The tech environment has never been so complex, with increasing cyber threats and greater frequency – along with advancing hardware and software, and the need to constantly evolve to protect and propel your business. Not to mention, there’s a demand for everyday technology support to keep operations running efficiently.
But can your business afford Chief Information Officer (CIO)? And is adding another executive to your C-suite the best way to funnel resources?
For small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the answer is no. But the problem is, a clear tech strategy, stopgap cyber monitoring and IT support are mission critical for running a business. To remain competitive in today’s environment, digital transformation is essential.
What Is a vCIO?
A great option is to employ the services of a vCIO. A virtual chief information officer (vCIO) can deliver managed IT services that align with your business’s needs and budget. Managed service professionals (MSPs) can implement and maintain IT software, hardware, cloud solutions and security measures. A virtual CIO can oversee your entire IT infrastructure, or help guide work alongside a small internal IT staff in a co-managed role. Basically, SMBs can gain a high level of technology and IT expertise without the financial commitment of paying a CIO salary.
What Are Virtual CIO Services & Benefits?
A vCIO can act as an external IT department, performing duties like creating strategic IT goals, planning the IT budget, implementing hardware, software and cloud solutions, monitoring and addressing security concerns, and more. Basically, everything within your IT infrastructure can be managed and maintained by a vCIO, who also serves as an IT adviser to leadership.
A vCIO can also identify opportunities to improve and innovate their clients IT infrastructure. We like to divide managed services into three buckets: support, optimize and secure.
Support. IT managed services support ensures that your network and servers are always firing, with 24/7 access to help. It includes managing antivirus software and licenses, along with workstation antivirus and antispyware.
Optimize. A vCIO will optimize your IT infrastructure by participating in budget planning, managing hardware and software agreements, and proactive planning to replace and/or upgrade servers and workstations.
Secure. Network and IT security for SMBs includes periodic assessments, incident detection and response, along with computer updates and security patches. A vCIO will monitor servers, networks and firewalls to keep your business safe.
With a vCIO you can access remote or in-person support, and a reputable IT managed services partner will also offer email support and a help desk for 24/7 access. A virtual CIO service includes all of the support you would expect from an in-house CIO.
Qualities to Look for in a vCIO for Outsourced IT
Like hiring any employee or management team member, you should look for a virtual CIO whose values align with your culture and organization. You must trust the vCIO to develop a strategy, plan, guide and protect your IT infrastructure.
Because you’ll include a vCIO in strategic planning and budget discussions, you want an IT managed services partner that works well with your team and organization.
Some qualities to look for in a vCIO if you choose to outsource IT services include:
- Open communication and processes. Your vCIO will be in constant touch with decision-makers and should provide multiple ways to communicate: phone, email, help desk and in person. Strong interpersonal skills are a must.
- IT strategic planning. A vCIO is so much more than tech support for your business. This IT professional should have the ability to think long-term about your growth and market opportunities to assure IT infrastructure aligns with business goals.
- Ability to quickly adapt. You want a vCIO who understands that change is the nature of business and technology. Plans change, goals change and opportunities change. A vCIO should anticipate change, but also show flexibility and pivot when decision-makers need.
Ultimately, the vCIO role is to be your technology and IT advocate. Your vCIO should develop relationships with your employees and key decision makers, and explain technical information in a way that’s easy to understand.
Is a vCIO Right for Your Business? FAQs
vCIO services are right for your business if you do not have the budget to add an executive IT leader to your team. vCIOs have a seat at the table in a SMB that can rely on the IT expertise for strategic planning, IT implementation, security monitoring and vendor management. A vCIO is also ideal in large companies where there is a CIO vacancy, or to manage IT projects on an as-needed basis.
Want to learn more about bringing virtual CIO services to your company? Let’s talk. Call us any time at 419.535.2900. Or fill out this simple contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.