Businesses with a good understanding of the latest cyber-security solutions and data protection laws are reaping the payoff in terms of significant revenue growth, according to a report by Oxford Economics.
High-profile breaches like the WannaCry ransomware contagion and the Equifax incident, as well as changing regulations like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), have raised consumer concerns and pressured businesses to better protect user data, making 2018 a landmark year in digital economy.
Original research from Oxford Economics shows only 8% of consumers trust businesses to keep their personal information safe, and 79% say they would stop doing business with a company that misuses their data. Businesses, for their part, have taken measures to meet those expectations. But while 80% of businesses have strong protections for their own operational and financial data, they are less cautious with consumers’ personal (42%) and financial (33%) information, according to the research.
Of businesses that took advanced precautions to protect customer data, many are seeing substantial benefits. From the report:
“The companies surveyed that are more advanced in their data use and management see clear benefits – they are far more likely to have experienced solid revenue growth (above 5%) over the past three years (79% vs. 38%). These data leaders also have a better understanding of regulations they must follow in jurisdictions around the world (61% understand this ‘extremely well’ vs. 27% of others), and are more likely to understand that consumers are concerned about sharing data (36% vs. 21%).”
The numbers tell a deeper story, though. Despite being years in the making, the GDPR has only been around for a few months. Few businesses took all necessary actions to ensure compliance by the May 25 deadline. However, data protection laws existed long before the deadline, and businesses that took them seriously were well on track to adjust to the newer establishment. It is therefore reasonable to postulate that the same businesses that woke up three or more years ago are the same ones that are now reaping the benefits stated in the Oxford Economics report.
In another notable finding, nearly 70% of companies have developed an overarching strategy for data use and management, but far fewer have taken appropriate steps toward successful implementation. Additionally, 93% of executives surveyed indicated their company has experienced a breach in the past three years, and only 8% described their company as effective at preparing for upcoming regulations.