“With the onset of Covid, retail consumer use has seen an unexpected increase in Zoom”: Iravati Damle


In the last week of March 2020, when governments around the world began announcing nationwide closures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, offices went online. For most professionals, the Zoom video calling app and service was the only port of call for setting up meetings, meeting colleagues, and staying connected.

However, with the increase in footfall to the platform, issues arose, data leaks, disrupted meetings, and allegations that calls were vulnerable to hacking and cyber attacks. Governments around the world have even asked their employees not to use the platform to hold sensitive internal meetings.

Over time, Zoom has managed to regain some of the trust and is working with governments to increase it. Iravati Damle, director of government affairs in India, said in an interview with Iravati Damle, director of government affairs in India, the one factor that has helped them throughout their communication with governments regarding platform flaws and what she was doing to correct them. The Indian Express. Edited excerpts:

During the first week of April 2020, there were plenty of concerns, with governments around the world telling and advising their staff that Zoom was not the safest way to communicate. As a company, how have you responded to these challenges?

The company has done things on two fronts. One on improving systems and processes, so that we can stay on the cutting edge of technology. We started with a 90-day feature freeze, which basically consisted of reallocating all of our engineering resources to focus only on features, privacy, and security. As a result of that, that year we released over 400 dedicated privacy and security features.

We have established a CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) council, which has brought together CISOs from reputable organizations around the world and over 35 CISOs who continue to advise the company on what we can do. more on security so that we stay on the cutting edge.

All of these things that we have done on the system side are now leading to build user trust and confidence in the platform and dramatically increase the usage of the platform.

Would it be fair to say that Zoom was not prepared to handle the increase in traffic that has occurred in a post-containment world?

Anyone who says he was prepared for the scale of this pandemic would be lying. No one anticipated the course of the pandemic, and neither have we. The way our architecture is built, however, has helped us launch thousands of servers in minutes to keep up with the huge growth in user base we’ve seen.

In the past year, from September 2020 to August 2021, 27.5 billion meeting participants participated in meetings, with approximately 1.9 billion meetings held. These meetings lasted over 97 billion minutes. In the future, the hybrid is reality.

I have the impression that yes, we were not prepared. But our architecture and technology have allowed us to evolve faster than anyone else. That is why we have continued to build a reliable platform for users.

Why did the hacking or disruption issues happen in the first place?

Zoom was designed to serve as a collaboration and communication tool for businesses. When you talk about businesses, they have sophisticated security systems and IT teams, who customize security settings for a secure meeting environment. With the onset of the pandemic, we suddenly saw a huge retail consumer use case, which we hadn’t anticipated. We were built for business. This is where some of the startup issues happened early on.

We were faced with a lot of questions at that time. We had to put in place new systems. We had to make sure that whether or not someone had security training they could use the platform safely.

How has the business grown over the past year? Is there a growth target that the company has set for itself?

In the region, we have seen growth of about 67 percent year-over-year. On the employee side, we started with a presence in the country with less than ten. We are now over 200 and are still recruiting. A critical part of the hire was for the Bangalore Tech Center which we announced in July 2020. We want India to be a part of the global innovation that Zoom is doing. We can’t share the growth numbers, but we are focusing on education, healthcare, and across industries or sectors to expand these use cases to highlight the benefits of using our platform. form.

Do you see the demand decreasing or decreasing as the world opens up and more people start to visit physical offices on a regular basis?

I think there is definitely going to be a mixed or hybrid working model as the convenience and benefits are visible to everyone. It has enabled businesses to cut costs, hire better and improve efficiency. We believe that Zoom is an essential part of it. We adapt our products to a hybrid model by introducing Zoom rooms or a virtual receptionist, which work best in this kind of environment.

What new services does the company plan to roll out in India and around the world?

One of the services is Zoom Phone, which is a cloud phone service. We are working closely with regulators to ensure that we have the right licenses in place to offer this service in India. We deployed end-to-end encryption for Zoom meetings last year, and are also deploying it for Zoom Phone. On top of that, Zoom Apps is becoming a big part of how we think about the Zoom ecosystem as a whole. It is a network of applications within the communication and collaboration space, which enhances your meeting experience.

Zoom competes with players and peers who have very deep pockets. As a business, how are you preparing for the challenge?

We are very focused inward. Customer satisfaction is the top priority for us and we will make sure we do everything to ensure that they get the best experience. As long as we’re able to stay on top of privacy, security, and functionality for users, I think we don’t need to focus as much on what the competition does and can do.

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