Billions of connections are made online every single day—at work, at home, and at play. What’s the common thread linking all these connections and the people making them? Data. Lots and lots of data.

For our customers, it’s not just any data, though—it’s data that describes employees and their customers. It’s data that’s valuable to them and that they have a duty and desire to protect. And as stewards of our own employee and customers’ data, we share that responsibility and desire.

Time and again, customers ask me what data we need to provide our services, what exactly we do with the data, where it goes, how we protect it, and how long we keep it, and so on. Our research shows that companies with less mature privacy practices face average sales delays of more than five weeks. On top of this, they are also more likely to suffer data breaches and/or experience greater losses arising from these breaches.

Governments worldwide are grappling with the same issue—how to protect the personal data of their citizens and make sure individuals retain appropriate control over their data?  Comprehensive, omnibus data protection laws have been adopted in more than 120 countries, and new ones are being established every year.

Our CEO, Chuck Robbins, has announced our belief that the time is now for the US to follow suit and establish a comprehensive US Federal Data Protection Law .  Our Chief Legal Officer, Mark Chandler, has made an eloquent case to back him up. For decades, the US has developed and participated in frameworks that drive the evolution of privacy law around the globe—by sectors or through transparency measures. Now it’s time for the US to put forth comprehensive privacy legislation that will serve as the baseline for data protection in the US, irrespective of sector or industry. A law that will allow digitization efforts to thrive and global promises to be kept.

This isn’t a US-only issue, but a global one. We believe that comprehensive data protection legislation should be based on the core principles of transparency, fairness, and accountability. We need a clear, ethical framework that can be understood and enforced. A rising tide lifts all boats. By doing so, we can create the foundation for ethical, fair and secure movement of data between countries – a prerequisite in the modern world.

At Cisco, we strive not only to comply with privacy legislation, but to be best-in-class when it comes to fairness, transparency, and accountability. Our customers expect it and we gladly step up to do it.

Moreover, our customers need to know they can trust us with their data. We seek to make it as easy as possible for them to verify it in accordance with their own compliance and business goals. We publish details on what, how, where and with whom we process customer data across our portfolio of solutions. We invest in privacy engineering to make privacy designs come to life. And recently we made this even visually simpler to grasp with our innovative data maps.


Michelle Dennedy

No Longer with Cisco