Kaspersky Lab moving core software operations to Switzerland

By Espie Angelica A. de Leon

Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab has announced it will be transferring its software assembly and data storage and processing operations from Russia to Switzerland because of the latter’s neutrality and very stringent laws and regulations for data protection and transparency.

Kaspersky Lab vice president for public affairs and head of CEO office Anton Shingarev speaks to Philippine media at the Manila Peninsula Hotel about the cybersecurity firm’s move to transfer core processes to Switzerland

The company will also open its first Transparency Center in the same country to further protect its customers around the world from cyber threats.

“Protection of the data of the customers is top priority. This move demonstrates our adherence to our fundamental principle of respecting and protecting people’s privacy where we’re using a uniform approach to process users’ data, with strict policies applied,” said Kaspersky Lab’s vice president for public affairs and head of the CEO office Anton Shingarev during the media briefing on June 21 at the Manila Peninsula Hotel.

The move is part of Kaspersky Lab’s Global Transparency Initiative which it announced in October 2017. The initiative aims to cement the integrity of the company’s security solutions and earn the trust of its customers worldwide.

The transfer of its software assembly operations including threat detection begins with the relocation of its “software build conveyer” to Zurich. The “software build conveyer” is a set of programming tools for building ready-to-use software from source code.

With these programming tools, Kaspersky Lab products and threat detection rule databases will have digital signatures after being assembled and then be distributed to users worldwide including the Philippines. Kaspersky Lab’s software assembly in the Swiss city will begin before the end of 2018.

Meanwhile, its new data center in Zurich, which will be completed by 2020, will store and process data provided by users in Europe, North America, Australia, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea via the cloud-based Kaspersky Lab Security Network.

According to Shingarev, regulators from other countries had concerns about the location of Kaspersky Lab’s data processors, hence the move to Switzerland.

“So if there are such concerns from the Philippine authorities, we would be happy to hear their concerns, hear their comments and address these comments,” he said. “So far, we did not hear any worries.”

He noted however that the level of data protection is equal across all their users. “From the customers’ perspective, it makes completely no difference whether it’s in Switzerland or not in Switzerland,” he stressed.

Also expected to open this year in Switzerland is the company’s first Transparency Center which will be almost fully automated with machine learning algorithms for malware detection. It is in this facility where the source code of the products and software updates will be up for review by an independent third-party organization.

“There will be still excess from Russia to the Swiss servers,” said Shingarev, “but every excess will be signed, stored, and available for the third-party audit later on.”

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