On the question of data security

internet

There are simple ways to protect your computer data.

Game of Thrones has been plagued by a large number of incidents of theft of its data by hackers costing it millions of dollars in revenue.  With such huge investment and valuable intellectual property I am surprised that those behind Game of Thrones fail to employ simple security strategies.

The present obsession is to host data on third-party servers in the cloud, trusting those service providers will have strong integrity and security.  In addition, everyone wants all things connected 24/7 and they transfer data electronically down communication channels that everyone uses and can listen in on.

Russia has woken up to the reality that one good way to avoid theft of data is the use of typewriters.  The paper method means, that as longs it is stored away from fire, vermin and water, it is harder to steal and cannot be destroyed by electronic failure, malicious encryption or deletion.  Part of my own record keeping is paper-based.

I have valuable intellectual property and data.  Processes such as my accounting is done on systems I have coded.  It might be cheap and easy for hosting data on a cloud server, but control over that data is then lost, and anyone can potentially access it regardless of security.  I never use cloud servers.

A lot of the data of Game of Thrones could have been stored on computers with no internet access, which means I would have to have physical access to those computers to steal it.  It makes sense to have two computers or servers, one that never has access to the internet, so nobody can go steal, encrypt or use any exploit from a remote location to get at that valuable data.  Unfortunately there is always a way to get at data which is connected to the internet regardless of security.

Another issue the Game of Thrones people had been when data was communicated electronically to its many partners, that a third-party could intercept the data and then publish it, including entire episodes of the series.  With an episode so valuable as those in Game of Thrones, it is worth using a courier to transport the data from an US location to one in India, this way no data can be intercepted electronically.

Unfortunately society is fixated on paradigms where data must be stored electronically on the cloud, with access 24/7 and communicated electronically.  However, pen-paper; disconnection from the internet; moving data by courier; hosting data on own computers and servers is a valuable set of strategies that will make it harder to have that data stolen, misused or lost.

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Military strategy and Game of Thrones

dodo

Those that want to avoid the fate of the dodo are well advised to heed simple strategic advice from philosophers such as Sun Tzu.

I am currently watching Game of Thrones series 7, supporting Queen Daenerys  Targaryen and her dragons.  How frustrated I am at simple military strategic errors by Daenerys, strategy anyone in the LHP and business can learn from.

At the start of series 7 Queen Daenerys has a winning hand of cards, her opponent Cersei Lannister at her weakest point, only saved by a competent adviser in Qyburn.  Daenerys makes her first mistake by failing to attack Kings Landing and destroying Cersei with all her combined forces, arguing that it would cause the deaths of thousands of civilians.  If Daenerys had moved immediately with all her forces, in one battle the war would be ended, but her error causes instead the war to become prolonged, losing her advantage, and resulting in the deaths by a multiple of ten or a hundred.  The greatest killer of civilians in war has always been famine and disease, which always follows in the wake of war.

Second error, Daenerys splits her forces, they are then eliminated piecemeal, her navy is destroyed, three principle allied forces are wiped out, one of her main armies are cut off.

Third error, Daenerys acting without use of spies and intelligence, resulting in being taken by surprise in three major battles.

Fourth error, having no scouts or their equivalent, so the enemy take her navy and armies by surprise.

Fifth error, failing to create lines of supply and communication, thus one of her armies has been cut off and faces obliteration deep in enemy territory.

This might be a work of fiction, but the formerly intelligent advisers to Daenerys look like a bunch of incompetent idiots.

All these errors are reasons why businesses can fail or succeed: keeping everything focussed; acting on good intelligence; retaining strong lines of supply and communication; striking at an opportunity fast and hard; having eyes and ears on the ground in advance of the main business actions to warn of changing market conditions.

After episode 3 of series 7, the Daenerys business brand is heading in the same direction as Twitter, towards extinction, due to simple strategic errors.