The recent St. Louis Cardinals hacking scandal is further proof that IT security should be a top priority for your business.

Major League Baseball isn’t a stranger to scandal. In fact, you simply search ‘MLB Scandals’ and the first link to be displayed is a Wiki page dedicated to the various conspiracies that have rocked the league from close to its inception back in 1877. The 1919 “Black Socks Scandal”, the Pete Rose gambling charges, the 2005-2006 investigations into steroids, there have been a lot of headlines throughout the years. And the most recent? It just so happens that the MLB’s drama has been ushered into the digital security discussion.

That’s right, Michael Schmidt of The New York Times reported this week (June 16th, 2015) that the front office of the St. Louis Cardinals are currently under investigation by the FBI and the Justice Department for hacking the internal network of the Houston Astros, attempting to obtain guarded information about key players. The attack apparently presents the first known instance of a professional sports organization using corporate espionage to gain a level up against an opponent. And what’s more, Schmidt writes that the skills used in the attack were not even very sophisticated. It is believed that Cardinal employees were working with a previously acquired password list that they then systematically entered into the Astros system in order to gain access.

“That tactic is often used by cybercriminals, who sell passwords from one breach on the underground market, where others buy them and test them on other websites, including banking and brokerage services. The breach on the Astros would be one of the first known instances of a corporate competitor using the tactic against a rival. It is also, security experts say, just one more reason people are advised not to use the same passwords across different sites and services.

We’ve bolded the last line of Mr. Schmidt’s report for good reason. Password protection is a critical success factor in reducing your risk from deliberate or opportunistic threats to your intellectual property. According to a recent study conducted at IBM, the average cost of each stolen record containing sensitive information increased 6% over the past year, from $145 to $154. At Upward, password management is one of our own policies when we consult on IT security issues with any of our clients.

The recent scandal in Major League Baseball highlights that regardless of your industry, the methods for accessing your data and putting you at a competitive disadvantage, aren’t necessarily sophisticated. We hope this will be the wakeup call a lot of business owners need to talk to a security specialist as soon as possible. We all want to enjoy our jobs, but we think you can agree, that your business isn’t a game.

When was the last time you sat down and really thought about how secure your business’s valuable data might be? Upward is taking critical steps to ensure our clients’ data is safe. We have high-value, low-cost solutions that make security simple and clean for businesses of any size.

Interested in making your data more secure? Reach out to Upward and begin the IT security conversation today.