In 2020 UK businesses had to handle the Covid-19 pandemic and the end of the Brexit transition period, both forever changing the business landscape in their own ways. Helping manage our clients’ IT as their managed infrastructure provider gives us valuable insight into how they’re responding to these problems. Our customer survey was done at the end of 2020, nearly a year into the pandemic and as UK companies were staring down the barrel of Brexit. It showed us that a lot of companies are focussed on getting their data UK-based and secure, and we’ve provided some insight into why we think this is happening.
4D’s 2020 Customer Survey
Our survey asked our customers a series of questions revolving around their current IT solutions and their plans for the future. We had responses from nearly 100 companies covering a variety of industries including IT management, financial services, and leisure & travel.
What are companies planning for their IT?
Reviewing the answers to several different questions, a pattern is clear that companies are focussed on getting their data and IT not only secure, but also based in the UK.
In response to the question “How important to your business are the following aspects of 4D's services?”:
- 93% of respondents said physical security is extremely or very important to them.
- 90% of respondents said being UK-based is extremely or very important to them.
- No one rated our UK location or physical security as not important at all.
Over 90% of companies said that their data being secure and UK-based is very valuable, showing there is a clear trend towards companies wanting to be confident in how their data is being physically stored. They want their data to be protected and accessible, as well as transparency around where it’s being stored.
In response to the question “Looking at your current IT systems and infrastructure, are you planning any major projects and/or making significant changes to any of the following in the next 12 months?”:
- 39% of respondents said they’re planning to increase usage or perform a major upgrade to their colocation
- 38% of respondents said they’re planning to increase usage or perform a major upgrade to their cyber security
Colocation is a service where a company’s servers are hosted in a third-party data centre, so this reflects that these businesses are looking to ensure their physical data storage is UK-based. These responses show that a third of companies surveyed are looking to increase their cyber security and/or UK-based data storage in 2021, beyond what they already have in place.
And to further demonstrate the importance cyber security, 37% of people who responded expressed an interest in wanting to learn more about cyber security, showing that companies intend to stay up to date with cyber security news and plan to make further changes as needed in response to new technologies and threats.
Why are companies so focused on the security and location of their data?
A focus on ensuring data is physically and cyber secure, as well as UK-based, combines to show that companies are keen to keep careful control on their data and IT. This is likely in response to the difficult business landscape created by Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic, but there are also specific cause and effects to be seen in how companies are treating their data.
Covid-19 and remote working
Due to lockdowns and social distancing, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to more people than ever working from home, and this is a trend that looks to continue even post-pandemic. This remote working means that IT systems are being remotely accessed significantly more, from an ever-increasing number of devices and networks no longer kept contained within the office. Businesses want to ensure their data storage is secure and will not be vulnerable to attack as a result of these changes.
Brexit and UK-EU data transfers
2020 saw the end of the Brexit transition period, and even though UK-EU data transfers are still permitted, a large question mark was hanging over the issue for a long time before the final decision was reached. A lot of business owners were frightened by the potential of their EU-based cloud storage becoming illegal, and they don’t want to risk living with that uncertainty in the future. The simplest way to ensure your company’s data storage remains legal throughout any future potential changes is to have UK-based data storage, so that all of your data stays in the UK.
It’s fair to say that Brexit plays a significant part in people wanting to keep their data in the UK, and this includes companies we’ve seen repatriating their data from a cloud storage solution to the UK, in the process overhauling their IT and data storage in response to this issue.
What should you be doing?
The first step to making plans for the future of your IT and your whole company is to review your current situation. You need to know where your data is stored, and how it's protected, making sure that you're confident with both of these situations.
Upgrading your security and migrating your data to a UK-based storage solution is simple when you work with a managed infrastructure provider, like 4D. We’ve got a range of 100% UK-based cloud and colocation solutions to have tailored for you, all of which can be integrated with our comprehensive cyber security solutions. If you want to work with a people-focused infrastructure manager, see how our customers rated us in our survey, and get in touch to discuss how we could help you.