Weekly improvements, bug fixes and occasionally awesome new feature releases. Shown here every Wednesday night.
August 3, 2022
Improvements / Bug Fixes
GDLP Classification and Snowflake Object Tag (Enterprise / Enterprise Plus feature) improvements: there were previously a few bugs that caused a classification or tag import to incorrectly untag columns, but all is good to go now!
Snowflake Partner Connect Onboarding fix: ALTR now flags if a user needs to whitelist ALTR's IP addresses.
Consumption History import improvement: there was an issue where we reported this import as a "failure", even if it correctly found no query activity. But, hey, just because there's no query activity doesn't make it a failure! ALTR now correctly shows users that the import didn't fail, it just didn't produce any queries because there weren't any.
July 13, 2022
Private Preview: Row-level Access Policies
ALTR now supports row-level policies in Snowflake! This is a private preview feature that makes it easy for you to set up access and restrictions based on row-level constraints in your database tables. This feature leverages Snowflake's native Row Access Policies using ALTR's API. We're releasing this into private preview effective today.
July 5, 2022
Data Usage History – When users import their data usage history, they will no longer have to wait 24 hours to see the analytics heat-map, with this new improvement their access history will update every 4 hours instead. Missed the first window? No worries, it’ll update in 4 hours again.
UI - We have updated the font in our platform to match the current one on our website, for a more consistent overall branding.
2FA - We no longer block numbers based on the phone number type. Now, users can use landline, cell and VOIP phone numbers with our two-factor authentication system. They must use a phone number that can receive SMS, regardless of its configuration.
June 28, 2022
UI - Fixed a bug that triggered the wrong classification when connecting a database.
June 22, 2022
Improvements & Fixes
Proxy - We have improved our query plan interactions for users with TDS proxy, we’ve added an additional metric that will provide them with more info their queries' health, this will be visible on the health-check endpoint.
UI - We fixed an issue during the onboarding experience, now the portal will show our users their full list of connected databases right away, no need to refresh.
June 15, 2022
New Release:Support for Snowflake Classification and Object Tags
What is it? We classify the data you have in snowflake without ever needing to leave Snowflake. We ingest your Snowflake object tags so you can set policy on groups of data right within ALTR! Making it simpler for you to define and automate policy governance on sensitive data, and use your tags for dynamic data masking.
why it’s awesome? This integration is yet another way we make it easier to use Snowflake’s native capabilities to help you define locks and thresholds in tag-based governance policies. Because we thought of everything, you will be able to import privacy & semantic category tags that result from your Snowflake classification.
Improvements & fixes
UI - Several improvements to make it easier to onboard on Snowflake.
When selecting a database to connect to ALTR, the page updates faster, giving you real-time progress when connecting your databases.
Additionally, the onboarding form has a more visible “request access to a sample snowflake account”, this is useful if you cannot connect a data source right away.
Proxy - We now support SQL Server BulkCopy commands on .net connections. We also have a new setting that allows you to control how often you would like to refresh your configuration with us.
June 8, 2022
Improvements & Fixes
TDS Proxy - We've enabled a new mode for our TDS proxy which improves performance for unsupported queries. When enabled, the proxy triggers a warning log in SQL Server when it detects an unsupported query.
UI - Brand new icons to align with our website’s new look.
Audit logs - Updated the color to white on your notifications popover to give you clear visibility on all system audit logs.
June 1, 2022
Proxy’s - Fixed the issue for users who require additional support for their SQL Server Bulk Copy commands. For connections made through JDBC the data will now be properly tokenized.
May 25, 2022
Improvements & fixes
2FA system - We made a great improvement on our authentication system. When selecting your authentication of choice (email or SMS), you will see a hint to confirm your phone number on file before updating your settings. If the number on file is incorrect, you can now go back and updated it before confirming your change.
Data source - We fixed an issue within our data sources form that could render incorrect information when selecting your database type.
See you next week and we hope you have a fantastic long weekend!
May 18, 2022
Data Sources - For our partner connect users, we made it even easier to connect new databases. We no longer show your already-connected databases on the onboarding dropdown menu + other super-secret stuff we can’t tell you about!
May 11, 2022
New Release - 30 Day Usage History
Why it’s awesome? Once you've connected a Snowflake data source to ALTR, you are now able to see analytics from the last 30 days. Rather than having to wait 7 or 30 days to get insights into data usage in snowflake, you'll get it in ~24 hours (plus, it’s included in the free plan).
This will provide you with greater visibility into usage trends, making it easy to identify patterns in your data.
You can begin importing 30-day usage history when you add a new Snowflake data source or by editing your existing Snowflake data sources.
Note: If you signed up before February 2022 and your usage history is not showing up Analytics, we recommend re-running this code in Snowflake. Please change <ROLE_NAME> to the appropriate Service Account username.
Policy – We’ve made changes to how our locks operate in-conjunction with the different type of lock policies now offered. Is your column a part of a tag-based policy and a part of a column-based policy? Your users will be able to access data based on the most permissive policy configured for them. This will allow your tag-based and column-based policies to work together on your data.
Data Gateway – We fixed an irregular issue in our data gateway which delayed query execution time.
Connect Data Sources form – we fixed two issues in this form:
1. You can now easily switch between your “connection type”; the field info already provided on the form will not be affected in the process.
2. If you’re a part of our Enterprise+ plan, your connection type will no longer always default to MySQL, this has been updated to Snowflake Partner Connect.
May 4, 2022
Improvements and bug fixes
Tokenization - We fixed an issue in our tokenization API where, if a user made simultaneous deterministic writes for the same data, we could return unreadable tokens.
Connecting Databases - In our new onboarding flow for Partner Connect, we could sometimes get into a state where we wouldn’t return a list of databases for you to connect to. This has been resolved.
Classification - We made improvements to the performance and reliability of data classification.
April 29, 2022
Release notes #2 this week! Sit back, grab a drink, and enjoy. New Onboarding method for Snowflake Partner Connect We’ve released a new and improved method for getting up and running when connecting via Snowflake Partner Connect! This friendly walkthrough guides you through the process of permissioning ALTR’s service account and connecting your initial databases to ALTR (ahem... @Andrew Harwood told you we were working on something here. More to do but we see you!). Lots of behind-the-scenes updates have gone into this one to make it as easy as possible to connect to Snowflake with ALTR. Love the feedback we continue to receive on making things simple. We'll keep delivering here as well.
Adding New Values with a new "Add New" CTA - Previously a user looking to add a new Data Source, Data, Lock, or Threshold to ALTR would need to use the "+" on the top left corner. That was not always obvious and a bit confusing because it was right next to the edit pencil icon. With this new UI update, users can easily take action and know exactly where to click on the UI to add new connections or policy to ALTR.
Sorting!! We have now made (almost) all tables in ALTR's UI sortable. Just click on the table column headers and you will be able to sort ascending or descending - also indicated by the direction of the arrow.
Updated Navigation Style - We have made it easier for users to identify sub-tabs on pages like the Data Management page where a user can navigate between viewing their Data or the Classification Report
April 27, 2022
Improvements and bug fixes
Adding databases - We made some updates to improve the way our backend services handle bulk-adding databases to ALTR.
Tag-based locks - We corrected an issue on the Locks page where editing a tag could incorrectly display “0” for the number of columns that are affected by the Lock.
Tokenization - Our tokenization service could intermittently have increased latency when tokenizing new data. We’ve made updates to be more consistent on write speeds, which should improve overall performance when tokenizing data.
Also… we may have another update for you this week that we’re rapidly working to get out the door! Look forward to that one and have a great evening/morning/wherever you are!
April 20, 2022
Bug fixes and improvements
We resolved an issue where, when creating or modifying a lock or threshold, you could sometimes encounter a blank screen.
We resolved an issue where our connection to a Snowflake database could be placed into a bad state if you manually added and edited role and warehouse information.
We fixed an issue in one of our server-side components that could cause it to periodically crash
We’ve released some more performance and stability improvements to our API when reading protected data
April 13, 2022
Fixes and improvements
We fixed an issue that could cause tokenization components to stall out or crash when under load (components are highly available, so this wouldn’t cause failures, but had an impact on performance).
We fixed an issue where audits could sometimes take a long time to process. <-- for clarity, audits = ALTR tracking the events that happen in our platform, like creating or modifying Locks, Thresholds, etc.
April 6, 2022
UI update: new colors
Next time you log in to ALTR, you’ll probably feel very calm, trusting, and cool. That’s because we’ve shifted from teal to an awesome blue/purple. This improvement makes the product look more accessible and friendly (there’s more science and psychology behind colors than you might think), so big shout out to our UI/UX Lead (@Kate McCarter (ALTR)) and team for helping us get here.
We added some helper text when creating locks, so you know what to expect when controlling access by tag or column, and when creating masking policies.
Instead of seeing a blank Classification Results page, you'll now properly see a landing page that directs you to classify data in connected databases.
We made updates to filter out partial data on the Data Usage Analytics page (we found in some cases that partial data from the current day would be displayed when drilling into data usage. This is filtered out for now, but we've got plans to make more improvements here too).
We’ve updated our Management API to properly consider tag-based locks when calculating the number of columns affected by a lock (this is an update associated with our recent release of tag-based policy, woooo!)
We made an update to a vague error message that would occur when you try to update a lock with a redundant column; it’s now more specific and helpful.
We fixed an issue with communication with Snowflake when users registered with capital letters in their email via partner connect.
March 30, 2022
Improvements & Bug fixes
Improved tag performance when generating large amounts of tags.
(data tags) Resolved an issue where running a classification for one database could cause tags for other databases to be removed.
March 23, 2022
New Release - Data tags and tag-based policy 🏷️
(also the answer to the teaser we put in our monthly update ) ALTR now supports tagging data and applying policy based on data tags. This is a foundational update to the way we can apply policy at scale, and we're extremely excited to make it available! Data tagging is available for all customers. While the current release tags data when we classify data on your behalf, the backend tech is there to build out support for editing and customizing tags, which we're actively working on. Pumped to make that available to you soon.Enterprise and Enterprise Plus customers can leverage tag-based policy today, allowing you to set policy to control access and mask data based on tags defined in ALTR. This is a huge step forward for scalability since you can apply policy once and have it automatically enforced on all columns that share the same tag.Go ahead and give it a try now! Let us know how it works for you, and how you'd like to see this feature evolve over time.
Infrastructure Update - Multi-region support ALTR's core infrastructure is now redundant across multiple regions. This means that in the unlikely event that our primary region becomes completely unavailable, ALTR's services will still be up and running.
For Enterprise Plus customers using our smart database drivers, this regional support is added automatically. Nothing for you to do.
For Snowflake customers using our cloud integration, we'll send out documentation on how to switch between regions as needed.
Bonus: this added support has zero effect on what you pay. Part of the benefits of running a SaaS platform
There's more to come here, too. We'll add first-class support for these additional regions over time, so you can choose the primary region that best suits your needs for location, latency, and availability. We'll keep you posted as we continue to build out this support.
Updated Docs! We've got a new and improved documentation site. This update makes it easier to find the information you're looking for, and also has a nice release notes section you can check out at any time (release notes talking about release notes... very meta). Check it out at docs.altr.com.
Internal logging updates - Good news that'll ring true for anyone that's worked on an incident response team. We've updated multiple areas in our product that would sometimes throw benign errors. The result? Less wake-up calls to our on-call folks, better sleep, and happier devs. This is a constant focus of ours, and always nice to call out the QoL things that help us build the best SaaS platform for data control and protection in the business
Allocated IP addresses - Some customers have a need to whitelist the IP addresses ALTR uses for their environment. While we've supported that for all customers previously, it was possible that our IPs could change. To resolve this potential issue, we've obtained a list of allocated IP addresses from our cloud provider. If you need these IPs, please reach out as we're happy to provide them.
(Tokenization) We resolved an issue where you could receive an error response when deterministically tokenizing the same value in concurrent requests.
(Tokenization) We resolved an issue where detokenization requests would occasionally fail and need to be retried. This happened automatically so you likely wouldn't have noticed. As a result of this fix, we're seeing a slight performance increase when detokenizing data.
March 16, 2022
(API) We've cleaned up our management API, removing some outdated anomalies endpoints to improve performance.
(Tokenization) We've reduced the logging verbosity of our tokenization API to both improve backend performance and increase security.
(Proxy) We've updated the CDM Client to support Azure SQL Server Redirect connection policies when using our Proxy.
(Infrastructure) The CDM Client no longer needs to be restarted when removing databases. Nice quality of life update for developers that add and remove DBs frequently
(Infrastructure) We made some additional logging improvements to better find, debug, and fix potential issues.
(UX) We've made a couple small updates to our nav menu to make it easier to find where you're going. "System configuration" has changed to "Data configuration", while "Data" has changed to "Data Management".
(Infrastructure) We caught and fixed a bug that would occasionally cause components for one of our backend services to crash. You likely didn't notice this due to our high availability design, but we didn't want this one sticking around.
Note: the new color scheme here is not live in-product, but is actively being worked on... get excited for that.
March 9, 2022
(Proxy) - We've added support for SQL Server Redirect connection policies.
(UX) - We've added a tooltip onto the Analytics page that provides a bit more information into what you can expect to learn with our Heatmap. The tooltip also links out to our documentation page for more detail.
(Tokenization) - We resolved an issue where, in certain cases, error codes returned by our tokenization API were incorrect.
(Tokenization) - We now appropriately handle tokenization jobs with larger than 1024 characters.
(Tokenization) - We resolved an intermittent issue where attempting to tokenize the same value multiple times in a single request could cause errors.
March 2, 2022
(Security) We improved authentication responses so they are consistent for valid vs invalid accounts. <-- this is an outcome of our quarterly penetration testing.
(Security) When a user gets a password reset token, any previous password reset tokens are invalidated. <-- another penetration testing improvement
(Security) We made improvements to the way we Salt user passwords. <-- starting to see a pattern here...
Note: our penetration testing results returned zero items categorized as "Critical" or "High". Still, we have a high focus on security and these improvements are a reflection of that focus.
(Tokenization) We fixed an issue where we could be unable to de-tokenize a value.
(Configuration) Resolved an issue where connecting a database with empty tables could prevent your other databases from syncing.
(Classification) Fixed a problem where the UI could run slowly during a classification job
(Configuration) You can now (correctly) only add new Applications after also adding their IP address