footballAfter two incredible conference championship games, the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos will square off for the ultimate NFL prize. A season that began 5 months ago will end as it should, with one of the best defenses in league history battling one of the most prolific offenses ever. Strip away the bright lights of the NFL and you’ll notice that the underpinnings of this type of battle is a daily occurrence in the world of Cyber Security. Sure, it may not have the same glitz and glamour as the Big Game, but the outcome of this struggle has much more direct consequences for your business.

First, let’s take a 30,000 foot view of how the Seahawks and Broncos have evolved to become the best. Defenses were dominant in the NFL for years, but offenses began to adapt in order to find ways to score points – and score at such a rate that the other team simply couldn’t keep up. Players on offense became quicker, more agile which allowed for new strategies that moved away from plodding “ground and pound” philosophies. Defenses have responded with big players who were also fast, athletic and intelligent allowing defensive coaches to effectively combat high powered offenses. Each side of the ball has adapted and evolved more quickly than ever by implementing new approaches and a boundaryless philosophy.

The same can be seen in the Cyber Security market. Companies are constantly on defense against cyber criminals and hackers which in turn are developing new offensive schemes to steal data. The more effective defensive strategies become, the more innovative cyber criminals become at finding new ways to breach networks and expose sensitive data. It has even been revealed that one of the top malware developers in the world is just 17 years old. The game is changing…fast.


 Who are the Players in the Cyber Security Game?


The Quarterback: They don’t have the strongest arms or the most physically ideal statures, but the quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson bring a level of understanding and execution that are tops in the league. Peyton is a legend who has been breaking down defenses in preparation and at the line of scrimmage for years which allows him to score points and reduce turnovers. Russell Wilson is just in his second year, yet he has demonstrated the agility and intelligence to run the Seattle offense by making plays and protecting the ball. In the world of Cyber Security, your strategy demands intelligent leadership and vision that is powerful and agile enough to reduce the probability of exposure and mitigate the damage of a breach.

 The Line: Both the Seahawks and Broncos feature huge, athletic lines on both sides of the ball. The offensive and defensive lines for both teams are comprised of fast, intelligent and athletic 300-pound plus behemoths with the power to free the other players to execute on every down. “The trenches” are where games are won and lost. The same can be said for Cyber Security. Hackers are constantly looking for entry into networks with a front line of attack that immediately bumps up against firewalls. As the hackers’ line shifts, adapts and employs exotic schemes to find an opening to the network, your technology must be just as agile and powerful to reduce the probability of creating that opening.

 The Backers:  They are the next wave in the battle for field position. Running backs on offense provide a consistent, reliable means for moving through holes in the line. Linebackers are tasked primarily with preventing the running back from breaking through. Linebackers are also active in preventing attack by disarming the primary source – the quarterback. When you think about malware on a network, it’s the job of the quarterback to identify weakness in the defense and deploy the running back to infect the network. The linebackers would be the agents designed to stop such malware from doing damage at the line and at the source. They must be agile, effective, and adapt on the fly to a changing threat landscape.

 The Secondary & Receivers: The greatest evolution in the NFL over the past several years has been the complexity of the passing game. Wide Receivers have become so large, so fast and so athletic that mismatches against defenses were common. However, if teams could cultivate large athletic receivers on offense, the same can be created on the defensive side of the ball. The Seahawks’ secondary is comprised of some of the largest yet most talented defensive backs to ever play the game and is a major reason for the team’s success. Compare the battle between receivers and the secondary to the rapidly evolving battle for secure mobility. Cyber attacks that are targeted away from the network are similar to a pass to a wide receiver – away from the line of scrimmage and completely dependent on an isolated defender. Your cyber defensive backs are the end point protection designed to defend against breaches on any device that connects to your network.

What you will almost never see in football is a complete shutout – even the league leading Seattle defense allowed over 16 points per game this year. The same holds true for protecting your sensitive data. Regardless of strategy, talent and determination, the best you can do is reduce the probability of attack by making it cost prohibitive for data thieves and mitigate the damage done when an attack occurs. Cyber attacks will happen…is your team ready?

Think of a firm like WaveGard as your defensive coordinator. Our role is to work with your team to develop the right strategy for your business and then select the right players – or tools – to continuously execute that strategy. It all starts with knowing where to start. For more information, contact us today.