Data is the 'new oil' - Brian Honan on Irish firms having to protect data ahead of Brexit


Laura Lynott

Guest speaker Brian Honan, CEO BH Consulting at the Dublin Information SEC2017 seminar in the RDS Concert Hall.
Photo: Tony Gavin 1/11/2017
Guest speaker Brian Honan, CEO BH Consulting at the Dublin Information SEC2017 seminar in the RDS Concert Hall. Photo: Tony Gavin 1/11/2017

A top CEO of a security services company has said data is the “new oil” and as Ireland moves towards Brexit businesses must protect their information.

Brian Honan, CEO of BH consulting, discussed GDPR and Brexit at the Dublin Information Sec 2017 at the RDS in Dublin warning businesses to futureproof their company’s information ahead of Brexit.

“Data is the new oil but if mishandled it can cause collateral damage,” Mr Honan said.

Mr Honan explained that all Irish companies shouldn’t just cancel contracts they hold with UK companies ahead of Brexit. 

But it was a necessary step for all CEO’s to research with UK firms if they would be GDPR secure post any UK exit and that Irish company information would be protected.

"Come April 2019 what will it mean for us (Brexit) and how we store data in the UK - there’s a lot of uncertainty," he said.

“It’s illegal to store data outside a country unless privacy rights are in place.

"Ireland would not be sure if the UK would be considered an “adequate” place to store EU information post Brexit, the CEO explained and therefore new contracts may have to be drawn up.

“Will the UK be deemed an adequate country?” he said.“The UK has a number of laws and regulations in place that could undermine the Data Protection Bill, The IP Bill or the snoopers charter could make the UK an inadequate place to store data under GDPR but I would say keep calm. 

“I wouldn’t go out and cancel contracts with UK companies but I’d ask them what they are doing to become compliant with GDPR requirements.

“We can hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”The CEO said that certain information wouldn’t be viewed as sensitive, including names and addresses because they are easily accessible.

But bank details and union memberships, among other information, were viewed as private data and it was important this was protected.“Our hope is, the easiest thing for us all is if Brexit is cancelled but we have to plan for it if it does happen,” Mr Honan said.

“There are two things certain in life death in taxes and for those of us in the EU there’s also GDPR and we’re on the final countdown (to Brexit).