Aside from day-to-day management, small and medium-sized business entrepreneurs also function as chief information officer. This means that, on top of their administrative duties, they need to allot time and capital in managing the firm’s technology, ensuring its security, and making decisions on IT programs and solutions.
Compared to the practices in the previous years, managing technology for the company comes with more challenges nowadays. These concerns are directly rooted in its accelerating nature coupled with the consistent growth in online hacking, cybercrimes, and data security breaches. According to Symantec, in 2018, more than 70 million records were stolen from the simple storage service (S3) buckets that commercial organizations use. IBM estimates that these digital transgressions cost an average of $3.86 million. On the other hand, documents stolen from the company is pegged at $148 per record.
The probability of these risks can be countered and mitigated by hiring a Chief Information Officer (CIO). However, records from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (USBLS) revealed that a company CIO earns more than $139,220 per year. This exorbitant cost prohibits companies from availing the services of the CIO: This is precisely where having a vCIO becomes not only beneficial to the business but, more importantly, essential.
What is a vCIO?
VCIO meaning virtual Chief Information Officer, collaborates with the companies and provides strategic consulting services and cost analyses regarding information technology and cloud infrastructure. A vCIO assists entrepreneurs in developing the blueprint for the firm’s IT strategic plan using up-to-date programs, software, and resources.
Having a vCIO helps a business ensure that technological advancement run in accordance with its needs and objectives. This frees the company owners from the high demands and stresses associated with the administration and management of the firm, and executed with limited internal resources. The vCIO, in effect, opens an opportunity for the hired personnel to allot their focus in accomplishing their chief responsibilities.
A virtual CIO is often outsourced from an independent and external contractor. In choosing the right vCIO for the company, it is advisable for entrepreneurs to place a premium value on the contractor’s background and experience in IT management, managed cloud services, as well as the agency’s involvement in multiple and diverse IT ecosystems.
What does a virtual CIO do?
Having a vCIO means having someone who:
- 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 company 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 their market, overcome challenges and competition, and drive profit, stability and growth
- Ensures the company’s security from data breach, 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 spams and viruses
- Develop IT strategy blueprint suitable to the conditions surrounding the company and designed to drive financial growth and revenue without incurring unnecessary 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 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
How vCIO helps business grow
Virtual CIO are individuals who manage the organization’s IT infrastructure planning and implementation. They also provide services to the company based on industry standards and technological advancement.
Though the skills of the vCIO may vary per individual, an ideal vCIO possess the ability to connect IT systems and subsystems to the goals and objectives of the enterprise. The vCIO’s knowledge on technological current, especially those that affect and influence the stability of the market, offers a tactical advantage for business analytics. Having a virtual CIO who has these skills combined with a concrete experience on IT management not only facilitates growth but, more importantly, ensure the company’s sustainability.
Improved IT infrastructure
IT infrastructure is a closed-system composed of hardware, software, network resources and services. It is used to sustain the operations and management of a business enterprise and organization. It includes computers, data centers, hubs and routers, firewalls, operating systems, servers and connecting servers, applications, software on customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP), as well as other applications designed to bolster efficiency and productivity.
These components are interconnected and an aberration in one can affect the performance of the entire system. One of the most pragmatic ways to counter this is having a virtual CIO. Tailoring their approaches based on the needs of the company and market demands, vCIOs builds a reliable system that ensures the efficiency of the company’s IT infrastructure and sustains its day to day processes. Aside from this, VCIOs also help entrepreneurs understand the most recent trends in cloud computing and mobile solutions, the impact of these technological innovations on the firm’s operations, and its potential in driving profit and revenue.
Protection from online hacking, data breach, and cybercrimes
Large companies may have been victims of online hacking and data breaches, however, small and medium-sized companies served as the primary target of cybersecurity attacks. These attacks include financial fraud, identity theft, email leaks, information piracy, and online hacking.
The Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report revealed that in 2018, 58% of cybercrime victims are business organizations with less than 250 hired personnel. In 2017, according to Malwarebytes, approximately 25% of small and medium-sized enterprises permanently shut its operation down after a ransomware attack. TechRepublic recorded an average of $82,200 and $256,000 loses to small business ventures per online data hacks. Cybersecurity Ventures pegged cybercrime losses at $6 trillion by 2021.
Most SMEs are not equipped to deal with these incidents. However, a vCIO is trained to prevent and respond to cybersecurity attacks. Aside from advice and recommendations provided to the client, the virtual CIO also proactively monitors and secures the company’s network and entire IT infrastructure. By installing advanced firewalls and security solutions, and regularly keeping track of its performance, the vCIO holds the capacity to prevent spam, viruses, and ransomware from affecting the business operation. These individuals can mitigate the damaging impacts of these attacks in the industry.
- Data backup and recovery
It is a tendency among small business owners to keep all important information, including restricted data about the clients, in servers and computer networks on-site. Varonies pointed this common practice among 30% of companies. These companies open access to more than 1000 folders and the sensitive information in contains to everyone in the firm.
A plethora of research stressed that this practice renders the entire business operations and processes vulnerable to hazards and cybercrimes. Malwarebytes recorded that, of all companies and organizations that suffered cyber attacks, around 60% never reopened even after several revival attempts. A confluence of impact led to this closure: lost revenue in downtime, cost of remediating the security breach, and the extent of damages to the reputation and finances of the business.
Setting stringent measures and IT solutions in place will help the firm counter these damages. Having a vCIO means having someone who provides assistance in developing data recovery and back-up plans. The service comes with a space in an offsite server where company data and information are stored and given maximum security by the IT agency. The virtual CIO builds a private cloud similar to the system the company has on-site. Together with the support of the IT agency, the vCIO makes sure that continuity and stability is present in the client’s commercial endeavor, especially in the face of IT disasters.
These conditions paved the need for the development of surefire strategies in order to navigate the technological terrain. Virtual CIO assists businesses in developing SaaS, cloud computing, and virtualization: the game plan of commercial success. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) uses cloud computing infrastructure that the vCIO has access to. Contrary to the traditional practice that utilizes single application per desktop, a vCIO creates and delivers an interconnected program for the employees of the business. To make it more convenient, this program can be accessed and used for the trusted firm personnel regardless of their geographical locations.
Companies who contract IT agencies for a vCIO are also provided with cloud services. This includes virtual servers, applications including mobile ones, storage devices, desktop, and computer network resources. These features can be accessed from the cloud provider’s servers via the Internet: it virtualizes the complete IT infrastructure and, at the same time, saves the business from incurring high expenditures.
Why choose Geektek?
Aside from fast, convenient, and scalable services to network resources, applications, and IT services, Geektek vCIO also offers technological insights that are specifically tailored to fit the business goals and objectives, as well as the key drivers that influence its processes.
Our vCIO at Geektek are professional consultants with concrete and extensive experience in IT management, cloud infrastructure and management, and multiple and diverse IT ecosystems. These aptitudes position our vCIO at an advantage, especially in proactively assessing the everyday business operations and providing recommendations to ensure maximum productivity.
Added to this, Geektek CIO also takes the time to understand the core business processes. This enables us to develop an IT strategy suitable to the conditions surrounding the business and aligned with the client’s goals and intended objectives. By having an in-depth knowledge of the client’s business processes, Geektek performs a comprehensive evaluation of the existing IT infrastructure and provides recommendations tailored to ensure financial growth and stability.
An excellent and reliable IT consulting service is essential for the success of the business. Have all these by simply dropping us a message!