The Ultimate Guide to Managed IT for Architecture Firms

By: Denice Ann Villegas

 

Technology has made its way into every existing industry in the world. For some, it was a slow and smooth transition, but for others, it was a quick takeover that had experts grasping for breath.

One prime example of the latter is architecture.

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Architecture Real EstateIn just a few years, technology transformed the architecture industry. New tech tools, techniques, and practices now aid every step of the design and build process. And though these innovations have improved industry processes and results, they also come with their own set of troubles.

So if you want to get the most out of technology without the headaches, you must learn proper technology management.  

You can manage technology by hiring an in-house IT team or, better yet, partnering with a managed service provider (MSP) to help you with the job. An MSP enables you to maintain and utilize technology for the benefit of your architecture company. 

Intelligent Technical Solutions (ITS) is one such company. We have years of experience managing other businesses’ tech, and some of our clients are in architecture. With us taking the helm of your tech processes, you and your team can focus on providing the best service and output for your clients.

In this comprehensive guide, you should be able to learn everything you need to know before getting managed IT support services for architecture firms.   

The Ultimate Guide to Managed IT for Architecture Firms

Who is This Guide for

We made this guide for businesses in the architecture industry looking to keep up with the fast pace of technology and want to use existing IT tools and techniques to their best advantage. 

Chapter 1: What is Managed IT?

Managed IT is the practice of entrusting your IT processes and procedures to a third-party organization that consists of experts specializing on the field. Companies that offer managed IT are better known as managed service providers (MSPs). Whether they take over all your IT tasks or just parts of it is completely up to you and shall be stated clearly in your Service Level Agreement (SLA).  

What is Managed IT

Knowing your business needs is essential because MSPs offer different services, with some having particular specializations. Technology isn’t one-size-fits-all. Success is a long and winding road, and you deserve an MSP that can help you leverage your tech to ease that journey. 

Introduction to Managed IT

Chapter 2: Types of Managed IT Services

Here are some of the most common managed IT services for architectural firms: 

 

Managed Communications Services 

In the field of architecture, communication involves more than just words. Visual forms of ideas and designs are used just as much, if not more. Proper delivery of these types of information is crucial for the success of any project, which is why managing communications must be a priority. This is an area where MSPs can offer great help in. 

Managed communication services provide your business with various communication channels, such as email services and video calling software. It also guarantees that these channels are always available whenever and wherever your people need them. 

Managed Cybersecurity 

Architectural firms are inclined to believe that their data isn’t sensitive or valuable enough to attract cybercriminals, but that’s far from the truth.

Any business that handles data – any data – and relays it over the internet is at risk. 

The American Institute of Architecture published a risk report on risk rates, attack vectors, and impacts of security incidents. The report showed that firms are indeed attractive to cyber criminals, and business email compromise and ransomware were listed as the top threats. 

An MSP is an ideal partner to have for protection from these threats. They know the best cyber security measures and practices which help keep any business safe and secure.

Data Analytics  

Data analytics is critical in every architectural project firms embark on, from conception to execution. Relevant data can help determine project feasibility and opens up more productive, cost-efficient, and risk-free approaches. Most importantly, it gives businesses and clients a deeper understanding of a project’s environmental and community impact. 

MSPs with the best data gathering and analysis tools can provide these insights that lead to better decisions. 

Managed Print Services   

Hard copies of building plans and designs are still in use in the architecture industry. These high-quality prints must be delivered promptly, and that’s where managed print services come in handy. 

MSPs can help remotely manage your print operations and even cut down hidden costs through specific print services such as: 

  • Device support   
  • Device maintenance/repair   
  • Printer upgrades 

Cloud Computing Services 

Cloud computing services provide businesses with remote servers for effective online collaboration. Architectural firms that handle projects that involve several professionals can benefit greatly from these services. Remote accessibility of data and tools leads to greater mobility, so working with people on- and off-site should be easy. MSPs also ensure that these servers and the data stored and transmitted through them remain secure, which means less concern about cyberattacks. 

Managed Wireless Networks and Mobile Computing 

Professionals in architecture typically work remotely and make use of several devices. These factors have highlighted their reliance on network connections and mobile computing. MSPs offer these services to ensure secure, high-quality, and stable connections. They also help manage remote devices, ensuring that each one is up-to-date and in peak performance. Limiting downtime through these services can lead to higher productivity and better quality of work. 

Managed VoIP   

Another way to improve business communications is through Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). A service makes expensive traditional phone lines obsolete and allows businesses to place calls anytime from anywhere as long as there is an internet connection. Phone calls, conferences, and meetings can be conducted smoothly through these remote lines. Not only does this enhance teamwork and productivity, but it also helps with client satisfaction. These communication technologies ensure that customers can always reach the right people in your business. 

Read more on Managed Service Types

Chapter 3: Advantages of Managed IT to Architecture Firms

Architectural firms can benefit greatly from managed IT. Here are some examples of what businesses can gain from managed IT support services for architects:

 

1. Proper Tech Integration

Technological innovations and advancements in the field of architecture happen in the blink of an eye, and it’s easy to get left behind if you don’t use these new tools to your advantage. MSPs not only have an understanding of these new techs but also of industry-specific trends and strategies. This unique combination of knowledge helps them integrate the best tech available into your systems, optimize them, and make sure they are always in peak performance. No longer will you have to worry about keeping up. Instead, you can focus your efforts on moving your firm forward. 

2. Bolster Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is now necessary for any business, not only for success but also for sustainability. The repercussions of a cyber attack can range from a significant financial hit to a complete business downfall, with the latter being more common. According to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, approximately 60% of SMBs close after a cyber attack 

Managed cybersecurity can protect your business from the possibility of an attack. Most MSPs have a holistic approach that secures all your valuable assets and keeps your systems free from vulnerabilities. They also help mitigate the effects of a security incident through business continuity and disaster recovery plans. 

3. Improve Efficiency and Productivity

There are so many things in a business setting that can negatively affect worker efficiency and productivity. Anything from malfunctioning hardware to an intermittent internet connection can hinder your business from doing quality work. An MSP can solve these tech issues through a proactive IT approach that minimizes downtime. Doing so eliminates causes of delay and empowers your people to work more effectively.  

4. Enhance Team Collaboration

Architectural projects are centered upon teamwork. As mentioned earlier, a single project requires the involvement of several professionals. Managed IT services for architects, like managed communication and cloud computing, enhance team collaboration, creating a more effective and efficient work environment. These are vital elements for the success of any project. 

5. Increase Client Satisfaction

Clients have their own concerns, the biggest ones being monitoring progress and results. They want regular updates on projects, which you can provide with services such as VoIP. Data analytics can also help your business consistently deliver the most impactful results. These things are sure to keep your clients satisfied, building loyalty and trust.

6. Predict Operational Costs

It costs a lot to run an architectural firm. You have to factor in labor, facilities, materials, project funding, and, of course, IT. Certain costs are predictable, but IT spending can vary greatly depending on trends and the industry landscape. If you want a more concrete figure for your overall operational costs, managed IT services are the solution. 

These services are often offered at fixed rates and are easily scalable, depending on your business needs and goals. MSPs also take into account other business expenditures when calculating IT rates, and they make sure you can stay well within your budget. 

7. Access to 24/7 Support

Tech performance is just as unpredictable as its cost. It can fail at any moment and cause delays within your operations. These minor hiccups can have several repercussions, from being unable to respond to client inquiries to causing you to miss deadlines. In order to guarantee that your tech is always up and running, you need an MSP that can offer 24/7 support and fixes. 

Related Reading: 5 Signs Your Small Business Needs an MSP

Chapter 4: Disadvantages of Managed IT to Architecture Firms

Managed IT services may provide many benefits to businesses in the architecture industry. However, there are also some potential disadvantages that you should consider: 

 

1. Limited Control

As you consider outsourcing your IT services to a managed service provider (MSP), it's important to know that you may relinquish some control over your IT infrastructure. The MSP will be responsible for managing your systems and network, which means you may not have the same freedom to customize your IT environment to your specific needs. 

2. Cost

Keep in mind that managed IT services can be expensive, especially for architecture firms that require high-end hardware and software. If you're a smaller firm or just starting out, the cost of these services could be a financial burden. 

3. Dependence on a Third Party  

When you outsource your IT services to a third-party provider, you become dependent on them for IT support and maintenance. If the MSP experiences a technical issue or is unavailable, your firm may face downtime or other operational problems. 

4. Lack of Industry Expertise

Some MSPs do not have the necessary expertise to support the specific software or hardware used by architecture firms. This could lead to delays in resolving technical issues, which may impact your productivity and overall performance. Therefore, you should partner with an MSP that has experience handling architecture firms.  

5. Communication Issues

Communication issues that may arise when outsourcing your IT services to a third-party provider. If your MSP is located in a different time zone or speaks a different language, communication can become a challenge, potentially leading to delays in resolving technical issues and impacting your productivity. Therefore, look for an MSP that offers 24/7 support and one that has an established office in or near your area. 

Read: 4 Security Benefits of Managed IT Services (& 2 Disadvantages)

Chapter 5: When Do Architecture Firms Need Managed IT?

As an architecture firm, you may find yourself in situations where managed IT services are necessary. Here are some examples:
  • You lack in-house IT expertise.

    If you don't have in-house IT expertise, a managed IT service provider can help you manage your IT infrastructure and ensure everything runs smoothly.

  • You have a limited budget for IT.

    Managed IT services can be a cost-effective option for smaller firms with a limited budget for hiring full-time IT staff.

  • You need flexibility and scalability.

    Managed IT services offer flexibility to scale your IT resources up or down as needed without the additional costs of hiring and training new staff.

  • You're a target for cyber-attacks.

    Managed IT services can help you ensure that your IT infrastructure is secure and protected against cyber threats such as malware and data breaches.

  • You have compliance requirements.

    Managed IT services can help you comply with industry-specific regulations, such as those related to data privacy or financial reporting.

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On the other hand, here are situations when your architecture firm may not need managed IT services:
  • You have minimal IT infrastructure.

    If your architecture firm has a small IT infrastructure with basic hardware and software requirements, you may not require extensive resources and support from a managed IT service provider.

  • You are confident in your existing IT team.

    If you already have an in-house IT team and believe it can handle the ever-evolving vulnerabilities and threats to your network, managed IT may not be for you.

  • You’re more comfortable with having full control over your IT.

    If your firm is comfortable with your level of control over your IT environment and does not want to relinquish that control to a third-party provider, having an in-house team may be a better choice.

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Chapter 6: How Much Does Managed IT Cost for Architectural Firms?

As mentioned before, IT costs can be hard to identify as it depends from business to business. Even those in the same industry don’t require the same types or amount of IT support services, so we avoid giving out specific figures when talking to clients. At best, we can tell you about our different packages – what services they include, how involved we’ll be, and most importantly, a rough estimate of how much they cost.

managed-it-cost

Our services can come in three comprehensive service plans that cater to different business needs. They all include managed IT services, proactive maintenance, a full-service, 24/7 manned HelpDesk, and data backup/disaster recovery. As the price goes up, more advanced tech and strategies are used, and it also indicates a more involved partnership. For a better understanding, check them out below: 

Core 

Core includes basic security solutions that all businesses need. The plan costs $150/user/month and includes standard managed services and cybersecurity staples such as end-point detection and response, multi-factor authentication, email anti-spoofing, and more.  

Secure 

Secure is a plan designed for businesses looking for multi-layered protection and cyber insurance compliance needs. It costs $225/user/month. The plan was made to comply with most insurance needs. The package includes everything from the core plan with the addition of advanced cybersecurity solutions that include active threat hunting, detection and response, threat intelligence, security training, and a lot more. 

Enterprise 

Enterprise is the premier choice for businesses that need to meet high regulatory compliance goals. Our full-stack offering includes everything from the previous plans with the addition of enterprise-level cybersecurity services. The Enterprise plan is $300/user/month. It includes sophisticated security solutions like SIEM (Security Incident and Event Management), your own virtual chief information security officer (CISO), and more. 

 

These packages are ideal for businesses that want fully managed IT support services for architects. If, however, your business already houses an in-house team, then you can opt for co-managed IT where your MSP works hand-in-hand with your team. It still saves you more than when you hire experts to fill in the gaps in your system. As for cost, it still depends on your business, but here are five major factors that can affect it: 

  • Service time required 
  • Number of users 
  • Number of servers 
  • Amount of data
  • Services needed 

Learn More About ITS Pricing

Chapter 7: How to Choose a Managed IT Service Provider for Your Firm

When choosing an MSP, never opt for a quick and easy approach. Don’t just go for the most well-known or expensive provider you find. Your business needs and their services should be completely aligned for the partnership to work. Otherwise, you’re not maximizing your IT spending. If you want to find the perfect MSP for you, here are some things you should consider:

 

1. Expertise and Experience

Accessibility iconExpertise and experience are two different things that people often interchange. The former is a loose equivalent of specialization, while the latter refers to the amount of time someone has been doing something. The ideal MSP has both, especially one with the expertise to match your needs. As for experience, opt for MSPs with accolades and achievements appropriate to their length of service. If an MSP has been around for years and has yet to prove themselves, that might not be a good sign. Don’t let your business be a guinea pig. Choose a partner that’s experienced and knowledgeable. 

 

2. Proactive IT Approach

Scheduled Updates iconA proactive IT approach prioritizes prevention above anything else, and your MSP should employ this methodology. They shouldn’t just swoop in when things are already going south. Instead, they should stay on top of all your hardware and software, ensuring they’re always in the best possible condition. Not only does this prevent malfunctions, but it could also save you from security incidents, allowing you to continuously work on your projects without much worries. 

 

3. 24/7 Support and Monitoring

24 by 7 iconQuality MSPs should be available to you and your clients 24/7. It’s no exaggeration to say that they should be at your constant beck and call. Whenever your business experiences tech issues, they should quickly address them. Regular monitoring of your servers and devices should also be their priority. This keeps your operations running smoothly and allows you to produce the best results within tight deadlines. 

 

4. Data Backup Creation

Backup Data iconCAD files, building designs, sketches, and completed plans – these are the common files that architectural firms handle. Sizes can range from a few megabytes to several gigabytes, but the accumulation of all this data can overwhelm servers, causing them to crash and possibly lose important documents. In times of disaster, it is the duty of your MSP to keep these files protected and recoverable through regularly updated backups. 

 

5. Third-Party Partnerships

Trustworthy brand iconMSPs often partner with third-party vendors to provide their clients with the necessary software. Good examples of these are partnerships with Microsoft, Amazon, Dell, and the like. These vendors often give out certifications, which give more credibility to the MSP of your choice. 

 

6. Cybersecurity Solutions

Encrypt Sensitive Information iconCybersecurity is one of the most critical elements of IT. Any business that handles data and longs for success must prioritize it. That, however, is a challenging task. It requires expert knowledge and skill to implement the best strategies and solutions, which is where MSPs come in. Choose a provider with a security-first mindset that can help you prevent and mitigate security incidents and cyber-attacks. 

Interested in Getting Managed IT for Your Architectural Firm?

Managed IT support for architects are a must in this day and age. Once you let the experts handle your tech, you can put all your efforts into completing your projects and growing your business. It may not fast-track your journey to success, but it’s sure to make the road as smooth as possible. 

Intelligent Technical Solutions (ITS) is an MSP you can trust. We prioritize our client’s needs and goals and continuously build on our expertise and experience so we can provide the best service. With over 20 years of experience under our belt, we’re confident that we can help your business stay competitive in the field of architecture.  

If you want to know if our managed IT services are the right one for your business, you can schedule a meeting with our experts so they can assess where your tech stands and where we fit in. 

Schedule a Meeting Get a Free Network Assessment

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Interested in Getting Managed IT for Your Architectural Firm?

Managed IT support for architects are a must in this day and age. Once you let the experts handle your tech, you can put all your efforts into completing your projects and growing your business. It may not fast-track your journey to success, but it’s sure to make the road as smooth as possible. 

Intelligent Technical Solutions (ITS) is an MSP you can trust. We prioritize our client’s needs and goals and continuously build on our expertise and experience so we can provide the best service. With over 20 years of experience under our belt, we’re confident that we can help your business stay competitive in the field of architecture.  

If you want to know if our managed IT services are the right one for your business, you can schedule a meeting with our experts so they can assess where your tech stands and where we fit in. 

Schedule a Meeting Get a Free Network Assessment