I am a big Star Trek fan!
Spoiler Alert: If you have not watched season two of Picard, STOP reading!
Watch the season and then read this blog. When you get to the conclusions at the end of the blog, think about what happened in the episode where Dr. Soong’s data got wiped by Soji, his estranged daughter.
There are some really important ‘take homes’ in this small, but action packed scene, and I flesh them out for you in the ‘lessons learned’ conclusions section. Please don’t skip to the end, there is a lot of good stuff in the middle of this blog. Take the time to read it–you will not be sorry!
Bread & Butter:
The bread and butter of my business is Business Continuity/Backup Systems–network backup. I do other things like Network Design, Firewalls, Antivirus, Computer Trouble Shooting, Custom Computer Builds—custom does not mean expensive, however.
Backing up your computer systems, so that if there is a hardware failure, malware infection, or an estranged daughter, you created from an experiment, decides to delete your decades of work—If any of those things happen, you have options for recovery.
Doesn’t it make sense to backup that kind of work? I mean really?
In this scene of season 2, Picard, Adam Soong, played by Brent Spiner, is trying to change the future to favor a time line he would be in, after he has a conversation with the new Borg queen. This new time line would benefit both of them. She gets a 400-year head start on assimilation of the Gamma Quadrant, with advanced tech stolen from the future, and Dr. Soong gets to be the go-to guy for saving the planet with his inventions.
However, to do this, he must prevent a pivotal NASA space mission to one of Saturn’s moons where a life form would be found, and if brought back to earth, would miraculously clean all the pollution in the ground and in the air. He would be out of the picture.
Well, as the story goes on, he fails, the space launch goes, and the time line goes on like it did before. Dr. Soong goes back to his lair to contemplate his next evil genius plan. As he is walking about, drinking whatever concoction he has in his hand, he notices there is some action on one of his monitors.
His estranged daughter Soji, got into his computer system remotely and started to delete decades of notes, videos, documentation–everything. It was a clean wipe, and she tells him, “This is for my sisters.” Apparently referring to the ones that did not survive being willed into existence.
His expression was completely like, “My work! Years of work! I’m going to cry like a baby now–give me room to do that, how could she do that?” It was like his very best friend in the whole world died in the most unbelievable accident.
If Arnold Consulting was protecting his network:
Now, this would have been a completely different scenario if Arnold Consulting was protecting and backing up his network. First of all, Dr. Soong would have had an enterprise class firewall that would prevent unauthorized access from estranged daughters, employees, or hackers. Secondly, he would have had onsite backups and then offsite disaster recovery.
Upon seeing all his data being deleted, Dr. Soong would immediately call Arnold Consulting, and the owner Rick Arnold answers the phone. This is how the conversation could unfold:
Rick – Arnold Consulting: “Good afternoon Dr. Soong good to hear from you. How are things going?”
Dr. Soong: “Not good. Remember Soji, my daughter that I created in a test tube, and grew in a dish?”
Rick – Arnold Consulting: “Yes, that was pretty neat stuff. How is she doing?”
Dr. Soong: “She found out that she was just one of my experiments.”
Rick – Arnold Consulting: “Oh no—not good!”
Dr. Soong: “She deleted all my work remotely.”
Rick – Arnold Consulting: “So, when she left you initially, you did not disable her network or remote access?”
Dr. Soong: “No”, sheepishly said.
Rick – Arnold Consulting: “Let’s see what we can do. Do you see that gold switch on the console next to the built in monitor?”
Dr. Soong: “Yes!”
Rick – Arnold Consulting: “Flip the switch to the up position.”
Star Trek – Computer Voice: “Activating secondary on site backup systems.”
Dr. Soong: “It’s working!” with a wide eyed smile.
Star Trek – Computer Voice: “Failed initiation of backup system –Secondary systems are off line”
Dr. Soong: “Now what – I am ruined. I might as well pick up the Kahn Project, move to India, and learn to like spicy food.”
Rick – Arnold Consulting: “Not so fast, we’re not finished yet! Go into your office and behind the door there is a red button. Press that button, and let’s see what happens.”
Star Trek – Computer Voice: “Activating offsite backups. Initiating. Offsite backups are on line and restoring. Time to restore 1 hour and 15 minutes 32 seconds.”
Dr. Soong: “What does that mean?”
Rick – Arnold Consulting: “Well, Soji did not get access to your off-site backup. The on-site backups are a working backup set, and they are used to quickly recover the system or system files. When she got those, she stopped looking for others. Even if she discovered I had backup’s off-site, she would have to get through my firewall and the encryption I have in place on my network. Not impossible–but improbable.” At worst, you lost a day of work.”
Dr. Soong: “Better than twenty years of notes, logs, videos, and scientific papers!”
Rick – Arnold Consulting: “I agree. I’ll log in and cut Soji’s network and remote access so this does not happen again. Next time you have an employee or an estranged family member leave, call me right away so we can prevent this kind of issue.”
Dr. Soong: “I will, I should have done that all long time ago–thank you. I think I‘ll kick start the Kahn project from the Pentagon. Make the human race better, stronger, smarter, and faster. Yes, I will make the human race better.”
Rick – Arnold Consulting: “I’m glad I could help with your Evil Genius plans and restore them for you. I will send an invoice for today’s work, the invoice comes to 1.5 million dollars (my evil genius rate—NOT yours).
Dr. Soong: “I will have a check out to you tomorrow. I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t been backing up and protecting my data and network, Rick.”
Rick – Arnold Consulting: “No problem! It’s what I do! Happy to help out!”
BUT, we weren’t doing his backups were we!
Conclusion / Lessons Learned from our fictional dialog with the evil genius:
I was having a little fun with the season two finale of Picard, I really enjoy the series. However, there are some really serious takeaways from this scene that apply directly to your business!
Always make sure you have a really good external perimeter defense, like a hardware firewall from a notable manufacturer. We have stated a few times here at Arnold Consulting has standardized on Fortinet. I believe the customer service and the proprietary hardware is a very good value.
If Dr. Soong would have locked her user remote access account, on the fire wall, and revoked her two factor authentication token. No matter how smart, Soji would not have gotten through the VPN remote access with AES256 bit Encryption – Currently not possible with 6/2022 technology, that I know of.
Soji was able to authenticate through VPN, as the dialogue indicates. Dr. Soong did another major No-No! He did not lock her computer access to the local area network. After Soji, the estranged daughter left, she was still able to access the system remotely and the internal network. Major mistake on the part of Dr. Soong!
The very first thing an Employer / Evil Genius should do is lock the user account so no remote or physical access is possible. In the fictional narrative, if Dr. Soong had done that, he still would have his files and saved 1.5 million dollars.
Do people really pay 1.5 Million dollars to get their data back? Sure they do if they are a victim of ransomware attacks and a larger company. This kind of thing plays out weekly across America—that’s why a good backup is crucial and following basic security protocols is key.
The only thing that saved Dr. Soong’s bacon was Arnold Consulting. In the hypothetical, we were doing the backups. We specialize in Disaster recovery and business continuity system / network design.
In the narrative, Dr. Soong violated some very basic common business practices in regards to network security.
At Arnold Consulting, we see these missteps on a frequent basis. Where employers, don’t disable network access and things like this happen. We get calls like this maybe once or twice a year. It was only because Dr. Soong had an exceptional backup solution that he was able to recover.
Does a system like this cost money? The amount depends on how big of a company you have, how much data, and what you have in place to begin with. How much is your data worth? Think about that for a moment. Not many people stop to consider the worth of their data.
A business owner has to think about data backups like insurance. It is not something that you will use every day, but if you have to use it, it will save your business.
Statistics Read Closely:
The 2021 statistics from BackBlaze is only 11% of computers are backed up and a portion of those backups fail. If this happens to your business, could you recover? 40-60% of businesses that have a significant data loss go out of business—permanently. So, I think Dr. Soong is out of business, OOPS!
Who is the real genius in the story? Arnold Consulting, of course (winky face)!
If you are looking for a disaster recovery solution call Arnold Consulting 847-464-5855.