Virtually Unbeatable: The benefits of vCIO

May 25, 2018

IT management and strategy isn’t just for big corporations.

Your office monitorswere last replaced in 2009. You purchased a firewall and plugged it in, but never figured out how to configure it properly. Calling the IT service desk has become a routine fire drill for your company. Sound familiar? Nowadays, maintaining your office tech is crucial. Having outdated or buggy technology not only puts you at risk of ransomware, but makes getting work done much more difficult than it needs to be, slowing down processes and potentially losing your business a lot of money. Unfortunately, fixing the situation is not as simple as changing your passwords and installing a new firewall. In order to effectively protect and manage your business’s technology, you need to understand your IT infrastructure inside and out, and make sure it’s optimized to meet your business’s needs, and manage the associated risks.

This is the job of a Chief Information Officer, or CIO.

Small to medium-sized businesses often have limited budgets when it comes to IT, and hiring a full-time or fractional CIO or CTO may be out of their range. Without qualified guidance and strategy, even the most innovative IT solutions in the world can only go so far. This is where vCIO comes in. A vCIO, or Virtual Chief Information Officer, can accomplish everything you would need from an in-office CIO for a fraction of the cost. Or, at least, Domain’s vCIO services can. Before you start searching the Net for services that other CIO applicants and vCIO providers can do, let’s break down what it is these positions should do for you:

Information Technology Strategy

When bringing a vCIO onto your team, it’s crucial to ensure they know your business inside and out — and not just from a technological standpoint. The key for a vCIO to become an effective part of your team is for them to understand your company’s values, goals, and business as a whole, which Domain puts particular emphasis on. Every business is different; for example, a risk management strategy that works well for a law firm won’t work as well when implemented in a medical facility. vCIO is not a one-size-fits-all service, and knowing the inner workings of your business allows your vCIO to tailor their services to meet the needs of your business.

Infrastructure Strategy

Once your vCIO understands your business and what its specific needs are, they can begin analyzing your technology. Before you even begin thinking about beefing up your IT security, you need to know what aspects of your network are at the highest risk and demand the most immediate attention. That means knowing your IT infrastructure architecture inside and out in order to create an effective risk management strategy. Your vCIO should know that keeping track of every single node and switch of your business’s infrastructure is a daunting task for a non-IT expert such as, for example, the proprietor of a law firm, and as a result should not only understand your whole network themselves, but help you understand it as well. Domain’s vCIO service ensures that you are not only updated on exactly how your network is functioning, but that we make you aware of potential weaknesses in your infrastructure in order to develop a strategy to proactively patch these areas to prevent possible malware break-ins.

“ The best firewall is the human firewall.”

Planning and Budgeting

Once your IT infrastructure has been mapped out and its potential flaws defined, your vCIO can begin helping you identify machines and software that need to be updated or replaced. Your vCIO should take great care in identifying what’s old, what’s out of warranty, what’s got high mileage, and what’s plain ol’ obsolete within your business’s technology. Identifying and potentially also fixing these issues early on creates ample time for you and your vCIO to work out a plan to repair these issues in the future, allowing you to begin budgeting for those fixes right away rather than having to purchase new equipment down the line. At Domain, our goal is to help you identify what you can patch up in the short-term and plan to replace in the long-term, so you can avoid constantly wasting time on frequent fixes and shelling out for new hardware. A well-configured email on Domain’s SECaaS program can eliminate up to 98% of phishing emails and virus threats before you can even receive them. Internet content filters have become a must-have for all computers connected to the Internet, and are especially useful to businesses who rely heavily on email communication.

Evaluating New Techology

Hiring a vCIO means handing them the responsibility of managing all of your business’s technology — both old and new. Your vCIO will become responsible for evaluating and keeping track of all new and existing laptops, tablets, smart devices, desktop computers and monitors, telephone systems, and any other IT assets your business purchases or is considering purchasing. This ensures that your IT assets are not only accounted for, but that your vCIO will know if and when each piece of equipment will need to be updated, repaired, or replaced. On top of that, your vCIO should also be on top of the strategic implementation of software that may advance your company’s level of efficiency. Some examples of software Domain’s vCIO research and evaluate include Contact Relations Management (CRM) programs, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) programs, inventory/time/product management programs, and Voice over IP (VOIP) telephone software

Standardization

Once your IT infrastructure has been mapped out and its potential flaws defined, your vCIO can begin helping you identify machines and software that need to be updated or replaced. Your vCIO should take great care in identifying what’s old, what’s out of warranty, what’s got high mileage, and what’s plain ol’ obsolete within your business’s technology. Identifying and potentially also fixing these issues early on creates ample time for you and your vCIO to work out a plan to repair these issues in the future, allowing you to begin budgeting for those fixes right away rather than having to purchase new equipment down the line. At Domain, our goal is to help you identify what you can patch up in the short-term and plan to replace in the long-term, so you can avoid constantly wasting time on frequent fixes and shelling out for new hardware. A well-configured email on Domain’s SECaaS program can eliminate up to 98% of phishing emails and virus threats before you can even receive them. Internet content filters have become a must-have for all computers connected to the Internet, and are especially useful to businesses who rely heavily on email communication.

Technology Reviews

Now that your technology situation is all situated and your vCIO has it all under control, it’s a given that you’d want to know what’s going on with it all, right? Once all is said and done, it’s your vCIO’s responsibility to effectively communicate how the strategies that’ve implemented in your IT relate to your business’s objectives. It’s their job to tell you exactly what’s going on with your company’s cybersecurity, revenue, cost savings even your competitiveness with other local companies, without all of the technical jargon you might expect from an expert technician. With Domain, your vCIO’s goal is not only to ensure that your IT is functioning at an optimal rate, but that you have a full understanding of, and are comfortable with, the changes being implemented.

A vCIO, though not an in-house employee, becomes an integral and connected part of your executive team, helping your team navigate IT complexities that may be unfamiliar to a non-technology-centric company. Easy on the brain, easy on the budget, fantastic for the functionality of your business network.

What’s the easiest way to ensure that you choose a vCIO who will live up to all of these expectations? Talk us about Domain being your vCIO provider.

Was this article helpful?

For more information about how Domain Computer Services can benefit you.

New Year, New Tech

Top 3 Business Technology & Strategy Trends of 2018Gear up, tech heads The New Year is bringing a ton of new technology trends for us to deep-dive into. Not only will we be getting a plethora of new tech toys ranging from phones to drones to smart homes, but a number...