Brexit and Cloud Computing? What Does It Mean for Business Continuity?

Matthew Gingell

Whilst the Brexit process rumbles on, your business continuity policy sits patiently awaiting direction. Political deadlines may come and go, but your organisation’s data continues to grow and move. With little currently known and even less determined, the impact of Brexit on cloud storage, data sovereignty and business continuity is a world of uncertainty.

Unfortunately, we all know that when it comes to business, there is no waiting. There isn’t a pause button. The first and foremost thought on your mind, Brexit or no Brexit, is to protect the data entrusted to your business. Politics aside, you must have a policy in place and it must be fully operational if you hope to remain in a state of continual business readiness. But how can you plan for the future in the face of such political ambiguity?

Assuring business continuity means planning for the unknown

Stepping beyond Brexit, there are new sanctions and regulations instituted on a near weekly basis and across many different industries. For instance, the GDPR is often in a state of flux, making data compliance a primary concern for business continuity, a struggle shared by members of the financial sector where rules and regulations are enacted, retracted, and revised at breakneck speeds. While you work to avoid the politics, the fact is that political decisions can and will affect your data operations. Knowing this, how can you align your data and business goals to be fully accessible no matter which way the political winds are blowing? Are your systems flexible enough? Is your business model able to adapt?

Situationally speaking, ensuring that your data is always accessible means taking a forward-thinking approach. Flexibility. Accessibility. Scalability. These are the three golden pillars of designing and implementing a plan in today’s rapid-fire global business climate. With the diversity of business situations that may develop with or without notice, you must plan for the unexpected. This is where the cloud comes into play; it presents to you an almost limitless medium. And it is not just one cloud. There are many hundreds of clouds, private, public as well as hybrid options all of which can be utilized for a fully flexible and scalable plan that will allow you to navigate the data management demands of Brexit and other political bumps in the road.

Architecting data management control systems a critical first step

Data management is largely driven by regulation. As both data and regulations are highly dynamic, you are faced with the challenge of directing one moving target to precisely strike another moving target. This is where cloud utilization comes into play. When you develop a data management strategy that is centered around cloud-based technology and systems, your organization gains a highly mobile and flexible foundation upon which to build a top-notch business continuity plan.

Cloud-based storage architectures allow you to store data in different geographical areas, which can readily be changed as regulations dictate. This presents your organization with a flexible, scalable data management option that keeps your data safe and accessible regardless of political climate. When it comes to Brexit and cloud computing, the ideal scenario would empower your organization to easily move different application loads and datasets between the EU and the UK with timeliness and precision, all while preventing any downtime in terms of information or systems access and at the same time ensuring visibility to guarantee compliance.

When designing for a reliable, yet flexible cloud architecture, there is one thing that is often (mistakenly) taken for granted—the underlying network infrastructure. There is one potential pitfall that you must avoid when designing your network architecture. When it comes time to selecting your data management and systems vendors, you do not want to paint yourself into a corner by selecting solutions that are dependent on one another or are restricted by a single Service Provider be they Network (NSP), Internet (ISP), or Cloud (CSP). Your systems, cloud solutions and data management processes must all be able to operate in a network-agnostic, vendor-agnostic way in order to fully achieve the data flexibility required by your continuity efforts.

How do you develop an agnostic solution?

From a higher level, it is important to view the cloud as a four-dimensional space in which your data and systems can be maneuvered to suit the changing regulatory climate. Free from physical limitations and presented with near-limitless scalability, enterprises often struggle to take full advantage of what is being offered to them.

The ability and agility present in the cloud to move large amounts of data around the globe is a brilliant win for a data management strategy in today’s uncertain Brexit climate, but only when it is executed in an intelligent way. Controlling how and when your data is moved, managing it while it is at rest or monitoring access is not accomplished unless you are utilizing the correct tools for the job. The tools you select must be flexible, maneuverable and must be able to go wherever the data goes. Agility and accuracy must be maintained so your business can turn on a dime when the geographic locations of your data must be changed quickly.

Leveraging Network Edge

Businesses can achieve the needed agility and flexibility in managing and moving data across borders through the synergy of Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric and Network Edge. Cloud Exchange Fabric provides direct, secure software-defined interconnections to distributed infrastructure and digital ecosystems globally.

Network Edge is a purpose-built platform solution that provides you with the ability to deploy virtual network devices, facilitating the movement of data precisely and quickly. The open architecture of Network Edge presents greater flexibility and scalability options when managing your networks. The platform comes pre-configured with a number of commonly used virtual devices and, crucially, is pre-connected to Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric which, in turn, is connected to hundreds of Cloud Service Providers around the world.

These system solutions provide you with the means to manage your network infrastructure and execute a plan no matter the network solutions you have in place – deployed in minutes and without the need to change your existing IT infrastructure in any way. Data can quickly be moved between cloud-based environments, from physical to cloud, or any combination in between without the occurrence of downtime or loss of information.

Regardless of a planned or unplanned event, your data management moves from reactive to proactive, making you nimble and greatly increasing data accessibility.

Solving Business Continuity for Brexit and Cloud Computing 

Having a set of tools at your fingertips that can adapt to circumstances, known or unknown, with a high level of agility and accuracy is indispensable in today’s business climate. If you are already completely clear how Brexit will affect the management of the data you have in your existing environment then you are probably in the minority. For most, uncertainty will continue and in the meantime, the best defense is being equipped with data management and continuity tools that are flexible enough to change in real time, give access to multiple service providers in multiple countries.

Equinix’s Network Edge enables network engineers and solution architects to be responsive to network demands through its ability to be ready when you need it. This removes the limitations of provider and vendor products and can be deployed on-demand in minutes no matter where you are or in what situation you find yourself. Network Edge combined with Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric is ideal for injecting flexibility and scalability into your business continuity and data management requirements. Contact Equinix to learn more or sign up for a free trial of Network Edge today.