Brexit is here (in case you hadn’t noticed) and it’s raising big questions across the UK tech industry. One major concern is the future of the rules that govern the storage and security of data. Currently, EU regulations define how stored data should be treated to ensure sensitive information is safeguarded across all member countries. So what happens when the UK leaves? It’s not entirely clear yet, but by keeping the likely outcomes in mind, you can still plan ahead with confidence and take advantage of innovative cloud services.

A few weeks ago we looked at why it matters where your data lives, and the physical location of data is now more relevant than ever. Like the EU, the cloud extends across national boundaries – but now the border between the UK and the rest of Europe is about to take on a new legal significance, the free transfer of data can no longer be guaranteed. However, if the UK can demonstrate that its data protection law is still compliant with EU requirements, we could see the flow of data continuing unhindered.

A new set of EU data privacy rules, the General Data Protection Regulation, is scheduled to come into effect in 2018. For UK businesses to maintain access to Europe’s digital market on equal terms, the country needs to put in place regulations more or less the same as GDPR. As the Information Commissioner’s Office recently put it: ‘we would have to prove "adequacy" – in other words UK data protection standards would have to be equivalent to the EU's General Data Protection Regulation framework’.

Obviously the UK has been fully compliant with EU regulations until now, so continuing to meet standards shouldn’t be a problem in practical terms. While the UK’s Data Protection Act remains the law irrespective of our status in or out of the EU, equivalence with GDPR would require new legislation. For this reason, don’t be surprised if even stricter data privacy rules pop up in the near future. An alternative outcome could be a separate set of British regulations that only apply to companies operating within the UK.

While all this is a lot to take in right now, the good news is that we probably won’t see any changes for a minimum of two years. The UK’s exit will take at least that long to complete, without accounting for the huge raft of negotiations, processes and measures that will no doubt be required. This gives you time to prepare your business, hopefully with plenty of warning ahead of the actions needed to comply with new rules.

One thing you can be certain of is Fasthosts’ commitment to the highest standards of security. Our new CloudNX platform delivers performance, reliability and flexibility thanks to our own UK data centres and completely secure cloud infrastructure. With all-inclusive features such as private networks, firewalls and VPN, you have all the tools you need to ensure the protection of your data.