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Outplaying the Attackers: Data Security Through a Soccer Lens

As soccer fans, the ShardSecure team is particularly excited about the upcoming April 4 Bayern München soccer match. There, at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, we’ll be hosting a VIP event for CISOs along with the German entrepreneur and keynote speaker Werner Theiner.

In honor of the match, we’re taking a different approach to exploring the data protection market. Read on for a play-by-play of ShardSecure versus the traditional solutions in this post on data security through a soccer lens.

Traditional encryption solutions

In our analogy, let’s think of traditional encryption solutions like the goalie in a soccer game: protecting a company’s sensitive data (the goal) from threats (the opposing team’s attempts to score).

In a soccer game, the goalie is a critical and final line of defense against the opposing team’s attempts to score. Similarly, encryption acts as a vital component of data security by preventing unauthorized access by attackers.

Just as a skilled goalie can block shots with their strong technical abilities and experience, encryption algorithms are engineered to be highly resistant to unauthorized attempts at decryption. Both are required to perform with a high level of consistency and reliability: A goalie must be able to withstand repeated and diverse scoring attempts by the opposing team, while an encryption algorithm must be able to operate effectively over long periods of time without being compromised.

That said, the disadvantages of encryption are similar to the weaknesses of a goalie. Eventually, with enough resources and determination, a skilled cyberattacker — your Messi or your Mbappé of digital crime — is going to make it past the goalie and score.

Defense-in-depth approaches

If traditional encryption solutions are the goalie in the game of cybersecurity, a defense-in-depth approach is the defensive squad positioned around that goalie. When the ball gets past one defender, there’s another one waiting to slide-tackle the threat. Similarly, with defense-in-depth, there are multiple security measures waiting to protect data should one fail.

Just like there are different defensive positions on the field, there are different defense-in-depth measures to adopt. Those measures might include firewalls, network security, detection and monitoring systems, DLP, endpoint management, and more. And, just like the chances of an attacker scoring a goal is much lower with a good defensive team than with just a goalie (penalty kicks, anyone?), the chances of a successful cyberattack become much smaller when defense-in-depth is implemented. With a good enough series of defenses in place, the ball may never even reach the goal.

That said, even the best goalies and defenders aren’t perfect. That’s part of what makes soccer so entertaining. But in the world of data security, companies need a solution that can achieve a total shutout with no goals scored.

That’s where ShardSecure comes in.

ShardSecure’s data control platform

In many cases, defense-in-depth and traditional encryption solutions do a very good job of keeping out threats. But skilled attackers can and do break through these security settings, and the results can be devastating. Data breaches are expensive and can seriously impact an organization’s reputation, relegating them down the league in their customers’ eyes.

ShardSecure offers a different approach to cybersecurity. Instead of putting obstacles in front of the attacking team, our approach is to cut up the goal’s net and crossbars into thousands of pieces and scatter them around several different stadiums. That is, we break data into tiny fragments and distribute those fragments to multiple customer-owned storage locations. (We also let the customer choose their “stadiums” and give them the ability to easily migrate data if one location suffers an outage.)

While this approach wouldn’t make for a good soccer game, frustrating fans with the lack of goals, it offers several distinct advantages for data security.

First, our technology makes it more difficult for malicious attackers to locate and access sensitive data, since that data is distributed across multiple locations. In our sports metaphor, you’d have to determine which stadiums worldwide had pieces of the goal in them and then force entry to each one individually, keeping in mind that several stadiums may be on different continents.

Second, even if a cyberattacker gains access to one storage location, that’s not enough to reconstruct the original data. It’s like getting a ticket to just one of the stadiums where part of the goal has been scattered: it’s not nearly enough to reconstruct the entire goal.

Third, we mix poison data into the customer’s original data so that there’s no way of knowing what’s authentic and what’s a decoy. In other words, pieces of other goals have been mixed in with the original fragments of net and crossbar — making the job of reconstructing the original goal virtually impossible.


The world of data security is, of course, more complex than a soccer game. But it doesn’t hurt to compare the different approaches to data protection, especially if you’re facing increasingly sophisticated threats and trying to stack the odds for your team.

To learn more about ShardSecure’s data security benefits — including agentless file-level protection, advanced unstructured data protection, robust data resilience, and support for cross-border compliance — visit our resources page.

If you’d like to be part of one of our next VIP events, sign up for a meeting here to discuss how ShardSecure can be a game changer for your organization's data security strategy.


Match News | FC Bayern München

About Werner Theiner | Theiner Consulting

What Are Quantum-Resistant Algorithms — And Why Do We Need Them? | MIT Technology Review

As Cybercrime Evolves, How Can Companies Keep Up With Their Cybersecurity? | World Economic Forum

What Is Defense in Depth and How Can You Achieve It? | CompTIA

Election Security Spotlight – Defense in Depth (DiD) | Center for Internet Security