4 MIN READ | MANAGED IT SERVICES
What is a vCIO? As a company that provides this service, we get asked this question all the time. For those looking to join the vCIO profession or possibly utilize their services, we hope that this article answers all your questions. Keep reading to learn what a vCIO is, what they do, and why businesses should utilize them.
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What Is a vCIO?
vCIO's, or virtual Chief Information Officers, are responsible for the strategic planning and overall management of a company's cyber security.
They make recommendations to a business' executive team on important developments in cyber law and threats, as well as which technology policies, hardware, and software to adopt as a means of reaching overarching company goals.
The difference between a vCIO and a CIO is that a vCIO is not an employee that works onsite within a company. Typically, vCIO's are a service that's a part of a managed IT services package.
What Does a vCIO Do?
The following list comprises some of the main job functions of a vCIO.
When businesses plan for the future, they may talk about sales goals or desired clients. However, many companies don't think about the future of their network and how it can help them attain business goals.
For instance, if your company plans on expanding to a few new offices in the coming years, your vCIO can get ahead of that move by starting to plan how your network will expand and the implementation timeline once employees move into the new office so that the network is up and running as fast as possible.
One of the greatest benefits to having a vCIO is that they keep your network moving forward, evolving it to stay on the forefront of emerging technology trends. For instance, a vCIO may realize that your employees continue to pose a threat to your network's security because they keep falling for phishing attacks.
To mitigate this issue, a vCIO may tell their team to install an email filtering service, advanced spam filters, and maybe even host a quick cyber security seminar with your company to ensure that employees learn how to avoid phishing scams.
Technology is constantly changing, and it's impossible for a part-time IT specialist or business owner to keep up. vCIO's take the burden of upgrading your network off your company, saving you time and giving you peace of mind.
Routine Network Inspections
Routine network inspections, also known as network security audits, are an analysis of your network for strengths and weaknesses. Every aspect of your network is studied, from the ports to the computers themselves to all the software used to protect your network.
When a vCIO studies your network, they like to imagine it like a web, where everything is interconnected. Sometimes, they'll use advanced mapping technology to virtually see how parts of your network are connected to one another.
By meticulously analyzing your network, a vCIO can expose any security gaps that could pose a threat. Then, they can use their findings to put together a list of recommendations for upgrades or changes.
Manage Vendor Relationships
Nearly all companies have technology vendors, for instance an antivirus provider or an email filtering service. Strong cyber security plans implement many different security platforms and software. While this is great for your network, it can become an overwhelming task for a company to manage.
A vCIO manages your various cyber security platforms and communicates with providers to ensure that accounts are being maintained and kept current. Outsourcing technology vendor management to a vCIO frees up your business to focus on more critical tasks.
After a vCIO realizes that a big project needs to be taken to get your network to where it needs to be, they will see the project through from start to finish.
Whether your business has recently hired a vCIO and they've just completed an initial network inspection, or your company is about to go fully remote, your vCIO will be there every step of the way to ensure that the project is completed on time, on budget, and in an efficient manner.
Projects can even include educating employees on new technology that the office plans on implementing to ensure a smooth transition. If a vCIO does their job correctly then everything should go according to plan.
What Does a vCIO Get Paid?
According to payscale.com the salary range for Chief Information Officers that you hire in-house is between $91,000 to over $247,000, with an average of $155,000. While the benefits of having an in-house CIO are numerous, the costs quickly add up, as you have to pay for the salary, benefits, and workspace/equipment necessary for a CIO to effectively perform.
Since vCIO's don't work physically at your office, they can still do the same job that a CIO does, but semi-remotely and for a lower cost. If you're thinking about hiring a vCIO, consider whether you want to outsource your IT to a Managed Service Provider.
With all-inclusive plans, you can usually get a vCIO included in your monthly billing at no added cost with the added bonus of not having the headache of internally managing your IT.
Why Use a vCIO?
vCIO's provide value to a business by taking the pressure of vendor management off of internal employees, regularly analyzing your network for weak spots, and managing the implementation of upgrades or major changes within your network.
While CIO's are a valuable addition to any company, they come with a steep price tag. If you outsource your IT to a Managed Service Provider, you can get a vCIO as an affordable alternative that offers very comparable support.
As a Managed Service Provider, we help clients and prospective clients every day by consulting with their existing in-house IT and executives to determine the best path for their network moving forward.
Consider a vCIO if you want to take a serious step towards improving your network's security and streamlining business functions.
Posted by Erica Kastner
Erica Kastner is a lead Marketing Specialist at Standard Office Systems as well as a University of Georgia graduate. She aims to use her passion for problem-solving to help businesses understand how to better leverage their network infrastructure.