A new NetApp survey has found that IT decision makers across the UK increasingly see that data regulation can positively impact their organisations’ commercial operations. More than half (53%) say that data regulation either had or will have a positive impact, while only 18% have either seen or anticipate a negative impact. On the contrary, 16% have neither seen nor expect to see any impact on their organisations. This indicates a substantial change since NetApp’s survey conducted in April 2018, when only 30% of UK IT decision makers said that GDPR would improve their competitive advantage.

In line with this positive sentiment, UK companies’ data privacy awareness continues to develop. The majority of UK companies (68%) say that their level of concern for data privacy has increased since GDPR implementation. While 30% say that their level of concern has been the same since May 2018, a mere 2% claim that their level of concern has reduced.

Data sovereignty draws companies’ focus – impact on customer targeting varies

Many companies have turned their attention to data sovereignty to maintain compliance with data privacy regulations. In the UK, 66% of companies give ‘major’ to ‘some’ consideration to data sovereignty, when preparing for Brexit. Nearly half of UK companies (47%) think that their Brexit-related data sovereignty concerns will eclipse their pre and post GDPR worries, and one quarter (24%) think they will be the same. Whilst 23% of UK companies cannot say whether they worry more about GDPR or Brexit, only 6% say they worry less about Brexit than they do about GDPR.

At the same time, UK businesses are divided about the impact of data sovereignty on targeting customers in EU jurisdictions. Almost half (44%) of UK companies say that data sovereignty has not affected EU customer targeting, whilst 33% of companies have seen an impact.

However, many UK companies are still unclear on how they should prepare for Brexit from a data management perspective: 19% say that they have either given none or not very much consideration, or do not think that they need to consider data sovereignty. One in seven companies (14%) say that they do not know how much consideration their organisation gives.

Martin Warren, Cloud Solutions Marketing Manager, EMEA: “The uncertainties around Brexit affect companies in numerous ways, including in their data management preparations. It is therefore encouraging to see many UK businesses already focussing on data regulation and privacy. Whilst this is partly driven by legislation and specifically the GDPR, there is now also a better understanding of how data regulation positively contributes to the commercial success of an organisation. As more details around Brexit emerge over the coming months, the best course of action for companies is to continue to build solid data protection and data governance processes, to ensure compliance with current legislation and preparedness for any future developments.”