Dubai, United Arab Emirates, February 09, 2021: Cisco today published the 2021 Data Privacy Benchmark Study, which found enhanced importance of privacy protections during the pandemic and increasing benefits for businesses that adopt strong privacy measures. The independent, anonymised survey analysed the responses of 4,400 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 to share their personal information to help curtail the spread of COVID-19. 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 organisations who aim to follow the law, stop the spread of the pandemic, while also respecting individual rights. Consumers and the general public are growing increasingly concerned about how their personal data is being used.
With the increasingly critical role of data privacy during the pandemic, the survey revealed that for organisations in the Europe Middle East Africa Russia (EMEAR) region, budgets continue to grow, hitting $2.2 million this year. The business value associated with these investments also remained high with 71 percent of EMEAR organisations saying privacy investment creates significant benefits in “Enabling Innovation”. Moreover, privacy legislation in EMEAR has been well received, with the vast majority (88%) saying external privacy certifications are a buying factor when selecting a vendor or product to validate personal data properly.
Across the 25 countries surveyed, other key findings from the report include:
- 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
- 60% of organisations say they weren’t prepared for privacy and security requirements involved in the shift to remote work
- 93% of organisations 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 digitising 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
- Most people are ok with sharing health information for workplace safety and pandemic response, but are uncomfortable with other uses such as research.
- 57% supported employers using data to help make workplaces safe, while less than half supported location tracking, contact tracing, disclosing information about infected individuals, and using individual information for research
“Privacy has come of age – recognised as a fundamental human right and rising to a mission-critical priority for executive management”, noted Reem Asaad, Vice President, Cisco Middle East and Africa. “And with the accelerated move to work from anywhere, privacy has taken on greater importance in driving digitisation, corporate resiliency, agility, and innovation”.