Data privacy concerns are causing significant sales delays for up to 65 percent of businesses worldwide, according to the findings of a recent study funded by Cisco.
The company’s 2018 Privacy Maturity Benchmark Study surveyed nearly 3,000 global security professionals in 25 countries. Two-thirds of the respondents indicated that data privacy was causing delays in their sales cycles, with an average delay of 7.8 weeks.
Respondents were asked to assess their current privacy maturity level, according to the standard AICPA model, which defines five privacy maturity levels: ad hoc, repeatable, defined, managed, and optimized. The study found that the average sales delay for those with ad hoc maturity was 16.8 weeks, but delays decreased for businesses with higher privacy maturity levels. Businesses with optimized privacy processes reported 3.4 weeks of sales delay, which is an 80 percent reduction compared to ad hoc organizations.
Geography and industry also appear to play a significant role in the length of delay. The pending May 2018 enforcement of the EU-based General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is potentially another factor in the delays.
Among the survey’s highlights, companies in the government and healthcare sectors exhibited the longest average sales delays—19 weeks and 10.2 weeks, respectively—compared to other industries. Companies in the utilities, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing sectors reported the shortest average delays, all 3 weeks or less. Latin America and Mexico are experiencing the longest sales delays, at 15.4 weeks and 13 weeks, respectively. China and Russia have the shortest delays, at 2.8 weeks and 3.3 weeks, respectively.
Overall, 53 percent of respondents reported losses greater than $500,000 related to cyberattacks in the last 12 months.
This study demonstrates the correlation between privacy policies and real-world economic impacts. Channel partners can leverage the data to assess impact on sales in relation to risk as they develop and deploy IT solutions.