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Thoughts From Abbott’s Inbox July 16th, 2021

Thoughts From My Inbox

July 16th, 2021

Free Lunch, Live Music, and Government IT

It’s Friday and it’s not raining! (Yet)  Are you looking to learn how not to avoid ransomware, send better marketing emails, or get free stuff (concert tickets or lunch)?  Then read on for all the interesting stuff that made its way through my inbox this week. 

Something About…


MSPs at Risk

Does anybody reading this know what a Managed Services Provider (MSP) is? That’s one reason why Ashton is moving away from the term.  In any case, MSPs are under attack (see the Kaseya ransomware event from July 2nd, mentioned here last week), and you need to make sure that your MSP is taking every possible precaution to protect their network AND yours. You can also ask them these nine questions to confirm their stance on security.



Government and IT

The federal government has announced the launch of a new website (which I’m sure cost millions) aimed at stopping ransomware.  From training, what to do if you’ve been hit, and how to avoid it, the site seems to have everything.  But when I saw the link about anti-virus, I was a little concerned that  A. it was last updated in fall of 2019, and B.  it’s referred to as “anti-virus” rather than “endpoint protection”.  


Sure enough, the piece states that “Anti-virus software (sometimes more broadly referred to as anti-malware software) looks for patterns based on the signatures or definitions of known malware (emphasis mine).”  That’s older than 2019.  Modern day measures look for behaviors rather than defined malware. Many ransomware attacks involve zero day measures, which means there’s been no time to define them. That’s why looking for behaviors is the better way to protect yourself. There are definitely some good ideas in these documents, but when in doubt, trust Ashton before you trust the government.   




Venture Capital

Venture capitalists are now investing in ransomware.  Is anybody surprised?





 I don’t believe that any Ashton clients are still running anything from Sonicwall, but this is a good reminder, regardless.  There’s a vulnerability for their Secure Remote Access and Secure Mobile access devices. The key is that this effects unpatched and end of life (EOL) devices.  Regardless of the device, if its patches aren’t up to date, or if it’s reached EOL (think Windows 7 PCs), it’s putting you at risk of being hacked.



The Tour de France

I went to college (and high school, and middle school) with Ashton President/Founder Jim Millican, which is probably the only reason I’ve ever paid attention to The Tour.  While the rest of us were drinking beer or watching sports on tv (I’m referring to our college days), he used to get out his bike and trainer, pop in a VHS cassette, and watch “Tour tapes”.  Recordings of prior years’ Tours de France.  He’d pretend he was climbing the Alps or riding the cobblestones, while we just rolled our eyes and grabbed another beer.  Anyhow, he still rides and I still pay some attention to the race, so the news about an ‘alt-Tour’ caught my eye.  An Aussie rider decided to ride the entire length of the course, by himself, with no support crews or masseuses.  And did it five days faster than the peloton did. Pretty impressive.


Financial Responsibility

Rob McCreary is back with interesting statistics on what American consumers did with their three rounds of stimulus checks over the past year.  Did you spend yours or save them?



If you use Adobe products (according to my research, Adobe Reader is on over a billion devices, globally), there are a lot of new patches out as of this past Tuesday. Make sure you’re up to date.


Color TV

 70 years ago this week (July 14, 1951) was the first broadcast of a sporting event in color.

# 109

 I have to give a shoutout to the entire Ashton team, as we’ve recently been announced as #109 on Channel Futures MSP 501 list, which ranks the top 501 managed IT services providers (even though we’re trying to get away from that term!), worldwide.

2020 was our first year on the list (#426) which ranks IT providers based on revenues, recurring revenues, operational maturity, solutions offered, and many other data points.  Jumping over 300 spots in our second year on the list says a lot about the team we have in place, especially considering what 2020 looked like!  Congrats to all.



Free Lunch

I’m still looking to get together with business owners, partners, principals, and decision makers to pick your brains on the best B2B customer experience you’ve ever had.  I’ll buy lunch, you pick the place.  We want to make Ashton stand out in the market place, and need your feedback.  If it’s not you, please share this with a friend or a peer, and I’ll take them out.  I’ll even make it easy for you; shoot me an email with your favorite restaurant and the date/time that works for you.

If you don’t want to eat, I might even be convinced to take you out for a round of golf, some sporting clays, or a Tribe game.  Just say the word and we’ll get it on the calendar.


After a year away, live music is back, and we’re excited to be a part of it!  Our friends at Elevation Group have moved their event to a new venue (Lakeland Community College), but it will be the same great mix of live music, food, and arts. Ashton is again the Official Technology Partner for the two day festival which takes place next weekend, July 24th and 25th.  Some of my personal favorites over the past three editions of the event have included O.A.R., Dirty Heads, Castlecomer, Trombone Shorty, AJR, and Caroline Jones.   AJR and Trombone Shorty are back this year, along with other big names like Walk The Moon and Portugal The Man and a bunch of up and coming performers.

We have a pair of general admission tickets available for both Saturday and Sunday- the first person to hit me up gets their choice of day.  The next person gets the other set of tickets. Email me at if you’re interested.  It’s a great event and I’m looking forward to being there next weekend!



It’s been a pretty dull week in the inbox (no real estate, no crazy sports), but I guess that goes with the weather we’ve been having. It doesn’t look like it’s going to get much better this weekend, but after three straight weeks of rain (that’s what we’ve had, right?), statistics say that it has to be better next week (unless you live in Seattle). If you’re stuck inside, you can watch the last two legs of the Tour- a time trial tomorrow and the mostly ceremonial ride into Paris on Sunday. You can also work on earning yourself a cool $10M, courtesy of the US State Department (turn in a state sponsored hacker) or continue to sweat the Microsoft PrintSpooler issue.  


Don’t forget me to send me your interesting finds for next week’s edition, and in the meantime, have a great weekend!



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