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How could Brexit impact UK disaster recovery strategies in 2020?

Eltjo Hofstee looks at some of the possible impacts that Brexit could have on UK organizations and the way in which they manage and provision disaster recovery. Discussions about GDPR between the UK and the EU will be crucial to determining a way forward…

In common with many other subjects, Brexit will bring considerable uncertainty to disaster recovery (DR) strategies during 2020. Depending on the progress of the UK’s departure from the EU and ongoing trade and cooperation negotiations, organizations that currently have active and/or production environments hosted in the UK, but DR sites outside of the UK, might need to change their arrangements. At the very least, many should be reviewing their current approach and assessing how alternatives, such as disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), could play a role.

Possible future scenarios include moving DR infrastructure to the UK (if the organization has UK business and privacy data), or transferring everything to the EU (if they have EU citizen privacy data). In addition, some organizations may need to explore a dual approach across both territories if they have both UK and EU based customers. This all hinges on the outcome of discussions between the UK and EU about how GDPR will apply and whether the data held (and backed up as part of a DR strategy) by UK business is ‘adequately’ aligned with GDPR. Based on the current conversations between EU and UK, nothing will change in terms of data privacy protection laws/rules. However, we are seeing some of our customers following these courses of action as a way to prepare themselves.

This is relevant across the economy. In the past, DR sites were mainly set up for governmental and financial institutions, and environments running the whole production of a factory, for example. The fact that more companies are becoming increasingly dependent on their Internet platform is pushing the demand for DR services outside these industries, with the result that demand for DR services is now coming from the Martech, AdTech and Fintech industries. Even gaming customers are requesting more and more availability and uptime. It is a trend that we see continuing in 2020.

For organizations that haven’t evaluated their position before now, there are several key areas to consider:

The importance of data

Businesses should have a clear concept of the value (and sensitive nature) of the data that is critical for operations. Effort should be made to assess risks and costs involved with current data storage, processing and DR practices. This is especially important for international businesses, because deciding where to house data is a complex question that is largely determined by how that data is utilised.
For instance, many CIOs prefer to keep their companies’ data relatively locally, and some of them will only work with cloud and hosting providers that house data within the UK. That’s often difficult for large companies with offices in various countries, so it’s important to look at how data is being used to understand the impact on DR strategy.

Hosting and architecture

A cloud platform is a great way to minimise uncertainty for organizations that aren’t sure where to host DR. The cloud can support locally hosted options in either the UK or elsewhere in the EU, and cost-effective cloud options will help mitigate the risks associated with long-term investments or expensive migrations.

In the UK, Brexit will probably give 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 rise in a post-Brexit Europe.

Therefore, adopting a cloud architecture represents an opportunity for businesses to take advantage of new services such as DRaaS. To CIOs, moving to the cloud is a chance to overcome 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 percent of enterprises report that the cloud is more secure than their previous legacy systems, and 90 percent of businesses in the US are currently utilising a cloud infrastructure. These improvements in security can also come with an attractive reduction in cost.

Despite the recent election result, there’s much about Brexit that still needs to be finalised. As a result, businesses will need to be prepared to adapt rapidly to whatever policies and regulations result from the negotiations. Instead of undertaking a costly move to a more advantageous location, cloud adoption can provide the ideal solution to disaster recovery challenges and is one of the most effective ways for IT leaders to prepare their companies for a post-Brexit UK and Europe.

The author

Eltjo Hofstee is managing director, Leaseweb UK.

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