The UK-US Data Bridge and what it means for SMEs
UK Innovation, and Technology minister Michelle Donelan has announced that the US-UK Data Bridge will go live later this week, on October 12.
Designed to improve data sharing between the two nations, new regulations will grant UK businesses the freedom to send personal data to certified US organisations with reduced restrictions and bureaucratic implications.
According to UK government, the term ‘data bridge’ describes the decision to permit the flow of personal data from the UK to another country without the need for further safeguards.
It symbolises the connection between destinations that is established by these decisions and encapsulates the UK’s collaborative approach with its international partners.
Data bridges are not reciprocal, according to Westminster, therefore they do not allow the free flow of data from other countries to the UK. Instead, a data bridge ensures that the level of protection for UK individuals’ personal data under UK GDPR is maintained.
What does this mean for SMEs?
Skillcast, a corporate compliance training service, has broken down how businesses can benefit from the new regulations which are outlined below:
– Streamlined Data Transfer – SMEs often collaborate with US partners or clients. The data bridge makes it easier and quicker to share data, supporting business operations.
– Safety First – The UK and US have worked together to ensure that the data sent across the bridge is protected. Businesses can have confidence that their customers’ sensitive information is in good hands.
– Research Opportunities – If businesses are involved in research, particularly in fields like healthcare or technology, this data bridge can facilitate the exchange of critical information, fostering innovation and advancements.
– Enhanced Services – For SMEs offering services or products, the data bridge paves the way for better, more tailored offerings for customers.
And if something were to go wrong, a safety net is in place. If businesses suspect that confidential data has been accessed unlawfully in the US, there’s systems to help address issues and find a resolution.
But while the data bridge simplifies the process of sharing data with US organisations, Skillcast said that UK SMEs must remember that they still have obligations under UK data protection laws, especially when handling sensitive data.
Vivek Dodd, CEO of Skillcast, said: “These regulations could provide significant advantages for businesses of all sizes, particularly SMEs, as simplifying the data-sharing processes while maintaining robust data protection standards will facilitate smoother and more efficient business operations.”
He added that he data bridge will reduce hurdles associated with international data sharing while ensuring the privacy and security of sensitive information. “This will, in turn, create new opportunities for SMEs, enhancing innovation and growth — a crucial advancement in the evolving world of data.”
Charlie Bromley-Griffiths, corporate counsel at Conga, said that businesses need to be “scrupulous” with their data management and ensure they have the right measures in place to comply with the new regulations.
“A lot has changed in the last year, with the Electronic Trade Documents Act, NI Protocol data sharing agreement and the Schrems II legislation all coming into effect, organisations will need to review their data architecture and contract clauses with their customers and partners.”
Bromley-Griffiths added that enterprises will also have to review their internal operations and systems of record to ensure all data flows between teams and their systems are aligned. “It is the only way to ensure that all personal data transfers are lawful and compliant.”
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