Online safety lessons for SMBs from the world of sports

Massimo Rapparini 2 May 2023

For small businesses as well as sports teams, making defense a priority can be the difference between winning and losing.

In the world of sports, there's often extensive debate about whether defense can help a team win championships. For example, in women’s soccer, some teams have become notorious for their style of play that focused on locking down their goal and making it nearly impossible for opponents to score.

Similarly, in basketball, many NBA teams have been praised for a style of play that forces their rivals to turnovers as they scramble to find an opening for a layup or a three-pointer. The criticism of this strategy in sports is often the lack of entertainment for fans, and the somewhat negative approach that stifles the fun of the game.   

Although defense may have a “boring” image in sports, when it comes to online safety and ensuring that your business thrives and “wins”, how does focusing on defense help you stay confident and fend off the most critical threats?

Small businesses often operate as a close-knit team, similar to the world of sports, so there are multiple similarities and lessons about the value of defense that apply to both.

Defense is about protection

Defense protects teams from attacks, harm, or dangers, which in the case of online threats can have devastating consequences for small businesses. A business that cares about its customers and the value they create will want to protect itself and make defense a priority. 

A strong defense is the best deterrent for would-be attackers

In sports, a team that has a strong reputation for their defense can achieve an unfair advantage by making their opponents apprehensive about winning. The same holds true for small businesses — by demonstrating a robust defensive posture, online attackers are more likely to look for other potential victims. 

Successful defense begets more defense

As your team becomes better versed at defense, general security posture across your business improves and the maturity of your overall online safety goes on an upward trajectory. In a virtuous cycle of protecting your business, the investments in defense lead to ever-decreasing risks to your viability and ever-increasing room for growth. 

Zone defense vs. person-to-person

A sports team that wants to flexibly adjust their style of play to an opponent, often considers switching between zone defense (defending different areas or parts of their field or floor) and person-to-person defense (defending specific players individually). In online safety, it is equally important to ensure that your small business considers defensive measures for a specific digital layer, including firewalls for defending from perimeter attacks and antivirus for defending from endpoint threats, as well as defending from specific threat actors (e.g. financial criminals using phishing to compromise your eCommerce platform or hackers accessing your customer data through vulnerable web servers). 

Whether you consider defense to be boring or a necessary evil, the reality is that for small businesses as well as for sports teams, making defense a priority can be the difference between winning and losing. At Avast, we're passionate about providing small businesses with all the tools they need to protect from online threats and placing your team in a position to be winners in everything that you do. 

Find out more about how we can help you and your business by signing up for our free trial. 

--> -->