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Key Covid-19 stats so far: Cloud, data centre, cyber security, AI & big data

Written by Wed 8 Apr 2020

Look outside and the world has stopped turning. But if you look online, everything appears to be spinning faster than ever. Every day that passes brings with it a selection of remarkable tech-related stats and figures. Phishing attacks skyrocketing, Zoom meetings spiralling and record-breaking bandwidth. If you’re struggling to keep up, here are some of the most interesting and dramatic stats we’ve seen so far. 

Cloud

Slack

Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield revealed the company added 9,000 paid customers between February 1 and March 25. In each of the previous quarters, Slack only registered 5000 new users. As of last week, active users jumped from 10 million to 12 million. (read)

Zoom

Teleconferencing tool Zoom is also riding the wave of usage following the shift to remote working and social distancing measures (although it has received heavy criticism regarding its data privacy and misleading encryption claims). The company took longer than others to reveal just how much usage of its meeting tool has risen due to the pandemic. But last week, Zoom CEO Eric S. Yuan said the company had passed 200 million users. How many users did Zoom have in December? 10 million. (read)

Google Meet

Over the last few weeks, Meet, Google’s video conferencing product, day-over-day growth surpassed 60 percent, taking daily usage to more than 25 times what it was in January. “Despite this growth, the demand has been well within the bounds of our network’s ability,” said Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian. (read)

Teams

In a blog post, Microsoft said workplace collaboration tool Teams has seen a 775 percent increase in calling and meeting monthly users in a one-month period in Italy, where social distancing or shelter in place orders have been enforced. In total Teams now has over 44 million daily users, who generated over 900 million meeting and calling minutes daily in a single week at the end of March. (read)

Amazon

AWS, the cloud on which much of Zoom and Slack’s architecture is based, committed $20 million in cloud credits to help accelerate research and development of Covid-19 diagnostic solutions. “Funding will be provided through a combination of AWS in-kind credits and technical support to assist our customers’ research teams in harnessing the full potential of the cloud to tackle this challenge,” said the cloud giant.(read)

Data Centres & Network Traffic


DE-CIX

On March 11, the DE-CIX internet exchange in Frankfurt exchange set a new world record for data throughput at more than 9.1 Terabits per second. “A new sound barrier has been broken. Never before has so much data been exchanged at peak times at an Internet Exchange,” DE-CIX said. (read)

Vodafone

Europe-wide telco Vodafone said it has seen a 50 percent increase in data traffic in some markets. The company has almost 120 million customers across a dozen European countries but did not reveal which countries were most responsible for the spike (read)

Openreach

Openreach, which owns and operates most UK phone broadband lines, said daytime data consumption has almost doubled over the last three weeks, jumping from 28PB (PetaBytes) on Monday 2 March to 51PB on 30 March. “The peak time during the day continues to be between 2pm and 5pm, while the evening peak is between 8pm and 11pm. Overall, the network is coping very well as we have expected,” a spokesperson told ISPReview. (read)

Outages

Although the world’s ISPs are collectively assuring customers that they can handle the new influx of demand, network monitoring company ThousandEyes’s outage data revealed downtime has risen on a “concerning upward trajectory since the beginning of this [March] coinciding with the broader spread of Covid-19 and subsequent changes in Internet usage.” 

American ISPs struggled the most, with ThousandEyes reporting an almost 100 percent increase in outages between early February and the beginning of March, compared to the previous period. (read)

HP shrugs off Xerox

U.S. printer manufacturer Xerox Corp backed away from a $35 billion hostile cash-and-stock bid for HP last month. The company said coronavirus-related concerns prompted the U-turn. (read)

Supercomputing

The new Covid-19 High-Performance Computing Consortium is making 330 petaflops of performance available to researchers attempting to understand the virus and form treatments that can be used for potential vaccines. Contributors include IBM, Amazon, Microsoft and Google. (read)

Big Data & AI


Machine-readable research

In March, a dataset of over 29,000 scientific articles related to the coronavirus family was made public to help the scientific and medical community better understand Covid-19 and its related viruses. 

The machine-readable collection was collated so AI technologies, specifically text and data mining tools, could digest the scientific literature for insights on how Covid-19 can be tackled.

The resource was requested by the White House Office of Science and Technology, which described the CORD-19 dataset as the “most extensive machine-readable Coronavirus literature collection available for data and text mining to date”. (read)

Data sharing

A number of data firms are making important health and location data easier for researchers to tap into. These include:

  • IBM, which has aggregated Covid-19 data and integrated it with The Weather Channel app (read)
  • Data services Starschema has uploaded Covid-19 incidence and mortality data to Snowflake’s open data exchange (read)
  • Tableau visualised John Hopkins’s widely cited pandemic data to make it easier for researchers, journalists and the public to digest (read)
  • C3.ai has merged a collection of important publicly available data sets into a data lake (read)

Cyber Security 


Phishing

According to cyber security firm Barracuda Networks, between 1 March 1 and 23 March, there was a 667 percent increase in spear-fishing e-mail attacks related to Covid-19. Researchers spotted 467,825 spear phishing email attacks, 9,116 of which were related to Covid-19. “Although the overall number of these attacks is still low compared to other threats, the threat is growing quickly,” the company said. (read)

UK

A survey conducted this week by identity and access management firm Centrify revealed nearly three quarters of UK decision makers (71 percent) believed that the shift to 100 percent remote working during the Covid-19 crisis has increased the likelihood of a cyber breach. “Cyber criminals will no doubt attempt to seize the opportunity presented by the all-out expansion of remote workers, many of whom have not been proficiently trained in even the most basic of cyber security measures,” Centrify said. (read)

Written by Wed 8 Apr 2020

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