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1 April 2022

IT Changes 2.0

In modern realities, a competent IT strategy is vital for any organization – whether it is a university, a medical institution, a factory or a commercial enterprise. We talked to Alexey A. Anosov, Vice-Rector for Digitalization of the Financial University, and asked him a few questions about the current state of affairs in the IT infrastructure of the Financial University: we talked about plans, found out what is happening at the university and even discussed mobile platforms a little.

On March 31, 2022, a law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin came into force prohibiting government customers from purchasing foreign software for critical infrastructure without approval from the relevant department. How does the Financial University meet innovations in the light of recent changes in legislation?

– To begin with, it is important to make a remark – I am not sure that we (the University) fully relate to the critical infrastructure facilities that are prescribed in this law. But I can definitely say the following: we prepared in advance for such changes, the discussion was conducted, if I’m not mistaken, for six months.

As you know, not so long ago, together with VK, we completed the migration of postal services and university services to the VK WorkSpace cloud infrastructure – this is a domestic platform, servers are located on the territory of the Russian Federation, the company fulfills all current requirements of the legislation of the Russian Federation.

I want to note that such migration, as they say in the IT environment, is not just “two bytes to transfer” – we have, no less, more than 59 thousand email accounts, and all of them are not with two or three letters, they are full-fledged mailboxes filled with working correspondence and files. In addition, during the migration process, we also switched to new video conferencing platforms – VK Teams/VK Calls, the first one, by the way, is also used as corporate software for quick messaging.

The course on import substitution in the IT sector in Russia has been carried out for several years. Until the beginning of 2022, everything went rather slowly due to objective difficulties: the lack of fully functional analogues of foreign solutions, the widespread use of products from large vendors and the high cost of replacement. How is the Financial University dealing with this? After all, if we are not mistaken, the University has a fairly large fleet of personal computers. Are they also planned to be changed?

– Yes, they are. At the moment, we have a fleet of more than 5,450 PCs running on Microsoft operating systems, mainly Windows 10, only on Moscow campuses. Of course, we will transfer this fleet to domestic software. The ASTRA Linux operating system has already been selected as a replacement, which is included in the Unified Register of Russian Programs for Electronic Computers and Databases and has all the necessary certificates of conformity. “Out of the box” the user will receive a full-fledged replacement with installed office programs, programs for education, graphics, web surfing.

In general, the register of Russian software already contains almost 13 thousand domestic software products. At the same time, both the state and business are interested in making the transition, if possible, to Russian solutions.

As for the hardware itself, I would be cautious here – it is necessary to approach choosing a vendor-supplier of equipment quite carefully, since quite a lot of other factors are involved in the process: warranty service, the price of equipment, its capabilities, and so on. But we are also working in this direction.

And now slightly an off-topic question. The media writes that an analogue of Google Play called NashStore will be launched in Russia. Do you think this project has a future and will it be in demand?

– If my memory serves me right, about 700 companies are already working with the platform, or rather with the developer of the platform (ANO “Digital Platforms”), and this number is only increasing. I am not trying to be original, but we all perfectly understand the reasons for creating this store – some measures are to be taken in regards to monopolies, especially if the monopoly product is not always used by the owner honestly in relation to certain users.

A good example is Huawei and its AppGallery, which has become the “Chinese answer” to Google’s blockages. So I think NashStore has a good chance.

Thank you for your time!