Editor, CIO Germany

SAP is holding data for Russian customers

Apr 08, 2022
Data Center ERP Systems SAP

Shortly before the support freeze for Russian cloud customers, SAP offered to move their data abroad for free.

Russian hammer and sickle / binary code
Credit: Zmeel / Getty Images

SAP has offered its customers in Russia the option to move their cloud data out of the country before its data centers there are shut down, according to Ukrainian news portal The Kyiv Independent. In a March 23 letter from SAP’s executive board, the Walldorf-based company gave its Russian clients three options to choose from. SAP could delete their data or hand it over to them, both of which would end the contract immediately. The third option is to migrate the data to foreign data centers. This service is free of charge, according to the letter.

An SAP spokesperson told CIO magazine that the data in the data centers does not belong to the company, but to its customers. For legal reasons, the company has therefore worked out options for transferring this data. He added that this also applied to international customers who had previously also been active in the Russian market. Should a Russian company decide to move its data abroad, it would not be able to use it.

The letter is dated the day before the software company announced on March 24 that it would stop all sales in Russia and cease cloud operations. It also said it would not provide “any support or engagement.” SAP products purchased and installed there in on-premises operations and supported by the company’s own IT departments are not affected, he said.

The extent to which the data migration offered should be considered “support” remains questionable. The letter to the Russian companies stated that the aim was to provide cloud customers with the highest possible level of ongoing service. Contingency plans would be developed to ensure business continuity for clients running solutions in Russian SAP data centers. Factors such as supply chain difficulties or “redundancy failures” would push SAP to develop a plan to manage Russian clients’ solutions abroad, the statement added.

The letter is silent on the fact that Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions imposed by NATO countries is the trigger for the data center shutdown. SAP merely speaks of “extraordinary times”. The letter thus stands in stark contrast to the tone of the March 24 press release, which states, “Russia’s ongoing unjustified war is a heartbreaking display of brutality and a violation of the fundamental principle of freedom that we share with Ukraine.”

Translated from an article published by CIO Germany: “SAP hält Daten russischer Kunden vor

Editor, CIO Germany

Jens Dose is the editor of the German edition of CIO Magazine. In addition to the core topics relating to CIOs and their projects, he covers the role and responsibilities of the CISO.

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