Zoom’s popularity has brought problems

ERIC YUAN likes to crack jokes. But these days the boss of Zoom, a videoconference service of coronavirus-fuelled popularity, is in no mood for laughs. His firm, whose share price has surged by 49% since the end of January, is trying to avoid a serious case of whiplash.

Zoom, founded in 2011, is part of a trend in tech known as “the consumerisation of IT”. The idea is that corporate services should be as easy to use as consumer ones. Meetings on Zoom can be called with a few clicks and are free if they last no longer than 40 minutes and have fewer than 100 participants. Zoom also keeps oodles of spare capacity, ensuring a good service. Its 17 data centres around the world were built to withstand double the expected peak load. But as a consumer-business hybrid the company has focused much less on privacy and security than old-style corporate-IT firms.

The combination became a problem after the coronavirus hit. The number of daily users has exploded from 10m in December to more than 200m today. This is technically manageable. But with popularity comes scrutiny. Worrying reports come almost daily about data leaks, iffy encryption and “zoombombing”, the childish practice of gatecrashing meetings and showing porn or worse. “I really messed up,” admitted Mr Yuan on April 3rd, promising that the firm would make amends.

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via Business Feeds

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