The UK vote for BREXIT has surprised many people, and the debates are likely to go on for many months to come.  Taking a Cloud specific look though, we don’t believe there’s any reason to panic.

Short Term

The UK vote doesn’t have an automatic outcome (actually it isn’t legally binding).  Whilst it’s highly likely that the UK will now leave the EU, it means the actual process (Section 50) has not yet started.  David Cameron has suggested the process will not start until after his replacement in October this year.  Additionally, the negotiation period under Section 50 can take up to 2 years to complete.  Until this process in complete the UK is still a member of the EU.  In short, nothing will change legally for up to 2.5 years when this process completes.

No need to panic then.


By far the largest unknown factor will be data protection laws.  Many cloud providers, including the leaders AWS, Azure and Google, host outside the UK.  They benefit from the locations being EU, and hence being covered by the same data protection laws as the UK.  When the UK leaves the EU this bilateral agreement is no longer in place, and hence the location becomes an issue for many applications hosting personal data.

Don’t rush to migrate to an on-prem data centre just yet though…  We need to look at the likely outcome before making a rash and expensive decision.

There’s been lots of discussion leading up to and since the vote about the trade agreements that will be reached after exit.  Nothing is certain of course, but we already know you’ve got anything up to 2.5 years to find out.  Both the Norway and Canada model include provisions for bilateral data protection.  Also don’t forget Privacy Shield or the predecessor Safe Harbor.  The UK is also in the process of implementing an EU wide GDPR into UK law, meaning we’d have to undo something that already matched EU law.  It seems highly unlikely that whatever negotiated position the UK has in 2-3 years time that it won’t include a bilateral agreement on data protection.

Worst Case Scenario

The likelihood of future agreements being stated, uncertainty is the biggest outcome of the EU referendum, and business hates risk.  So if your business already has a cloud based infrastructure and you don’t want to take your chances on the UK negotiating with the EU what should you do to remove that risk?  We know the timeline already, and happily both AWS and Azure have announced UK regions that will come online within the exit timescales.

At LayerV we’re already expecting many customers to want to move to the UK regions as they come online (well, a suitable time afterwards) so perhaps this will simply add to the existing demand.


About the Author:

James Letley is CEO and Co-Founder of LayerV.  James has a passion for technology coupled with wide ranging technical skills and experience across Finance, Government, Health, E-Gaming and Telecomms industries.