A strong IT department is a must for businesses to be successful in the 21st century. However, the cost of having an in-house IT department can be burdensome for an SME. The virtual CIO, or vCIO, is a modern solution to this modern problem.

The Chief Information Officer, or CIO, is a crucial company position in every organisation today. They handle all of your technology needs and develop plans that enable the company to grow. The virtual version of this service brings that same knowledge and expertise to your boardroom, without the outrageous expense.

What does a Virtual CIO do?

Let’s start with the typical duties of a CIO. These generally include developing a company’s IT strategy, managing its IT logistics, and staffing the IT department with capable people who have the right skill sets. When you outsource this to a managed services provider (MSP), you get all of those tasks and more.

Monitor performance and security

One of the most important tasks for a CIO is to make sure the company’s IT systems run at optimum performance at all times while also being completely secure. A virtual service does this by monitoring your website’s performance, checking server status, and probing your business for security vulnerabilities.

But alongside of this, monitoring to make sure the technology performs against strategic objectives, is what sets a vCIO apart from technology decision makers. Optimising in this sense extends beyond technical performance, all the way to the P&L balance sheet.

Strategic IT planning services

It’s about having the knowledge and experience to play out ‘what-if’ scenarios and ensuring that your business is prepared.

Keeping everything running is only part of a CIO’s job. They also have to consider the bigger picture: the future of the company. Your business cannot grow if its IT doesn’t scale first. You can’t get more cars on a road without adding lanes, and the same is true of your IT infrastructure.

Your virtual information officer will evaluate your current situation and determine the best way to expand your IT capacity. They can plan for new software and hardware installations and scale up your ability to handle web traffic. You will get a tailored plan complete with a timeline and estimated expenses, putting your business on the path to future success.

Disaster preparation and mitigation

A security breach can cripple your entire operation and cost thousands in lost opportunities. As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

First, we identify vulnerabilities and shore up your company’s IT defences. We talk about hardening your security posture – which means exactly that. It means creating the resilience for both operational security – that is your processes – and from a threat protection and mitigation point of view. You also get training for your employees and simulated attacks to see if they know the warning signs of scammers and surreptitious actors.

If a disaster does befall your business, the experts can rush to the rescue. Your vCIO can procure new parts and contact installation providers, recover your data, and get your operations back online in no time.  

What is a vCIO made up of?

If you’re wondering just how all of this happens, it helps to understand that a Virtual CIO isn’t just one person. It’s actually a whole company of experts who provide services for your business.

There is an entire team of people dedicated to helping you. By outsourcing your IT, you gain access to knowledge far beyond what a few IT employees would have. Their experience with a variety of businesses and industries can help you to find novel solutions to your unique problems.

Who are the people that work together to provide your business with top technology support? Here are the key players in any CIO team:

Cloud Consultants

Our cloud consultants identify your business’s actual situation and needs. They itemise your IT infrastructure, resource and software use and determine what items could be replaced or fine tuned to perform better for the end user or the monthly bill.

Our cloud consultants and solution architects focus on getting you exactly what you need, nothing more, and never anything less. This leads to cost savings over traditional IT packages. What’s more, you get the benefit of speaking to them directly as we believe in a highly personalised service.

Software experts

Whatever software your business uses, our experts will know how to optimise it for your activity. We know Microsoft Azure, Office 365, G-suite and many more of the solutions growing businesses typically use for productivity and collaboration. Our software experts can manage your licencing, scale your software for your company’s growth, help you migrate to better solutions with minimal disruption, or quickly and easily install new software on new machines as your team grows.

We can even help you to get software custom-designed for your business. Sometimes a bespoke solution can be more affordable in the long term and simplify many of your tasks.

Hardware experts

Even though the virtual version of a CIO isn’t always there physically, you can rest assured that the team cares about your physical hardware. Every business needs computers, printers, networks, Wi-Fi, servers and more.

Our hardware experts make sure you have the right equipment for your business, and we help you keep everything running properly by coordinating with local tech support. Best of all, we’ll help you plan your upgrades and avoid overpaying for expensive equipment.

Cloud experts

With all the cloud platforms available, which is the right one for your business? By considering your business objectives and the sectors you play in, our virtual CIO can advise you on the best cloud-first strategies, even considering hybrid options.

A map of your path to the cloud will outline how your business will evolve over time, and the role technology plays in helping you prepare for the future and ensure that your technology investments deliver performance and ongoing ROI. At this point, clarity of your cloud spend is key, as is an idea of the level of digital maturity within the business, so that any future requirements can be mapped out.

Account managers

Every team needs a leader, and your virtual CIO is no exception. The account manager will be your main point of contact and will develop roadmaps and strategic plans for your business. They prepare the budgets and proposals for your IT.

A modern managed service

Having an expert managed service provider (MSP) support your business provides major advantages. You get the dedicated attention of several individuals without having to pay full salaries to several people in an IT department. You get the latest knowledge, strengthened by experience in your specific sector.

Adding to this, as a cloud managed service provider who are a Microsoft Gold Partner in Cloud Productivity and Platform, Windows & Devices and Datacenter, we can offer you a range of expertise to suit your specific needs, while drawing on our experience of working with other companies in your sector.

Best of all, you save time. No hiring or interviewing, no need to research complicated technology: you just speak to your CIO and the problem is solved.

Learn how Atech vCIO can help you

If you would like to know more about virtualisation and technology strategy planning, get in touch. We look forward to speaking to you about how you can drive an IT roadmap that delivers value to the business. 

Or, why not dive deeper into the managed security services we’ve developed? Download the brochure here.