Author: Gary Hibberd
Date: 26th January 2021
There is a saying that goes; “No man is an island.” Well this may be true, but the fact remains that the United Kingdom IS an island! So when people say to me that “Brexit doesn’t affect me!” I wonder how this can be the case.
B2D – Business to Domestic
Let me start by saying that I’m not for or against Brexit; We are where we are. We have left Europe with ‘a deal’. Is it the best deal? I have no idea. I can only hope that brighter minds than mine have come up with something that is the benefit for all. Like it or not, we are out of Europe – and that means there are changes coming that affect our businesses and our home lives too. Allow me to illustrate.
Data Data everywhere, and not a drop to think!
Of course, you knew I would start with Data (I’m glad I didn’t disappoint). It could be argued that ‘Data’ is the lifeblood of modern commerce. I can’t think of a single business that does not rely on Data. From the hairdresser who books appointments and needs names, contact details and dates to large corporations who amass huge quantities of Data for calculating and evaluating our lives. Everyone needs and uses Data.
But where does this Data ‘live’?
If your response to this question is “In the Cloud”, then I respectively ask you to remove your head from those clouds and take a look around you. You are not ‘Jack’ in the ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ story. To access your data, you don’t need to climb a Beanstalk that reaches the heavens to visit your Data. Your Data resides in a physical place, somewhere.
But where does YOUR Data ‘live’?
This is the question you should be asking because it matters now that we are out of Europe. For companies who are trading with European businesses or customers you need to be mindful of the changes that Brexit has brought about. In brief, these are;
- We are now considered a ‘Third Country’ by Europe (like Russia and USA)
- Until April (possibly June) 2021, we are in a ‘Bridge’, waiting for the EU to decide on our ‘Adequacy status.’
- IF we achieve Adequacy status, then we will have both EU GDPR and UK DPA2018 to comply with
- If we do NOT achieve Adequacy status, we will have both EU GDPR and UK DPA2018 to comply with, and we will need to put in place additional safeguards for the transfer of Data
There’s something called ‘Data Sovereignty that you should be aware of, as this deals with the way you treat data, whose Data it is, where it resides and how it is protected.
Now, if you’re still reading this, you might be thinking “Well, I use Amazon/Google/Azure” so all is good. Sorry to burst that bubble, but you may still need to put in place additional security measures to demonstrate compliance with EU GDPR.
Apps that make you “Appy!”
If you use popular tools for video conferencing, accounting, CRM or HR processes, then you’ll need to look at where that Data resides too! It’s still YOUR data, and not matter if your are the Controller or the Processor, you have a legal obligation to ensure it is protected and you comply with the relevant legislation!
You are the weakest link. Goodbye Supply Chain.
You may still need a little convincing that Brexit doesn’t affect you, well I ask you to consider the wider implications of our leaving Europe, and the impact on the supply chain. That is the supply chain for you, and also for your customers and clients.
I recently worked with an IT company who has increased lead-times to implement networks from 8 weeks to 12 weeks. Why? Because importing has slowed down due to an increase in paperwork and a physical slow down due to the transfer of goods through Dover. Yes, the Pandemic has played a role in this, but they know that the time it takes to bring goods to the UK will only increase.
And then we have Tariffs and Taxes
Benjamin Franklin once said there were only two things certain in life; Death and Taxes. He was not wrong, and with our break from the EU, we already see the impact this is having on business and our domestic lives.
It was reported this week that a young lady was charged £82 for custom duties, VAT and other additional charges, for a coat that was just £200. So if you’re on Amazon or any other online retail company you might want to take special care about where these goods are being shipped from. The likelihood is that the retailer will be passing on any shipping costs (taxes and custom duties) to you, the purchaser.
Perhaps this is something you have already experienced, or perhaps you’ve had to increase your own costs due to these changes? Is that having a negative impact on your business? Only time will tell.
Cybercriminals – Pivot!
I’ll leave you with this final point; Cybercriminals know what’s going on. They’re as confused as the rest of us, but they are also innovative. We are already seeing scams, where they purport to be contacting you as part of the HMRC, demanding additional payments of unpaid taxes. Or conversely, stating that you have a tax rebate due to the Brexit changes – Who isn’t going to be excited to hear they’re in line for a £1,000 rebate?!
When all-said-and-done; We are out of Europe and need to deal with the fallout. For good or bad, we are here so let’s make it work for us. But you should be making plans to adapt and respond to the changing landscape before us. Will it be easy? No. Is it necessary? Absolutely.
If you’re struggling to know where to start, my advice is to start from the beginning. You can’t protect what you don’t understand. Run a workshop to ‘storyboard’ the journey of data through your business. You identify strengths and weaknesses, and you’ll include supply chain and customers in this journey. It is truly illuminating, but if you need help, just get in touch.
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