disaster recovery

5 disaster recovery tips from aboard the Battlestar Galactica

In the year 2003, SCI FI Channel (now Syfy) aired a successful mini-series remake of the 1978 series, Battlestar Galactica, which launched the 2004 Battlestar Galactica series. In the plot of the mini-series, we have perhaps the most potent argument for a disaster recovery plan of any single piece of entertainment media.

A quick refresher: The beginning of Battlestar Galactica (2003) sees humanity at the height of culture and on the cusp of a digital revolution. The Twelve Colonies are comfortable and they are progressing. To top it off, humans have enjoyed a 40-year armistice with their sworn enemy, the Cylons.

The Cylons are a cybernetic race of soldiers and workers who had rebelled against humanity during a 12-year war and then disappeared into space.

During the mini-series, the Cylons return to rain down unholy hell on the Twelve Colonies, effectively destroying most of humanity via nuclear assault and…cyber warfare.

Meanwhile, Captain William Adama prepares to decommission his storied ship, the battlestar Galactica, which will soon be transformed into a museum.

So what does Battlestar Galactica have to do with your business network? Everything. The Cylons are able to destroy the Twelve Colonies by exploiting the exact same weaknesses that hackers use to destroy businesses every day.

Let’s take a look at what the Cylons did, and how Captain William Adama of the Battlestar Galactica is able to rescue humanity with the help of a disaster recovery plan.

The Nefarious Plan of Cylons and Cyber Attacks

In order to destroy the Twelve Colonies, the Cylons attack on two fronts. First, they make a physical attack with calculated nuclear strikes. Second, they carry out a catastrophic malware attack which renders nearly the entire military of the Twelve Colonies useless.

The Cylons carry out their cyber attack by seducing a human (literally, with a sexy spy model indistinguishable from humans) and using his credentials to access the military network. Then, they upload malware to the network that shuts down most of the battlestars, smaller ships, and other military units, and even drives them to attack and destroy one another.

The digital warfare perpetrated by the Cylons is nothing short of brilliant, and it is cataclysmic to the human race. In a short time, most of the human race is destroyed.

Cyber attacks on your business work the same way. For instance, malware will attack your network by either recognizing weaknesses in your digital infrastructure or by hiding in attached documents. With a few catchy subject lines, hackers are able to “seduce” your own employees into downloading dangerous material.

Even as vicious cyber attacks have become commonplace, end user education still falls behind the techniques of cyber criminals. Human error and insider threats remain a particular weak spot in the world of cybersecurity.

In one report that compiled 20 years of data, ITIC found that human error is the cause of 70% of data center incidents.

Whether it’s a sudden influx of downtime costing $100,000 per hour, or a major data loss incident racking up more than $18,000 for only 100 records, the financial losses can be as devastating as a Cylon attack. In fact, that type of loss can be outright fatal after experiencing a significant data loss incident.

So how did Battlestar Galactica continue for 75 episodes after the Cylons wiped out most of humanity?

Battlestar Galactica, Humanity’s Backup Plan

Commander William Adama was a man of extreme practicality, which some might say bordered on paranoia. As commander of the Battlestar Galactica, he insisted that the ship remain disconnected from the military network and prohibited any upgrades to digital interfaces. While the rest of the world became increasingly more connected, the Galactica was completely self-sufficient.

Adama’s disdain for the digital was more than an inability to adapt to evolving times – he in fact had his reasons. Adama knew that the Cylons had every tactical and strategic advantage in a digital world. They were created to out-process and out-think humans. He specifically kept his ship offline because he wanted to be able to maintain command if the central network was compromised. Boy, was he right on the money.

At the time of the Cylon’s attack on the Twelve Colonies, the battlestar Galactica was hosting an eclectic mix of military personnel and civilians to cover the ship’s decommissioning. Those aboard the ship went on to consist of most of humanity’s survivors.

For most of the remainder of the show, Adama must outthink the Cylons, flee their ranks, and ascertain the identities of the near-human Cylons that seek to infiltrate his ranks.

It is estimated that around 50,000 people lived aboard the ship at the beginning of Adama’s command of the survivors. By maintaining a command that was isolated from the main network, Adama is able to preserve humanity.

Backup and disaster recovery is an essential element of maintaining the longevity of your business. Just as Adama’s analog ship is able to maintain humanity, you should always back up your network in different places, both on your network and off your network.

In addition to Adama’s triumph for humanity’s future existence, the command structures are able to create a new government to guide the survivors beyond Adama’s military lead.

You should also have a disaster recovery plan, including a chain of command that ensures immediate response and establishes near-term operations and communication.

If you’re making a checklist, add a few of these things that we’ve learned from Battlestar Galactica:

  1. Back up your data
  2. Implement cybersecurity solutions
  3. Prepare and execute a Disaster Recovery Plan
  4. Don’t trust strange emails and attachments
  5. Trust the professionals

“So say we all.”

There are many other ways that Battlestar Galactica shows us what to do in the event of a disaster. We’d love to talk to you about them when you call us or send us a message.

You can also couple this article with our recent Star Wars Weapons Can Help You Find the Best Backup and Restore Plan for Your Business and The Top 5 Reasons to Prepare Your Business Continuity Plan.