Top Benefits of Virtual CIO
Information is among the most valuable assets your business has. That means it requires a deliberate and effective strategy to manage it. Unfortunately, most small businesses just don’t have the financial, physical or technical resources to devote a full-time employee to it. Your on-site IT staff may try their best, but it’s a safe bet that they will have a hard time finding the necessary time to devote to it fully, given their day-to-day responsibilities.
And IT strategy needs to be a bigger priority than that. According to consulting firm Protiviti, most businesses report a need for objective and expert guidance regarding risk management, best practices and new technology.
So, consider this cost-effective option: a virtual chief information officer. A vCIO is an outsourced expert who will partner with you. They understand the ins and outs of your business, create and manage big-picture strategy, integrate and leverage technology and make decisions to help your business become a leading industry player.
Here’s a look at a few ways a vCIO can help your business, and the potential outcomes you can expect from investing in one:
A Predictable Budget Through Strategic Technology Planning
vCIOs are experts at helping your company put together a comprehensive, futureproof IT budget. If you’re running a company, but don’t have the expertise to understand the future needs of your IT infrastructure, a vCIO consultant is a great choice. Working with a vCIO for expert guidance when choosing new IT infrastructure can save both time and money.
Faster responses to trouble tickets and maintenance.
An in-house IT department can offer instant service, as long as they are only working on one or two problems at a time. Working with a virtual service gives you instant response times, all of the time. Remote monitoring and access allows your virtual team to start working on an issue from anywhere, at any time.
No more out of control costs. Did you know that an hour of downtime can cost an enterprise company $90,000 in expenses and lost revenue? A contracted service provider offers you the least amount of downtime at a flat rate. It becomes just another budget line along with rent or utilities.
One of the vCIO’s most important functions is recognizing gaps in your company’s operations and knowing how to address them. Those areas may include:
- Information security
- Regulatory compliance
- Business process management (customer relationship management, financial data management, etc.)
- Preparation for government audits and legal action
So instead of asking “Ted from IT” to figure out how to handle the massive amounts of paperwork you’re required to keep (once he’s finished installing those new wireless printers and upgrading your software), the vCIO will have the experience, understanding and insight to find the right solutions and take decisive action for the benefit of your company’s future.
Disaster recovery isn’t just about making sure your data survives an event. It’s about preparing for the worst—everything from a long-term power outage to a flood in your computer room. Your vCIO can custom-design a business continuity plans specific to your needs.
By devising a strategy that suits your business, you will get exactly the protection you need without the additional cost of unnecessary services.
In today’s business world, cyber security is one of the most challenging obstacles facing executives. Just in the past year or so we’ve seen one costly attack after another, with the tools needed to cripple businesses and steal their money and data now becoming available to more and more cyber criminals.
The good news is that, by and large, the technology and procedures necessary to prevent these attacks is available. The bad news is that many business owners and executives are unaware of the software they need to install and protocols they need to adopt, leaving them vulnerable. One of the tasks of a virtual CIO, though, is to examine a business’s existing security and improve it as much as possible. This ensures that businesses remain protected against the increasing number of threats they face.
IT Budgeting and Financial Planning
The goal of your business’s technology and IT department is always to make or save your business more money than it costs. However, without the right guidance, businesses can often end up either putting too little money into their technology for it to be effective or putting too much money into it and causing it to become a drain on the business’s finances.
One of the primary roles of virtual CIOs, therefore, is to help businesses determine how to best allocate their funds as far as their technology is concerned. In addition to helping businesses develop a technological roadmap, virtual CIOs will work with business owners to create a budget that will allow them to best meet their technological goals while spending no more than is required. In this way, virtual CIOs are able to help businesses spur technological growth and improve their IT departments all while saving them money at the same time.