Mar 15, 2022 - Technology

Slack has started disconnecting customers in Russia

Slack logo.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Slack has begun cutting off access to some customers in Russia as it looks to comply with both international sanctions and the policies of parent company Salesforce.

Why it matters: Slack is the lifeblood for internal communications at many businesses and organizations and often contains data and messages not stored in any other format.

Driving the news: Several organizations have reported being entirely locked out of their accounts without any notice, eliminating the opportunity to download any data.

  • That's largely happening to organizations that are directly sanctioned. The terms of such sanctions require an immediate cutoff, without notice.
  • "Slack is required to take action to comply with sanctions regulations in the U.S. and other countries where we operate, including in some circumstances suspending accounts without prior notice, as mandated by law," the company told Axios in a statement.
  • "We are in contact with affected customers regarding the impact of these actions on their account status, where permitted by law."

The big picture: Like many tech companies, Slack is sorting through a host of issues related to business in Russia, from the impact of sanctions to payment issues.

  • And, now that it is part of Salesforce, it is also working to align with the broader policy of its parent company, which is to exit business in Russia.

Between the lines: Slack is beginning the process of cutting off access to companies in Russia, but that will likely come up on a rotating basis as companies have to renew their paid subscription (either on a monthly or annual basis).

  • In both cases, Slack isn't deleting data, though sanctioned companies won't be able to access their data at least until such sanctions are lifted. And then there is the matter of Salesforce's policies in Russia as well.
  • Obviously, there is a lot more unknown here than known when it comes to the longer term.

Go deeper: Which global companies are abandoning Russia — and why

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