UK government launches call for evidence about the security of UK data centres and cloud services

May 26, 2022

The government says that addressing cybersecurity risks is critical due to two factors:

·      the strategic importance of data makes infrastructure where large volumes of data accumulate an attractive target to those hostile to the UK;

·      the UK relies on the crucial services that large-scale data storage and processing infrastructure underpin.

Research from the Office for National Statistics shows that from 2013 to 2019 the number of businesses purchasing cloud computing services to store their data has more than doubled, with more than half of businesses now relying on cloud platforms.

The Government has announced that it is seeking views on how to boost the security and resilience of the UK’s data centres and online cloud platforms. It is also asking companies which run, purchase or rent any element of a data centre to provide details about the types of customers they serve.

The work is part of the government’s National Data Strategy to ensure the security and resilience of the infrastructure on which data relies.

Views are sought on tools currently used in other regulated sectors, such as having an incident management plan in place, notifying a regulator when an incident has an impact on their services, and a requirement for a person board or committee to be held accountable for security and resilience.

The UK’s data storage and processing infrastructure includes physical buildings housing large computer systems, which store and process huge volumes of data, as well as cloud platforms which provide remote, shareable computing services via the internet.

New protections would build on existing safeguards for data infrastructure, including the Networks and Information Systems (NIS) Regulations 2018 which cover cloud computing services. The National Cyber Security Centre and Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure also regularly update guidance for data centres and their online assets.

The plans would aim to give greater confidence to the millions of people who rely on these digital services every day to make calls, and send photos and messages. The government also wants to help small businesses who use cloud platforms as a cheaper, more efficient way to access essential IT services. It also says that as the UK’s reliance on digital services grows, shielding this infrastructure against disruption will protect the economy.

Based on the feedback from the call for views, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will decide whether any additional government support or management is needed to minimise the risks that data storage and processing infrastructure face.

The call for views ends on 24 July 2022.