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The Big Risks Of Big Data In Sports

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At the top level, Big Data and analytics is now firmly embedded across most major sports. Athletes and coaches are in step with the idea that the more they can measure and analyze, the more they can improve performance.

And of course this is true. What they eat, how they perform in the gym or on the pitch, and how they sleep, all impact on achievement.  But gathering data in the volume and depth that is necessary to make accurate predictions carries its own risks.

What if the data falls into the wrong hands? How valuable would detailed statistics on your star players’ every heartbeat, breath and repetition in the gym be? Not only could it allow them to develop strategies to exploit their weaknesses, it would give them insider market knowledge when it comes to buying and selling.

These are two potential risks that sports teams are often leaving themselves open to, by failing to consider data security as a part of their overall data strategy, Sian John, a security specialist at Symantec, tells me.

 Sian, who has worked with teams including Williams F1 and the London Irish rugby union squad to improve data security, said “There’s a lot of data being collected by devices, and in common with how the Internet of Things generally works, it’s being developed by manufacturers who are specialists in creating sports science technology, but they aren’t necessarily thinking about the attack vectors.”

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