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Zoom + Atlassian

I don't want to get woken up in the middle of the night with someone trying to tell me, ‘Gary, the server is down, the database is down.’ The back end of Atlassian’s Cloud is great. I don't have to worry about optimal performance.

Gary Chan
Head of IT Infrastructure and Employee Services

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Zoom surpasses its growth goals with Atlassian Cloud products

From its early days as a Silicon Valley startup to its present-day status as a household name, Zoom Video Communications, Inc. has experienced all the challenges and benefits of building a cloud-first business. Atlassian Cloud products have served as the backbone of the team’s infrastructure, supporting them as they’ve scaled their video conferencing platform exponentially while maintaining high security, uptime (via Atlassian’s 99.9% financially backed SLA), and firm administrative control.

It’s March 2020: the month when the world changed almost overnight, when we learned the definition of “social distancing,” and realized this pandemic may be more than just a blip on our radar. As COVID-19 swept the globe, masses of people transitioned to working and learning from home in a matter of days, and in-person meetings were quickly replaced with video call links – one of the only ways we could safely stay connected. 

While many of us struggled to adapt, Zoom was poised for the moment, thanks to their technology and cloud-first infrastructure – and their results prove it. In fiscal year 2020 alone, the company grew profits by 10x and added more than $2 billion in revenue. 

This type of growth and major shifts in the world (as well as in their own workplace) would be enough to rattle even the most prepared companies. But Gary Chan, Head of IT Infrastructure and Employee Services at Zoom, says going fully remote within days and scaling their infrastructure to accommodate explosive annual growth “wasn’t a big, shocking thing to us. It’s part of our DNA.” With the strategic choice to embrace cloud from the beginning, work with the right cloud vendors, and embed Atlassian’s tools from end to end, Zoom has been able to respond lightning fast to market and business changes.

Atlassian Guard is, for us, a mandatory required component. Otherwise, my employees will need separate access and entry points for each tool. That would reduce usability and cause security issues.”

Gary Chan
Head of IT Infrastructure and Employee Services

Customer service over maintaining servers

Back in 2011, Zoom was a Bay Area startup with big dreams and a lean budget. Resource constraints combined with Zoom’s goal to be the best cloud-based video conferencing service made it clear that cloud infrastructure was a necessity, not a luxury. Working in the cloud would not only be more cost efficient than setting up and maintaining servers, but it would also free up the team to focus on creating a secure, frictionless experience for customers. 

“Every company has limited resources,” Gary says. “We want to spend our resources to deliver happiness to our customers...that's why we are so insistent on being cloud.”

An end-to-end solution for efficiency, security, and scalability

As Zoom’s engineers set out to find the perfect solution to help build and scale their system, they concentrated on secure, reliable providers who offer a comprehensive platform, rather than a single, siloed tool. Being able to manage multiple workflows – software development, approvals, testing, project management, and more – with one integrated solution would make management and scaling easier. 

“As an IT department, we want to invest in capable cloud platform vendors like Atlassian. I don't want to see all these different, siloed cloud solutions that are creating duplication. It increases the cost of ownership and impacts usability and visibility,” Gary explains. “Suddenly you lose track of how many tools you have, and you're putting your security and compliance in jeopardy as well.”

After zeroing in and evaluating a small set of end-to-end platforms, Engineering selected Atlassian Cloud products thanks to their rock-solid security, high performance, and seamless integrations with each other and with Zoom’s other critical tools. 

Engineers appreciated how Jira and Confluence simplified the product development lifecycle all the way from planning and design through engineering, testing, and customer support. Since much of Zoom’s work is cross-functional, departments that interacted with Engineering noticed the team’s streamlined workflows and saw opportunities to leverage Atlassian Cloud products for their own projects. 

Over time, thousands of employees throughout the organization adopted the platform to power their work and collaborate with each other. “Almost everyone uses Atlassian products now: Tech Support, system engineers, engineers, product teams, Security, and more,” Gary says. Jira is Zoom’s go-to tool for development and technical project management. Confluence serves as the single source of truth for documentation and communication. Statuspage makes real-time incident management and communication simple. Plus, several teams are trying Trello for project management. 

Atlassian Guard provides enhanced security and single sign-on. “Atlassian Guard is, for us, a mandatory component,” Gary says. “Otherwise, my employees will need separate access and entry points for each tool.”

It’s important to me to be very efficient in my administrative control. Atlassian does that really well.”

Gary Chan
Head of IT Infrastructure and Employee Services

Security and control, alongside massive growth

Since embracing Atlassian Cloud products across the company, Zoom’s team has enjoyed their simple scalability, security and performance, and centralized admin controls – all while the company grew faster than even they may have imagined. 

“I don't want to get woken up in the middle of the night with someone trying to tell me, 'Gary, the server is down, the database is down,’” Gary says. “The back end of Atlassian’s Cloud is great. I don't have to worry about optimal performance.”

Zoom also invested heavily in security from the beginning and continues to work hard to maintain trust in their platform as they grow. “In addition to security, we also look at data privacy and overall compliance because we provide video capabilities to a lot of large companies worldwide who have specific requirements,” Gary reports. 

Centralizing administrative controls has been a growing priority as Zoom has expanded, too. Atlassian Guard is a simple way for IT to get a handle on which employees are using each tool and to pull usage reports. The tool also saves money by reducing the number of IT employees required to manage the system. “It’s important to me to be very efficient in my administrative control. Atlassian does that really well,” Gary explains. “Guard is one good example. With just one piece of an element, I can set up SSO and MFA and access all the Atlassian products. That's the kind of centralized admin control that we need.”

Gary’s team plans to extend these benefits in the near future by integrating Atlassian Cloud products with other tools used in their daily workflows. “We use very specific user access and identity management products,” Gary says. “We want our cloud solution to be compatible with all the things we have already built in terms of providing access control, monitoring your backup, restoring, things like that.”

As Zoom embeds Atlassian deeper into their workflows, the team looks forward to elevating the experience even more for employees and customers.

A small team makes a big impact, thanks to a well-suited solution

Although Zoom never could have predicted the wild growth they experienced in 2020, they were more than prepared, thanks to their cloud-first approach. By building a world-class product and collaborating with Atlassian to support it with secure, high-performance cloud infrastructure, their small-yet-mighty team has raced to the top of the video conferencing software ratings. Ranked #1 across major customer review sites like Gartner Peer Insights, TrustRadius, and G2, Zoom is proof that it doesn’t take a huge team to make a huge impact on an industry – and the world.

Gary’s top takeaway: prevent the proliferation of apps

Zoom’s IT team has worked diligently to position themselves as a strategic, proactive collaborator for colleagues across the organization. Gary says this approach has helped maximize the value that employees receive out of the solution and avoid accumulating a disparate collection of tools that increases costs, reduces usability and productivity, and impedes security. 

“Cloud is very easy. You can sign up and start using it quickly. The flip side of that is when employees or business units sign up for their own cloud services, it turns into a proliferation of apps,” Gary explains. “IT departments need to try to get ahead and work with business units right upfront. Try to understand and anticipate their business requirements, and get them to take advantage of what you have before they go sign up for a bunch of cloud services.”

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