What is a virtual CIO and why are businesses opting to utilize them?

What is a virtual CIO and why are businesses opting to utilize them?

According to ZipRecruiter a virtual CIO (Chief Information Officer) is someone that “specializes in providing executive-level guidance for IT.” The vCIO’s job is to advise the company on technology and infrastructure as well as IT management and productivity. Many of these vCIOs are acting as IT consultants for growing companies, or for businesses that are looking to replace an expert staff member. One of the main goals of a vCIO is to fill in the gaps of a company’s current IT department.

What exactly does vCIOs do for businesses?

We already know that vCIOs provide executive-level guidance in regards to a company’s IT, but what does that mean? It means vCIOs work with businesses to analyze the existing technology and formulate a strategic plan to overcome challenges, achieve business goals and provide a roadmap to take businesses to the next level. They also keep the company on the up and up with industry technology trends, compliance requirements, and best practices. They can provide a variety of services like network security, support and monitoring, IT assessments, and strategic planning.

Network Security

Your data is arguably one of the most valuable assets you have as a business, so protecting it should be a top priority. vCIOs work with companies to secure the physical network, evaluate the infrastructure and any exposure to vulnerability and uncover inefficiencies. Then, they will design architecture that is efficient, fast, secure, and meets the unique needs of the business. Network security often includes things like spam filtering, password security, and even employee training – an important part of preventing human error. These are all particularly important when it comes to compliance, especially in the medical field or any other industry under the HIPAA umbrella.

Support and Monitoring

A vCIO will work with your business to monitor your network and provide any necessary support. They are proactive, instead of reactive when it comes to network issues. This will decrease any downtime within the business, which keeps company productivity up and functioning at full capacity. Many vCIOs will provide remote monitoring and management, keeping any systems patched, secure, and up to date. They will also provide firewall management, anti-malware, and real-time network protection. These services allow business owners to shift their focus to growing their business and increasing profits, instead of worrying about their network security.

IT Assessments

IT Assessments are an important part of determining a company’s IT needs. A vCIO will analyze the current IT systems and processes in place, uncovering any problems or inefficiencies. An assessment typically includes assessing the design and application of the Information Technology systems and infrastructure and identifying the functionality, efficiency, and operational readiness of the IT environment. After the assessment, the vCIO will provide recommendations to improve overall IT environment performance and work to develop a plan to address these issues and increase efficiency. The IT assessment is the roadmap that gets businesses to the next level.

Strategic Planning

vCIOs are experts in IT infrastructure and management. Their knowledge, experience, and expertise allow them to develop a solid strategic plan in conjunction with business owners. They can anticipate needs, create a plan for addressing needs and evolving IT practices, budget for the year, and provide relevant solutions to current technical problems within the company. vCIOs also is the sounding board for business owners. They can discuss business ideas and initiatives since more often than not, they will involve technology.

Why are businesses utilizing vCIOs?

vCIOs can transform a company and business owners are taking notice. They are seeing the value of having these experts on their executive team and realizing how transformational it can be for their company. When business owners have a vCIO, it takes the pressure off of navigating network security, compliance requirements, and managing infrastructure. Executives and owners find more time to continue to grow and propel the business forward.

Is your business ready for a vCIO?

Before hiring a vCIO, you need to ask a few questions. Is my business looking to up its technology game? Do I have a technology expert that can help me navigate compliance, network security, infrastructure, and management? Do I have a strategic plan in place for anticipating and solving IT issues? If you reflect on these questions and determine that a vCIO is right for your company, reach out to us! Even if you aren’t quite sure if your business needs a vCIO yet, we are more than happy to answer any of your questions and guide you in the right direction.

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