- Companies that made privacy investments saw fewer breaches, less costly ones, and less downtime.
- The number one complaint of consumers right now is that they do not know what is going on with how their data is being used.
Companies that focussed and invested in privacy completed sales more quickly, witnessed fewer and less serious breaches, and recovered from security incidents faster, as per Cisco's new annual survey. The tech giant published the survey a day before Data Privacy Day on January 28.
About the survey
Cisco Data Privacy Benchmark Study 2020 report is based on a survey of 2,500 security professionals familiar with their companies' privacy practices.
- The survey revealed that companies investing in privacy see an average return of 270 percent on their investments.
- Seven out of 10 companies reaped benefits from their privacy expenditures.
- More mature companies had greater returns on their privacy investments.
- High-scoring companies saw an average benefit of 3.1 times return, compared to low-scoring companies, which stood at an average benefit of 2.3 times return.
Robert Waitman, director of privacy insights and innovation at Cisco, commented that the report underscores privacy programs that go beyond the fear of inviting fines. It is about building trust with customers. "Companies that made privacy investments saw fewer breaches, less costly ones, and less downtime. That's not a coincidence," he added.
Privacy breach, the biggest menace
A large number of companies from different industries see the issue of privacy and data security as an uninvited alarming hurdle in their growth.
- The EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has cost British Airways$240 million fine for website flaws.
- Similarly, Hotel chain Marriot also GDPR fine of $130 million for a breach.
- Overall, 82 percent of companies had a breach in the past year, according to the survey.
Businesses have just begun maturing on privacy practices and also referring it as a competitive advantage over their competitors.
Waitman said, "Companies who may be taking the minimalistic approach, who are looking to just avoid fines from GDPR or other private actions and legislation — that is not the right approach."
Other valuable insights from the report
The study unveiled that more than 40 percent of businesses see benefits of more than double the amount spend on privacy efforts.
- U.K topped the report with a 3.5 times return, and Brazil and Mexico, both with a 3.3 times return.
- Indian companies benefited the least, but still, the estimated average return for their firms were 1.9 times.
- Enterprises with 10,000 or more employees spent $1.9 million on privacy, whereas small companies with 500 employees or less spent $800,000, on average.
- The relative benefit from privacy investment barely varied for small companies as compared to large companies.
"Small companies spend a little, get a little, and large companies spend a lot, get a lot..The ratio is kind of similar," Waitman concluded.
In the end, companies still need to focus on serving their customer’s needs rather than collecting data indiscriminately, Waitman asserted. "Legislation has provided power back to the people in terms of controlling their data, to some extent…..The number one complaint of consumers right now is that they do not know what is going on with how their data is being used by the people they share it with," Waitman said.