Moscow courts, LinkedIn, and your global data storage strategy

A crossed out LinkedIn logo in front of the country of Russia

Posted on Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Late last week the Moscow city court issued an extraordinary ruling, calling for the LinkedIn social network to be blocked in Russia.

Following an unsuccessful appeal by the soon-to-be-owned-by Microsoft platform, judges decided that LinkedIn had failed to adhere to Russian data protection standards, and must therefore be blocked to protect the local population.

The issue of data sovereignty is real

Russia has very strict data protection laws, demanding that personal information belonging to Russian residents be stored within the country. LinkedIn, like many other Internet businesses uses global cloud services to distribute data for improved resilience and availability, and to provide unlimited capacity growth.

But despite this being the standard operating procedure in most countries, synchronising data outside Russia is clearly illegal.

Reconsidering your own Moscow data strategy

Enterprises are rushing to open offices in Moscow and St Petersburg to take advantage of new growth opportunities in Russia. But where they may have planned to use cloud storage to accelerate systems deployment, it is obvious that this will not suit Moscow courts.

There are Russian cloud services available, but this too may present problems – particularly as questions related to state-sponsored industrial espionage persist. Off-site storage may be a step too far where issues of IP and privacy are at stake.

Using SDS to replicate cloud-like services

In reality, the best way to ensure corporate data stores remain fully legal in Russia is through the use of local data centers. And to properly replicate the scalability and flexibility of cloud services, software defined storage is the logical choice.

SDS allows businesses to scale up quickly – perfect for a high growth market. More importantly SDS allows CTOs to build a best-of-breed, vendor-neutral storage platform using the systems they have to hand – be it post-warranty assets that are imported from other global branch offices, or locally-purchased arrays.

The lawsuit against LinkedIn is likely to set a precedent for foreign businesses operating in Moscow. Eventually the Russian government may reach an EU-style “privacy shield” agreement – but the reality is that western organisations must respect the ban on exporting personal data or face a potential bar on their services.

For more help and advice about redeploying post-warranty hardware as part of an SDS platform in Moscow, or any other global city, please get in touch.