Privacy-immature businesses facing sales delays and financial loss, finds Cisco study

Cisco's 2018 Privacy Maturity Benchmark Study has revealed how privacy-immature businesses across the world are facing significant sales delays and are also suffering major financial losses associated with data breaches.

With GDPR fast approaching, businesses need to devote their resources to address privacy concerns if they wish to plug sales delays and to avoid paying huge fines associated with data breaches, says Cisco.

A survey of 3,600 security professionals from 25 countries by Cisco has revealed how important it is for businesses to have good privacy processes well beyond GDPR compliance. Good privacy processes will not only help businesses comply with GDPR but also encounter lower losses associated with data breaches and experience shorter delays in their sales cycle due to customer data privacy issues.

Following the completion of the survey, Cisco revealed that privacy-immature businesses, who do not have adequate privacy processes, experienced an average 16.8 weeks of delay in sales last year. As many as 74 percent of such companies also lost over $500,000 to cyber-attacks and data breaches in the same period.

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On the other hand, privacy-mature companies faced just 3.4 weeks of delay in sales and only 39 percent of them suffered losses in excess of $500,000 to cyber-attacks and data breaches.

'Given these results, every organization should better understand the impact of data privacy on their sales cycle. Businesses should assess what percentage of their product or service portfolio may be impacted by customer privacy concerns and quantify the potential size of any delays,' Cisco noted.

To help privacy-immature businesses minimise sales delays, Cisco also suggested that they should ensure that those in sales should have timely access to information that addresses common customer privacy concerns, quickly investigate customer issues by setting up special teams, and work with engineering and product development to make any needed changes, ideally ensuring that privacy is built in from the beginning.

'The road to (business) hell is paved with good intentions, and this research has revealed that this is especially the case when it comes to cyber-security. Organisations which don't deploy effective data protection don't only often pay the price to a tune of over a third of a million pounds - they also suffer all the reputational consequences too,' says James Longworth, Head of Solution Architecture at Insight.

'The key to effective cyber security is to understand that vulnerabilities don't solely originate with technology, but with people. Consider the modern flexible employee – accessing company information on the move, carrying everything they need on mobile devices, and working with sensitive data every day, regardless of job function or department. Employees are on the frontline of the cyber security war, and organisations therefore need to look beyond the IT department to establish good cyber-security awareness and practise across the organisation.

"However, organisations should not neglect the importance of investing new technologies such as analytics or artificial intelligence. It is only by pairing such tools with strong, all-encompassing training programmes, that organisations can best safeguard themselves and their customers from the many threats of today. The key to driving this dual approach will be working with trusted partners who have deep expertise in cyber security and executional nous to match,' he adds.