Business Management

Post-Brexit: Code42's perspective on wider tech industry

The UK’s decision to leave the European Union has led to a lot of uncertainty about what the consequences will be for the tech sector. Some tech experts believe that Britain’s tech industry will finally be able to thrive once freed from the shackles of the EU. Others believe that Brexit will just lead to more uncertainty which will only be bad for business. 

Nick Scott, Managing Director at Code42, a global provider of endpoint data protection and security shares his thoughts on the impact of Brexit on the wider tech industry.


What will be going through the minds of IT departments right now?

One of the key things in all businesses is certainty. Businessmen like certainty and when uncertainty comes in, like now, there are concerns. However, as far as the security market is concerned, there is one certainty and that is, cyber threats are increasing year on year irrespective of where you are. And the need for businesses to protect against them continues at pace. Things like GDPR are the signs of what governments are doing to try and protect data and then the adoption of these is what everyone is trying to do their best with.

From the point of view GDPR specifically, the interesting thing is in the way it was constructed to take into account countries that were going to be inside the EU but also outside. But more importantly, companies and also individuals. The key element that GDPR seeks to protect is the data of the individual and the individual’s rights over their own data. So that remains, and as a result, UK companies that deal with individuals and as a result hold their data, will have to comply with GDPR - because GDPR can come back and bite companies [if they don’t comply].

What challenges will there be going forward?

I think there are going to be challenges in companies locating their data. Most EU companies have had question marks about whether they should locate their data in the US over the past few years. Many of them have overcome this by setting up data centres within Europe. Code42 for instance has data centres in Amsterdam and Dublin. Some of those who have data centres in the UK may need to think about whether this will be sufficient for their customers. But apart from that, from a security perspective there is going to be no difference.

What sorts of things will companies need to think about when transferring data across European borders?

The first thing is, who does the data belong to? If the data is of an individual, then it continues to belong to that individual and companies need to report to that individual at any time on what the status of that data is. More crucially, if there has been a breach, then what has happened to it and what the company has done to remedy it. I suspect that companies have already been preparing for this anyway and I don’t think there will be that big a difference.

How will the wider tech sector be impacted?

I think the tech sector in the UK is the biggest in Europe and there will be question marks. But I think the fact that it is the biggest and has the most people involved already, plus the fact that in the majority of cases, the internet and technology is English, means that this will continue to be the source for most people to go and work there. So I suspect that whilst there will be small changes, the majority of the companies already equipped to provide the best service will continue to be out of the UK.

Will international companies be put off from investing in the UK?

I think all companies will look at where they will get the best people quickly and set up their business. I don’t think the answers will be very different from what they might have been many days ago. The reality is, most people are still in the UK. Initially, there might be a head scratch but then I think the key business drivers will remain the same.

Skills shortage in the tech sector is already a big problem. Will the situation become worse?

I think you are right, people are reporting on skills shortages from time to time. Primarily, this is due to the success of the industry. The more successful the industry is, the more the tech industry can provide for the rest of the industry as a whole. Then the rest of the industry will keep looking for more and more and this always increases pressure. Interestingly it brings skills shortages up and likely to make companies based in the UK and elsewhere to look for people wherever they can.

Finally… a lot of uncertainty is in the air at the moment. How do you think businesses will adapt?

There is uncertainty no doubt. But a successful business usually thrives on its ability to deal with change. And rather than think about it as uncertainty – I think change is the way to look at these things. The companies that view it like that and deal with it on that basis are reasonably best placed. We as a company have been investing in Europe steadily over the past two years and are continuing to do so. For us it’s an area of growth and will continue to be so.

There are a lot more plusses which suggest that we still have a really strong hand to play. From our point of view, Code 42 are wary but positive. At the end of the day we have to buckle down and deal with what is rather than what was or could have been.


Also read:

Brexit vote is a blow to the UK’s tech brains

Data expert: Brexit referendum is on a razor’s edge

InfoSec 2016: GDPR hangs heavy over Europe


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Ayesha Salim

Ayesha Salim is Staff Writer at IDG Connect

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