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How to stay ahead of data legislation

Online platforms, such as search engines and social networks, are drivers of growth, innovation and competition. Enabling businesses and consumers to make the most of the opportunities created by the digital economy, online platforms have transformed our everyday lives.

The Government recently published a report entitled “Online Platforms and the Digital Single Market”. In the report it states that online platforms contribute an estimated €430bn to the EU economy each year, and provides the example of Google, where British businesses using Search and AdWords generated at least £11bn in economic activity.

Online platforms are great for businesses because they enable more efficient allocation of resources. By allowing organisations to share property, time and skills across online platforms, it’s possible to unlock previously unused, or under-used assets. According to research by PwC, this ‘sharing economy’ is currently worth £9bn and is set to rise to £230bn by 2025.

Furthermore, online platforms are great for boosting employment. According to the Government report, 500 SMEs and 10,000 jobs have been created over the last decade in France alone through the development of mobile apps sold on online platforms.

However, to operate online platforms you need consumer data, and this brings with it a set of challenges.

Barriers to maximising Europe’s digital economy
Research shows that British consumers’ confidence in the ability of organisations to keep their personal data safe is worryingly low. In ‘The State of the Data Nation’, a recent industry survey of 2,000 UK adults, nearly three-quarters (72%) expressed their concerns about the level of protection given to the personal information they share with brands and organisations online.

Data protection is high on the consumer agenda, so what’s being done to put those fears to rest?


EU policy priorities

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
In April 2018, this new legislation comes into effect, replacing the 1995 Data Protection Directive and the Data Protection Act 1998. Under its terms, data centre operators could be held liable for data breaches or other non-compliance despite having no control or knowledge of the data concerned. It could cost an offender 4% of annual global turnover or 20m Euros, whichever is the greater.

And while a vote for Brexit means that GDPR doesn’t technically apply to the UK, the Information Commissioner’s Office has issued a statement, which essentially says that if the UK wants to trade with the single market on equal terms after Brexit, its data protection standards would have to be equivalent to the EU’s GDPR framework.

Safe Harbour Agreement

Under EU privacy law, it forbids the movement of citizens’ data outside of the EU, unless it is transferred to a location that is deemed to have “adequate” privacy protection. The Safe Harbour Agreement was made between the EU and the US government to protect any data being moved to the States.

However, in October 2015 The European Court of Justice ruled that the agreement was no longer valid as it didn’t adequately protect consumers in the wake of the Snowden revelations. Nine months later and The Commission and the US Dept of Commerce are still in discussions about concerns over privacy shield.

Many US companies have grown tired of the uncertainty from a lack of a new agreement and taken matters into their own hands. In a bid to overcome the EU data protection legislation, many US companies are planning to open UK-based data centres to ensure their compliance. Some of the first companies to announce their plans are Amazon Web Services, which plans to open its first UK-based data centre by early 2017, and Microsoft, which unveiled plans for two UK data centres for its Azure cloud business. Data policy appears to be a driver for data centre investment and growth.

Future-tech: where experience meets innovation

Whether you’re looking to operate in the UK, Europe or further afield, we can help you stay one step ahead of the changing legislation and challenges associated with the design, construction and operation of data centres infrastructure within a dynamic and shifting market place.

Data centres provide long term physical environments that have to support a rapidly developing IT sector. Our specialist knowledge will ensure your facility flexibly supports your organisation now and into the future.


Discover how we can ensure your data centre remains compliant in a shifting regulatory landscape.