The shifting sands of the EU: make sure your data is on solid ground

December 9, 2015
The shifting sands of the EU: make sure your data is on solid ground

The shifting landscape in the EU is highlighting the need for organisations to examine one of their most valuable assets – data.

Changes across data regulations, the security landscape and the broader economy, mean that it’s becoming increasingly important for organisations to be able to quickly pinpoint the location of their data and conform to regulations, at any given time. However, we recently spoke to 250 IT decision makers to find out just how data aware they are. Worryingly, 63% could not say with confidence where their data is currently stored, and of those who did know, more than a third of UK businesses have data which is currently stored outside the UK.

Organisations are certainly aware of the risks around this; almost seven in 10 businesses (69%) are concerned they may need to move their data in line with any regulatory, compliance or customer requirements, but half of businesses are yet to make contingency plans, and only 10% are prepared to move their data to UK soil, if needed.

So, knowing where your data resides and how portable it is could be a real game changer. But, it’s not too late to get ahead of the game. So how can you prepare?

  1. Start by establishing where your data resides. It’s crucial that you know where this is. Remember, you are responsible for your data – not your cloud provider – so demand transparency from any cloud services that you use (just to avoid repetition)
  2. Next, organise your data by categorising it in terms of value to the organisation. Consider how each category scores in terms of risk and what controls they should be subjected to
  3. Appoint a data protection officer. Under the new EU GDPR, this will not be compulsory for SMEs, but it does signal the importance of clearly tasking someone in the organisation with overall responsibility for data
  4. Don’t forget that this will need to be an ongoing exercise: run reviews of data requirements to ensure the business has updated snapshots at all times
  5. Have a contingency plan based on a worst-case scenario. Developing initial plans and costs for many different outcomes will help the organisation prepare for any eventuality
  6. Demand more from your cloud services: After all, you’re paying for it! A hybrid cloud environment can make things easier to manage and allow you to enjoy the benefits of a public cloud as well as the heightened compliance and security available with a private cloud. And having a provider which hosts all your data on UK soil – or another location of your choice – means you are already prepared should changes come into force

Data is critical to any organisation in the 21st century, whether public or private sector. While we don’t know exactly what’s in store in the coming years, being prepared is vital to ensure that businesses are ready ahead of time, keeping them safe regardless of what the future may hold. For more insight into the current data landscape and where you need to focus, take a look at our infographic below and read our whitepaper here.


Footnote: about the research: Research was conducted by Vanson Bourne, sponsored by VMware, to investigate the data implications of the changing EU landscape. The research company completed 250 interviews in September 2015, across a number of verticals including financial services, manufacturing, retail, healthcare, utilities and the public sector. The changing EU landscape includes: Britain’s potential exit from the European Union and the upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation


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