Case Study: Integrated risk intelligence with KeyLines
Case Study: Integrated risk intelligence with KeyLines
iMapData use KeyLines to visualize risks in social media data.
Visualization component was ready for customer deployment within three weeks.
Users report saving hours, or even days, on data discovery activities.
The Smarter Way to Mitigate Risk™ is iMapData’s tagline. For the past 30 years, they have
worked with Fortune 500 companies and US government agencies, helping them to identify,
understand and proactively mitigate risk.
From their McLean VA base, they manage a 24/7 data collation and cleansing operation,
bringing together vast volumes of information about their customers’ critical assets.
Customers then access and analyze this data using the Advanced Intelligence Management
System™ (‘AIMS’) – iMapData’s SaaS platform. AIMS™ contains a suite of data exploration,
analysis and visualization tools that empower organizations to identify, assess and respond
to risks as they evolve.
In August 2015, iMapData released a KeyLines network visualization component for exploring
and analyzing social media datasets.
Three-quarters of online American adults use social media. Facebook has nearly 1.5bn active
users worldwide. In this environment, organizations serious about risk need to be looking at
their social media footprint.
For some time, the AIMS platform has included a Social Media search component:
With a combination of natural language programming (NLP) algorithms and a powerful
keyword search function, users are able to explore iMapData’s huge curated social media
databases. Results are presented in list form, with hyperlinks between related documents.
A review of customer feedback led iMapData’s product team to explore network
visualization as an alternative way to present this complex connected social data. As
iMapData’s VP of Product Development, Neil Sobin, explains:
“Our customers' problems change every day. There are new threats, bad actors, and
vulnerabilities emerging across the globe constantly, exposing our customers to real harm.
As such, it is vital for security analysts to be able to rapidly discover risk information related
to their interests – whether they be people, brands, social media accounts, or other entities.
We knew that by visualizing this data as a network, we would provide faster access to that
insight, in a format that can be communicated quickly to stakeholders.”
iMapData identified four critical criteria for their network visualization solution:
1. Compatible - The AIMS™ platform is designed to bring critical intelligence data to
users, anywhere in the world. Compatibility with different devices and browsers is
2. Extensible - AIMS™ is a growing and evolving platform. The visualization solution
would need to be compatible with future growth and development.
3. Feature rich - iMapData add value to their data through a year-round program of
manual cleansing, but also by providing sophisticated end-user analysis tools. The
network visualization solution would need a rich and evolving library of functionality
that could be incorporated into their application.
4. Speed of integration - iMapData look to continuously improve the value provided
to their user community. Significant enhancements like visualization would need to be
implemented quickly and efficiently and maintain the high standards of performance
expected by their demanding users.
The iMapData Product team reviewed a variety of options, including a commercial Javabased data visualization technology and D3.js.
Neil Sobin explains the process:
“We quickly reached the conclusion that the other commercial technology would not be
suitable for us. As a Java-applet based product, it failed to meet our important compatibility
criteria, and also lacked extensibility.
Then we began to explore building our own native solution using D3.js. We were pleased
with the compatibility and extensibility the library offered, but it lacked the rich functionality
we needed. It would have required a tremendous amount of development input to build
even a simple network visualization component.
At this point, we looked at KeyLines, which met all of our big-four criteria. The developers
experimented with the SDK and really liked it. Our business stakeholders appreciated the use
cases on the website.”
In July 2015, the team set to work building a production-ready KeyLines component.
Within just three weeks, a candidate was ready for deployment to government and
commercial customers. Following the release, usage of the text-based legacy social media
search tool plummeted as users took advantage of the more intuitive network visualization
Neil Sobin explains how the new approach has saved customer time, and helped analysts to
produce more accessible security briefings:
“Our customers are delighted with this new approach to data exploration. We have
transformed real-time discovery on massive data sets from a laborious process of reviewing
lists to an accelerated graph analysis. Our customers have reported that the data discovery
activity has been reduced by hours – even days in some cases.
Furthermore, the process producing real intelligence reports, worthy of briefing senior
leadership, is now to a point where all levels of the organization can interpret the graph. The
analyst no longer needs to rely on PowerPoint slides. Now they can brief colleagues with an
interactive, web-based tool.”
Screenshot of the AIMS™ social media exploration component, showing connections
between corporations and other entities, derived from mentions on social media.
More about iMapData
For over 30 years, large commercial organizations and the United States government have
relied on iMapData’s expertise and intelligent solutions to proactively mitigate risks to their
The flexible, robust and scalable iMapData solution adapts to support their clients’ needs in
the most dynamic of threat environments. iMapData’s Advanced Intelligence Management
System™ platform seamlessly integrates the functions of business continuity, situational
awareness, force protection and risk management.
The solution includes global incident monitoring by iMapData’s trained analysts in a 24/7 Risk
Assessment Center, as well as complete mobile communications.
Visit www.imapdata.com for more information.