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Data Sheet—Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Good morning, Data Sheet readers. Who do you think is better at picking a new person for your team: A random recruiter from HR or someone from within? Today’s FAQ chat features the French-born entrepreneur helping Gap, Cigna, L’Oreal, Michelin, PepsiCo, Staples, Unilever and others tap their social networks for better job candidates.

TRENDING

Apparently, Munich has second thoughts about its Linux migration. It took ten years for the much-ballyhooed switchover, but the German city just finished ditching Windows on more than 14,000 personal computers and its server infrastructure in favor of open source software. Now, users are whining about compatibility and administrators are griping about support costs.

BlackBerry’s transformation progresses. The former CTO of Sony-Ericsson will head a new business unit that holds patents for embedded software, wireless frequency tuning, security and Project Ion (its Internet of Things app platform).

Body blow for bring your own device movement? A California judge says companies should reimburse employees who use personal cell phones for a “reasonable percentage” of charges rung up from work-related conversations. Not doing so could be at odds with the state’s strict labor laws. The case isn’t done, but it’s worth watching if you advocate BYOD.

CLOUD CHATTER

How’s that cloud-first strategy going, Microsoft? The developer suffered prolonged outages for its virtual machines infrastructure, StorSimple, backup and site recovery, and other Azure services. Everything was back up by early evening on the East coast, but it’s the second week in a row for hiccups and growing pains.

STATS & SPECS

And then there was one. Symantec will squeeze its nine-product Norton security line into just one $80 annual subscription offering that combines antivirus, spyware, spam monitoring and other features.

Chrome to malware: I see through your disguise. Updates to the Google web browser include stricter validation measures for downloads.

PostgreSQL gains cred. The usual relational technology suspects still rule on a monthly database ranking with no surprises among the top three: Oracle, MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server. But the No. 4 choice shows more upward momentum than any other application. Plus, MongoDB is looming.

STARTUPS

Want to make a mobile impression? Ad-tech company AppNexus just got another $60 million from a “large, Boston-based public equity and asset management firm” to do so, but this round could mushroom to a whopping $100 million. Its current valuation: $1.2 billion. All for the right to send commercials to your smartphone or tablet. 

GuardiCore misleads hackers, steals their secrets. Its technology detours malicious traffic to a monitored server so you can learn from it. The Israeli company’s approach just got an $11 million thumbs-up from Battery Venture.

FAQ

If your Facebook page or Twitter feed gets 10 times more visitors than your website’s career section, why not use them to suggest qualified candidates for open positions?

So far, Work4 has raised $18 million to pioneer the concept of social recruitment, finding converts in 20,000 clients including biggies like Gap, Cigna, L’Oreal, Michelin, PepsiCo, Staples and Unilever. There’s a ripple effect: if one company in a particular sector signs, usually rivals want in, too.

“Existing recruiting channels are very non-targeted,” says founder Stephane Le Viet. “In other words, anyone can apply for a job. Whenever you post a job on Craigslist, you get a flurry of resumes, 95% of which are completely irrelevant, which is a nightmare to sort through. And, two, the source of hires that’s really the best in recruiting is referrals; getting someone you know to recommend you for the position, and there really has been no technology to allow this.”

Work4’s service works by pulling ads already running on your career page into a Facebook or Twitter account and flagging whether or not someone in a visitor’s network already works there. As of April, it had “shared” more than 12 million jobs. The base subscription starts at $10,000 annually, plus fees for targeted advertising, Le Viet says. “You have millions of fans who are sitting there. We can help you turn those fans into hires.”

One potential partner he didn’t mention upfront was LinkedIn. When I asked why, Le Viet points out that “practically speaking, LinkedIn is a recruiting company.” Still, he believes Work4 is complementary not competitive, positioning LinkedIn as a channel primarily for white-collar positions (maybe 20% of the U.S. hiring volume). Future scenarios include experimenting with country-specific networks along with Google+ and Pinterest, where descriptions are converted into “job card” images.

“Because every single person has, on average, 300 [Facebook] friends connected to them, you can build technology to turn every single person into a recruiter for their company,” Le Viet says. Talk about blurring work-life balance. On paper, the concept sounds practical, but the potential for social nepotism concerns me.

ONE MORE THING

Is someone filing fake claims against your health insurance? There have been more than 150 U.S. data breaches this year involving medical records—and that’s just what has been noticed and reported. The scenario is that perps could use that info to make bogus doctor visits. That’s why hackers now find U.S. patient data more valuable than stolen credit cards. It’s another example of how broken the system has become, and I hate to think what that’ll do to my healthcare premiums.

EVENTS

VMworld: Learn about latest virtualization innovation. (Aug. 24-28, San Francisco)

Atlassian Summit: Build software, collaboratively. (Sept. 9 – 11, San Jose, Calif.)

Open Data Center Alliance Forecast 2014: Catch up on enterprise cloud trends. (Sept. 22 – 24, San Francisco)

Oracle OpenWorld: Get a roadmap reality check. (Sept. 27 – Oct. 2, San Francisco)

Interop: Actionable solutions to IT headaches. (Sept. 29 – Oct. 3, New York)

Gartner Symposium ITxpo 2014: Compare notes. (Oct. 5 – 9, Orlando, Fla.)

Splunk .conf2014. Glean intelligence from machine data. (Oct. 6 – 9, Las Vegas)

Dreamforce: Pick from 1,400 sessions about the world’s largest cloud ecosystem. (Oct. 13-16, San Francisco)

Strata/Hadoop World: Analyze big data tools and techniques. (Oct. 15 – 17, New York)

TBM Conference 2014: Manage the business of IT. (Oct. 28- 30, Miami Beach)

AWS re:Invent: Hear the latest about Amazon Web Services. (Nov. 11 – 14, Las Vegas)

Gartner Data Center Conference: Get new ideas for operations and management. (Dec. 2 – 5, Las Vegas)