Google Cloud Boasts New Features to Protect Companies' Sensitive Data

Today’s topics include Google’s addition of redaction and masking features to its Data Loss Prevention API; the general availability of the Cortana-enabled Harman Kardon Invoke speaker; MongoDB banking $192 million in its IPO; and SAP Hybris Marketing Cloud bringing facial recognition AI to retailing.

Google is giving organizations more ways to protect sensitive data on its cloud platform, with the addition of new data de-identification features to its cloud Data Loss Prevention API. These features can help companies find, classify and protect some 50 different types of sensitive data in cloud data stores, email applications and other locations.

New data redaction, data masking and tokenization features give companies a way of removing or blocking personally identifiable information from a dataset to make it more difficult for someone to associate the remaining data with any particular information.

The new data-masking feature gives users a way to partially obscure a data element—such as the first five digits of a Social Security number—while the new tokenization feature protects sensitive data by replacing a direct identifier with a token or a pseudonym.

Harman Kardon Invoke, the Microsoft Cortana-enabled speaker first announced last December, finally hit store shelves on Sunday.

"Invoke delivers powerful 360-degree sound from three direct-radiating woofers, three direct-radiating tweeters and two passive radiators," said Andrew Shuman, corporate vice president of Cortana Engineering at Microsoft. "Invoke also features Harman's Sonique far-field voice recognition technology with seven microphones, ensuring that Cortana can hear you from any direction."

Supported music services include Spotify and iHeart Radio, with a Pandora integration in the works. Invoke can link to a Skype account for calls to mobile phones and landlines, and Office 365 users can ask Cortana to check their calendars, schedule events and set reminders. Priced at $199.99, Invoke is available at Best Buy, and the Microsoft Store.

MongoDB, one of the most popular freely available open-source NoSQL databases in the market, has gone public on the Nasdaq Exchange, offering an initial 8 million shares at $24 each the evening of Oct. 18 and raising $192 million. The highly successful debut saw MDB stock soaring about 34 percent on Oct. 19. Shares opened that day at $33 apiece and closed at $32.07.

Karl Utermohlen of InvestorPlace published on Yahoo News that MongoDB’s strong point has been its revenue, with $101.4 million in sales last year, beating the year-ago figure of $65.3 million. Profit has been a weak point, with a $86.7 million net loss last year, due to a rise in marketing, research and administrative costs.

CEO Dev Ittycheria said the company hopes that going public will garner some momentum to help it grow, eventually leading to profitability.

SAP is using its SAP Leonardo "digital innovation system" to enable SAP Hybris Marketing Cloud customers to use facial recognition artificial intelligence to promote in-store sales and personalize shopping experiences, according to Jackie Palmer, SAP Hybris global vice president of Strategy and Solution Management.

“When a customer enters a store, the technology will capture demographic data … as well as other factors such as what [customers] are wearing. This information is funneled into the digital kiosk [or] sign to offer customized product suggestions," Palmer told eWEEK last week.

By digitizing the in-store shopping experience and making it trackable for businesses, SAP's solution helps set the stage for contextually driven retail operations that are imbued with intelligence and help marketers make the right call at an opportune time.