Executive Summary: Landis Architects and Builders Migrates to the Cloud to Maximize Both Azure and Microsoft 365 with Ciracom Cloud
About Landis Architects | Builders
Founded by Chris and Ethan Landis in 1990, Landis Architects/Builders is one of the top design-build, remodel, and renovation firms in the Washington, D.C. area. Landis Architects/Builders designs and builds exceptional homes, with more than 30 years of architectural and construction experience in remodeling, whole-house renovations, historic homes, kitchens, bathrooms, interior design efforts, and much more. In addition to Chris and Ethan Landis as co-founders, Landis is led by Chief Operating Officer Andrew Kerr.
Prior to working with Ciracom Cloud, Landis Architects/Builders (Landis) worked with another IT group that CFO Andrew Kerr referred to as “more traditional” and not cloud-based. They were not cloud-connected and relied upon excessive in-house technologies. As a rapidly expanding firm, its need for more agile SaaS also grew. Landis also required a more organized and secure infrastructure, and the IT support for both field staff and office staff required an overhaul. Field staff required mostly mobile technology support while the office called for more intensive approaches.
The urgency to move to the cloud became more apparent when Landis switched to Office 365’s systems and noticed the immediate benefits. Landis also desired a more personalized approach to its IT support; one that fully understood the business and its trajectory.
To best support Landis, Ciracom Cloud deployed Microsoft and Office 365 solutions so Andrew could focus more on growing the business and collaborating more frequently with the leadership team rather than having to be present answering countless IT support calls for his staff.
The statement of work that Ciracom Cloud laid out provided Landis with a more enterprise-level approach and allowed it to reap the greatest benefits from its on-premises equipment as well as from leveraging the cloud itself.
“It’s almost second nature just to call upon Ciracom Cloud. We appreciate their people. They’re top-notch professionals who really know what they’re doing, and they’ve helped us time and time again.” - Andrew Kerr: Chief Finance Officer
Ciracom Cloud’s Help Desk
Via Ciracom Cloud’s 24x7x365 unlimited Help Desk, burdensome IT minutiae was taken off Andrew Kerr’s plate and was overseen conveniently by Ciracom Cloud’s experts.
“Ciracom Cloud is absolutely leading our charge on the technologies front, and we’ve really come to rely on them for the help we know they can readily provide,” Kerr said.
“Before Ciracom Cloud, and even before the pandemic, we didn’t really utilize Microsoft Teams or even Office programs that much,” Kerr explained. “But we do now, and you can actually track how much more collaborative and successful our team-based efforts have become. Despite being crash-coursed through these necessities due to COVID-19, we still pulled through and we owe a ton of that to Ciracom Cloud’s guidance. Video-based meetings also offer more equity if you ask me. In person, sometimes the loudest voice in the room hogs the floor. Over Microsoft Teams, even if people are physically in the office during a Teams meeting, no one gets canceled out or interrupted. Everyone has their fair share of the conversation, as it should be.”
Data Security Across the Board
Landis maintains approximately 4-5 terabytes worth of private, project-based work files, job pictures, contracts, bids, and other documents. Given its importance, moving such a large repository and backing up to the cloud became essential.
“Our average project sizes range from $175,000 to $350,000, and they also sometimes reach into the millions from start to finish,” Kerr said. “We have important work being done by our designers, builders, administrative support, management, sales, and more. Having a lid on our data protection processes is an ever-crucial thing. So, we have Azure, and we established our VPN and authentication protocols. These allowed our workers to access data from the field, from the office, or from home, but regardless of the place, it all became more secure. Better utilizing Microsoft and Ciracom Cloud’s other recommendations has been a massive lift for our productivity and security. We’ve gone from purely local access to far more widespread access when and where it’s needed most. Also, simple tech issues or more severe ones are obviously never planned but having a reliable partner like Ciracom [Cloud] has taken a ton off our shoulders.”
Kerr went on to describe multiple examples of how robust cybersecurity systems have helped his company.
“We had an incident a few years back with some nasty ransomware, but our cloud backups were in place to restore lost data,” he said. “Ciracom Cloud has also prevented other breaches; we experienced separate instances where our email accounts became compromised. All of it was being redirected to a malicious third-party user, and they wrote to our clients and pretended to be us, and they asked our clients to redirect nearly half a million dollars in funds to their accounts instead of ours. That was awful, but Ciracom Cloud saved the day. They took care of that issue, and since then they’ve enacted several other security measures for us, and they’ve all worked like a charm.”
Planning for the Future and Excelling
By working with Ciracom Cloud, Landis now has a more fortified and finite roadmap for its business and managed services. Landis is now a cloud-first company that understands the true significance of cloud-connecting.
“We’re a leading-edge company full of early adopters willing to try new things,” Kerr said. “But other construction industry businesses aren’t always in that same boat. We operate in a somewhat older-school sector that is often more constricted in terms of technology. But with Ciracom [Cloud], we stand out from the crowd. They understand our mission to innovate and compete, and their virtual solutions have enabled so much for us.”
Putting Trust in the Right Place
“A fun fact,” Kerr explained, “is that Ciracom [Cloud]’s Amy Rutt and our Ethan Landis are neighbors; in a personal sense, because of that, connections came very easily. And in a more professional sense, Amy and everyone at Ciracom Cloud have proven to be very trustworthy and approachable. They created an easy-to-understand model that works well for our day-to-day needs. If we ever can’t quite figure out an IT problem ourselves within a few minutes, we call Ciracom Cloud as the big guns to find straightforward solutions to our issues. Calls are routinely 15 minutes or less, and we come out of them with wins every time.”
Landis has been incredibly pleased with Ciracom Cloud’s expertise and broad knowledge bases spanning many industries, and Ciracom Cloud applauds how practical and prudent Landis’s investments have been. Landis can now pivot with more agility because of the SaaS offerings in place, and it no longer needs to worry about IT issues, as Ciracom Cloud resolves them so expediently.
“It’s almost second nature just to call upon Ciracom Cloud,” Kerr concluded. “We appreciate their people. They’re top-notch professionals who really know what they’re doing, and they’ve helped us time and time again.
Interested in updating your business’s Microsoft technologies and migrating to the cloud? Book a free, 15-minute appointment with one of Ciracom Cloud’s experts here!