It seems that hardly a day goes by without news of the impending doom set for us all once Brexit actually starts to happen. The Prime Minister has a tough job ahead of her when deciding on the terms to Britain’s departure from the EU and Boris Johnson finds it hard not to weigh in with his view of an EU exit strategy. With so much uncertainty surrounding the future of EU & UK firms’ regulations, many are wondering what the future holds for UK data centres.
The debate for UK data centres revolves around whether the UK may lose the benefit of free flowing data between the UK and the EU. Furthermore, the EU-US Privacy Shield legislation – a replacement for the Safe Harbour pact – has now been formally adopted. Under Privacy Shield and the existing EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), organisations with trans-Atlantic businesses must ensure US operations fulfill more rigorous data protection standards when managing European data. And though the UK recently voted to leave the European Union, the ICO – Britain's chief privacy regulator – has stated that it will adopt these regulations with minimal changes, regardless of EU status.
It’s not all doom and gloom
Despite overly negative post-Brexit reports in mainstream media, our own experience has shown a 50% surge in demand for central London data centre space since the Brexit vote.
No-one is 100% clear as to whether the exit from the EU will result in major changes to data security regulations, but the positivity we are witnessing re-affirms the results we uncovered in a recent market research project. We found that 69% of UK office workers admitted they would worry if they knew that their personal information was being held in countries that had different protection laws to the UK.
A large number of organisations in the financial services and health sector deal with highly sensitive customer data, therefore it makes sense that they want to be clear about the data storage regulations in the country they choose to host their data. Interestingly, what our research showed was that a huge 81% of UK consumers would have more trust in an organisation if it provided more information about how and where it stored customer data. This is an opportunity for businesses to be more open about where and how it stores data, as consumers become more aware of how businesses hold their data.
Brexit is an emotive topic. It crosses the border of having an impact on both our personal and business lives. It is hard to predict just how the chips will fall once article 50 is invoked and we leave the EU – but for now, we should be positive that the initial signs are not as negative as some would lead us to believe.