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Amid continued Brexit uncertainty, what could data hosting look like in 2020 and beyond?

Brexit uncertainty is set to continue until at least after the December 12 general election, and while we don’t have a crystal ball, we have the next best thing. Here’s Massimo Bandinelli, marketing manager, Cloud & Data Centre, Aruba Enterprise, with his predictions as to what data hosting could look like in 2020 and beyond. 

It’s no secret that the ongoing Brexit saga is causing a huge amount of stress and uncertainty for businesses of all sizes, in all industries. More than three years on from the 2016 referendum, the future relationship between the UK and the rest of Europe is still undecided.

Will businesses need to find alternative suppliers? Will staff be affected? What will happen in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit? These are just some of the important questions that many companies and individuals are struggling to answer.

A changing data dynamic

But one of the biggest areas of doubt relates to what businesses are going to do with their data. This is a hot topic in today’s regulation-heavy world and is set to get even more complicated in the months to come. There is a risk of the UK being regarded as a third country after Brexit, in which case the transfer of personal data between UK and EU businesses will be subject to strict data transfer rules.

Data transfers to and from the UK will not be as simple as they are now – with transfers to the UK no longer automatically being covered by GDPR. Similar to when GDPR was first being rolled out, all businesses will have to make sure they remain compliant with data privacy laws. This will place an additional burden on companies that may already be struggling to prepare their operations for a post-Brexit world.

Energy bills increasing costs

There are also cost considerations. Data centres consume a huge amount of energy and because the UK imports a significant proportion of its energy, its price is expected to rise due to new tariffs. Industry trade association Energy UK has warned that uncertainty in the sector will lead to increased prices when the UK leaves the EU, increasing bills for business and domestic customers alike.

Typically, data centre costs are mainly based on ‘cost per megawatt’ usage and with this price set to increase for UK providers, this will be a key factor for organisations when they are considering whether to base their infrastructures in the UK or elsewhere in Europe.

So, with these two factors in mind, what can businesses do to prepare for all their data hosting needs in 2020 and beyond?

Planning for 2020

No matter what happens with Brexit, the importance of having a comprehensive data management strategy that includes the right mix of private cloud, cloud back-ups, dedicated servers and colocation services isn’t going to diminish over the coming 12 months. If anything, it’s going to become even more critical to business success.

In a post-Brexit world, UK businesses will need access to state-of-the-art data centres that are connected to the main national and international carriers and are strategically geographically located. Milan, for example, provides a perfect example of somewhere based in central Europe that can provide super-fast connectivity to every corner of the continent, and even into the Middle East.

This range of connectivity will become vital for companies that want to move their data from the UK to the EU after Britain leaves the EU, so will be an important factor for businesses to take into account.

Businesses also have to make sure they partner with a provider that has the latest data regulation and security accreditations, is used to working with businesses from a range of countries and has experience in adapting to different regulations. With Brexit adding to existing regulatory complexity, there is a clear need for providers that can offer a global cloud approach.

Creating a personalised approach

Finally, the ideal data centre partner will be adept at creating customised data storage plans for clients depending on where in the world they need services. Providers that offer generic packages will simply not be fit for purpose. Customer needs are unique and are fast becoming even more so, which means data centre operators have to be able to provide highly tailored services.

Ultimately, businesses still have no firm way of knowing what the final outcome of Brexit will be, but it’s something they have to be planning for now.

Being able to choose from a European network of data centres will allow businesses to find the perfect location to develop their IT projects and satisfy all their data-related requirements – now and in the future.

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