Data privacy concerns are clogging up sales cycles for 65 per cent of businesses worldwide, according to a recent report from Cisco.

Cisco’s 2018 Privacy Maturity Benchmark Study, which surveyed nearly 3000 global security professionals in 25 countries regarding their privacy maturity and any effects of data privacy on their business, says those delays are an average of approximately eight weeks.

“Good privacy is good for business,” said Michelle Dennedy, chief privacy officer for Cisco in a statement. “Organizations need to invest in data privacy governance and process to reap the benefits.”

In addition to poor privacy measures – which according to Cisco, is connected to 53 per cent of organizations losing more than $500,00 in 2017 because of data breaches – the recently announced General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), enacted to increase protections of European Union (EU) citizens’ privacy and personal data, might also be a factor in these delays. The enforcement of GDPR begins May 25.

Compared to other industries, government and healthcare sectors experienced the longest average sales delays last year – 19 and 10 weeks, respectively. Companies in the pharmaceutical, utilities and manufacturing sectors reported the shortest average delays at three weeks or less. Nearly 75 per cent of companies in an ad hoc stage reported a breach, but that number decreases with increasing privacy maturity.

Geography also play a role in the length of delays. Latin America and Mexico are experiencing the longest ones at more than 15 weeks and 13 weeks, respectively. China and Russia have the shortest delays, at nearly three weeks.

Above all else, the report suggests companies should measure their current delays and understand how much sales revenue might be affected by the delays. They should then regularly measure and track the sales delay metric and set priorities for investments to reduce those delays. Improved cyber security, Cisco says, is a good place to start.

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