Designers and architects carry a lengthy checklist with them when working on new projects. Building codes, budgetary constraints and resource management all come into play as creativity and engineering merge with the harsh realities of construction and maintenance. However, modern trends also require you to consider a brand new component to a successful buildout: managed IT services. This is especially true if you’re working with cannabis clients since you will be working with a web of state-mandated surveillance systems and access control points, not to mention IoT-enabled automation for large-scale cannabis grow systems or integration into the state track-and-trace systems. That’s why selecting the right managed IT services provider is as vital as working with the right contractor or securing the proper permits.
How the Right Managed IT Services Can Help
Even if you’re coordinating a move for your clients, the right IT service provider can help smooth the way for a hassle-free transition. An experienced IT partner can improve upon the system you already have in place to avoid crashes or data breaches. This is an important consideration because poor network connectivity and poor infrastructure can lead to breach of data.
The Cannabis Industry’s Unique Managed IT Services Requirement
Managed service providers can make important choices during the new build-out that will save your clients costly mistakes. They can provide the glue that brings your clients’ servers (whether on-premises or in the cloud), tablets, laptops, and IoT devices together. They can also unite it with the company’s security protocols to help protect all the valuable data of an organization.
This is especially important for newcomers in the cannabis industry. Retail, real estate, manufacturing, and other industry verticals need to develop security plans which combine surveillance with access control. New business owners are taking advantage of increased automation opportunities to scale their operations, but these new technologies can contain serious security flaws which can cripple their ability to function. Creating a resilient yet flexible tech backbone that will bend to a client’s will is key, so finding the right IT partner is essential. Let’s go over the basics of good and bad IT and determine why leaving IT up to chance in the design process can turn your build-out into a house of cards.
The Pitfalls of Bad IT
No architect builds a structure without determining specific rooms and their planned uses. Yet, it is very common to find IT networks planned in a haphazard way; this is especially true with small and midsize business. Access control policies are often non-existent, and there will most likely be no buffer between forward-facing network devices and the company’s most sensitive data. This is the equivalent of designing a massive open-plan office space with no locks on the doors. Anyone with even a bare minimum of hacking skills can open such a door, walk in and take whatever is available.
Some clients mistakenly believe that “being in the cloud” will protect them. Well-known third-party cloud apps such as Dropbox have been hacked numerous times. Improperly configured Amazon Web Services buckets have leaked untold amounts of sensitive information out into the wild. Victims in the healthcare industry are especially vulnerable to hefty HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) fines and lawsuits stemming from such leakages, and eventually, medical cannabis providers will be subjected to such penalties.
The Primacy of Scalable, Flexible IT Services
Being prepared for challenges that your client’s IT architecture will face is always the best strategy. Any good service provider will provide a comprehensive full-campus IT install and work closely with the team during your project’s design and implementation stage. Just as you’ll determine risk factors in points of entry and exit, a good IT installer possesses the knowledge and foresight to plan for similar intrusion factors emerging through the mobile web.
Moreover, the cycle of innovation is constantly churning in IT, which means IT installers will have to create an infrastructure that can accommodate those changes. This poses some unique challenges for architects – their buildings will most likely retain the same basic structure for decades after they are built, but the IT certainly won’t. However, professional IT teams are always up to this challenge. They’ve been here before, and they can show you how to achieve this for your clients.
The Three Stages of a Successful IT Buildout
As you can see, a good IT infrastructure doesn’t merely happen by itself. Rather it has three important stages, which we’ll go over here.
- Planning: IT experts should be onboarded during the design phase. After the project’s scope and budget is determined, the details of the IT architecture are integrated into the overall design vision.
- Implementation: Once ground is broken, the professional IT team works alongside builders and contractors. They will recommend the best ways to install wiring, routers, firewalls and other crucial IT components and adjust plans to overcome unexpected roadblocks.
- Ongoing Monitoring and Maintenance: A managed service provider’s job is not done after the build-out is completed. Rather, the network will be cared for offsite, and the managed IT services provider will survey the network for ongoing upgrades. They will assist the building’s tenants and owners in any issues that will arise with the network and protect them against intrusions. They will also create backups for disaster recovery.
A fast-growth industry’s most successful businesses will go from 50 to 500 – or even 5000 – in the blink of an eye. Their IT has to match that growth every step of the way, otherwise these businesses will come to a screeching halt just as they need to shift into overdrive. Luckily, IT expansion does not require the same physical footprint a physical build mandates. Depending on the business objectives, managed IT services professional can plan out for this scale, and merge it into the overall design process.
Having a good team is essential in every business. It’s not always easy for designers and architects to find good IT installation partners that understand their process. GeekTek’s partnership programs emphasize win-win business situations where architects and designers can leverage our technological expertise and business acumen to win more clients. To learn more about how GeekTek can further your business strategy, Contact us