Technology guarantees optimum workflow effectiveness when it’s appropriately tailored to complement your corporate business goals.

Attaining a perfect technology-labor blend requires a present, short-term, and long-term strategy that’s mapped out by an experienced Chief Information Officer (CIO). This individual is responsible for vetting prospective technologies that the company wants to onboard, and then integrates the technology into your IT department.

However, getting a CIO with hands-on experience is becoming increasingly difficult, as statistics from Statista show that about 54% of organizations see a skill shortage in tech. An innovation created to counter this downward trend is vCIOs, a CIO that doesn’t have to be physically present.

What is vCIO?

vCIO, an acronym for Virtual Chief Information Officer, is an organization or contractor that works as a company’s chief information officer (CIO) but as a third-party, as opposed to in-house. Unlike the traditional role of a one-man CIO, most vCIOs consist of tech experts with the primary aim of collaborating with the clients, advising them, and performing tasks traditionally associated with the CIO.

How do vCIOs differ from MSPs?

It’s common for individuals with succinct knowledge of managed service providers (MSPs) to deduce from the definition above that both terminologies can be used interchangeably. This is far from the truth.

While vCIOs are third-party contractors that serve as a company’s Chief Information Officer, An MSP is a person or organization that remotely manages the company’s information technology (IT) infrastructure and end-user systems, essentially providing outsourced IT services.

The easiest way to think of the difference between vCIO and MSP is that MSPs perform predetermined tasks for their clients, while vCIO plays a proactive and strategic role. However, by introducing consulting and supportive activities, MSPs may also be proactive, but vCIOs provide direction to the company and ensure that everyone follows suit.

vCIOs offer more insights that help improve clients’ businesses. They research best practices obtainable and try to craft the company’s workflow into them. MSPs on the other hand only work with the client’s blueprint. Also, vCIOs engage the client’s management team, and guide its IT budget, while MSPs conform their operations with their client’s budget.

vCIOs are also more long-term in their approach to problems than MSPs.

Summarily, the major difference between MSPs and vCIOs is that while MSPs are an outsourced Information Technology department, the other serves as the company’s chief information officer –managing, and creating long-term strategies in its IT arm.

What makes vCIOs different from CIOs?

There isn’t much difference in the roles CIO and a vCIO, however, vCIOs offer added benefits of providing startups with a pool of experts that have a wide range of knowledge. However, vCIOs are external third-party vendors, while a CIO would typically be an in-house position and an employee of the company.

Just like CIOs, vCIOs are a bridge between your organizations, and technology, ensuring your firm is well-positioned to get the maximum benefit from them.

What are the roles and responsibilities of the Virtual CIO?

Virtual CIOs wear multiple hats in their effort to ensure that your company’s technological installation runs effectively. Below are some of the tasks they perform:

Analyzing and reporting data

A major motivation for hiring vCIOs is to analyze data using varying tech stacks and report its findings to clients. Once report made is considered, and suggested changes are approved, the vCIO will:

  • Ensure that security installations and practices are up-to-date–and properly enhanced to prevent cybercrime, phishing, ransomware, and data breaches;
  • Provide data recovery services to ensure information is retrieved in the occurrence of an unforeseeable disaster–this is often done through cloud services.
  • Establish protocols to tackle cyber attacks.
  • Proactively watch out for loopholes that online threats, spam, and viruses may capitalize on.
  • Recommend solutions to issues discovered to management.
  • Sets IT Objectives, and Implements Approved Technology Enhancement Strategies

vCIOs help organizations curate effective IT strategies to complement their corporate workflow. Beyond this, they ensure that the internal workforce of clients aligns with management-approved IT guides to achieve their goals.

Key tasks performed by vCIOs to ensure that technology objectives and goals are performed are:

  • Ensuring that your company’s IT infrastructure aligns with laid-out objectives and goals.
  • Replacing obsolete, outdated, and redundant software, while introducing more effective applications that can boost growth and profit for your organization.
  • Maintaining the relationship between app vendors and their clients, and ensuring that clients’ interests are well protected.
  • Evaluating for gaps in the business’s Internet Technology department, while ensuring that solutions are adopted to align with business objectives and goals.
  • Proposing the adoption of new technology to ensure that the company’s IT department continually innovates per modern practices.

How vCIOs differ from MSPs

vCIOs helps to serve as the company’s most knowledgeable IT expert through:

  • Gaining an extensive understanding of major business processes, down to nitty-gritty details.
  • Provide business owners with round-the-clock IT insights and advice.
  • Recommend and implement solutions to threats, inefficiencies, and any IT issues noticed.

Reduce your organization’s expenses and costs

One of the primary reasons why organizations, particularly investment-backed startups, prefer vCIOs is cost-efficiency. vCIOs provide a cheaper alternative to fix-it IT teams or full-time service providers. Also, they ensure expenses within the company’s IT department remains within budget. To keep costs low, virtual CIOs do the following:

  • Decrease expenses and avoid unnecessary costs by carefully adjudicating the business’s IT budget.
  • Create an ecosystem that eliminates overspending and ensures that the firm’s resources are optimally engaged,
  • Ensure that your IT staff performs tasks in an efficient and timely manner, reducing delays.

How involved are vCIOs in businesses?

Although vICO has the word “virtual” in its name, there’s nothing that suggests that in its method of operation. They’re manned by people as we’ve mentioned earlier, have top-notch expertise in IT practices, and will work to help your company achieve its Information Technology goals. vCIOs won’t work onsite daily but will be communicative and easily accessible.

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