By Eltjo Hofstee, MD, Leaseweb UK
The unfortunate cause of plenty of uncertainty, the impact of Brexit will be felt across many areas this year, including Disaster Recovery (DR) strategies.
Organisations that currently have active and/or production locations hosted in the UK, but DR sites outside of the UK, may need to alter existing arrangements, but this is of course also dependent on the progress of the UK’s departure from the EU and ongoing trade and cooperation negotiations.
As a minimum, many should be evaluating their current strategy and considering how changes, such as Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), could play a role.
Future pictures could involve moving DR infrastructure to the UK (if the company has UK business and privacy data), or relocating it all to the EU (if they have EU citizen privacy data). Some businesses may also need to look at implementing a twofold approach across both territories, if they have customers based in both the UK and EU.
This all depends on the outcome of discussions between the UK and EU about how GDPR will apply, and if the data held (and backed up as part of a DR strategy) by UK business is ‘adequately’ aligned with GDPR.
If the current conversations between the EU and UK are anything to go by, data privacy protection laws/rules will remain exactly the same. But this said, we are seeing several of our customers adopting these measures in order to be as prepared as possible.
This is important across the economy. Previously, DR sites were primarily deployed for governmental and financial institutions, as well as environments running the entire production of a factory, for example.
As more companies become largely dependent on their internet platform though, the need for DR services outside these industries is increasing, and we’re therefore seeing demand for DR services now coming from the Martech, AdTech and Fintech industries. Even gaming customers are requesting more and more availability and uptime. It’s a trend that we believe will continue in 2020.
For organisations that up until now haven’t reviewed their position, there are several key areas to consider:
The Significance of Data
Organisations need to have a clear idea of the value (and sensitive nature) of the data that’s critical for operations. Effort should be made to assess risks and costs involved with current data storage, processing and DR processes.
This is especially key for international businesses, because deciding where to store data is an intricate question that is largely determined by how that data is used.
For example, many CIOs prefer to keep their organisations’ data fairly locally, and some of them will only work with cloud and hosting providers that house data within the UK. This can prove challenging for bigger businesse with locations in various countries, so it’s important to consider how data is being used in order to understand the impact on DR strategy.
What about Infrastructure and Hosting?
A cloud platform is an excellent way to reduce uncertainty for organisations that aren’t sure where to host DR. The cloud has the capability to support locally hosted options in either the UK or elsewhere in the EU, and cost-effective cloud options will help minimise the risks associated with long-term investments or expensive migrations.
In the UK, Brexit will likely advocate a push for more locally stored privacy data, and adoption of cloud is likely to increase globally. Specifically, companies can expect the demand for cloud-based DR to continue to increase in a post-Brexit Europe.
Adopting a cloud architecture therefore represents an opportunity for businesses to leverage new services such DRaaS. For CIOs, moving to the cloud is an opportunity to move beyond previous internal limitations and improve their value proposition.
The cloud has advanced to the point where it’s now more secure and reliable than traditional on-premises solutions. In fact, 64% of enterprises report that the cloud is more secure than their previous legacy systems, and 90% of businesses in the US are currently using a cloud infrastructure. These security enhancements can also come with an appealing cost reduction.
Despite the results of the December 2019 election, there’s much about Brexit that still needs to be finalised. Ultimately, businesses will need to be prepared to quickly adapt to whatever policies and regulations result from the negotiations.
Instead of undertaking a costly move to a more beneficial location, looking to cloud as an option can provide the ideal solution to Disaster Recovery challenges, and is one of the most efficient ways for IT leaders to prepare their organisations for a post-Brexit UK and Europe.