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5 Lessons from the Battle of Winterfell to Improve Your Cloud Backup Strategy

May 9, 2019, 11:30 AM by Alex Simons


[Image:Vicky Leta / Mashable]

All caught up on Game of Thrones?

Then without even realizing it, you’ve already picked up some battle tactics that can help you become a brilliant data-protection strategist for your company.

In fact, after reading the lessons below, you might even want to expense your company for the prorated cost of your HBO subscription. Okay, that might be pushing it. But you can take some great lessons about your data backup strategy from The Battle of Winterfell. Here are a few of our favorites.

Warning: This post is loaded with spoilers. If you’re not caught up with season 8, just contact KeepItSafe, and we’ll give you a free assessment of your company’s backup and disaster recovery readiness without any GoT spoilers.

Still with us? Okay. Here we go.

1. Your firewall may not hold

To secure the North’s capital against the invading Army of the Dead, the humans dig trenches around Winterfell and set it ablaze. Pretty clever tactic. But the Night King responds with something even more impressive. He commands his undead army to lie down in those trenches, creating a body bridge that allows their fellow soldiers and eventually the Night King himself to walk right across.

The IT takeaway: Your firewall is just one tactic, and you can’t count on it to fend off all attacks. You need a phased approach with both prevention and protection tactics to thwart a cyberattack.

Your firewall may not hold

Image: HBO

2. Your defense strategy MUST include redundancy

Jon Snow theorizes that if he can kill the Night King, all of the wights and White Walkers will automatically fall too. If that were true, it would expose an enormous vulnerability in what otherwise seems like an indestructible army.

Leaders need a plan to ensure their troops are able to continue functioning even if the leaders themselves are wiped out. Anything important enough to protect also needs built-in redundancy — because sometimes Plan A fails.

The IT takeaway: It doesn’t matter how many backup tapes or disks or entire servers you purchase to back up and archive your company’s data. If all of those backups are in-house, just one office flood or fire or other disaster could wipe out your mission-critical data permanently. You need a redundant system — meaning your data stored in the cloud in different geographical locations.

3. Even your own could be turned against you

Toward the end of the battle, when it seems the humans are finally gaining the advantage, the Night King raises fallen soldiers to fight again. Not the first time we’ve seen that move. But this time he has a surprise: He raises all of the dead to fight on his side — including the humans just killed in the battle fighting against him, and even others who had been dead and buried for generations. Didn’t see that coming!

The IT takeaway: Your own employees and former employees can be turned against you. According to research by McKinsey & Company, in 50% of cyber breaches, the cause is a malicious insider. As the people of Winterfell found out of the hard way, just because someone has been terminated doesn’t mean they’re no longer a threat.

Even your own could be turned against you

4. Avoid vendor lock-in

At the Dragonpit Summit, Cersei agreed to send her armies north to fight side by side with Daenerys and Jon’s forces in a collective effort to defeat the White Walkers. Cersei was obviously untrustworthy, broke the truce, and used the Night King’s invasion of the realm to expand her position in the south, let her opponents battle each other, and wage war against whomever emerges victorious.

The IT takeaway: In a hybrid IT environment, don’t depend on a single vendor to power your backup workloads. A multi-cloud backup solution can help you avoid vendor lock-in by deploying a variety of different backup providers so you are not dependent on a single vendor – just as the living were able to consolidate different armies from across Westeros without depending on Cersei.

5. You need a specialist

You need a specialist

Image: HBO

One more warning: Big, major, massive spoiler alert ahead!

In the end, Jon Snow and his army aren’t able to take out the Night King. No matter how great their numbers or how brave their soldiers, the humans simply aren’t strong enough.

But you know who is able to take out the seemingly impossible-to-kill Night King? Arya Stark, a young woman, all by herself. Why was she successful where no one else was? Because Arya spent her life training for one purpose: to become a world-class assassin.

The IT takeaway: No matter how much your company is willing to spend on data protection, no matter how devoted your senior executive team is to establish the best data backup and DR infrastructure, you won’t be able to do it unless you have world-class experts guiding you.

That’s where we come in.

Let’s chat about your company’s data backup and disaster recovery.

*KeepItSafe is not affiliated with or endorsed by Home Box Office, Inc. (HBO), WarnerMedia or AT&T Inc.

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