How Brexit could speed up your business
Many British companies will no doubt have been planning for Brexit with a keen focus on the logistical and operational aspects of their business.
When we eventually leave the European Union, it is difficult to know whether there will be a deal in place. The government has certainly been preparing hard for a potential no-deal Brexit on October 31st and the talk in the media has been of friction at the borders, difficult access to goods and the potential impact the situation could have on the business community.
Supply chains, the potential introduction of tariffs and the make-up of your future workforce are all important considerations. But there is another all-important aspect to consider: data.
Once Brexit happens – assuming it goes through – I think people are going to begin looking at where their data sits and websites are hosted. If you’re a UK business and your data is hosted outside the UK, you may need to consider moving it back.
Security is at the front of everyone’s minds nowadays: protecting systems and the data they hold is on the agenda at boardrooms up and down the country. GDPR has brought in new and tougher regulations about how you handle data and respond to threats and breaches.
If Brexit happens, a lot of the European policies that require businesses to safeguard their data won’t just disappear. For the UK to continue to trade in Europe, we will need to ensure that our own policies reflect those on the continent. These could dictate where your data is stored or at the very least ensure you have knowledge of where it is stored. With some cloud providers, this may not always be possible.
If your customers or targets are primarily based in the UK, basing your infrastructure here – rather than in Europe or America – makes perfect sense anyway.
Hosting outside the UK could add a second or more of latency to the speed that your website loads, which has a massive effect on SEO and interest conversion rates. A lot of people will drop off eCommerce-based sites quite quickly if it is slow to respond. The further away you put it from your users, the worse it becomes.
Of course, the reverse is also true. If you are targeting European customers, you may wish to serve them locally; likewise for a client on the west coast of America.
At UKFast we're ensuring we maintain a presence outside of the UK so if we go through with Brexit, we'll have capabilities for any clients that either serve European or international clients or who can't maintain their data in the UK any longer.
We’re opening points of presence in several locations around the world. We’ve built cloud network infrastructure out in Manchester and London in the UK; Washington DC and Seattle on the east and west coast of America respectively; and Amsterdam in Europe.
The enabler for this was a global DDoS mitigation platform called DDosX, which helps protect businesses’ websites and applications from cyberattacks. We then started adding more features to it such as global load balancing, which in essence means that whenever a request is made into your website it is answered as close as possible to the end user and directs them to the closest server that's relevant to them.
The big cloud providers like AWS and Azure are not for everybody: if you lack technical expertise, you have to partner with a business that has those capabilities. And as your business grows, so too does your need to access that expertise.
As CTO I’m trying to make sure that we provide all those capabilities for clients by building platforms which they can tap into as their business grows – wherever their customers may be based.