Cybersecurity In Sports: Why Is It Important?

When you think of your favourite sports teams, games, and fan experiences, cybersecurity probably doesn’t come to mind. But in today’s increasingly digital world, cybersecurity is a critical element that comes into play. Behind the scenes, sports organizations are prime targets for cyber threats, from data breaches compromising sensitive information, to ransomware attacks, to disruptions in game operations. As sports embrace advanced technologies and digital platforms, defending against these cyber risks becomes as crucial as the game itself.

This article will cover:
• The importance of cybersecurity in sports
• Expera IT’s role as an Acronis #Cyberfit Partner to the Calgary Flames

3 Common Types of Cyber Threats Sports Teams Must Defend Against

Ransomware Attacks

Depending on the type of ransomware attack, a sports team could be shut out from accessing critical systems or data.

And this type of cyberattack is more common than you might think: in 2021, after a high-profile cyberattack that disrupted Manchester United’s operations, Infront.Sport reported that, “According to the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), more than 70 percent of sports organizations surveyed experienced some sort of breach.”

Compromised Data

Cybercriminals will often target the sports industry because, “Sports teams, major leagues, global sporting associations, and entertainment venues are all home to valuable personal and business data”, according to Dark Reading.

Microsoft notes that, “teams, coaches, and athletes themselves are also vulnerable to data loss on athletic performance, competitive advantage, and personal information.” Plus, it’s not just players who can be impacted: “Attendees’ personal identifiable information can also be targeted through vulnerable event digital amenities, like companion mobile apps, wireless hotspots, and QR codes with malicious URLs.” Similarly, a 2023 report from Lloyds Bank also found that fraudulent football [soccer] ticket scams on social media were surging.

Venue Systems

Home field security is another critical part of the game plan for sports teams because, “Venue IT systems and arenas contain hundreds of known and unknown vulnerabilities that allow threat actors to target critical business services such as point of sale, IT infrastructures, and visitor devices.”

The Current Cybersecurity Landscape In Sports

While many sports teams take their cybersecurity seriously, the overall stats suggest that more extensive. In 2022, Sports Business Journal revealed, “Only about 1% of professional teams and leagues have adequate cybersecurity in place, warned Ekaterina Carayanis, the director of cybersecurity and risk management for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.”

For all of these reasons, ensuring that sporting leagues and teams have adequate protection and support in place to mitigate cyberattacks is critical, and we’re proud to be working with Acronis and supporting the Flames in their commitment to cyber security.

Expera IT Joins Acronis #TeamUp Program with to Support the Calgary Flames

This partnership is set to provide Acronis’ software and ExperaIT’s services to the Calgary Flames

As a Calgary-based team, we’re no stranger to cheering for the Flames at the Saddledome. That’s why we’re excited to announce that we can combine our passion for providing top-notch IT services with our connection to the local community as an Acronis #CyberFit Partner to the Calgary flames. As a #CyberFit partner, we’ll be teaming up with Acronis, a global leader in cyber protection, to help enhance the Flames’ data protection.

In a recent press release, Pat Hurley, RVP Americas at Acronis, stated “Acronis is solidifying its position in the Canadian market through impactful partnerships and expanding its infrastructure. With the launch of our Toronto Cyber Cloud data center last year, alongside our existing Vancouver facility, we’re strategically meeting the growing regional demands. Driven by motivation to achieve excellence, fostering partnerships like the one with Expera IT and the Calgary Flames, showcases our commitment to provide unmatched opportunities to the MSP community. This latest #TeamUp partnership is yet another testament to our continued growth, innovation, and success.”

“We are excited to showcase Expera IT through the Acronis #TeamUp Program,” said Kevin Gross, VP of Partnership Sales and Broadcast at the Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation. “Sharing the story of a local business that is dedicated to cutting-edge innovation aligns with the values of the Calgary Flames.”

“Expera IT is excited to embark on this journey with Acronis through the #TeamUp Program,” said Vince Fung, Founder & CEO of Expera IT, in the same press release. “We are dedicated to pushing the boundaries of data protection and management to drive operational efficiency and technological empowerment.”

Read the full story here.

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