Founders of small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) wear many hats when they launch their businesses. As the business grows, owners-slash-CEOs delegate more and more of their tasks to new hires, though they tend to keep some roles that are too expensive to hire people for.
One such hire is the Chief Information Officer or CIO. The CIO is in charge of developing and implementing the IT strategy of the entire company, managing its IT infrastructure, and making sure that it is secure. In its inception stage, a business can make do with rudimentary IT, which usually means that the owner can handle managing it. However, since tech evolves at a much faster pace than ever before (and cyberthreats are becoming more widespread, indiscriminate, and vicious), building on top of it and scaling it up will likely become too difficult for non-specialists to accomplish.
In this era of outsourcing, you’ll be happy to note that you can obtain virtual CIO (vCIO) services and get the same value as a CIO, but at a fraction of the latter’s salary. Here are the important things that vCIO services can do to unleash the potential of your small business.
Develop and carry out a strategic IT plan
While some agencies might suggest using the latest technology merely for the sake of prestige or “jumping ahead of the curve” (whatever that means), a vCIO team will first look into what your company needs before making IT solution recommendations. Beyond looking at short-term targets and the current status of tech, the vCIO also considers long-term goals together with IT trends that indicate potentially viable innovations in the future. From there, they will formulate a strategy that pieces together the right IT tools to support your company’s mission-vision.
Consolidate and streamline IT resources More often than not, CEOs who are IT do-it-yourselfers end up with an inefficient mishmash of tech solutions. These develop problematic interdepartmental workflows, accumulate unused-but-paid-for technical features, create redundant data silos, and establish inconsistent standards and procedures, among others.
A vCIO team, on the other hand, can implement integrated systems to consolidate and streamline IT resources and smooth out workflows. Whether it’s an all-in-one solution like ERP or an ecosystem of integrated apps, the vCIO works with you to make the most of solution features, centralize shared data storage, minimize data storage costs, and establish company-wide standards and procedures.
Implement IT best practices
Beyond tech tools that help your business fulfill its core value proposition, there are also IT practices that every company must have to ensure its survival and growth.
In a world where everyone is practically online all the time, businesses are exposed to all sorts of cybersecurity risks. It is the vCIO’s duty is to mitigate those risks via tools such as firewalls and anti-malware software, protocols and processes such as access rights management, and awareness programs such as training modules on how to recognize and respond to phishing emails.
Disaster recovery and business continuity
Natural and man-made disasters threaten to compromise and destroy server and data storage facilities. Businesses fail when they suffer downtime for too long, so it pays to be prepared for such scenarios. The vCIO will be instrumental in coming up with solutions that allow your company’s primary functions to remain operating and have the relevant data needed during major data loss events — all without breaking the bank.
Since even smartphones are now sufficient for many office-based tasks, more and more startups and SMBs are willing to let staff members use their personal devices to accomplish work-related tasks. While a bring your own device (BYOD) policy will let your company save by not having to immediately supply staff members with IT equipment, it does make you more vulnerable to data leaks, loss, or theft.
A vCIO team will be able to implement solutions such as mobile device management and access rights management so that the productivity of your mobile workforce is optimized while the security of your data is maximized.
Most XBASE customers receive vCIO services as part of their managed IT contract. Have an in-depth discussion with XBASE Technologies to learn how our vCIO team can help you unleash the growth potential of your business.