Nearly two-thirds of businesses worldwide have experienced significant delays in sales due to customer data privacy concerns, according to Cisco’s 2018 Privacy Maturity Benchmark Study.
The study, based on the responses of roughly 3,000 cybersecurity professionals from 25 countries, shows that 65% of businesses reported sales cycle delays due to concerns over data privacy, with an average delay of nearly 8 weeks.
However, organizations with a mature privacy process are less affected compared to privacy-immature companies. Privacy-mature firms experienced delays of only 3.4 weeks, while immature businesses reported delays averaging nearly 17 weeks.
Sales delays have also varied depending on several other factors, including country, with the longest delays reported in Mexico and Latin America, and industry, with the longest delays in the government and healthcare sectors.
The report also shows that privacy-mature organizations suffer lower losses as a result of data breaches. According to Cisco, only 39% of privacy-mature organizations experienced losses exceeding $500,000, compared to 74% of companies that have an immature privacy process.
The type of model adopted by organizations for privacy resources also appears to be an important factor. According to the study, businesses with fully centralized and decentralized resources had sales delays of 10 and 7 weeks, respectively. On the other hand, organizations with a hybrid model, which represents a mix between centralized and decentralized, reported delays of less than 5 weeks.
“This study provides valuable empirical evidence of the linkage between firm privacy policies and performance-relevant impacts. These results are indicative of the direction that future empirical research on privacy, and cybersecurity more generally, should take to better validate and focus our understanding of best practices in these important areas,” said Dr. William Lehr, economist at MIT.
The complete 2018 Privacy Maturity Benchmark Study is available for download in PDF format.