Much like in sports, preparedness is often the name of the game when it comes to security. That’s why, leading up to this past weekend, the NFL teamed up with Cisco to make sure its Super Bowl LVI network infrastructure was as secure and resilient as possible. Since it’s a live event, 100 percent uptime is imperative for the Super Bowl, ensuring fans don’t miss a moment of the action. The NFL worked closely with Cisco to safeguard mission-critical gameday operations.

The Super Bowl is the largest sporting and television event in the United States, with nearly 100 million viewers. Securing an event of this magnitude can be quite a challenge. Cisco helped the NFL achieve a strong, continuously available and protected Super Bowl enterprise network through a mix of cloud and on-premises security technology, up-to-the-minute threat intelligence, and some of the industry’s most talented cybersecurity professionals.

“For Super Bowl LVI to be a success, we required high levels of network availability, security, and business resiliency,” said Tomás Maldonado, NFL Chief Information Security Officer. “With Cisco by our side, we were confident that we could quickly anticipate any issues and deliver the seamless gameday experience that our players, staff, and fans have come to expect.”

End-to-end visibility and coordinated response

In addition to preparedness, visibility is paramount for cybersecurity. Part of the NFL’s extensive planning for this high-profile event includes being ready for the unexpected. The league needed to have eyes on everything that was happening on its network before, during, and after the game. Cisco was able to provide this based on our many years of securing network infrastructure at large-scale events, as well as through a platform-based approach to network security.

The NFL joined forces with Cisco to develop a comprehensive strategy and playbook centered around our integrated security platform, Cisco SecureX. SecureX unifies multiple security and networking technologies, from both Cisco and third parties, enabling them to work together for a more coordinated and holistic response to today’s threats. With SecureX, organizations like the NFL can better understand, prioritize, and protect against the latest attack vectors to optimize security efficacy.

Network security in this era – especially for such a momentous occasion – can no longer be about disjointed point solutions. People, processes, and technologies must intertwine to boost resiliency and more cohesively defend against increasingly sophisticated attackers. Our customers must be able to rely on us when the stakes are high.

Cisco security technologies are fortified by the timely, in-depth intelligence of Cisco Talos, the world’s largest commercial threat intelligence organization. Incident commanders from Talos Incident Response, as well as members of our Customer Experience team, were on site with the NFL every step of the way to make sure things ran smoothly, and to thwart any potential disruptions to the game.

Integrated technology and intelligence  

The NFL also relied on the following Cisco technologies to secure Super Bowl LVI (all integrated through Cisco SecureX):

  • Cisco Umbrella Cisco Umbrella combines several security technologies into one, cloud-delivered solution so that users are shielded from internet-based risks whether they are on or off the network. Umbrella prevents phishing, malware, and ransomware anywhere users go – from the headquarters, to branch offices, to remote locations. It also safeguards connections to cloud applications without sacrificing performance.
  • Cisco Secure Firewall Today’s more complex environments require a firewall that can keep up. Cisco Secure Firewall enables organizations to obtain end-to-end visibility and simplified security management across distributed and hybrid networks. By delivering industry-leading intelligence and consistent protections everywhere, Secure Firewall provides superior threat detection and prevention for the modern network.
  • Cisco Secure Malware Analytics To defend against ever-evolving attacks, we must analyze and understand them. With Cisco Secure Malware Analytics, organizations can uncover exactly what a piece of malware is doing, how large a risk it poses, and how to mitigate it. Secure Malware Analytics rapidly inspects files and suspicious behavior to help speed up incident investigations.

The Super Bowl and beyond

I am truly amazed by the incredible security feats accomplished by our Cisco customers, teams, partners, and technologies when we all work together. As an Official Technology Partner of the NFL, Cisco will continue to collaborate with the league to secure future games and events through a repeatable security platform and playbook based on Super Bowl LVI. We are honored that the NFL trusts us with this critical undertaking.

Check out more of our customer stories, and visit our solutions page to find out how you too can win with Cisco Secure.


Shailaja Shankar

SVP, Engineering

Security Business Group