Defining Managed IT Services

Managed services is a broad term for outsourcing many functions in business. Typically, business owners hear the term the first time they investigate IT outsourcing. It is also the favorite term for IT support companies looking to generate a recurring revenue stream. Small and medium business owners will find that IT companies offer varying descriptions of what they consider managed IT service packages. So what is managed services?Managed Services DefinedWikipedia defines managed services as “the practice of outsourcing day-to-day management responsibilities and functions as a strategic method for improving operations and cutting expenses. This can include outsourcing HR-activities, production support and lifecycle build/maintenance activities.”Over at the MSP Alliance, they describe it as “the proactive management of an IT (Information Technology) asset or object, by a third party typically known as a MSP, on behalf of a customer. The operative distinction that sets apart a MSP is the proactive delivery of their service, as compared to reactive IT services, which have been around for decades.”And finally, Gartner defines a MSP as a company that “delivers network, application, system and e-management services across a network to multiple enterprises, using a “pay as you go” pricing model. A “pure play” MSP focuses on management services as its core offering. In addition, the MSP market includes offerings from other providers – including application service providers (ASPs), Web hosting companies and network service providers (NSPs) – that supplement their traditional offerings with management services.”Basically, the industry defines managed IT services as a program in which some portion of IT service is done proactively and with some sort of monthly fee. However, the process and results may vary depending on how the individual company approaches their support package.Many IT support companies simply add some sort of service with a monitoring package for a nominal fee and call it managed services. On the other end of the spectrum, a full-time Managed Service Provider or MSP, will have an end-to-end platform in which they take responsibility for their clients’ technology and a laser-like focus on improving the overall client experience and their technology results.The Theory and PurposeThe basic theory behind the value of the service is that as a company grows and relies more on their technology, calling an IT company to resolve problems becomes cumbersome and costly. Some companies begin looking to have some proactive IT management mixed into their current strategy. There are many levels of monitoring and review in a proactive strategy. The overall goal should be to utilize the proactive activity to reduce the amount of reactive issues and business risks.Alternatively, some companies opt to hire an internal IT person. Managed services, when done properly, should offer companies a cost effective solution that reduces reactive problems and helps the client plan for future issues and business changes. Using economies of scale and through best practices developed and refined across a base of clients, a good managed services approach should certainly be more cost effective than hiring internally and deliver better results.Variations of Managed ServicesWhile the definition can be somewhat vague, the variations are also sometimes confusing. Listed below are some of the more common “managed services” offering that a person may come across. While some would argue that the most basic offerings are not managed services at all, they are included if only to illustrate how much variation exists.Monitoring OnlyA monitoring only package is the least expensive and least effective of any managed services approach. It probably should not be considered managed services, however, many MSP’s use it as an entry level service at a low cost. Once an alert occurs, the IT support company calls the client to schedule the necessary resolution at an additional fee. This method may shorten the response time by an IT company but does not do much to make a real positive change for the client.Limited ResponseThe next step for many companies, this approach allows for some issue remediation. The boundaries are usually specific and somewhat restrictive. This approach may offer a set amount of hours for reactive network support per a time period or include limited response for specific server, computer or other technical issues. Any problems that fall outside of the defined perimeters incur a service fee.Hybrid ApproachThis approach allows for companies that employ their own internal IT personnel while utilizing the resources of a well-equipped and knowledgeable managed services IT company. Many times, a business has the need for a full-time technology employee for a specialized purpose. Typically, using this approach, the internal person can focus on his or her specific function and allow the managed services company handle the issues that occur outside of those perimeters. Using this model, the managed services company should be able to implement their process to positively affect the client’s business while the employee is then not burdened by unnecessary distractions.Note: Many companies feel the need to have an on-site person to more quickly respond to employee issues. This approach is usually costly and is generally not necessary. When done properly, the managed services approach should focus on minimizing the need for a reactive response by avoiding most day-to-day issues, negating the need for an on-site technician. In fact, remote response can many times be faster than waiting for a person to respond, even if they are in the same building. In the rare occurrence of an issue that requires on-site personnel, an MSP should be well-equipped to respond appropriately.Remote-Only Help Desk SupportUsing this approach, the managed service company is able to implement their entire process with the only limitation being that any on-site service will be at an additional, sometimes discounted, cost. This model can be very effective for companies that require little on-site response or have a dispersed workforce. Most companies that use remote-only support can benefit from the higher level of service and results that a good MSP delivers and only pay for on-site response as needed.Full IT DepartmentThe full IT department package places all of the responsibility for the client’s technology results in the hands of the MSP. When done properly, the MSP can utilize tools, technology, best practices and a well-developed process to:

Drive down reactive issues

Increase client productivity

Consult on technology decisions

Provide a multi-year budget

Reduce the client’s overall business risk of data loss and downtime.
When a reputable managed service provider engages a client using this approach, they are committing to provide a positive result for a set monthly fee.What Do You Need?With the many variations and sometime loose definition of managed services, the typical business owner can be confused by multiple service delivery models. This can be especially daunting when pricing between companies can differ by large dollar amounts. Business owners can sometimes lump all IT companies into the same category, but usually there are large disparities in approach, methods and expectations.IT can be simple and an asset to your company, but making the right decision between MSP’s can seem overwhelming. When evaluating a managed service provider to maintain your company’s technology, focus on the results that the MSP promises. It is our belief that the best approach is for the MSP to be involved in all aspects of a client’s technology. By getting to know our client’s business and technology, we are more effective in providing the very best IT support and management. Managed service providers offering to partially manage your network are usually hoping for the big payday that comes when something equally big goes wrong.

Barber Chairs – 7 Tips for Selecting Stylish Barber Chairs for Your Spa and Salon

The world of fashionThe business of making people look beautiful is very rewarding both in terms of satisfaction and revenue. It is of paramount importance that a spa and salon owner takes utmost care to provide the best service to his clients, at the same time making the salon look attractive. Beauty furniture comes into play here.Beauty for SalonsAt the very beginning, attractive and exquisitely designed salon reception desks could set the ambience to the entire salon. While lighting and interior décor make up for most of the attractiveness, what really catches the eye of a customer is a stylish barber or salon chair. This is one basic necessity included in salon furniture.Features to look for while selectingHere are seven tips that may help you choose the perfect barber chairs for your salon:1. The most important feature of good barber chairs is comfort. Considering that a lot of time is spent in and around the barber chair, comfort should be viewed not just from the customer’s point, but also from your point as you work on their hair. You have to ensure that the customer will be well and comfortably seated and at the same time, it should be easy for you to maneuver around the customer enabling you to do your job in a hassle-free manner.2. Being one of the most important hair salon equipment the styles of the barber chairs are important too. When selecting a stylish barber chair, remember to choose styles that compliment the theme and lay-out of your salon.3. Keep in mind that bold colors may not necessarily work out for all salons. Choose the color you feel is best, depending on the locality that the salon is located in and also the latest trending colors.4. Size of the chair is also important. Choose a size that retains the style and comfort of the chair while giving you ample space to move about in the salon. A cramped salon with not enough space to move about is not advisable.5. Ensure that the material of the chair is one that does not stain easily, as you will be using a lot of chemicals. It is best to opt for a material that repels moisture rather than absorb it.6. It would be convenient if the chair is one with all the latest features such as reclining abilities, hydraulic pumps, padded armrests, angled footrests, cushioned for seating comfort etc.7. Last but not the least is the price and durability of the chair. Make sure that you get value for the money that you spend. Choose barber chairs that suits your budget and has long durability.

Detoxification – Total Mind & Body

An increasingly important aspect of health today is our internal relationship to our external environment. Since the industrial revolution, the number of chemicals used in various industries has expanded enormously. As a result, our physical, cognitive, and emotional health has suffered–often at a subtle level, and increasingly at an obvious level. For example, decreasing indoor air quality is a significant contributing factor to the quadrupling of the Canadian prevalence in childhood asthma since the 1970′s. Even our outdoor air quality (ie, smog) has been attributed to aggravating asthma, chronic respiratory and cardiovascular illness. Our food supply is also a source for concern – it has been found that even low-grade exposure to pesticides over time (ranging from home gardeners to farmers) has been associated with skin problems, infertility, neurobehavioral changes, and certain cancers. It is no wonder that the fastest growing sector of the agricultural industry has been organic, chemical-free farming. Our water quality is also questionable: the Walkerton, Ontario tragedy has shown how our food-production practices can affect our water quality. Tap water tests have shown up to 2000 different chemicals are present, and most of them are unregulated. It is apparent that our world is increasingly toxic, and that little emphasis has been placed on assessing personal exposures, or strengthening our bodies to deal with this burden, or on promoting the elimination of this unwanted load.It is interesting to note how many cultures around the world have incorporated elimination/detoxification techniques into their way of life or worldview. As one local example, the indigenous peoples of North America have always incorporated sweating as part of a mind-body-spirit-heart method of purification, called the “sweat-lodge”. It is only now that we know toxic elements and fat-soluble chemicals can exit the body from the sweat (note, other important minerals can exit this way as well – eg: zinc). Indigenous peoples also developed an understanding and respect of how certain plants could activate excretory organs such as the kidneys, digestive tract, and the skin.If we additionally consider how people can carry issues in their minds and spirit, a holistic approach to addressing toxin accumulation becomes clear. Our society has lost these valuable tools for clearing the mind and body of toxins, and it is important for our future health that we re-learn these and other methods.In my naturopathic practice, detoxification is of paramount importance, and I highly recommend that adults undergo a complete detoxification program at least once every one to two years, and short programs at every change of season. Commonly, this will involve assessing current toxin burden (medical and mental-emotional history, exposure questionnaire, physical exam, and blood/urine/stool/hair tests) and then developing a customized program and follow up. The program may include• Far-infrared Sauna Treatment – 10-100 hours
• Intravenous Nutrient Support
• Nutritional and Dietary Changes, Herbal Medicines
• Colon Hydrotherapy – 3-6 treatments
• Oil-Dispersion Hydrotherapy – 6-10 treatments
To learn more about these effective treatments, please visit my website.Whether you are an athlete or sedentary, young or young-at-heart, have overt illness or are interested in prevention, detoxification can be the key to resolving your health issues, or towards improved function and renewed vitality. To learn more about what you can do, book your customized assessment and treatment program by calling Four Seasons Naturopathic Wellness at 905-597-7201.