Blog / 06 Feb, 2019

Everybody needs a backstop (for their data…)

It seems that Brexit has overtaken the weather as the most popular topic of conversation these days on the islands of Britain and Ireland, and no topic at the minute is more burning and controversial than the proposed backstop arrangement to address the issue of handling the border situation between the North and South of Ireland (which currently serves the purpose of converting kilometres to miles and pounds to euros) when the UK leaves the EU.

 

As a native of one of the border counties it’s obviously a topic I’m keen to see resolved, but it seems like the only general consensus is that no one wants to return to the “old ways”, which is where my analogy to long term data management begins.

 

The old ways are the old ways

In data terms, the old ways companies kept their data was in silos across their business – which was fine until regulations needed them to keep and be able to retrieve data over extended periods of time – up to 30 years in some regulated industries.

 

As you can imagine, this can cause major issues when you’re asked by the regulator to retrieve all data related to patients or clinical trials 20 years after an event in a timely manner – not the easiest thing to resolve if you have data in multiple locations. Which is why it’s important, where possible, to keep your long term data in a single repository under secure management and make it usable by applying context to it with good metadata (which can be added at source or auto-extracted using tools we have to provide context) and content management structure to ensure it’s available when you need it. After all, just as the only business that has ever benefited from a hard border is smuggling, in the same vain the benefactors of poor, disparate data management are hackers and ransom seekers and you don’t want to see these industries benefiting from your business.

 

Location, location, location

Another challenge we’re hearing from our customers related to Brexit is data location issues which will potentially need to be addressed carefully over the next few years.

 

Some of our customers have legal obligations to keep their data within the EU so it’s a real challenge as it’s a little harder to move peta bytes of data to a new location than it is to shift cows across a field on the border  🙂 We’ve got you covered here quite seamlessly – our deployment models cover public or private cloud options as well as on premise where needed, and luckily we have plenty of experience in moving large data volumes.

 

The bigger challenge here is potentially having a need to separate data across multi-national organisations, where perhaps an on-premise deployment now needs to be separated between the UK and EU – for this a more detailed analysis of the data under management needs to be considered, identifying which data needs to be moved, where it needs to be kept and who should have access to it. It’s really important to look at secure sharing options across the organisation – if you’re talking about collaborative research across different locations then it’s critical that the important parts of this research can be securely shared among authorised users even if the data location needs to be separated and items such as personally identifiable information handled with caution to meet business needs.

 

All in all, Brexit poses some challenges for multi-national companies with their long term data management needs, but Arkivum can help you navigate these concerns and make sure your data is protected and covered by the many regulations you’re facing – get in touch now to find out in more detail how we can help.

Sinéad McKeown

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