Christian Kaufmann

Vice President of Network Technology, Akamai

The coronavirus pandemic has kept many of us at home, transforming our spare rooms and dining tables into makeshift offices. Home broadband networks have also been stretched by the long boredom of lockdown, testing the limits of streaming services’ back catalogues. Christian Kaufmann has been responsible for making sure the internet doesn’t fall over. Half of the Fortune 500 runs their services through Akamai’s cloud-delivery platform, and 19 of the 20 top e-commerce retailers in the United States, plus major streaming services through its content delivery networks.

“We saw an explosion of traffic on our network coming from people staying at home streaming video or downloading games,” Kaufmann told Business Insider. In a single month, it saw traffic grow by the amount it would in a normal year. Akamai was also adapting to the work-from-home revolution, supporting the complex global infrastructure that keeps servers running.

Kaufmann has spent the pandemic brokering deals to open new data centres around the globe to handle the increase in traffic, and negotiating access to those in countries that shut their borders for health reasons. But he’s managed to weather the storm.

“The internet we all have built has proved that it can handle the extraordinary traffic and demand placed upon it,” he said. “For someone who has done this his whole career, I find it very satisfying to see the maturity and stability level we have reached as an industry to the benefit of the whole world.”