Q+A: Here’s What an Edge Computing Startup is Doing in the Wake of Coronavirus

Coronavirus is changing the way people do business. But for companies like Dallas-based StackPath, they can make a difference for those that are struggling to start working remotely.

Lance Crosby, Stackpath , Dallas, Texas

Dallas-based StackPath has a new Series B funding round that brings its total to $396 million. But the influx of money comes at a time when the region—and the entire world—is rapidly adapting to the growing coronavirus pandemic.

While most companies are having employees work from home for their own safety and to flatten the curve, others are doing their part to assist with that (even if it’s not directly). But problems can arise for those new to telework.

Bandwidth has been a recurring issue, with things like data caps and connectivity issues running high. Many global telecoms have made adjustments to assist with that.

StackPath is on its way to becoming the default edge computing platform. Edge computing allows data produced by IoT devices to be processed closer to where it was created, instead of being sent over long distances.

While that means StackPath isn’t directly providing services—like remote access, video conferencing, or VPN—to consumers or business systems, it does mean that StackPath is making a difference for the businesses helping other businesses work out of office.

“Companies that provide those sorts of solutions use our platform to deliver their services more efficiently, and with better performance. And that can actually reduce the bandwidth consumption that our customers place on the Internet backbone worldwide, easing overall bandwidth challenges,” Co-founder Lance Crosby told Dallas Innovates. “So if companies providing those services look to solve for bandwidth challenges, performance issues and costs, they should consider incorporating edge computing into their solutions stack.”

Crosby and his team expect edge computing to continue to accelerate, especially throughout this year. They predict the growth is partly attributable to burgeoning 5G digital cellular networks, which will reduce wireless network latency up to 10 times and increase volume capacity by a predicted 40 percent per user over current 4G standards. A secured, decentralized world of distributed networks and applications will usher in the opportunity age.

Even in the wake of a global pandemic.

Read on for more from our conversation with Crosby:

Security is something else on people’s minds as the workforce distributes. Given the nature of Stackpath, how are you helping companies with that?

We help with that challenge in a number of indirect ways.

For instance, we have customers that use our platform to provide or establish VPN services, and as demand for their VPN increases, because of our platform’s design it will smoothly scale to accommodate their needs. Additionally, so many people now working from home increases overall Internet traffic and dependence on Internet availability, which means that malicious activities like DDoS attacks can be even more disruptive. Luckily, our platform’s features protect the services our customers provide on the Internet against those kinds of activities.

And even though our team is now working remotely, too, we have expert solution and support engineers working with customers around the clock to help them keep their services available and make sure they are using our security features to their best and fullest potential.

The “what’s next” answer is evolving for everyone right now. How do you expect coronavirus to impact your business?

In a lot of ways, the pandemic may accelerate the adoption of edge computing models and lead to higher demand for our services.

There are a lot of efficiencies to be gained with edge computing that can help get more performance and capacity out of existing Internet backbones and data centers. And the increased Internet usage will shine a bright light on secure connectivity, which the world has probably not been as diligent about up to now.

Yes, COVID-19 is changing some of the ways that we work. Like most companies, our team members are now working at their homes, and we have suspended all employee travel—international and domestic—and canceled hosting, exhibiting, attending or otherwise participating at any events. Our team members will continue to conduct internal and external meetings via video and telephone conference.

But as we recently told our customers, as a fully-automated platform, all daily and emergency StackPath operations can be (and regularly are) executed and managed remotely. Likewise, our Customer Support, Network Operations Center, Billing Support and Sales teams are equipped, trained and able to provide exactly the same services and responsiveness 24/7, whether working remotely or at a StackPath office. And we actively test these capabilities as part of our standard business continuity planning.

What advice do you have for businesses or entrepreneurs to manage throughout the pandemic?

It might sound cliché, but, as with any change that pushes a company off center, we’d advise businesses and entrepreneurs to use the disruption as an occasion to think critically about what has been “business as usual” and emerge from the pandemic more efficient and nimble than ever.

The same skills and agility that will help businesses survive and thrive through this event will be advantageous and powerful when it’s over. 

What is your current hiring outlook for 2020?

We don’t have specific hiring plans and numbers to present, but we expect to continue growing, even in light of the pandemic, and will have roles and functions to fill.

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