Data Retention And Privacy Policy

Customers' data privacy concerns are holding up sales for months, leading to a loss of revenue and potential loss of sales for the channel, according to Cisco executives.

Speaking to Channelnomics, Robert Waitman, a director in Cisco's Privacy Office, says that customers are asking more questions about their data privacy. "What is being captured? Where is it being stored? Who has access to it? What are you using the data for? How long do you keep it?


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"All these types of question are becoming increasingly important when organizations are getting ready for Global Protection Data Regulation (GPDR) in the spring," Waitman notes. "And [are] where we're seeing more data breaches where partners or vendors often have a responsibility."

Data collected for Cisco's Privacy Maturity Benchmark Study, released in January, show that 65 percent of companies globally say they are experiencing sales delays as they question the privacy of their data. The average delay was 7.8 weeks, with more than 90 percent of organizations reporting delays of up to 20 weeks.

Cisco notes that as a product or service approaches the end of its lifecycle, a delayed sale may "become a lost sale" or could cause customers to select a competitor's product or even not buy the product or service at all.

For the channel, Waitman says it's important to ensure customers have a mature data privacy practice in place, as these incur much shorter delays.

"Things like having a good inventory, having a good privacy policy in place, good data retention policies in place that are then enforced - all those things add up to an organization that is advanced from a data privacy standpoint," he notes.

Steve Benvenuto, senior director of Cisco Security's Global Security Partner Sales organization, says that partners are increasingly having to learn to have a security and privacy conversation with their customers when selling Cisco technologies. "Whether that's our collaboration technologies, our datacenter technologies - the security conversation is embedded tightly in all of those," he says.

GDPR is driving conversations with the channel around data privacy, Benvenuto notes, and there's "a strong awareness now in the U.S. of the implications" of the forthcoming regulation, which will introduce strict new rules governing how personal data is stored, handled and secured, with significant fines for non-compliance.

"It has really accelerated over the last year, with customers looking to how they can address their GDPR issues," says Benvenuto.

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