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Thoughts From Abbott’s Inbox Sept. 22nd, 2023

I’ve had two conversations this week about how we attract new business and the fact that people can’t know what they’re getting by working with Ashton, until they’ve actually worked with us.  That means that referrals and word of mouth are a big part of finding new clients.  Interestingly enough, we’ve never had any success with referral programs.  Point being, if you have a friend or colleague looking for technology support and strategy, please don’t hesitate to mention our name!


And now to the matter at hand. I was surprised to find out that, as I was starting to put this together on Tuesday night, 20,500 birds had flown through Geauga County that evening.  That seems like a lot, and you can read more on that below.  I also found interesting bits on Clorox, the new iPhone update, and the last man standing as it relates to floppy disks.  (And just as I was about to hit “send”, this popped up in my inbox; something about fixing “Employees from Hell”.)   Enjoy, and please note that I have no clue as to why some links are appearing in blue rather than green.  Especially the one that’s supposed to be scarlet.

Something about ...


First it was the toilet paper, and then it was the disinfectant wipes. Sure, that was a couple of years ago when people lost their minds and started hoarding… Now, the shortage of Clorox wipes is due to a recent data breach the company suffered.  They’ve had to go back to processing orders by hand, while reducing production capacity.  Let’s hope Charmin doesn’t get hit next. 

iOS 17

Have you updated your iPhone yet to the new iOS 17?  If not, you can look forward to quicker sharing of contact info, better search functionality in the messaging app, destination check-ins, better autocorrect, and more. 

Floppy Disks

I can remember the first (and probably only) computer class I took, back in 5th grade.  We had Radio Shack computers and used cassette tapes as storage devices.  We had to write a program, and mine was either on baseball stats or baseball cards (or it could’ve been both- I don’t remember).  Soon after that, floppy disks became the norm, and I would imagine many people reading this never got to deal with those.  In any case, people are still using them, and many airplanes still store data on floppy disks.  Interestingly, there’s still that one guy who is the go-to resource if you need a new floppy, need something duplicated, or need to pull data from an old floppy. 


Cyber Insurance and Ransomware

Had lunch earlier this week with an insurance broker friend who focuses on M&A, and he mentioned that while cyberliability premiums are still significantly higher than they used to be, they’ve come down a bit.  He also sent me this piece that suggests that an 18 month decline in ransomware attacks may have been due to the fact that hackers have been more concerned with the war in Ukraine.  Now, however, hackers are back (and ransomware along with them), leading to an expected increase in insurance premiums and the reminder that this sort of attack is a question of “not if, but when”.

Credit Card Fraud

As I left the office last night, a text message popped up on the touch screen in the car.  Didn’t recognize the number so I grabbed my phone to review, and it was from KeyBank (or so it claimed).  The message said that there’d been an attempted fraudulent debit card purchase at a Sam’s Club for $517.93, and asked me to respond “Y” or “N” if it was indeed me.  There was also an 866# to call.  


Rather than respond via text or call the number listed, I dialed the KeyBank customer service number I remembered from my days as a Key employee (the number on the back of my card would’ve worked, too) and explained the situation.  Yes indeed, there was an attempted charge at Sam’s (we don’t shop there) and it was in Texas (haven’t been there in over a year).  It would seem that somebody got my debit card number and cloned the card to attempt to use it in person. The Key rep confirmed a couple of other seemingly suspicious recent purchases, and then told me they’d send a new card, immediately.  As with the ransomware above, it seems that these are a matter of when, not if.


Was on a call the other day with one of our engineers regarding a business email compromise (BEC) he’d been dealing with.  He mentioned that in the old day (pre-covid), multifactor authentication (when properly configured) could stop 98% of breach attempts.  Now, however it’s a much easier solution to defeat, as this article acknowledges, noting that “MFA is designed to identify devices rather than people”. One more reminder that security is a multilayered solution, and that your users are the first line of defense. 

Nancy's Nuggets

Ohio politicians and business leaders have often talked about high speed rail from Cleveland to Cincy, through Columbus.  Unlike Ohio, however, the people in Florida actually get these things done.  There’s a new high speed rail line from Orlando to Miami, which sounds well and good (especially if you like either of those cities).  However, it only saves 30 minutes each way, and costs $79 one way. So, even if you’re driving solo, it costs well more than the gas you’ll use, and doesn’t save a great deal of time, even though the speed is 125MPH. 


I’ll take Freeport, ME over Orlando, any day of the week. LL Bean just opened a new corporate HQ, having noted that in their previous space, that 90% of employees had no access to natural light. (Aside;  Bean is known for their store being open 24/7/365. We were there in Oct 2015 on college visits, and as is typical of my bad timing, the store was closed.  For the first time since JFK was assassinated in 1963.)


Finally, I’m sure all of you have seen Bob Ross at one point or another, and now you can bid on the first painting he created for his PBS tv show.  It’s expected to go for close to $10M!

It looks like a beautiful fall weekend, other than the fact that the Browns’ season ended almost before it started ( and with that, I can say that I now have something in common with Nick Chubb- if you’ve seen the video or stills of his knee on Monday night, you know what my knee did at Lake Placid in 2015).


If you want to spend some time outside this weekend, you can check out the 2023 leaf-peepers prediction map (I already see a couple of bright yellow trees across the office parking lot, but peak here in Cuyahoga County is expected the week of Oct. 9), or you can get estimates as to how many birds will be flying through your neighborhood (see image above).


Lastly, if you don’t want to be outside, you can read a great business book about the growth of LL Bean,  or watch all of the big college football matchups, including the Ohio State-Notre Dame game


Have a great weekend, and Go Bucks!


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