Small business spending on data privacy up 17% in 2022, higher than medium, large firms: Cisco study

Technology for MSMEs: Spending at larger organizations remained relatively unchanged after steep increases from 2019 to 2020, the study said. The average privacy spending was $2.7 million in 2022.

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The estimated value of benefits from privacy spending was also up significantly in 2022.

Technology for MSMEs: As data privacy continues to increase in importance for organizations around the world and those they serve, privacy spending despite a difficult economic environment in 2022 did not decrease, in fact in some cases, grew last year, said technology company Cisco in its latest 2023 Data Privacy Benchmark Study on Monday. The most significant growth from 2021 to 2022 occurred at smaller organizations with spending at organizations with 50-249 employees increasing by more than 17 per cent to $2 million from $1.7 million, the global study said with responses from more than 4,700 security professionals from 26 geographies including India, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, the UK, the US, etc.

At medium enterprises with 500-999 employees, spending rose by more than 13 per cent to $2.6 million in 2022 from $2.3 million in 2021 while spending at larger organizations remained relatively unchanged after steep increases from 2019 to 2020, the report added. The average spending was $2.7 million, up significantly from $1.2 million just three years ago. 

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At the same time, the estimated value of benefits derived from privacy was also up significantly in 2022. The average estimate increased by more than 13 per cent to $3.4 million in 2022 from $3 million in 2021 with significant gains across the various organization sizes.  

For instance, benefits for smaller organizations with 50-249 employees jumped by 35 per cent to $2.7 million from $2 million, and those with 500-999 employees increased by 18 per cent to $3.3 million from $2.8 million. Likewise, estimated benefits at larger organizations of 1,000-9,999 employees and over 10,000 employees also jumped by 6 per cent and 8 per cent respectively. 

Also read: Traders’ body CAIT asks for Data Protection Bill in Budget session

The benefits included reducing sales delays, mitigating losses from data breaches, enabling innovation, achieving operational efficiency, building trust with customers, and making their company more attractive. Over 70 per cent of respondents indicated they were getting “significant” or “very significant” benefits from each of these areas. 

However, there remained a disconnect between organizations and consumers regarding data and trust as the latter expected businesses to be transparent about their practices and treat personal data properly. According to the survey, 96 per cent of respondents agreed they have an ethical obligation to treat customer data properly, but their priorities were not fully consistent with those expressed by consumers.

As per Cisco’s 2022 Consumer Privacy Survey, transparency – providing easily accessible and clear information about how their data is being used – was the top priority for consumers in comparison to not selling personal information or compliance with privacy laws. Yet, in this year’s survey of organizations, businesses felt compliance was the most important priority for building customer trust followed by transparency.

“When it comes to earning and building trust, compliance is not enough,” said Harvey Jang, Vice President and Chief Privacy Officer, Cisco in the report.

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First published on: 30-01-2023 at 13:50 IST