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Thoughts From Abbott’s Inbox Aug. 18th, 2023

For the second week in a row, I’m putting this together on Thursday night.  By the time you get around to reading this, we’ll (hopefully) be finishing up 18 holes of golf to benefit our friends at Hattie Larlham.  If you’re not familiar with them, they’re based in Mantua (southeast of Cleveland) and provide opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We’re fortunate to work with a variety of amazing local non-profits and are consistently impressed by what they all offer to the Greater Cleveland community.  


For the golfers in the crowd, if you’ve never been to Sugarbush (in Garretsville, OH), I’d highly recommend it. I’d never heard of the course until we first played in this event three years ago, but have enjoyed it every time since.  And on top of it being a nice course, it’s a pretty drive from the east side through the farms of Amish country.  

Something about ...

Horrible Bosses (?)

Horrible Bosses is one of my favorite movies, but that’s not why we’re here. I can’t say that I’ve ever paid a great deal of attention to the investment banking (IB, for those in the industry) world, but since my son is now tangentially involved (as an equity research analyst), I’m a little more informed. So, when I saw this article about the head of Goldman Sachs, I figured I should read it.  He and my son share a college alma mater (Hamilton) and my son has a couple of friends who work 100 hour weeks at Goldman.  After reading this piece about David Solomon and his management skills, I’ll be curious to see how long Solomon stays where he is. 


Ever wondered what happens to all the merchandise you buy online (or in catalogs) and then return due to size, color, or general apathy towards it?  If you have 20+ minutes you can find out how much it costs retailers to accept your returned merchandise, what they do with it, and how you might be able to buy it back for pennies on the dollar.  

Security Updates

Only one security update that I came across this week, and it’s for Cisco products.  We’re not a Cisco shop, although we do have some experience with their hardware. From our perspective, it’s grossly overpriced and significantly overcomplicated for the vast majority of SMBs out there.  But, as “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM”, I think the same goes for Cisco.  

NIST Standards

All of the cyber security measures that Ashton takes for our network, as well as those we provide for our clients, are based on guidelines set by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST).  These guidelines were set in place for critical infrastructure organizations like utilities, public works, and finance, but we’ve decided to apply them to all.  Those guidelines have recently been updated to include a sixth piece

Evil Proxy Phishing

I have no clue what “reverse proxy and cookie-injection methods” are as they relate to phishing, but Evil Proxy is a phishing as a service solution that allows hackers to get around multi-factor authentication and get to targeted company executives.  More reason to make sure that your security solution is multi-layered and includes endpoint protection that looks for unusual activities- not just defined issues.  And that your workforce is educated regarding the current threat landscape. 

Remote Monitoring Software

We’ve known for quite some time that the remote monitoring and management (RMM) software used by managed IT services providers was a big target for hackers. Presently, Ashton has over 4,000 devices under our management, each one with RMM software installed. If hackers were to gain access to one of our (or any other managed technology provider’s) clients, in theory they could move across those networks and infect multiple companies in one fell swoop.  


When RMM provider Kaseya got hacked in 2021, we quickly jumped ship, shortening the time line for our already in-progress move to a different solution. Now, new guidelines have been released regarding proper usage of RMM software.  It’s probably a good time to check with your technology partner to understand how they’re using their RMM solution on your network, and what precautions they take to protect both your network and theirs.

Nancy's Nuggets

Nancy forwarded me a variety of interesting info this week, led by the seventh largest diamond ever found (at over 1,000 karats).  She reminded me that her birthday is coming up (not easy to forget, since it’s the same as mine) and hinted that a trip to Botswana to go shopping would be appreciated.  

And while I’ve seen a few news bits about the Iowa state fair due to the various politicians making the rounds, she passed on a piece about the famous ‘butter cow’ that is making its annual appearance. We try to get to the Geauga County fair every year, but I don’t think they offer any butter art.


And last (and definitely least) she mentioned that there’s a new Netflix documentary airing about Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. I remember hearing it on the news for what seemed like two weeks straight, but paying absolutely zero attention to it.  She thinks it’ll be big tv viewing for many of you, this weekend.  As a matter of fact, I hear her laughing in the other room while watching it, as I sit here and compile this newsletter.  I think I’ll watch the grass grow, instead. 

I’ll end this week with two seemingly random articles, which, when you think about it, make perfectly good sense together.  


For those who don’t know me, I LOVE hot/spicy food, even though it usually gets it revenge the next day (much to my wife’s chagrin).  So I figured I had to share this article about the ‘chile highway’ between New Mexico and Colorado.  Looks like a lot of great places and menu items.  Chile Highway 


And thanks to our friend Liz (who’ll be getting some Ashton swag, thanks to her submission), we now know how to get into all of the locked restaurant bathooms in NYC.  Who knew? 

Have a great weekend.


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