This is a question that we hear a lot. Our prospects have not heard the term before and our existing clients need it redefined. It is no surprise that these questions come up….centralized services are nearly invisible. Like most things in IT, if they are working great then you will barely notice them.
So, what are they?
Similar to the word ‘cloud’, the term means different things to different people. Different companies have their own representations of centralized services and they all define them differently. You cannot simply Google it and expect to understand it, because the context will be different. But who cares about that? You are reading this to find out how Smart Dolphins defines the term.
The Simple Definition
Centralized services is a service which we provide to more than one customer (usually all of them) to ensure a fast, efficient, and secure IT experience. These services are managed behind the scenes, and are centralized in that we can administer them across our entire customer base with a few clicks of the mouse.
Take antivirus as an example. Smart Dolphins deploys one antivirus product, whenever possible, to all of our clients. It is included in every single Smart Dolphins agreement as part of the monthly fee. Our antivirus product (on your machines) receives all of its configuration settings from a computer at Smart Dolphins, and it also reports directly to a dashboard of ours whenever it finds a virus. If we want to schedule virus scans at 2 a.m. for our entire customer base, we can do so effortlessly. If a customer’s computer still gets infected with a virus, our central dashboard will tell us. This allows us to keep things consistent and it ensures that we can jump on problems quickly. We no longer have to ‘check’ for problems, because the problems come to us.
For comparison, here is how de-centralized antivirus would work. We would need to configure every single customer individually, probably by connecting to their network remotely and applying our configuration changes to each customer one at a time. We would have a very difficult time being consistent, and we would definitely have a harder time keeping on top of infected machines because we might not see the virus infections unless we went and looked for them.
I am not intending for this blog post to be a sale, but a few examples never hurt anyone, so here is a list of a few more centralized services that we provide to our customers.
- Email/spam filtering
- Business continuity and disaster recovery (backup)
- Enterprise firewalls
- Patch management
- Cybersecurity tools
Of course, not every single client fits into the same box and we make exceptions all the time, but we love our standardization and our customers get better service because of it!
I hope this sheds some light into what is a seemingly black box for a lot of business leaders. The next time you hear us touting how great our centralized services are, you will know what we are talking about.