EU Brexit could cost UK firms £1.6 million each

Warnings over costs and data protection as businesses unprepared for possible exit from Europe

Britain leaving the EU could land firms with bills of up to 1.6 million moving data from European datacentres.

According to a survey of IT decision makers, conducted in September by Vanson Bourne, half of the firms said they are yet to start making contingency plans while only 10 per cent are fully prepared to move their data to UK soil, if necessary. 96 per cent of organisations also admitted it would cost them a significant amount to move their data to a different location if needs be, with the average cost being estimated at over 1.6 million, taking an average of three months to complete the transition.

The research was sponsored by VMware and also found that more than a third (34 per cent) of UK businesses' data is currently located outside of the country while three-quarters (76 per cent) have at least some business critical data residing Almost seven in 10 businesses (69 per cent) are concerned they may need to move their data in line with any regulatory, compliance or customer requirements.

Around 95 per cent of respondents use some form of cloud services to host their data (including 37 per cent using public cloud and 34 per cent using hybrid cloud). Over two-thirds (70 per cent) are concerned they would need to move their data to a different cloud provider who could host their data in the appropriate location if the UK left the EU.

Richard Munro, EMEA chief technologist and technical director at VMware said that knowing their data is definitely residing in the UK means that a need for change is far less likely for firms, no matter what economic changes happen across Europe.

"However, only a third (37 per cent) of organisations could say with complete confidence where all their data is stored, so it will be difficult for them to assess whether it is compliant in any eventuality. The best approach is to be prepared for change well ahead of the new directive," he said.

Roy Illsley, principal analyst of Infrastructure Solutions at analyst house Ovum said that the challenges surrounding the location and protection of data are not new.

"Organisations should ask their provider where their data is stored, and whether facilities exist to store data in the UK if needed, but also - how their data should be categorised to ensure it is stored in the right location. Vendors who enable third-parties to build local cloud services within a region will become a critical support to these customers."

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