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Brexit Fear And Heavy Clouds Over UK Will Eventually Disperse


In opinion / By Tanzeel Akhtar / 26 April 2017

Despite writing yet another Brexit related article I’m feeling rather relaxed and optimistic for the future.

This week I am working from the Spanish island of Ibiza, located about 100 miles east of Valencia in the Mediterranean - sipping on my second latte and soaking up the sun. Life is good when you have decent wifi and cloud to back up your work.

Face the fear factor

I might be 873.19 miles and a 2.5 hour flight away from home the UK but it is impossible to escape Brexit and the heavy cloud residing over England at the moment. There is so much uncertainty and fear on the horizon. What level of disruption will we see post Brexit? More job losses and displacement?

Reflecting upon the last ten months we have seen financial markets rattled by the news that the UK is set to leave the European Union (EU). Unsurprisingly Article 50 has been triggered and the process of the UK leaving the EU is set in motion.

Currently I am sat in the sun skim-reading white papers and researching what impact Brexit will have on the technology sector in particular cloud computing. Does Brexit spell turbulence for cloud computing? How will cloud computing vendors be affected by Brexit? Will we see a pause in UK data centre builds and vendors? What about those software companies interested in hosting companies that want to enter the UK?

I’ve always been an avid follower of the latest technology trends. As a journalist I have reported on and watched cloud computing grow rapidly over the last ten years. I truly believe the sector doesn’t have much to worry about in the current Brexit environment.

Yes - with Brexit most companies will take a short-term hit but in the long run the need for up-to-date technology infrastructure will always be a requirement in the financial services sector.

Somebody once said to me updating technology in financial services is like house insurance, you pay premiums not because your house might burn down but because you understand the risk of being uninsured in case a fire does break out.

Let’s explore data and how businesses will need to consider the laws around data, who owns the centres and where data resides. Company data is usually hosted in the cloud.

The GDPR and Brexit

When it comes to data regulations one to watch out for is the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) is set to introduce a number of changes such as an increase in rights for data subjects and the re-balancing of the liability and risk between data processors.

GDPR is set to be active before we officially leave the EU - May 2018. It is unclear how the GDPR will be bought or integrated into UK laws after Brexit in 2019.

Sovereignty and UK data

One of the key reasons for Britain voting to leave the EU was sovereignty and to take back control. This was at the heart of the Brexit case.

As more companies adopt the cloud - data sovereignty will be at the forefront and a huge concern. Data sovereignty is a more important issue and supersedes any other type of sovereignty.

This means data centres which have HQs in the UK and have a presence in other European countries will need to consider the legislation of the country in which their centres reside. Having an international European presence is important for business. Some firms may want to expand now.

The IT community has a lot more work to do which should mean further job creation. I see a shift on the horizon and the clouds will clear.

Tanzeel Akhtar

Tanzeel Akhtar

Tanzeel Akhtar is a freelance investment journalist. She has contributed to the Wall Street Journal, FT Alphaville, Global Investor, CNBC, Forbes, Yahoo, Spear's Wealth Management and Marketing Week.

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