With the deadline to the enforcement of the EU GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) fast approaching (May 25), I have been spending more time with Cisco’s Marketing Privacy team making sure we are ready. As a company, our customers’ privacy is of the utmost important to us and we want to ensure we’re protecting that. And as data-driven marketers leading the way in personalizing experiences for our customers, the implications could be enormous.

Put simply, GDPR is about strengthening the rights of the individual to have more control over personal data and how it’s used. But the nuances are complex – and the consequences are high. Did you know that fines for violating GDPR can be up to 4% of a company’s total revenues? China also just announced it would be following suit – and I’m confident this is going to be the standard for the world soon enough.

GDPR isn’t just a Marketing & Communications priority. It’s a company priority. Luckily, Cisco is a company that is dedicated to preparing the world for the effects of digitization. Our Data Privacy team has created a great primer on GDPR, complete with readiness tips and industry insights. I would recommend you check it out.

The Cisco Marketing & Communications organization is following this religiously and undergoing extensive data impact assessments. We are also implementing mandatory training for all of our employees – and extending that out to our agencies.

With the consequences so high and the rules complex, GDPR has definitely kept me up at night. We have invested heavily in technology to provide better and more personalized experiences to our customers and prospects and rely on personal data to provide that. What this means is our teams will have to work extra diligently to make clear to our customers the value of our ability to know them. As a company, Cisco will just have to keep delivering a great customer experience.

In reality, every company should be seeking to provide valuable and personalized experiences. So it’s great we finally have a forcing function to keep us all accountable.


Karen Walker

Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer