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News
30.06.2016

How the Brexit fallout is affecting our data centres

The UK public has indicated that it wishes to leave the EU. However, while the referendum will not alter the UK’s international status overnight, already we’ve seen economic upheaval due to market uncertainty; the FTSE shed £100bn and the index lost 378 points in a matter of days.

The Government needs to legislate for the necessary steps needed to take the UK out of the EU. This starts with invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Then the Government has two years to conclude an agreement concerning Britain’s withdrawal, including setting out its future agreement with the EU. All EU treaties will cease to apply to the UK upon the conclusion of such an agreement, but until then, the UK remains subject to obligations under EU law.

Despite the outrage and protests about the referendum result one thing is clear, the UK will leave the EU and regain its independence, which means we need to pull together and start planning how we’re going to deal with what happens next.

So what do you need to be aware of today?

Changes to The Data Protection Act

In April 2018, the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), comes into effect. It was due to replace the 1995 Data Protection Directive and the Data Protection Act 1998, and would impose strict fines of 4% of annual global turnover or 20m Euros, for companies that failed to comply.

Following a vote for Brexit, the Information Commissioner’s Office issued a statement saying that the new legislation would now not apply to the UK after it’s left the EU. However, it emphasised that if the UK wanted to trade with the single market on equal terms, it would have to prove “adequacy”. This means the UK’s data protection standards would have to be equivalent to the EU’s GDPR framework.

To get ahead, you should continue to prepare for the changes under GDPR. These include:
The right to be forgotten: an obligation to erase personal data upon request.
Consent: any data collected must have explicit consent, rather than implied.
Data must be freely given: rather than under the duress of being unable to access services.
Data portability: enabling people to transfer personal data between service providers.
Breach notifications: must be received by the relevant authorities within 72 hours.

 

Rising energy costs

It’s common knowledge that power and cooling costs account for the biggest expenditure in a data centre, around 80%. According to a report in ZDNet, an average in-house server costs around £550 a year in power and cooling.

According to UK trade data from HMRC, in 2015 the UK spent £21bn on imported energy. Following Brexit, the warning is that a fall in the value of the pound could add up to £4bn to the cost of oil, gas, coal and electricity imports, which would drive up the costs for consumers and businesses. If estimates are placing the increase at £150 per year to consumer electricity bills, just imagine the cost for an entire data centre.

To get ahead, one way to avoid the energy price hike is to consider how you can incorporate greener energy into your operations. Many renewable energies, such as solar PV, wind turbines, ground source heat pumps and free cooling, can be retrofitted for easy deployment.

Skills gap

The UK is already suffering from a digital skills crisis, with firms unable to find the skilled workers they need. A report in Computer Weekly places the cost to the UK economy at £63bn a year. However, the EU believes its skills gap is closing, and has forecast that the number of unfilled digital jobs in the EU will drop to 756,000 by 2020 – 64,000 fewer than previously expected.

But following Brexit, UK businesses may no longer have access to as many skilled workers to fill their vacant tech positions. Within the EU people can move without limitations across countries and do business wherever they please. Once the UK leaves the EU, it may be much harder for Europeans to enter the UK to work, and those currently living here could be forced to leave. Equally it may be easier for workers outside of the EU to work in Britain and for foreign works to be encouraged to move to the UK if they are filling a specific skills gap. Right now the future is uncertain.

To get ahead, you need to start planning for your future workforce now. If it’s hard to employ people with the right skills today, why not think about training people. Invest in university placement schemes, apprenticeships or graduate programmes to attract the right talent to fill the skills gaps in your organisation.

Future-tech: we make it easy to be green

We have been at the forefront of innovative data centre design, implementation and operations for over 30 years. We offer a range of new build and retrofit data centre services to enhance the design and energy efficiency of your facilities. As an ISO14001 accredited organisation, and winner of several ‘green’ awards, including the Certified Energy Efficient Data Centre Award and Uptime Institute Green IT Award, we know how to make cleantech work for your organisation.

Discover how we can future-proof your data centre.

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