongoing need for real-time feedback on the progress of their teams towards goals. Reporting, data discovery, and end-user data blending (data preparation) make up the next tier of importance.

  • Manufacturers have the greatest interest in dashboards, ad-hoc query, production reporting, search interface, location intelligence, and ability to write to transactional applications. Education respondents report the greatest interest in advanced visualization along with data integration, data mining, end-user data blending, data catalog, and collaborative support for group-based analysis. Financial Services respondents are highly interested in advanced visualization and lead all industries in self-serviceHealthcare industry respondents lead interest only in in-memory support. Retail/Wholesale and Healthcare industry respondents are the least feature interested overall.

  • Interest in cloud application connections to Salesforce, NetSuite, and other cloud-based platforms has increased 12% this year. Getting end-to-end visibility across supply chains, manufacturing centers, and distribution channels requires Cloud BI apps be integrated with cloud-based platforms and on-premises applications and data. Expect to see this accelerate in 2019 as Cloud BI apps become more pervasive across Marketing & Sales and Executive Management, in addition to Operations including supply chain management and manufacturing where real-time shop floor monitoring is growing rapidly.

  • Retail/Wholesale, Business Services, Education and Financial Services & Insurance industries are most interested in Google Analytics connectors to obtain data for their Cloud BI apps. Respondents from Technology industries prioritize Salesforce integration and connectors above all others. Education respondents are most interested in MySQL and Google Drive integration and connectors. Manufacturers are most interested in connectors to Google AdWords, SurveyMonkey, and The Healthcare industry respondents prioritize SAP Cloud BI services and also interested in ServiceNow connectors.

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