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Networking Intelligence

Winning Cybersecurity Strategy Straight From An NFL Playbook

On Sunday, February 5th, 2017, the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons competed at the NRG Stadium in Houston for the Super Bowl LI championship. In the weeks leading up, football pundits predicted outcomes and fans geared up to watch the big game, the Pats and Falcons were anticipating each other’s moves, developing playbooks and fine-tuning game strategies to prepare.


If you’re a public- or private-sector IT pro, you might also be taking note of the parallels between prepping for a major football game and mapping out a cybersecurity strategy. In fact, there are a number of lessons you can learn from an NFL playbook, including:

  • Preparation is priority #1. Winning football teams leave little to luck. They make sure their players are in peak shape and work together seamlessly so they’re ready for whatever their opponents have planned. In cybersecurity, you need to be just as prepared. You don’t know when you might be targeted by a cyber attack, so your security system needs to be up to date and working effortlessly.

  • Central oversight is necessary for a coordinated offense and response. While players need to be quick on their feet and ready to adapt to surprise moves, they’re expected to follow the coach’s directions. Similarly, you need to ensure central oversight of your network and all your security measures—regardless of how large your network is.

  • Know your opponent. The Falcons and the Patriots studied each other’s playbook in-depth to anticipate strategy and play to it during the game. They would have wanted to know what worked in the past to come up with effective reactions intended to turn the tide in their favor. To ensure your organization’s network is properly protected, you need to be aware of the various threats you’re most likely to face, and plan your security strategy around them.

  • Go on the offense. Football teams don’t win games by reacting. They win games by going on the offense to defeat the opponent. If there’s an offense in cybersecurity, it’s about being proactive in your protection. Establish a robust cybersecurity system that not only offers multiple layers of protection, but also analyzes threat data from across the entire system and applies it to plans for updating security measures, pre-empting cyber threats and ensuring continuous protection.

  • Bring your A-game. On Super Bowl Sunday especially, fans expect their teams to be at their best. As a cybersecurity professional, you have the distinct disadvantage of not knowing who your opponent is, or when it will strike. So you have to always bring your A-game…each and every day.

You might also be interested in: 
How To Tell If A Cyber Attack Has Hit Your Network >>

A network design, integration and security provider to a range of public- and private-sector organizations, Resilient delivers winning cybersecurity strategies to help you address whatever threats are thrown your way.

A partner of Fortinet, developer of the award-winning security fabric, we offer an integrated and collaborative approach to cybersecurity based on multiple layers of best-in-class protection—all tightly woven together on a robust and cohesive platform. With advanced, actionable threat intelligence, it provides independently-validated protection and performance, comprehensive visibility and exceptional scalability from a centralized point of control. Contact us.  

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