- As more companies prolong remote work, security-focused productivity app Workstorm has been snapping up new customers. Its products helps companies keep sensitive information private and secure.
- While most workplace chat platforms are designed for easy file-sharing and collaboration, cofounders and former traders Raj Fernando and Nick Stech say they designed their platform to keep client information safe and secure.
- Unlike competitors like Slack and Teams, Workstorm offers full end-to-end encryption.
- The company saw a 53% increase in users since March and tripled its paid customers in May: "We have firms on that are leaving Teams to come to us, firms leaving Zoom to come to us, firms leaving Slack to come to us," CEO Fernando said.
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When the coronavirus pandemic transitioned a huge percentage of America's workforce to a long-term work-from-home schedule, businesses needed to rethink their tools to allow employees to communicate remotely while keeping company information safe.
While Slack and Microsoft Teams have both surged in popularity during the crisis, neither offer end-to-end encryption, the highest standard of data protection. That's where Workstorm comes in: The 5-year-old workplace collaboration and videoconferencing platform boasts end-to-end encryption products and other additional privacy features to try to appeal to industries like healthcare and financial firms.
Workstorm's founder and CEO, Raj Fernando, tells Business Insider that he and cofounder Nick Stech started whiteboarding the idea in the early 2010s while both working at trading companies. Stech's firm banned its employees from using instant messenger apps to communicate due to privacy reasons, and both firms had traders scattered around the globe that needed a secure, private channel to store data and communicate with each other and their clients.
"A lot of the early collaboration platforms are designed with this philosophy of open collaboration," Stech, Workstorm's current COO, said. "It didn't work in the trading industry for us, where there are many trade secrets."
It quickly became clear that Workstorm wasn't just for trading companies though: It now has several hundred customers in healthcare, law, national security, and insurance, as well as big names in consumer industries and fintech like Nike, Pepsi, and Citibank.
And Workstorm's business has boomed during the pandemic, Fernando said. The company saw a 53% increase in users when stay-at-home orders began in March, and tripled its paid contracts in May.
"We have firms on that are leaving Teams to come to us, firms leaving Zoom to come to us, firms leaving Slack to come to us," Fernando said. To keep up with demand, the company is in fundraising mode, he said, though it has no news to share yet.
Zoom was criticized earlier this year for not using end-to-end encryption on video meetings despite advertising it on their marketing materials, though it ended up announcing end-to-end encryption in June.
The increased interest may be tied to the increasing data privacy concerns for companies that have transitioned to work-from-home. As employees use their home internet networks and devices, their security hygiene may lapse, leading to an increase in leaked data. A Nationwide Insurance survey found that only 4% of 400 companies implemented all the cybersecurity guidelines suggested by the US Small Business Administration.
Workstorm has built its suite of tools to prevent security breaches cross-platform: With so many tools built in, a Workstorm user can stay within its ecosystem.
"If someone's tech stack is like, Slack with Zoom with Trello with Dropbox, what they could do is somewhat limited," Fernando said about security.
Workstorm allows companies to use its data centers, or maintain data on their own servers or in a private cloud.
"There's sometimes a gap between where the market is, and where the customers aren't and where the technology is," Stech said. "Open collaboration wouldn't work in our industries. And then we found out that open collaboration also wouldn't work and a lot of other industries. So we built this."
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