ClickMeeting
Continuity

Business Continuity

 

 

Scale

Scale-out and transparent pricing

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Infrastructure security

The context

The pandemic has become a time of trial for companies. It erupted suddenly and not all were prepared. However, some companies were able develop and help others through this difficult period.

In March 2020, ClickMeeting, an online platform for meetings, webinars, and video conferences, faced a huge challenge when hundreds of companies changed their work mode to remote. This gave rise to the need to organise virtual conversations and conferences on an unprecedented scale.

To meet the challenge, ClickMeeting needed to find a service provider on short notice and one that would support the platform at the level of their expectations, allowing it to scale its business quickly. Equally important were the ability to communicate and respond quickly to changes. At the same time, the Gdansk-based company was already looking into the possibility of locating infrastructure in Europe, as such expectations were placed on it by customers, especially from European markets, for whom data protection and GDPR were a priority. OVHcloud came to the rescue, immediately offering automated solutions tailored to ClickMeeting's needs.

The challenge

  • Pandemic resulting in a sudden and unexpected increase in traffic
  • Need to act quickly in analyzing needs and building solutions
  • Strengthen security: DDoS attacks and legal protection

Since the beginning of 2020, ClickMeeting has experienced steady growth, which meant the need to increase the scope of existing operations and strengthen the security of the solutions offered. Even better bandwidth to support the growing number of customers worldwide became a priority. The relocation of primary servers to Europe also proved to be an important goal.

Worldwide, there has been a need to introduce solutions to enable online classes, often replacing traditional school education models, as well as workshops and vocational training. It should be noted that modern technologies reached people who had not necessarily been exposed to them before nor knew how to use them. A particular challenge was to adapt the solution to the elderly, teachers, and the youngest of pupils. The videoconferencing platform must be simple and intuitive.

Prior to the pandemic, the solution that the company offered was, on the one hand, tailored to meet these needs, while on the other hand, there was a need to streamline processes to reach a much larger audience.

ClickMeeting Diagram

 

The numbers speak for themselves. In March 2019, ClickMeeting organized 60,000 online events with 870,000 participants. A year later, in the same period, 5 times more, or 300,000 were organized, with more than 3.2 million participants. In March 2020 alone, the number of online events increased from 18,000 to 90,000 with a jump in growth worldwide, primarily in Europe, but also in the United States, Russia, and Brazil. In France, growth was over 400%, in Germany over 500% and, in Poland by as much as 1200%. The need to expand business proved critical. The search for a supplier was hampered by the overly long delivery process proposed by potential partners. Therefore, it became crucial that the provider be flexible and able to respond immediately.

As a result, there was a need to update the entire platform to accommodate the increased traffic not in a few weeks or months, but immediately. It had to be capable of transferring a huge number of files, recordings, notes, or audio-video streaming to hundreds of thousands of recipients. This meant working with a new vendor and acquiring more servers from a company that would provide flexible solutions here and now. The pressure was felt not only by the company itself but also by customers and suppliers.

The solution

ClickMeeting began its search for a partner, and the key criteria were flexibility, a suitable high-quality solution, and the fastest possible implementation.

The choice of OVHcloud was determined by several aspects. Right from the beginning, communication with the company was great. They answered every question we asked within minutes. We felt we were in good hands and that they knew what they were doing. What was most important for us, however, was that they offered the fastest process of providing a solution for specific locations. It was a matter of a few minutes to deliver more servers, according to our needs, and as a result, the entire infrastructure,” - says Bartłomiej Baldyga, IT Director at ClickMeeting - “OVHcloud offered a secure solution, and at the same time a fast and efficient service. They proactively proposed solutions adequate to rapid scaling, not focusing on one solution but offering the option to choose the technology that suited us best. In just a few weeks we were able to multiply our core server infrastructure.

As a result of the cooperation, the solutions developed by the two companies enabled the fastest possible process of delivering dedicated servers to specific locations in Europe: Warsaw, Frankfurt, London, and Strasbourg without limits on data transfer. Full control over the solutions in terms of both data transmission and security is also guaranteed. Today's infrastructure allows thousands of online conferences, live webinars, and remote activities to be held simultaneously around the world.

The architecture is flexible and, in case of growing needs, also easy to expand, as there are no limitations due to the capacity of server racks. By upgrading the entire infrastructure, the bandwidth of the network connecting the servers to each other was also increased, as it became necessary to fully synchronize the locations of the primary and backup servers in real time. Ultimately, ClickMeeting's core server infrastructure was relocated from the United States to Europe, greatly simplifying processes, as well as meeting customer expectations in terms of protection and location of stored data.

The primary and backup sites are configured in two different datacentres in Europe and are secured in a private network using vRack technology, provided by OVHcloud. In addition, traffic load balancing systems were decentralized, expanding network capacity both in Europe and North America.

Conveniently, using OVHcloud's solutions, a company can also easily manage all servers via the OVHcloud’s Customer Control Panel or APIs.

Locating servers in Europe and securing the platform and data was crucial for ClickMeeting customers, hence OVHcloud offered solutions to mitigate DDoS attacks included in the infrastructure price. As OVHcloud’s entire network is protected by its VAC technology, ClickMeeting's solutions are under constant anti-DDoS protection. This is important because as the platform's popularity grew, the company, faced attacks, one of which caused several hours of downtime. It turned out to be an important point and bonus that OVHcloud already offers DDoS attack prevention technology as standard, with all ClickMeeting servers being covered. The anti-DDoS system monitors and, if necessary, filters traffic, directing legitimate traffic to customers' servers and blocking undesirable. The whole operation is transparent both from the perspective of the OVHcloud customer and end users using video calls. OVHcloud customers are informed by email about the start of traffic filtering as well as the completion of the operation.

It is also worth noting that all ClickMeeting customers' data is fully secure from the data protection side as well, thanks to the choice of OVHcloud data centers in Europe, and a provider under European jurisdiction. This is especially important given that in July 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that one of the mechanisms legalizing the transfer of personal data to the United States, the Privacy Shield, does not provide sufficient guarantees for the protection of personal data and therefore cannot be used. The invalidation of the Privacy Shield therefore meant that clients processing EU citizens’ data had to look for solutions whose providers ensure data processing within the EEA or in third countries, guaranteed an adequate (recognized by the European Union) level of personal data protection.

"When the European Court of Justice ruled on what is commonly known as "Schrems II", the outcome was no surprise to us. We are constantly watching the communications and decisions issued by the EU authorities concerning the transfer of personal data to the US, because this issue has been controversial for many years. With this in mind, long before the Court's ruling, ClickMeeting decided to transfer servers where personal data entrusted to us by customers is stored in the European Union," says Karolina Nazarewicz from ClickMeeting. - "In addition, prior to engaging with any US provider, it shall be subject to thorough verification to meet all relevant data security standards."

Each European company had to be sure that customer data is not processed in the United States without a proper legal basis to legalize such a process. With the solutions introduced at ClickMeeting, all customer data is stored in an ICT infrastructure located in the European Union.

The result

The changes that took place in March 2020 at ClickMeeting resulted in an unexpected, rapid, but successful development. Now, with the support of OVHcloud, ClickMeeting has reliable services to offer its audience and even better quality online meetings. As a result, customer service has also increased significantly. Big online events are no problem for the company, as it has an efficient infrastructure with unlimited data transfer. Moreover, the changes applied in the IT infrastructure have eliminated the processing of data outside the European Union.

All these solutions and improvements have significantly influenced the development of ClickMeeting. With the support of OVHcloud, this company can continuously expand its business and fully respond to the constantly growing demand from the market.