Company’s cloud collaboration services down for more than four hours
Zoom, which has become a lifeline for many businesses and consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic, suffered a multi-hour outage this week that made it impossible for many users in the United States and the United Kingdom to sign on and use the service.
The Lowdown: The outage was the latest issue for a company that has seen usage spike in recent months amid lockdowns and social distancing but has had growing pains as it’s dealt with concerns around security and privacy.
The Details: According to Zoom’s status page, the company at 8:51 a.m. ET Aug. 24 stated it had “received reports of users being unable to visit the Zoom website (zoom.us) and unable to start and join Zoom Meetings and Webinars. We are currently investigating and will provide updates as we have them.”
An hour later, the San Jose, California-based company said it had identified the issue that was making it impossible for users to authenticate to the Zoom website and start or join Zoom meetings and webinars.
At 12:12 p.m., the company announced that it was deploying a fix across its cloud and that meeting and webinar service had been restored for most users and work was ongoing to address the remaining users impacted by the outage. At 1:10 p.m., Zoom said the problem had been fixed completely and all services had been restored.
The Impact: Cloud-based videoconferencing and other collaboration services had been seeing steady growth in recent years, but demand skyrocketed in the early spring when the COVID-19 pandemic forced many employees to work from home, students and teachers to switch to distance learning, and most people to social distance. Vendors like Microsoft and Cisco said they saw demand spike, and Zoom said it was experiencing daily participation in Zoom meetings as high as 300 million.
The company came under fire throughout the morning of Aug. 24 from users on Twitter and other social media outlets who were not able to get into Zoom meetings, highlighting the reliance that people are placing on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other collaboration services.
The pandemic and the resulting changes in business models – including the expanded use of remote-work policies by many companies – will help fuel growth in the industry. A report by Fortune Business Research predicted that the videoconferencing market will expand an average of 9.8% a year, from $3.02 billion in 2018 to $6.37 billion by 2026.
Background: As demand for Zoom services has soared, the company has come under fire for security and privacy issues, including the ability of hackers to enter Zoom meetings in what has become known as “zoombombing.” The company over the past several months has improved the security of its offerings – including end-to-end encryption for both paid and free services – and the creation of a security advisory group.
The Buzz: “Today @zoom_us had a service disruption that affected many of our customers,” Zoom CEO Eric Yuang wrote in a Tweet. “We know the responsibility we have to keep your meetings, classrooms & important events running. I’m personally very sorry & we will all do our best to prevent this from happening in the future.”