March Madness at the Office: 2 Tips for Winning the Big Game (of Data Security)


Written by Lara White

March Madness is upon us. The stakes are high for the teams playing in this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament. But they’re even higher for the businesses whose workforces will be following the games from the office.march madness security Let’s take a look at two key March Madness data security concerns and what you can do about them.

  1. March Shadow IT Madness

March Madness is about to take your employees’ shadow IT game to a whole new level. Just take a look at what the Google Play store offers when you search for “March Madness”: a plethora of March Madness apps for:

  • Streaming the games
  • Tracking the brackets
  • Following favored teams
  • Keeping up on March Madness news

Seems harmless, but the problem is, many apps require registration. Registration requires a login and a password. And all too many people use the same login and password for, well, everything. A compromised app account (or an app that was designed specifically to mine users’ logins and passwords) can lead to compromised corporate credentials. Compromised corporate credentials lead to data breach disaster.

As with many other cloud adoption scenarios, shutting it all down is likely to be prohibitively difficult, counterproductive and damaging to office morale. Instead, give employees a refresher in safe Internet use, particularly the importance of using different passwords for different accounts. Also keep an eye on user activities and data access. Suspicious or anomalous behavior may indicate a data thief using a stolen password.

  1. Stop Social Engineering Slam Dunks

For better and for worse, sporting events like March Madness bring people together. During the games, your employees may find themselves making new friends both in the office and on the Internet, trading messages and emails, and sharing links related to the games. It’s a heady time, and the perfect time for cybercriminals to share and spread malicious websites designed to introduce malware, keyloggers, and assorted vulnerabilities into user devices, all with the ultimate purpose of stealing data and wreaking havoc. How many fans will be able to resist a link to a site claiming to have breaking news on a star player’s injury or a leading team’s cheating allegations? Scammers and cybercriminals are well versed in exploiting people’s curiosity and luring gullible users into dangerous waters.

As part of your refresher course in Internet safety, remind employees to be wary of links shared by unfamiliar sources. In addition, make sure your antivirus and malware protection solutions are on, correctly configured, and up to date everywhere, from the employee endpoint all the way up to the cloud. And if you have Internet browser safeguards that identify suspicious or malicious websites, now is the time to make sure those safeguards are installed and active on every machine your employees touch.

March Madness has gained notoriety as a time of increased stress for enterprise network and security administrators. In between managing bandwidth so that employees’ game streaming doesn’t interfere with the performance of business-critical applications and monitoring user activity to make sure that March Madness Internet use hasn’t led to a security breach, admins have a lot on their plate. Lessen the burden by being prepared and being proactive.

Ready to learn more about cloud data protection for March Madness and beyond? Download our free Guide to Cloud Data Protection today.