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GDPR Compliance Brings Other Benefits: Cisco Study

Companies that are ready for the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have reported shorter sales delays and fewer or less serious data breaches, according to Cisco’s 2019 Data Privacy Benchmark Study.

The study uses data collected for Cisco’s Annual Cybersecurity Benchmark Study, for which over 3,200 security professionals from around the world were surveyed. Privacy-related questions were addressed to more than 2,900 of them.

The Data Privacy Benchmark Study shows that organizations that have invested in customer privacy requirements, mainly to become GDPR compliant and to avoid fines and penalties, are seeing some benefits beyond GDPR compliance.

According to Cisco, 59% of respondents said their organization had met GDPR requirements and 29% expect to become compliant within one year.

Since GDPR applies to Europe and the processing of personal data belonging to individuals in Europe, it’s unsurprising that there is a high GDPR readiness rate in this region. However, GDPR is not ignored in other parts of the world either - the GDPR readiness level is at 57% in the US, 60% in Canada, 50% in Australia and 42% in China.

Meeting data security requirements, internal training, keeping up with evolving developments, complying with privacy-by-design requirements, and meeting data subject access requests were cited as some of the most significant challenges in getting ready for GDPR.

The number of organizations that have reported sales delays due to data privacy concerns has increased to 87%, from 66% in the previous year. However, Cisco found that sales delays were 1-2 weeks shorter in the case of GDPR-ready organizations, compared to ones that expect to become compliant within a year or more.

While a majority of the surveyed companies admitted being hit by a data breach in the past year, the percentage of GDPR-ready organizations affected was 74%, compared to 80% in the case of organizations that expect to become ready in less than a year and 89% for ones that still have a long way to go.

Furthermore, GDPR-ready organizations that have suffered a data breach reported that the average number of impacted records was 79,000, compared to 212,000 reported by non-compliant organizations.

Cisco also found that the system downtime associated with a breach was shorter in the case of GDPR-ready firms, and the costs of dealing with the incident were also considerably smaller.

Cisco privacy study

Specifically, 37% of GDPR-ready companies spent over $500,000 due to a breach. On the other hand, 64% of firms that have more than a year to become compliant reported spending over half a million dollars as a result of a breach.

“Organizations have a long way to go to maximize the value of their privacy investments. Our research shows that the market is set and ready for those willing to invest in data assets and privacy may be the path forward to get there,” said Michelle Dennedy, Chief Privacy Officer at Cisco.

Related: GDPR Complaints Filed Against Eight International Streaming Companies

Related: First GDPR Enforcement is Followed by First GDPR Appeal

Related: Test Case Probes Jurisdictional Reach of GDPR

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.