With more and more companies across the world telling employees to work from home in an effort to limit, or slow, the spread of COVID-19 which was last night declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization outages on common remote-working tools have started to increase.
Shares in video-conferencing specialist Zoom have been on a rollercoaster ride over the past month, starting at $87.66 on February 3 and jumping to $113 at the end of the month, before dipping back down to $105, then rocketing again to $125 one week later.
As of today, it is at $107.32 a share - 22 per cent up on its value six weeks ago: a stark contrast to the broader stock market, which is down 10 per cent. Zoom sees a massive opportunity to bring in new users and to that end has lifted a 40-minute limit on the free version of its product for users in China and Italy, as well as some in the US. Its smartphone app has also become the most downloaded business app on Apple's iOS store.
The company has refused to say exactly what kind of usage increase it has seen but its CFO has said this week that its current biggest focus was on dealing with demand: it is massively increasing data center capacity to deal with new customers and the bandwidth issues they will bring. Despite that however, reports of downtime are increasing, with clear spikes during working hours.
Pretty much every remote working company is in the same position and taking the same approach; pushing their products and lifting limits on free use periods in an effort to get people to adopt their platform.
Late last week, messaging service Slack wrote a blog post outlining what it was doing to keep its service up and running, while also promoting its 99.998 per cent "aggregated availability over the last six months." That figure is currently nowhere near 99.998 per cent.
Slack knew outages were coming. "While no systems can perfectly anticipate every contingency, we watch our systems scale up and down in real time every single day," the post noted.
"Because of this, and because we conduct these additional disaster testing scenarios several times per year, were confident that the same architecture will scale up to handle any additional demands placed on the system due to heavier general use."
It isn't supplying any information about its systems but third parties are reporting a growing number of issues. Slack has it easy, given that the vast majority of its traffic is in the form of text, rather than data-heavy and latency-critical video. It is no coincidence that in the last few hours the company's Twitter feed for service status reported that: "Some customers are being disconnected from calls in Slack. We're on the case and will let you know once we have more news to share."
Microsoft is a natural go-to for companies that have occasional work-at-home policies but which have had to embrace the practice wholeheartedly in recent days.
Redmond is all over the corona-spike, just hours ago mailing out information about its Crisis Communications app, aimed at helping businesses "collaborate ... in the event of a crisis" with functions including pushing out shared updates to employees; reporting on their location; making requests to colleagues; and providing access to info or "emergency contacts via an RSS feed".
Earlier this week, it also provided guidance on how to deal with the increased demand by optimizing your network, and it has also produced another post with "tips" on how to shift your workforce to remote working.
Unsurprisingly, a top tip is to use Microsoft's Teams software. The Seattle-based company has reported a jump in usage - by only giving figures on its internal numbers. "Chat was up 50 per cent week over week and meetings were up 37 per cent. And we're seeing usage upticks among customers, too" the VP for Microsoft 365, Jared Spataro, reported while failing to give any details on broader users.
Microsoft is pushing Teams: users are pushing its capacity
The truth of it is that big tech has viewed remote working as a potential goldmine for years and has largely perfected the technology, but adoption has been held back by the fact that companies are much more comfortable with people coming into the office. It's a massive cultural default that the coronavirus has the potential to shift.
As a result, tech's competitive spirit has kicked in. So at the same time that companies are offering the best ever deals for remote working, ie free, and are happy to talk all about their products, information on usage and outages has effectively dried up.
There's no hiding from the spikes visible on services like Down Detector, however.
The problems with third-party monitoring services, of course, is that they are reliant on people reporting outages to them. Most large companies, and every single remote working company, have extensive stats on how their services are doing in real-time, but no one is keen to share them.
We may have to wait a few months, when - with luck - everything calms down and companies start giving presentations at tech events over what they learnt from dealing with a spike in usage.
What about Google? It's doing the same thing as everyone else - providing free versions of its remote tools and lifting limits in an effort to pull companies into its ecosystem and then, hopefully, retain then once the current emergency is over.
This morning the Chocolate Factory published a blog post with tips for companies looking to do more remote working. But information on outages or downtime? Info on new sign-ups and usage patterns? The status dashboard just has a series of green ticks and not much else.
Google seems to be doing the best so far. But for a company that exists almost entirely in the cloud that shouldn't be a surprise. Nonetheless, there are more outages reported in the past few days than the past few months.
It's also possible that whoever was likely to use Google services like Hangouts is already using it. So, while Zoom has jumped up to the top of the charts for smartphone apps and Microsoft's Teams has come from nowhere to sit at number 4 (in the Apple app store covering the US, to be clear), Hangouts and Slack have stayed in pretty much the same place they have been for months - around 10/11/12th.
Anecdotally, despite what would appear to be a massive increase in remote working this past week, problems have increased but not overwhelmed these services. For the most part, they are working well and remote-working companies are almost certainly taking a big financial hit as they ramp up capacity in order to get potentially millions of new customers using their - free for now - products.
Whether these potential customers stick around after the current COVID-19 crisis remains to be seen.
Sponsored: Webcast: Why you need managed detection and response
- Edge Computing Is A Red-Hot Tech Trend, Here's How To Invest in It - TheStreet - June 27th, 2020
- Docker servers infected with DDoS malware in extremely rare attacks - ZDNet - June 27th, 2020
- Nebulon emerges with software-defined storage, but from the cloud - ComputerWeekly.com - June 27th, 2020
- Ampere's New 128-Core Altra CPU Targets Intel, AMD In The Cloud - CRN: Technology news for channel partners and solution providers - June 27th, 2020
- Cloud IT Infrastructure Spending Continued to Grow in Q1 2020 While Spending on Non-Cloud Environments Saw Double-Digit Declines, According to IDC -... - June 27th, 2020
- Empowering Edge Cloud in the 5G & IoT Hyper-Connected Era - insideHPC - June 27th, 2020
- Ampere's 128-Core Processor Challenges Intel and AMD in a Cloud-Based Processor Showdown - News - All About Circuits - June 27th, 2020
- This Ransomware Campaign is Being Orchestrated from the Cloud - Computer Business Review - June 27th, 2020
- Ad industry spots money in the cloud | Industry Trends | IBC - IBC365 - June 27th, 2020
- Want to work at Microsoft? Dice.com looks at top jobs, skills the tech giant is looking for - OnMSFT - June 27th, 2020
- The Winston-Salem Symphony Announces Newly Elected Directors - Yes! Weekly - June 27th, 2020
- The Best VPNs for Businesses and Teams - PCMag.com - June 27th, 2020
- NexTech AR Solutions tie-up with Fastly cloud platform leads to video security breakthrough - Proactive Investors USA & Canada - June 27th, 2020
- Moving to the cloud: Migrating Blazegraph to Amazon Neptune - idk.dev - June 27th, 2020
- Cloud-Based Automation Is a Reality; Now What? - Radio World - Radio World - June 27th, 2020
- How Azure, AWS, Google handle data destruction in the cloud - TechTarget - June 27th, 2020
- AMD EPYC Processor Adoption Expands with New Supercomputing and High-Performance Cloud Computing System Wins - GlobeNewswire - June 27th, 2020
- What it Means To Be Software-Defined in Retail and How We Got Here - Retail Info Systems News - June 27th, 2020
- Cloud Storage Market 2020: Challenges, Growth, Types, Applications, Revenue, Insights, Growth Analysis, Competitive Landscape, Forecast- 2025 - Cole... - June 27th, 2020
- Why This Cloud ETF Can Keep up its Torrid Pace - ETF Trends - June 20th, 2020
- FaceApp Privacy: What You Need To Know About The Viral Russian App - Forbes - June 20th, 2020
- Cloud flash storage: SSD options from AWS, Azure and GCP - ComputerWeekly.com - June 20th, 2020
- Could the European Cloud Deliver Data Protection by Default? - CPO Magazine - June 20th, 2020
- Private Cloud Server Market How the Business Will Grow in 2026? - Cole of Duty - June 20th, 2020
- How to Profit from the Growing Divide in Tech Stocks. - Barron's - June 20th, 2020
- Cloud Computing in Education Sector Market Size, Growth, Analysis, Outlook by 2019 Trends, Opportunities and Forecast to 2025 - Medic Insider - June 20th, 2020
- Lenovo announces ThinkSystem SR860 V2 and SR850 V2 servers - Gadgets Now - June 20th, 2020
- Here are 8 career options that are least impacted by recessions - Business Standard - June 20th, 2020
- Everything your business needs to know about VPS - Tom's Guide - June 20th, 2020
- Global Cloud Based Collaboration Software Market : Industry Analysis and Forecast (2020-2027) - WorldsTrend - June 20th, 2020
- AWS claims to have blocked the largest DDoS attack in history - Cloud Pro - June 20th, 2020
- Cloud Office Migration Tool Market to Grow at Robust 17.8% CAGR to 2027 AvePoint, Binarytree, BitTitan, CodeTwo sp. z oo sp. k - Personal Injury... - June 20th, 2020
- Healthcare Cloud Computing Market to Witness Robust Expansion by 2025 - 3rd Watch News - June 20th, 2020
- Renowned French Cloud, storage, computing and AI solution providers Actualis, has today formally rebranded to become part of the Boston Group of... - June 20th, 2020
- Startups, here's what you should know about telcos - CTech - June 18th, 2020
- US buildings firm saves big on HDDs with Nasuni cloud NAS - ComputerWeekly.com - June 18th, 2020
- Uptycs Announces $30 Million in Funding to Deliver Next-Generation Security Analytics - AiThority - June 18th, 2020
- Keeping Your Cloud-based Office Safe And Secure - ISBuzz News - June 18th, 2020
- Pensando positioned as high-performance alternative to cloud provider 'lock-in' - SiliconANGLE - June 18th, 2020
- How M&E organisations can enable remote work with cloud-based video and animation production studios - ITProPortal - June 18th, 2020
- Ampere donates Arm64 server hardware to Debian to fortify the Arm ecosystem - Stockhouse - June 18th, 2020
- Kia Motors partners with Google Cloud to develop AI-based owner's manual app - Automotive World - June 18th, 2020
- Function-as-a-Service Market Recent Trends, Development, Growth and Forecast 2017-2025 - 3rd Watch News - June 18th, 2020
- How Lenovo, Cellnex, Nearby Computing Are Delivering on the Edge - eWeek - June 18th, 2020
- Dell Technologies Shifts AI Adoption into the Fast Lane with Simplified Advanced Computing - CXOToday.com - June 18th, 2020
- AWS mitigated a record-breaking 2.3 Tbps DDoS attack in February - SiliconANGLE - June 18th, 2020
- Deluxe Revolutionizes Distribution of Content to Theaters with Cloud-Based IP Delivery Solution through Deluxe One Platform - HostReview.com - June 18th, 2020
- Report: France and Germany team up on a cloud-computing ecosystem to take on Amazon, Microsoft and Google - FierceTelecom - June 6th, 2020
- Dive into the history of server hardware - TechTarget - June 6th, 2020
- COVID-19 Impact ON Private Cloud Server Market : What is the projected sales growth for 2026? - Cole of Duty - June 6th, 2020
- NextCloud gets bigger and better with Nextcloud Hub 19 - ZDNet - June 6th, 2020
- Micron Has the Potential to Rise 50% From Here - TheStreet - June 6th, 2020
- Kofax Partners with Microsoft to Enhance Cloud-Based Universal Print Solution with ControlSuite - Industry Analysts Inc - June 6th, 2020
- Dell and Intel answer the call for AI by building specific solutions for real problems - SiliconANGLE - June 6th, 2020
- Data Protection As A Service Market Projection of Each Major Segment over the Forecast Period - Cole of Duty - June 6th, 2020
- PAM as a Service: Its All a Matter of Trust - Security Boulevard - June 2nd, 2020
- How To Best Adapt Your Business When The World Is Moving Online - Forbes - June 2nd, 2020
- Cloud computing via satellite to drive 52 Exabytes of traffic by 2029: NSR - SatelliteProME.com - June 2nd, 2020
- Multinational Insurance Company Completes Upgrade of Majesco Policy for P&C from On-Premise to Majesco CloudInsurer to Bolster Growth Strategy -... - June 2nd, 2020
- COVID-19 Impact on Healthcare Cloud Computing Market Marked US$ 13 Bn in forecast Years 2025 - 3rd Watch News - June 2nd, 2020
- Cloud computing, future trends to be followed in the industry - Optocrypto - June 2nd, 2020
- You couldn't do this already? AWS adds size and bandwidth growth to FSx for Windows File Server - Blocks and Files - June 2nd, 2020
- Upstream Security Partners With Amazon Web Services to Enhance Automotive Cybersecurity - PRNewswire - June 2nd, 2020
- Improvements on the verify domain error in Office 365 - TechGenix - June 2nd, 2020
- Digital transformation held back by lack of skilled people - ComputerWeekly.com - June 2nd, 2020
- NTT Com internal cloud server hacked, information on 621 customers stolen - DatacenterDynamics - June 2nd, 2020
- Where is the edge in edge computing? And who gets to decide? - ZDNet - June 2nd, 2020
- Cloud-native architectures will define the vRAN future - 5Gradar - June 2nd, 2020
- Developers recall career 'aha' moments that have shaped their Docker experience - SiliconANGLE News - June 2nd, 2020
- HSBC platform uses AI to analyse trading data thousands of times faster - ComputerWeekly.com - June 2nd, 2020
- CloudBolt Releases Version 9.3 of Its Award-Winning Cloud Management Platform - Container Journal - May 31st, 2020
- Kaminario offers cut-price virtual SAN in the cloud - ComputerWeekly.com - May 31st, 2020
- 4 types of mobile security models and how they work - TechTarget - May 31st, 2020
- Increased cybersecurity for the transportation industry - Commercial Carrier Journal - May 31st, 2020
- Cloud-Based Firewalls Are Key to Protecting Employees While Working Remotely - Security Boulevard - May 31st, 2020
- Cloud storage 101: File, block and object storage in the cloud - ComputerWeekly.com - May 31st, 2020
- Cloud Transition During the COVID-19 Exposing the Enterprise Vulnerabilities - EnterpriseTalk - May 31st, 2020
- The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Ethical Hacking | EC-Council Official Blog - EC-Council Blog - May 31st, 2020
- Shelves are well-stocked with cloud-native tools, but simplicity remains a moving target - SiliconANGLE - May 31st, 2020
- Uncover and overcome cloud threat hunting obstacles - TechTarget - May 26th, 2020