Four Brexit IT Implications to Be Aware Of
The decision by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union has had profound effects politically, economically and socially. What are the Brexit IT implications?
Brexit has already had a moderate influence on overall IT spend. Following the vote to leave the E.U., Gartner revised its forecasts for expenditure on IT to show that it will drag down investment in this space worldwide.
However, the U.K. will bear the brunt of this. Previously it had forecast that technology expenditure in the U.K. would rise by 1.7 percent, but it has now lowered its expectations by 2 to 5 percent and expects spend to actually decline throughout this year and the next. Brexit IT spend reductions will see overall European technology spend reduced because the U.K. accounts for 26 percent of total expenditure across the region.
Data Privacy and Security
There are also concerns regarding data privacy and security, creating similar uncertainty in the wake of Brexit IT questions. The U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office states that the E.U.’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is still relevant for organizations in the U.K. doing business internationally, but it acknowledges that the region will almost certainly have to update its own legislation to align with the new E.U. regulation. Failure to do so risks the U.K. being deemed inadequate in its levels of data protection, which could impact both U.K. businesses and those that do business in the U.K.
It’s unclear what the timeframe will be for adopting new legislation, but ComputerWeekly suggests all organizations should consider that they will need to comply with its provisions and work to familiarize themselves with the GDPR’s data protection rules ahead of time. Should the reformed U.K. law not pass before the E.U. regulation goes into effect, organizations may still have to implement compensatory measures that are stricter than those currently detailed in the U.K. Data Protection Act.
The UK Could Be Sidelined
There are also concerns that the U.K. will become sidelined. Many international firms looking to expand into Europe often choose the U.K. as their initial base owing to factors such as language and strong transport links. There are already concerns that organizations are looking to relocate at least part of their operations to other places within the Union. This is especially true of those wishing to open new data centers. Ireland is already a popular destination and looks set to be a winner in this area, according to Silicon Republic.
IT Skills Shortage
One thing that factored heavily in the Brexit vote was fears of immigration. Within the E.U., freedom of movement is a guaranteed right. Discussions are currently underway regarding immigration post-Brexit and no consensus has, as yet, been reached. Should the U.K. curtail immigration, organizations could find themselves struggling to attract or retain skilled workers from abroad, exacerbating shortages of skilled IT personnel that are already being seen.
Brexit IT implications haven’t gone unnoticed by today’s IT teams, even though the timeframe for the U.K.’s withdrawal from the E.U. is unclear. But, for the moment, organizations should continue with business as usual, even though they may have to do so with a smaller budget.