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How Will Brexit Impact Data Storage?

The United Kingdom are scheduled to leave the European Union on October 31, 2019. Whether it’ll actually happen on that date remains to be seen, since their politicians cannot come to any agreement. Nevertheless, if or when it does happen, it’s important to know how Brexit is going to impact data storage.

Around 80 percent of the UK economy is driven by service and relies on the free flow of data. Many of these businesses operate globally, whether that’s having offices around the world or serving customers elsewhere, or at least store their data in another EU country to save on costs.

The rise of the cloud has also added complications to this. While cloud data is accessible online, it’s still physically held somewhere, and that storage location still needs to be compliment.

GDPR came into effect on May 25, 2018. This introduced many rules and regulations about how personally identifiable information should be stored and what rights citizens have over how their data is used. If you store information about an EU citizen, you must comply with GDPR.

Personal data cannot travel to countries outside of the EU, unless they have their own regulations that are equal or stricter than the ones imposed by GDPR. So, while UK data can flow easily in the EU for now, it raises questions as to what will happen to the UK after Brexit.

Once the UK is no longer part of the EU, it will be considered a third-party country that must have its own independent data regulations. The UK does have the Data Protection Act 2018, though it may have to get authentication from the European Commission that the law is up to standard.

Organisations can also provide contractual agreements between one another to assure that data will remain well protected. On top of the standard contracts, other methods also include certifications, privacy shields, and code of conduct compliance.

It’s likely that many businesses will have to do this in the short-term. While it’s very unlikely that the UK won’t be granted data transfer rights by the EU, it’s claimed that this won’t be considered until the UK has left the EU. As such, there will be a gap which could upset business relations.

Brexit also impacts data storage in the United States. The US Department of Commerce created a Privacy Shield Framework to ensure that companies stuck to data protection requirements, to help make the transfer of data between companies in the EU and the US smoother. However, once the UK leaves the EU, they won’t be covered by this.

Every business in the UK should check their data practices and ensure that they align with the Data Protection Act 2018. Businesses in the EU will not want to deal with their UK counterparts if they cannot prove this because it puts the company, the data, and the customers at risk – and that’s a chance that isn’t worth taking. Whatever the outcome of Brexit negotiations, make sure your data is prepared.


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