A third of UK CIOs regard EU regulation as more important than local laws

Complexity and risk of reputational damage put adherence to EU law at the top of the agenda for CIOs

London, 5th December. A study commissioned by Colt Technology Services shows that UK CIOs are more concerned with EU regulation than their own local laws.  According to the study conducted by Forrester Consulting across eight European countries, 34% of UK CIOs regard EU regulation, such as the Data Protection Directive*, as more important than local data protection regulation. Across Europe, 30% of CIOs rated EU regulation as more important than their local country laws.

“While organisations should be aware of the financial impact of ignoring compliance, the real danger is loss of reputation.  Customers expect companies to handle their personal information securely and treat it with respect.  Data security breaches imply the opposite,” writes Forrester Consulting in the forthcoming study.

“This study has confirmed that regulation and compliance is on every CIOs agenda in Europe and the bigger the enterprise gets the more important regulation and compliance becomes. The challenge facing these larger businesses is the complexity and reach of EU laws which makes adhering to them even more critical because of the far reaching effects for all sectors and all countries.”

While 85% of CIOs across Europe said that regulatory compliance was an important issue for their ICT strategy, there was notably less support for local data regulation across the region.  Only in Switzerland (84%) and Belgium (80%) did significant numbers of CIOs deem local laws to be important – even then, they considered EU laws to take precedence.  In Spain, fewer than half (48%) of the CIOs viewed compliance with local regulation as critical to their organisation. While 88% of CIOs described themselves as being familiar with legal requirements, 86% of CIOs said they need access to the relevant legal teams to deal with the complex legal requirements they face.

Emmanuel Tricaud, Regulatory Director, Colt said: “This study reflects what we are seeing across all of the European countries we operate in. The fact that technology now underpins almost every business function means that the growing complexity of local and EU-wide laws is no longer the remit of the regulatory team alone.  The potential risk of reputational damage caused by loss of data or compromised customer data means that close working relationships between the CIO and regulatory side of the business are more important than ever.”

“As technology continues to make the world appear smaller, enterprises expect CIOs to play a leading role in leveraging technology trends to deliver on strategic business objectives,” said Gavin Jackson, EMEA Director, Cloud Services and Partners at VMware. “Enterprises of all sizes can now efficiently play in adjacent vertical and geographic markets by providing anytime, anywhere access to corporate information but this study shows that EU regulations should be a core consideration for all CIOs supporting cross-border growth ambitions.” 

As enterprises store, manage and analyse increasing amounts of customer and employee information, the question of where that data is hosted and accessed and by whom will continue to be a hot topic. 85% of respondents across Europe said country-specific data centres is a capability that they consider when selecting a service provider. In addition, over three-quarters (78%) of CIOs say that not having data scrutinised by government departments is either very important or extremely important to their organisation. This remains consistent across Europe with 84% of Spanish CIOs and 82% of UK CIOs saying that keeping data safe from scrutiny by government agencies was of significant importance. Germany was the lowest at 70%.

Other key facts from the study include:
 

  • Overall, CIOs across Europe expect regulation to slightly increase in importance over the next 2 years (85% to 88%) but in Germany this reduces from 82% to 74%
  • CIOs are very confident that they are familiar with the relevant compliance and regulatory requirements for ICT, particularly UK CIOs (92%)
  • However, 82% of UK CIOs feel that support from the relevant compliance and regulatory teams is important for their organisation
  • A fifth of CIOs believe compliance is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to managing large volumes of data


The findings come from a wider Forrester Consulting study, commissioned by Colt and VMware bridging the gap between technology and business needs.  To receive a copy of the study, you can pre-register at www.colt.net/cio-research

Colt operates in 22 countries across Europe, operating its own local data centres and network, providing customers with local language support to address the challenges of meeting data regulations across Europe.  

* The Data Protection Directive (officially Directive 95/46/EC on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data) is a European Union directive which regulates the processing of personal data within the European Union.

About Colt
Colt is the information delivery platform, enabling its customers to deliver, share, process and store their vital business information. An established leader in delivering integrated computing and network services to major organisations, midsized businesses and wholesale customers, Colt operates a 22-country, 43,000km network that includes metropolitan area networks in 39 major European cities with direct fibre connections into 18,000 buildings and 20 carrier neutral Colt data centres.

In 2010, the Colt Data Centre Services business was launched to deliver innovative high quality data centre solutions at a Colt or customer site. Our Innovative data centres are rapid to deploy, flexible and highly efficient.

In addition to its direct sales capability, Colt has four indirect channels to market; Agent, Franchise, Distributor and Wholesale which includes Carriers, Service Providers, VARs and Voice Resellers.

Colt is listed on the London Stock Exchange (COLT).

About the study
The study was commissioned by Colt and VMware conducted by Forrester Consulting. 400 CIOs across Europe completed online interviews during October and November 2012.  The survey was then further supplemented by 15 in depth interviews with European CIOs, COOs and CFOs between October and December 2012.
 

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