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UK 2024 Data Protection Update: Boosting Security and Resilience in Data Centres
January 23, 2024
With the development of online data transfers, data protection has become of key importance to the UK. When names, addresses, phone numbers, card details, and other personal information go online, there is nothing more important than data protection. Now, regulation in the UK is undergoing changes, and one of the main areas of focus is security and resilience in data centres.
What Are Data Centres?
Data centres serve as facilities designed for the storage, administration, and processing of extensive volumes of digital data, such as business databases, customer details, website content, and other essential information. All these types of information are indispensable for the operation of modern businesses and online services.
More and more people are using devices and engaging in digital activities such as online shopping and social media. This causes an increase in the amount of data stored in the UK and reflects the growing demand for data storage and processing capabilities.
The data centre sector now plays a huge role in economic activity, private and public services, and the daily lives of millions of people in the UK. As data becomes increasingly valuable, facilities are at risk of cyber threats. Here comes the need to protect this sensitive data.
The Impact of UK Data Protection Laws on Data Centres
The new UK data protection measures will significantly influence data centres, as they will be required to implement tougher security measures to protect against potential disruptions, including cyber-attacks, physical threats, and extreme weather.
The new legal framework applied to data storage will require changes in protection. To strengthen it, the law prescribes certain standards that data centre operators must meet to ensure effective measures that harden their facilities.
The plan of the UK government is:
- to increase the reliability and security of data centres;
- to simplify data protection requirements for businesses;
- to enhance individual rights over personal data.
So, it’s not just about tightening the requirements, which could be a problem for data centres and force them to pay dearly for protection. On the contrary, it is about control, and it aims to create an adequate environment for data storage, making it easier for businesses to follow clear rules and giving people more freedom of choice.
The set of laws is aimed at protecting the nation’s data, and the minimum requirements specified therein should be regarded as sufficient but not oppressive. Compliance with the laws will be monitored by appropriate officials designated by the government.
This initiative will also help protect businesses and services that rely on data centres. The precautions will reduce the number of breaches and lower the risk of serious incidents that could either cause reputational damage or interrupt/disrupt access to the data on which a business depends.
What Is the New Set of Laws Designed for?
As data centres play a vital role in the UK economy, significant security issues can affect the whole country, not just individual businesses. For similar considerations, today’s government plans will ensure that these businesses operate in the national interest. The government also considers designating parts of the data centre sector as critical national infrastructure. Additionally, the changes will help protect the UK’s national security, making it more attractive to potential investors in the technology sector.
Read also: FinTech and Data Synergy for UK SMEs
Regulators are also considering a new function that would allow data centre operators to report incidents in a timely manner. They will work with the sector to provide and test risk mitigation measures for threats and hazards. The move is designed to promote greater transparency of information and cooperation between industry and government so that risks to the UK can be properly identified and addressed.
The new measures are intended to improve overall proaction against various threats and complement the UK GDPR, the basic principles that Britain adopted from the EU.
Government’s Regulatory Approach to Data Centre Security
To understand the motivation behind the government’s decision to bring forward a new set of laws, let’s look at what decision-makers and leaders in the field have to say.
Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure, Sir John Whittingdale OBE MP, emphasised the increasing value of data as a driver of economic growth and its role in public services. He underlined the importance of ensuring that companies storing data implement adequate protection measures against risks, such as cyber-attacks and extreme weather. This, he noted, would not only allow the nation to capitalise on the benefits but also provide businesses with a sense of security.
The government’s commitment to data safety is evident in its call for businesses to share insights and expertise, accompanied by the implementation of appropriate regulations. Prioritising security in data handling is not just about addressing new challenges but is also aimed at positioning the UK as “a global leader in promoting safe and responsible technology”, he added.
According to Deputy Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP, safeguarding the security and resilience of data in the UK is valuable for the whole nation. He stressed the need to protect public and national infrastructure from potential attacks.
Dowden advocated for a comprehensive approach to society and public-private collaboration to strengthen defence mechanisms. When speaking about current laws, he noted that the government now implements a Cyber Security Strategy and unites efforts with the National Cyber Security Centre to identify and prevent threats.
The Economic Significance of Data Centres in the UK
Data centres can be seen as a necessity brought about by the rise of the internet and applications, or they can be seen as a critical sector of the economy. Centres not only store and process data for millions of users and businesses but also contribute to the national budget. Let’s look at the statistics:
- According to a recent report, the UK data centre market will grow at 10.51% per year during the forecast period (2024-2029), outperforming many other sectors within the UK’s economy.
- Around 28% of businesses in the UK use data centre services. 62% of large companies with at least 250 employees use data centre services.
- In 2022, data played a significant role in the UK’s economy, contributing 6.9% of GDP; 76% of the country’s service exports were data-dependent.
- On a broader scale, 85% of businesses surveyed confirmed their involvement with digital data, a trend that is prevalent in almost all companies with ten or more employees.
The industry faces financial losses as data centre outages cost billions annually. Recognising this, the government has put forward the aforementioned security enhancements and the idea of designating individual centres as critical infrastructure. The anticipated changes are designed to strengthen defences against potential risks.
Collaboration between the Government and the Tech Industry
As suggested by decision-makers and ministers, the government will develop and implement the new rules in conjunction with business representatives. Technology companies were asked to comment on the initiative to ensure that it aligns with the interests of both the public and the private sector. The government is inviting input from a variety of stakeholders, including data centre operators, cloud service providers, and subject-matter experts, and the feedback gathered will inform decisions on the measures.
The joint effort aims to secure the UK’s data infrastructure by combining regulation with industry expertise to create a robust and secure digital environment. The new framework is also expected to boost economic growth, making the UK a more attractive place to invest. The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill will further develop to improve data safety, bolster national security, and create at least £4bn worth of new economic opportunities.
Future Outlook on Data Protection
The new regulations, including the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill, aim to strengthen data security further and create new economic opportunities after Brexit. It’s important to note that boosting security and resilience in data centres is only a part of a wider drive to better protect businesses and individuals online. Other measures will include a new regime setting minimum security standards for all internet-connected consumer products. The new standards will come into force by April 2024, making the UK the first country to introduce such protection measures.
How Payrow Supports Tech Firms and Contributes to Data Security
The UK’s data protection framework is developing, and there’s a need for a secure and resilient digital infrastructure. The introduction of new rules not only strengthens security measures in data centres, protecting critical information but also contributes to the economic and national interests of the UK.
Payrow is committed to strengthening defences against increasingly sophisticated financial fraud while adhering to evolving data protection standards. Our commitment goes beyond mere compliance. We aim to maintain operational efficiency and simplify routine business processes while strictly adhering to robust UK data protection regulations.
We recognise the importance of meeting global standards and focus on providing financial services that are both secure and efficient, prioritising the protection of customer data. Business owners who choose us as their partner can be sure that their financial transactions and data will be as secure as possible.
What are the new UK data protection regulations for 2024?
Legislation that deals with data security has changed this year. The new set of laws is designed to introduce minimum yet adequate and strict security standards for data centres. This is done in order to protect centres against cyber threats, increase their reliability, and simplify data protection requirements for businesses.
How do new regulations impact data centre security?
The data of millions of people and businesses is stored in data centres, and their security depends on the level of protection implemented. The new rules will oblige data storage providers to protect their centres. Consequently, the average level of security across the UK will increase.
What is the economic significance of these changes for the UK?
On the one hand, 85% of enterprises in the UK have confirmed their participation in working with digital data. Almost 28% of UK companies use data centres to store information, and data-driven enterprises make a significant contribution to the country’s GDP. On the other hand, the industry faces financial losses every year, as data centre outages cost billions of pounds. The new rules help to secure this vital sector, thereby maintaining economic stability.
How is the government collaborating with the tech industry on this?
As proposed by decision-makers, the government will develop and implement new rules together with tech-oriented businesses.