A vCIO, or virtual CIO, is an outside person or company that serves as an organization’s chief information officer. A vCIO maintains and secures IT infrastructure, developing technology solutions that better enable the workforce and prevent disabling security issues.
Having someone focused on technology solutions and IT security is vital in today’s workplace however, most small- to -medium-sized businesses do not have the resources, the human capital nor the finances to have a Chief Informance Officer on staff, so hiring an external vCIO is an apt solution.
What does a vCIO do?
A vCIO is an external resource for organizations that will serve as their IT department, looking at technology strategies for security and better business practices. Virtual chief information officers oversee IT infrastructure and ensure that everything works smoothly and securely.
According to IT service provider, XO, vCIO Services include:
- Fully understands the core processes of the business and its inner-workings
- Makes sure that the firm’s IT runs in accordance with the company’s vision and goals
- Helps focus and tactically allocate its internal resources
- Helps ensure that the company is using the available resources efficiently in order to accomplish priorities and achieve business growth
- Avoids incurring unnecessary expenditures by closely managing the firm’s budget on information technology and providing data-based cost control strategies
- Promotes financial savings by centralizing and consolidating the company’s resources and using these to ensure maximum productivity for the business and its employees
- Provides real-time advice and insights to entrepreneurs regarding the firm’s technological make-up
- Monitors and resolves the inefficiencies in the firm’s technological infrastructure and provides robust solutions for cyber security and data protection
- Replaces the firm’s outdated programs and software, and opens opportunities for the business to expand its market, overcome challenges and competition, and drive profit, stability, and growth
- Ensures the company’s security from the data breaches, ransomware, and other cybercrime activities by incorporating up-to-date technology to the core of the firm’s operations and setting data back-up and recovery plan
- Responds to cyber attacks using advanced firewalls and security solutions
- Proactively monitors and secures the company’s network and overall IT infrastructure from constant online threats, including spam and viruses
- Develop an IT strategy blueprint suitable to the conditions surrounding the company and designed to drive financial growth and revenue without incurring unnecessarily high costs
- Evaluates the impact of technology changes in the business and assesses the gaps present in the company’s IT department
- Furnishes the business owners with performance metrics and a detailed monthly report containing the findings of the evaluation
- Efficiently manages the technological gaps and needs of the company by tailoring approaches based on the present conditions and available budget
- Recommends solutions to IT issues and challenges based on research findings and empirical data.
What do you get from a vCIO?
If you are an SMB with a vCIO (or looking for a vCIO) here is a list of things you should be getting:
1. A dedicated contact with whom you are familiar.
Though virtual in name, your relationship with your company’s vCIO should be easily accessible and productive. Your vCIO should be readily available, you should speak with them often and receive frequent updates and status reports. Your contact should provide you with meaningful guidance for your technology needs.
2. Frequent reporting and feedback
Part and parcel of having a vCIO is the routine reporting and assessment they provide you about your technology environment. Routine reporting allows both you and the vCIO to assess goals, progress on those goals, and identify any business needs that technology could address. Reports could include:
- IT project reports and expenses
- Support desk feedback
- Customer satisfaction surveys
- Technology alignment
- Compliance certifications
3. Technology plans and objectives
Something as simple as a technology roadmap allows businesses and vCIO to look at a company’s technology needs and move forward, together. It’s a rather simple thing, but a vCIO should make sure that their clients know the technological objectives and know the concerns that need to be addressed for productivity and for security.
Knowing your vCIO’s plan and objectives will allow you as the client to assess their impact and help secure your own IT infrastructure.
4. Cost associated with IT strategy
As well as keeping your company productive and secure from a technological standpoint, a vCIO should also help a company stay on budget. If you are not having honest conversations with your IT solutions providers about the costs associated with upgrades and maintenance, then you do not yet have the best IT strategy for your business.
How a vCIO Can Help You
Employing a full-time CIO is expensive and frankly not necessary for most SMBs, but IT and security should still be a priority. That’s where IT service providers like XL.net in Chicago can step in a help. VCIOS can optimize business practices with strategic technology, can reduce overall operational costs, can drive revenue, and can create a secure environment for organizations.
If you’re in the Chicago area and are looking for managed IT services, reach out to XL.net today to learn more about their strategic approach. Their IT alignment benefits a company’s bottom line, decreased the number of IT issues, creates market agility, and increases satisfaction levels and collaboration. Businesses that lack an alignment plan often have unorganized technology. By aligning your tech to your business goals, you can:
- Reduce IT issues: We deliver up to an 80% reduction in IT issues so your staff can be 7-10% more efficient when they work.
- Boost productivity: With fewer technical issues and technology that supports the way your employees work, you can significantly boost the productivity of your organization.
- Increase customer satisfaction: The right technology can improve the customer experience. It might speed up the process or make it more enjoyable for the customer.
- Gain peace of mind: The thorough analyses provided through tech alignment can help you ensure that your product is the right choice for your business and isn’t costing you more than it needs to.
Looking for VCIO?
XL.net is a managed IT services company in the greater Chicago area, focused on helping small- to medium-sized businesses improve their business by improving the way their technology works for them. We can make sure your team is performing at peak levels of performance and productivity by monitoring and improving the tech.
XL.net is prepared to help improve your company’s security and put in place best practices to prepare any kind of company for security attacks and breaches. Everything a CIO does!