How Will Brexit Affect Digital Security in the UK?

The decision of the United Kingdom’s electorate to vote to leave the European Union has left us all with a number of yet unanswered questions. Many are asking how this decision will affect trade. Will we really be able reduce immigration by refusing the freedom of movement, whilst still retaining access to the EU’s single market? What will happen to the 1.3 million Britons who currently live abroad and the 2.9 million (5% of the population) of European migrants who live in the UK?  In the immediate aftermath, questions were also being asked over leadership and who was best placed to take David Cameron’s position at Number 10. We now know that Theresa May will be the one to invoke the infamous ‘article 50’ and lead us through negotiations with the remaining nations.

Whilst many questions remain unanswered, at Digital Pathways we have decided to look at the issues surrounding our own area of expertise, and how leaving the EU is likely to affect digital security in the UK.

Although most opinions at the moment are purely speculative, we felt that it was important to look in detail at what will be on the negotiating table when it comes to security. We believe, for example, that we must keep EU rules and regulations surrounding security. The primary concern is that of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that the European Union enforces on all its members. This particular regulation deals with data, and how it is stored, shared and protected. In theory, outside of the EU, the UK can develop its own regulation. Will this be as stringent, or will there be added risk? Equally, will we still need to adhere to GDPR if we want to trade in Europe, and will we still be able to store data in France or Germany? The answers aren’t clear yet.

One of the other major concerns is the continued drop in the pound. Should UK companies have a weakened buying power, it is likely that security will fall to the wayside. It is already difficult to persuade smaller businesses that the data they have is valuable and must be protected. As the belt tightens, it will become almost impossible to budget for something that is considered optional, when in fact it is a necessity. The irony of this is that cyberattacks may even increase as a result of the uncertainty. With so much to discuss and rewrite, how far down the list will security be? In that time, will criminals target businesses in the UK specifically, knowing that defences will be down?

Has the country’s vote to leave the EU doomed us all, or is it the start of a bright new future for our nation? Only time will tell. What we can be sure of though is that the subject of digital security must be addresses sooner rather than later. If we intend to keep GDPR, which we feel would be hugely positive, then it must be integrated quickly. If not, and instead we are looking to add the parts we like and remove those we don’t, then let’s do so without diluting the regulation. Either way, in a data driven world, it has never been more important to make a decision on your cyber security future.

If you have any concerns with regard to the digital security of your data, please get in touch for an informal discussion on how best to prepare yourself going forward. Call our team on 0844 586 0040.