Kaspersky Lab shifts customer data out of Russian Federation

Andrew Cummings
May 15, 2018

On Tuesday, the cybersecurity firm said that "a number of core processes" will be shifted from Russian Federation, including customer data storage systems and processing "for most regions".

The idea had first been mooted in March this year, and the Swiss facility The facility is to be one of a series of "transparency centres" located around the world, and will be used to collect and analyse files identified as suspicious from the computers of tens of millions of Kaspersky customers based in the United States and European Union.

Today's announcement of the Kaspersky Zurich Transparency Center also comes a day after the Dutch government announced plans to phase out the usage of Kasperksy products on government systems as "as a precautionary measure", also advising private companies to do the same.

By the end of 2019, Kaspersky Lab hopes to have moved the infrastructure used for U.S. customer data storage and processing to Zurich.

The move follows controversy in the United States a year ago when the federal government removed Kaspersky from its list of approved vendors, weeks after senior U.S. intelligence agency and law enforcement officials expressed concerns about the safety of its software.

The migration will be supervised by an independent Switzerland-based third party "to ensure full transparency and integrity".

The decision by the vendor, as part of its Global Transparency Initiative, to move a number of core processes from Russia to the famously neutral Switzerland, should stem a lot of the criticisms about Russian ties.

The company, headquartered in Moscow, Russia, says the transition is part of the Global Transparency Initiative.

Software produced by Kaspersky has already been banned from USA government systems, and the company has been on a mission to prove that Russian Federation is not spying on other countries via its antivirus tools.

One of the easy attacks to make against Kaspersky Labs has been to focus on its Russian heritage and then raise questions of trust and regardless of whether it has any validity it has made an impact on brand association. "We believe these two qualities make Switzerland the flawless place to move part of our sensitive infrastructure".

As well as data on Western customers plus those in Singapore, Japan and South Korea, the facility will host a "software build conveyer" - tools used to assemble ready-to-use software out of source code. "Since transparency and trust are becoming universal requirements across the cybersecurity industry, Kaspersky Lab supports the creation of a new, non-profit organisation to take on this responsibility, not just for the company, but for other partners and members who wish to join", Kaspersky added.

Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab, said the move will allow his firm to rebuild customer trust and deal with industry challenges.

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