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Strategy | 3 min read

The Pros and Cons of Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) Services

Jeff Dotzler
Written by Jeff Dotzler

A Chief Information Officer (CIO) holds a valuable role in headlining the technology wing of a business. It’s critical to have an expert in this role to implement strategies and secure solutions, not to mention crucial and timely support, for all things tech within your organization.

Many small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) opt to outsource their technology needs and leverage the wisdom of an expert located outside the office as part of a Managed IT solution. But can outsourcing your IT really meet your business technology challenges? Let’s look at the pros and cons of Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) services as an alternative to adding a senior-level position on your payroll.

The Pros of a vCIO

Saves Money

It’s often quite expensive to hire a CIO. A vCIO and related services can cost less. But don’t forget other financial considerations. Outsourcing can provide predictable, fixed monthly costs, a reduction in downtime and greater efficiencies that come with a consistent and reliable IT environment.

Form an IT Strategy

One of the benefits of an IT leadership position is their role as a strategic advisor. Technology is a major driver in today’s marketplace, and forward-thinking organizations need to consider its role in their growth plans. A vCIO can make sure that not only will your computer and software needs be met, but you will get a customized IT roadmap that helps give your organization a competitive edge as well.

Protect Against Security Threats

One of the greatest concerns of business owners is mitigating the risks of cyberattacks and data breaches. While the term “virtual” may imply that your CIO isn’t always available, the truth is that a vCIO will routinely visit your office and provide education for your employees to help identify potential risks. You’ll also get 24/7 remote monitoring of your systems, necessary firewalls, updates, security patches and enterprise-level protection as part of a Managed IT solution.

Gain an Entire IT Team

Your vCIO has an entire staff of IT experts at their disposal who will assist as needed. Qualified technicians are available around the clock via online chat or by phone to troubleshoot computer issues, address security threats and automatically update systems. When necessary, they’ll provide on-site support to tackle any issues.

Stay Ahead of the Game

The pace of changes in technology today is extraordinary — from lightning-speed computing power and mobile devices to artificial intelligence and voice assist. Providing your IT team with continuing education and the tools they need to keep up is expensive and time consuming. A vCIO is routinely equipped with the latest training and keeps up with technology trends. Additionally, a vCIO gleans knowledge from working with other organizations in your industry and elsewhere.

Read More: 7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a vCIO and Managed IT Partner

The Cons of a vCIO

Not Physically Around

There is something to be said about being able to walk down the hall and talk face-to-face. If something needs fixing and can’t be handled through a remote help desk, a technician or your vCIO will need to be dispatched. Now, however, a lot of workplaces are leaning into a hybrid work approach, where employees work a mixture of in-office and at-home. So, this con can be worked around with a hybrid approach everyone can get behind.

Conflicts with Existing IT Staff

If you already have a CIO or other IT staff, the decision to replace them or augment their roles with a technology management solution may be a difficult one to make. It’s noteworthy, however, that a vCIO doesn’t come with potential associated HR issues, compliance considerations, space requirements or other supporting office needs. Plus, arrangements could be made for remote work or a hybrid schedule to avoid potential conflicts. And, truth be told, most IT teams welcome the additional support.

Forming the Relationship Over Time

As with any business relationship — whether a new employee or vCIO — it takes time to build trust, especially when that person has access to your entire network of data. Look for a reputable Managed IT provider with a proven track record that will provide you with a dedicated vCIO and account manager who will be professional yet personable.

What’s the Right Technology Management Solution for You?

Enlisting the help of a vCIO as part of a Technology Management service versus hiring a more traditional CIO can benefit your organization in many ways. The cons on this pros and cons list can likely be overcome with simple workarounds or adjustments in procedures. Either way, it’s important to ensure you work with a reputable Technology Management provider that has the experience, knowledge and dedication needed to help your organization thrive.

The approach is also important. At Elevity, we use our 4S approach: Strategy, Security, Solutions and Support. Strategy serves as the foundation to any business practice and is vital to success. Security protects everything you’ve worked for and must be handled with precision and care. Solutions come from carefully vetted value-driven products that work. And support throughout the process ensures you’ll always have, metaphorically speaking, someone walking alongside you who’s there when you need them.

Want to learn more about the benefits of a vCIO and what to consider when looking for one? Click the link below to access your free infographic outlining how you can leverage this solution for your Technology Management needs.

Top Seven Benefits of A Virtual vCIO infographic - blog footer CTA

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