Meet the Oracle Team Crucial to Saving TikTok in the US

George Paul · September 18, 2020
Oracle logo on a red background with lights
Editorial credit: Sergiy Palamarchuk / Shutterstock.com

After much speculation, ByteDance has named Oracle as TikTok’s “trusted technology provider,” a move that could allow the viral video social media app to continue to operate in the US. The deal, which would also include Walmart, could give the US companies significant stakes in the Chinese-owned app.

Majority US ownership of the app is critical for the Trump administration to allow the app to remain in the country - beginning September 20 downloads of the Tik Tok app will be banned and the app will be removed from mobile app stores in the US. Larger technical limitations for the app are slated to go into effect on November 12

Oracle and Walmart's deal must be approved by the White House and the Committee on Foreign Investment but it is believed that it satisfies the concerns around data security that have been previously raised by the US government.

Under the deal TikTok will likely switch to Oracle’s in-house cloud computing service for its servers and storage, meaning its US data can be processed through Oracle rather than sent to ByteDance's data centers in China. ByteDance has also reportedly agreed to let Oracle to review TikTok’s source code and software to ensure there are no backdoors for bad actors to access the data.

In a statement confirming its partnership with TikTok, Oracle touted its “40-year track record providing secure, highly performant technology solutions.”

According to sources cited by The Wall Street Journal, Oracle’s interest in TikTok is primarily driven by kick-starting its fledgling cloud-computing business, which remains far behind market leaders Amazon and Microsoft - Microsoft also competed for TikTok’s US business.

As Oracle works to complete the approval process for the deal the company will turn to several key team members to ensure it can execute on what could be a game-changing deal for the company.

Oracle's org chart image with button

Mary Ann Davidson is the Chief Security Officer at Oracle, where she is responsible for software security assurance. She also represents Oracle on the board of directors of the Information Technology Information Sharing and Analysis Center and serves on the international board of the Information Systems Security Association. As an influential member of the information security industry, she will be a crucial voice alongside Chief Compliance and Ethics Officer Mary Doyle, that can help appease regulators’ concerns about TikTok’s security.

Eric Shefler is the SVP of North American Cloud Infrastructure and will likely handle the bulk of data generated by TikTok users in the US. It will be up to Shefler to ensure that TikTok has reliable and secure data storage. Additionally, Shefler will have an increasingly important role if the TikTok deal does indeed kickstart Oracle’s fledgling cloud-computing business and helps the company more closely compete with market leaders Amazon and Microsoft.

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