What Makes a Good Managed Services Provider

February 7, 2011

Sure, you know you need managed IT services, but how closely are your technical needs monitored? 

The relationship between a business and its IT provider is critical to the success of the organization. Business owners have other tasks to worry about without needing to be concerned with the daily happenings of their IT providers.

Many IT companies provide dedicated account managers to serve their clients. These managers stay on top of their clients’ needs through regular communication, offering feedback and documentation to ensure their clients feel confident that their IT needs are being handled.

Empowerment. Having dedicated account managers empower you with an understanding of how IT services impact your business. These IT professionals see IT from both the technical and business sides. These account managers aren’t salespeople. Their role is to understand your business and your technical needs, and support you throughout.

Familiarity. Dedicated account managers will know your account inside and out, making for smooth transitions when it’s time for upgrades or technical questions. You will know your contact person, and s/he will know you.

Regularity. These dedicated representatives will proactively schedule regular assessment meetings and educate your technical users. This way, your users have fewer questions and you experience fewer interruptions. By regularly updating your staff and assessing the daily health of your network, we reduce the risk of technical support issues.

IT Solutions is a Managed Services Provider Serving the Philadelphia Area.


How to Pick a Reliable Cloud Provider

February 3, 2011

The small to medium-sized business market is beginning to heat up, with more and more companies touting the title “cloud provider. And since the technology and its delivery are so new, universal regulations for cloud computing compliance and security simply do not exist.  There are no governing bodies over the cloud computing industry as a whole like there are over accounting or food processing for example. So how do you know which are the trustworthy companies? How do you know your data is not in the basement of someone’s home? How can you know their passwords aren’t the same for every account they service?

Making the jump to cloud computing can be a daunting task, with many things to consider. So we want to help you identify the trustworthy cloud provider.  A few questions to ask as you’re considering providers:

  • Where is the information stored? Ask about their data centers. Where the information is physically stored is a big deal. A typical office building can’t ensure the type of security and environmental controls needed to safely house your data. In addition, some so called data centers are nothing more than dressed up commercial office space, with little thought given to redundancy and security.
  • Who can access the system? Someone will be accessing it, but are they trustworthy? How a company screens potential employees is a crucial element in maintaining your security. Does ex-con Uncle Fester get a seat at the help desk?
  • What they can access?  Ask for specifics about how they tier their access. Everyone shouldn’t be able to see everything- only the right people. Choose an IT provider like you choose a friend: Do you trust them? Do they understand your needs and concerns? Do they have your best interest at heart or are they looking to make a quick buck?
  • Is the access appropriate? Access to underlying infrastructure should parallel that person’s job role. Examine the provider’s corporate policies in line with the “who, what and why” of data security.
  • Do they have a third party audit for security and processes? Ask your prospective provider about the SAS 70 Type II audit. In a cloud context, the Statement of Auditing Standards No. 70 is a report by an external auditor verifying that the appropriate controls, processes, and provisions are in place to effectively maintain your data security. 

They may not come up on the putting green, but you should include “compliance” and “security” in your IT vocabulary. The ramifications of poorly secured data and applications are huge. Your company’s credibility depends on your IT provider’s ability to develop and adhere to specific compliance standards.

Claris Networks is a Cloud Provider serving the Knoxville and Chattanooga areas in Tennessee.

We Are Thinsolutions….Meet Chris Norton

December 17, 2010

My name is Christopher Norton.  I am an IT consultant working out of the Jupiter, Florida IT Consulting office.

I have been with Thinsolutions for three years now.  Funny thing is I was born and raised in Northeast Ohio, but joined the company while living down in Florida.  I grew up in Stow Ohio.  I moved to Jupiter, Florida right after high school with my family.

I met my wife Cindy through friends at college.  We got married on Valentine’s Day and have been married for almost 16 years now.  We have been blessed with two healthy, beautiful daughters, Kayla, age 11 and Kate, age 7.  We love jumping in the car and heading to the beach.  We try to do activities outside whenever we can.  This is really a great place to live.  My parents have since moved back to Ohio and we enjoy going up to visit about twice a year.

I love a good challenge and in this profession you see them all day long.  I have always had a love for technology and computers.  My first experience with computing was back in the days of programming with the Commodore Vic 20 and other models.  My father, a businessman,  was fortunate to have some of the earliest computers in our house.  I learned everything I could about them.

Some people can use a computer for years, without asking questions like, “How does this thing work?  I kept on learning as time has passed.  The years went by, the first computer I built was a 286 IBM clone with a 20MB hard drive.  I continued building machines for friends and family. 

I experimented with different job industries, like insurance sales, stockbroker, but it just wasn’t for me after time.  I had some experience in printing and took a position with a printing company.  I installed some of the first networking there with coax and lantastic.  I managed that print shop for about 5 years, all the while incorporating the latest advances in PC’s and networking.  At this time, I had friends in the computer industry who, before they got their jobs,  had learned everything they knew about computers from me.  They advised me to pursue a career in the field of Network Administration.

I got the opportunity to work as a Windows NT admin in conjunction with a team from whom I could learn.  I adapted quickly and decided this was the place to be.  Even though I liked the creativity I had in the Printing Industry, I was learning something new every day.

After mastering Windows NT, Windows 2000 came out and I got my MCSE during that year.  I then went on to work for a security company and installed client/server access control systems in cruise ships for Princess, Royal Caribbean and others.  There were plenty of other notable places, NYPD HQ, Ernst & Young, MacDill AFB and many other Hospitals, Schools, etc.

One thing I experienced soon enough was that, while some people may call you a computer analyst, you are a hero to others.  It makes one feel good about themselves to help others in this way.

I got to travel all over the world at this time, places like Japan, Singapore, and Italy.  One thing that travel allows for is time to study. During this time I fell in love with the world of Linux, which made me seek out the RHCE certification to further diversify myself.  After 5 years, the travel was starting to get old, so I moved on. 

Next, I worked for an Antivirus company for a while as a network engineer.  It was a great place and it taught me the importance of project management and how to guide a project along.  I had to work directly with development and QA to make this happen.

Working at Thinsolutions, I have learned a lot and gained much more Cisco experience.  I have completed my CCENT certification and I’m close to finishing the CCNA.  I have a lot of great clients and look forward to working with them and advising them in the future.

I believe that your health is very important, eating well and getting exercise is the key to a long fulfilling life.

Attention Physicians: Join the Paperless Revolution

December 3, 2010

How much time is wasted in your office chasing down charts, filing charts, and trying to decipher chicken scratch in charts? Save time and frustration by implementing Electronic Medical Records. Your staff will thank you.

3 S’s of EMR:

Speed. The days of searching for paper charts have long gone. With EMR software, all the information you need is at your fingertips in seconds. The streamlined process of gloStream gives you instant access to charts and other vital information.

Safety. Patient safety improves with the implementation of EMR. Physicians have instant access to information, no matter where the chart is or who is looking at it at that time. Lab results, x-rays and scans become available instantly. Physicians can also have a more meaningful relationship with their patients

Space. Once you’re rid of the rows and rows of filing cabinets, take the opportunity to remodel. Expand your waiting area. Give your staff a break room.

Contact Thinsolutions today to learn more about gloEMR software and our IT Services.

We Are Thinsolutions…meet Joe Massi

November 18, 2010

Hi! My name is Joe Massi. I’ve been with Thinsolutions for a little over 3 years now and currently work as a Help Desk Analyst in the  Managed Services  Group.  I’ve been in the technology industry for 9 years and have really enjoyed it.  I learned about computers while in college at the University of Akron getting my associates degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology. I graduated from Akron in December 2000 and the following May got my first IT job.  So much for that expensive 2 year degree that took me 7 years to get!  Why did it take me 7 years to get a 2 year degree? Well, I was working landscaping during the day and then driving to Akron at night to take classes. 

I’m married to my wonderful wife Paula and we have 2 kids, Briana age 5 and Michael age 5 months (as of the end of November). We live in Chardon Ohio in our new home.In my spare time I like to, umm…uhh…well if I had spare time I’m sure I could find something fun to do.

One thing that people would never peg me for doing is skydiving. It’s true. I went skydiving, even though I have a fear of heights. It was the summer of ’99 and I jumped not once, not twice but 10 times!! Go figure. It was awesome though. The biggest adrenaline rush I’ll ever have!


We Are Thinsolutions….Meet Larry Mellgren

October 21, 2010

I grew up in Spokane, Washington.   I graduated from WSU with a BS in Forest Management , a BA in Business Administration and a commission in the U.S. Army.

I went to Ft Belvoir for Engineer Officer Basic and Ft Benning for Airborne school. I then went Germany and was a Combat Engineer Company Commander in the Third Armored Division fighting the “Cold War”. I came off active duty as a Captain and returned to Spokane. I was a Hot Rolling Forman at Kaiser for two years and commanded the 623 Engineer Company in Hillyard.

I then moved to Boston and worked in the Graphic Arts Industry. I started as a sales rep and wound up as World Wide Accessories Marketing manager for Compugraphic, a manufacturer of phototypesetters. I spent 220 days a year outside the country for about ten years. I would start in Helsinki and wind up in Istanbul, Turkey.

Militarily I stayed in the Reserves and commanded a Battalion in Boston. I then went to work in the Pentagon. I worked in Plans and Operations. I worked on Grenada, Panama and wound up being called up for the first Gulf War. I ran the night shift in the war room. I retired as a Lt Col.

I then moved to Florida to become National Sales Manager for Visual Graphics. After a year I started a company selling billing systems to Doctor’s offices. We merged with a couple of other companies and eventually I went to work for Web MD and now I work for Thinsolutions  selling IT Services and EMR Software.

I am married and I have one son, one daughter and a step daughter  who is a dentist.

I live in Tamarac, Florida on a golf course so I play golf.   I also fly airplanes.  My wife and I enjoy cruising and have been on about 20 cruises.

We Are Thinsolutions….Meet Jeff Gordon

October 21, 2010

Looking back, Jeff Gordon can hardly remember a time when he wasn’t tinkering with computers.  Growing up in a household with a father who was  a computer systems manager, and an older brother going in to computer programming, he was surrounded by technology from a very young age.  This has developed in to a passion that continues today.

Jeff has worked professionally in IT for six years, and is coming up on his three year anniversary with the Cleveland IT Consulting  group at Thinsolutions.  “Being a consultant is anything but boring most of the time.  The technology I support is constantly evolving, and I love learning about new technology.”

Jeff attended the Cisco Networking Academy at Cuyahoga Valley Career Center, and began working professionally in IT shortly thereafter.  Jeff currently holds several certifications including Cisco Certified Network Associate, CompTIA Network+, Microsoft Certified Professional, Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist, and Microsoft Certified IT Professional.

In his free time, Jeff enjoys riding his motorcycle, video games, and travelling.  Last summer he went for a week long backpacking trip at Yellowstone National Park, and is currently exploring the possibility of a white water rafting trip through the Grand Canyon.