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UK IT decision makers more concerned about Brexit than GDPR

18 Feb 2019
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According to a recent survey by NetApp, businesses in the UK look to be optimistic about data regulation.

In the survey of IT decision makers (IT managers, CIOs, and CTOS) across 501 UK-based businesses, 53 percent say that data regulation either had or will have a positive impact, while just 18 percent have either seen or anticipate a negative impact.

Meanwhile, 16 percent have neither seen nor expect to see any impact on their organisations.

This is a significant change from NetApp’s earlier survey, which found only 30 percent believed GDPR would improve their competitive advantage.

Data privacy awareness also continues to gain prominence among UK companies, with 68 percent saying their level of concern for data privacy has increased since the implementation of GDPR, while 30 percent say their concern hasn’t changed since May 2018, and just 2 percent claim their level of concern has reduced.

In line with data privacy regulations, many companies have applied focus to data sovereignty to maintain compliance. The UK’s imminent exit from the EU remains a major factor, as 66 percent of the companies in the survey give ‘major’ to ‘some’ consideration to data sovereignty when preparing for Brexit.

Furthermore, 47 percent of companies believe that their Brexit-related data sovereignty concerns will surpass their pre and post GDPR concerns - while 23 percent of UK companies can’t determine whether they worry more about GDPR or Brexit, a mere 6 percent say they worry less about Brexit than they do about GDPR.

However, UK businesses are divided about the impact of data sovereignty on targetting customers within EU jurisdictions, as 44 percent say that it has not affected EU customer targetting while 33 percent have seen an impact.

Despite this, there still remains significant uncertainty around how to prepare for Brexit from a data management perspective with 19 percent saying they have either given no or little thought into the matter, while 14 percent say they do not know how much consideration their organisation gives.

NetApp EMEA Cloud Solutions marketing manager Martin Warren says the uncertainties around Brexit affect companies in numerous ways, including in their data management preparations

“It is therefore encouraging to see many UK businesses already focussing on data regulation and privacy. Whilst this is partly driven by legislation and specifically the GDPR, there is now also a better understanding of how data regulation positively contributes to the commercial success of an organisation,” says Warren.

“As more details around Brexit emerge over the coming months, the best course of action for companies is to continue to build solid data protection and data governance processes, to ensure compliance with current legislation and preparedness for any future developments.”