Updated: How will Brexit affect the cyber-security industry in UK and Europe?

The British public has voted to leave the European Union by a margin of 52 to 48 percent. Are there any implications for people working in the cyber-security industry?

Picture credit: BBC
Picture credit: BBC

With the 52 percent to 48 percent vote in favour of Britain leaving the European Union today, what are the implications for information security and assurance, the fight against cyber-crime and the development of the cyber-security tech industry in the UK?

Anticipating the possibility of this outcome, Tripwire conducted a poll of information security professionals at InfoSecurity Europe 2016. Of 278 people questioned, 64 percent said that there would basically be no change as a result of an exit vote.

“Most information security professionals appear unconcerned with the impact of this referendum on UK cyber security,” said Neil Harvey, vice president of EMEA at Tripwire. “This could mean that they believe that the UK's approach to cyber security won't change significantly either way, but it's also possible that EU hasn't provided enough transparency around the impact of new regulations in the near term to make a difference to professionals that grapple with these issues every day.”

Meanwhile, speaking on how this might affect the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Michael Hack, senior vice president of EMEA operations at Ipswitch, told SCMagazineUK.com, “Now the UK is out it will be governed by a different data protection regime, but it will still need to adhere to suitable data protection measures in order to transfer data to and from the EU. So in many regards, the requirements of the GDPR will still apply and it is back to the business of preparing for it, then.”

Adam Oldfield, EMEA financial service director at Unisys, commented on the impact of Brexit on GDPR and regulation: "Like any piece of regulation, the GDPR will come into effect and the industry will find a way to comply. However, we can never be truly sure of what the long-term effects will be and in a few years the regulators may decide that it didn't have the desired effect and change it. Such is the nature of compliance in the digital world: the only certainty is uncertainty. There are those that contend that Brexit will be the death of regulation, and indeed of all the EU-mandated directives with which institutions in the UK must comply. But if the UK wishes to keep doing business with EU Member States, it will need to comply with these regulations, only without the ability to negotiate or challenge them."

At one point the pound had fallen to its lowest rate in nearly 30 years when it briefly touched US$1.33 but it has risen since then and by mid-morning was trading at $1.38.

Mike Laven, CEO Currencycloud told SC, “There's no doubt that the nation's decision to leave the EU has major macro-economic implications - Negotiations will be long and ongoing – and this uncertainty alone means we can expect significant volatility ahead."

Echoing sentiments of uncertainty, Simon Black, CEO, PPRO Group told SC, "In the UK, we now face years of uncertainty in the market. However, my advice would be to keep calm and carry on. Nothing will change for at least two years and all arrangements on a European level will work as they have until now."

Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England gave a statement to BBC News and said he is “prepared to do what it takes to stabilise the economy and restore the value of the pound.”

This story is developing, and SC will be bringing much analysis on effects to the cyber-security industry, cross border security cooperation and what is next for the GDPR and Privacy Shield.

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