Why privacy investments are now seeing some impressive returns

Privacy investments have long been thought of by business leaders as primarily a cost-centre, however new research suggests there are some serious ROIs to be had out of bolstering your privacy profile.

When many organisations think of privacy and regulations such as GDPR and California's recent CCPA, a knee jerk reaction may be one of dread and headache-inducing stress. For all of the drum beating that GDPR brought with it way back in 2016 and with CCPA putting the nail in the regulatory coffin, many firms still opted to do just the bare minimum, thinking that the institution of the necessary data-shielding practices was, above all else, just way too expensive.

Coming at the issue from a business perspective, this really is fair enough. Many organisations just didn't know what to make of this new global focus on privacy and getting firms up to speed was costly, stressful, and time consuming. To top it off, there was an overarching question of whether these practices - apart from protecting customer/consumer data and raising awareness of rights - provided any overall benefits to businesses.

Generally speaking, we have come to know compliance as nothing but a cost-center, taking precious capital away from the areas of the business that really need it. This is especially true for those firms that are data-centric, with a strong focus on the commercialisation of PII.

However, there is new research to suggest that investments in realigning a business for privacy might not be dead money after all, in fact, they actually might translate to some solid ROIs. Networking giant Cisco has released its latest ‘Data Privacy Benchmark Study', which surveyed over 2800 security professionals across 13 countries on their company's privacy investments.

The report found that, for the first time, privacy investments were paying off for organisations across the board, with the majority of firms seeing very positive returns. In fact, organisations, on average, received benefits of 2.7 times their investments, with more than 40% seeing benefits that are at least twice that of their privacy spend.

This then raises the question of whether we need a fundamental change of mindset when it comes to bolstering privacy expenditure. It has certainly been difficult for privacy and security professionals to make a case for increased privacy-focused cashflow to business leadership, as they are often seen as providing little business benefit. However, if those business leaders can be convinced that such investment will actually make them money, beyond even as just an insurance policy against data-breach costs and fines, they might be more inclined to listen.

Privacy actually profitable?

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