Cisco study shows the business benefits of good data privacy practices

28 Jan 2019

Image: ©Dmitry Vereshchagin/

A new study from Cisco shows consumers are becoming more concerned with their data privacy when it comes to doing business.

The 2019 Data Privacy Benchmark Study from Cisco shows that organisations that invested in improving their data privacy practices are now seeing business benefits from doing so.

More than 3,200 data privacy professionals in 18 countries responded to questions from Cisco for the study. It revealed that, in 2018, privacy was on top of the to-do list of organisations around the world, with the implementation of GDPR, the announcement of the California Consumer Privacy Act and the general public’s changing attitude towards their personal data.

Privacy saw a spike in interest

According to the study, 59pc of organisations reported meeting all or most GDPR compliance requirements, while 29pc expect to do so within a year.

Michelle Dennedy, chief privacy officer at Cisco, said: “This past year, privacy and data protection importance increased dramatically. Data is the new currency and, as the market shifts, we see organisations realising real business benefits from their investments in protecting their data.”

The study found that organisations that made investments in data privacy to meet meet the GDPR requirements experienced shorter delays due to privacy concerns in selling to existing customers – 3.4 weeks versus 5.4 weeks for the least GDPR-ready organisations.

GDPR-ready organisations also cited a lower incidence of data breaches, fewer records impacted in security incidents and shorter system downtimes. These organisations were also much less likely to experience a major financial loss due to a breach.

More room to innovate

As well as the benefits relating to privacy and security, respondents cited other broader positives, including greater innovation due to appropriate data controls, gaining competitive advantage and a boost in efficiency from having data organised properly.

More customers than ever are focused on privacy with 87pc of companies experiencing delays in their sales cycle due to customers’ or prospects’ privacy concerns, up from 66pc year-on-year.

Longer sales delays were apparent in countries where privacy practices were high or in transition. Top reasons cited for sales delays included investigating customer requests for privacy needs, translating privacy information into specific languages, informing customers about an organisation’s privacy practices, or redesigning products to meet customer privacy needs.

Peter Lefkowitz, chief digital risk officer at Citrix Systems and 2018 board chair of the International Association of Privacy Professionals, said, “This research provides evidence for something privacy professionals have long understood: that organisations are benefitting from their privacy investments beyond compliance.”

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects