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Privacy is jumping up list of customer concerns, says Cisco

Customers have rising concerns over privacy and so more regulators and governments are likely to respond with compliance requirements backed by law. Cisco’s latest global study finds significant privacy concerns stemming from the pandemic, fueled by rapid shift to remote work and the need to access health information of individuals.

And this is being welcomed by the public and specialists, with privacy legislation worldwide well received, with nearly 80% of security and privacy professionals seeing positive impact on their organisations.

Cisco’s 2021 Data Privacy Benchmark Study is its fourth annual look into corporate privacy practices worldwide. It found raised importance of privacy protections during the pandemic and increasing benefits for businesses that adopt strong privacy measures. The independent, anonymized survey analysed the responses of 4400 security and privacy professionals across 25 countries and explored attitudes towards privacy legislation and the emergence of privacy metrics being reported to executive management.

At a time of disruption and uncertainty due to the pandemic, people have been suddenly expected, and at times required, to share their personal information to help curtail the spread of COVID19. At the same time, people have shifted much of their lives online, accelerating a trend that normally would have taken years.

These mass-scale shifts in human interaction and digital engagement presented many challenging data privacy issues for organizations who aim to follow the law, stop the spread of the pandemic, while also respecting individual rights. It says that strong privacy infrastructure and robust security practices will be essential for post-pandemic social and economic recovery.

For customers, privacy is much more than just a compliance issue as businesses now see it as a fundamental human right and a mission-critical C-suite priority, the report says.  

  • 60% of organizations say they weren't prepared for privacy and security requirements involved in the shift to remote work
  • 93% of organizations turned to their privacy teams to help navigate these challenges
  • 87% of consumers expressed concerns about the privacy protections of the tools they needed to use to work, interact and connect remotely
  • 90% of organisations now reporting privacy metrics to their C-suites and boards

There is a clear shift in the market towards standardising privacy as a non-negotiable requirement when digitizing and advancing business objectives. More than 140 jurisdictions have now passed omnibus privacy laws, and nearly 80% of respondents found these laws to have a positive impact

"Privacy has come of age – recognized as a fundamental human right and rising to a mission-critical priority for executive management," noted Cisco Vice President and Chief Privacy Officer, Harvey Jang. "And with the accelerated move to work from anywhere, privacy has taken on greater importance in driving digitisation, corporate resiliency, agility, and innovation."