Will the war in Ukraine spark renewed interest in local clouds?

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The war in Ukraine has sparked renewed interest in keeping data within national borders. This creates challenges for those working with companies with mixed loyalties.


Ukrainian people are protesting, thousands gather to demand tougher sanctions against Russia from UK government, EU and US to stop war in Ukraine
Image: Sandor Szmutko/Adobe Stock

Regardless of your political leanings, the war in Ukraine was a watershed moment as the first modern war on the European continent. It’s also the first conflict where technology has become a major factor, not just on the battlefield, but in everything from social media to the financial system.

In addition to tanks, small arms and artillery, both sides deployed YouTube, Telegram and Facebook to spread their side’s opinions, influence other nations and even demoralize the other side. In addition to the usual government sanctions, the commercial banking sector has also been drawn into the fight. Payment networks Visa and Mastercard suspended Russian operations, impacting political figures and the general population.

These moves on the tech front have created a massive shift in what were once mostly global networks and products. Regardless of your feelings about the fighters, it’s not hard to imagine the frustration you’d feel if the cloud provider you relied on shut down all of your services within days.

The balkanization of the cloud?


This scenario has not escaped other regions that are not so closely aligned with the United States. As an American, I find it all too easy to fall into the trap of dividing every country in the world into buckets of cartoonish “good guys” and “bad guys,” but the geopolitical truth is far more complex. Dozens of advanced economies find themselves with mixed allegiances between the United States, Europe, Russia, China and a variety of other powers, each with their own agendas and concerns.

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Several countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America have already passed strong data sovereignty laws and have watched with some concern as Russian businesses, media and citizens have been blocked. on these platforms. In response, countries are increasingly developing and mandating the use of local cloud providers with heavy government oversight, potentially reducing the “build once, deploy anywhere” advantage of the cloud.

Rely on the legal

Based on the renewed interest in data sovereignty in many countries sparked by the war in Ukraine, it is worth working with your legal colleagues to understand the rules under which you currently operate and identify potential risks. Don’t assume that because you’ve been operating in a particular region using a global cloud provider for years that you’re fine. In most jurisdictions, the only valid avenue for circumventing data sovereignty laws is an official exemption letter from a government agency.

Allow time for this due diligence in all geographic expansion programs. If you manage technology for a company with various global operations, consider creating an initiative to ensure you are compliant. This can be a particularly difficult exercise as you may face multiple languages, complex bureaucracy and a “big gap” between the legal and technical aspects of data sovereignty. No one ever said being a modern technology leader was going to be easy.



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