February 14, 2024

What Value Can A Virtual CIO Bring To Small Businesses?

In every sector, the technical demands to run a business are on the rise. You need industry-specific software, internal and cloud-based networking, a public website, and increasingly high degrees of cybersecurity. According to MIT’s CIO Vision 2025 report, 72% [of vCIO experts] believe multicloud is critical, and many support open standards to preserve strategic flexibility.

This is true whether a company has two employees or ten thousand. Small businesses often do not have the team or the resources to establish an IT department or a CIO to handle their tech stack and data security needs. This is precisely why hiring a virtual CIO or vCIO has become an increasingly popular business choice.


Why Hire a vCIO?

A  virtual CIO is a virtual chief information officer. The vCIO is a C-level decision-maker in a business in charge of making technical decisions. They typically ensure that a business is equipped with properly configured and updated software that provides for their operational needs, plans for data-related disasters, and ensures company-wide data security.

While large corporations may have room in the structure (and budget) for an in-house CIO, the vast majority of companies are smaller and can’t build a dedicated department just to manage their business software and data. That’s where a virtual CIO comes into play.

A vCIO provides all the oversight and data management of a CIO, but they are outsourced and primarily tune in remotely to support your company. VCIOs are the ideal solution for small businesses to meet the rising demand for high-tech solutions and proactive cybersecurity.

Do Small Companies Need a vCIO?

Small businesses in today’s increasingly digital world could benefit greatly from a vCIO.  A virtual CIO is an experienced industry pro who can ensure that your business has the best software stack, robust network, and cybersecurity for your business needs.

Every company needs someone who is on top of updates, ensures network activity is monitored, and is capable of preparing for data disasters from server failures to ransomware attacks. If you don’t have the staffing budget or room for an onboard CIO, then a vCIO is the best possible solution.


What Companies And Industries Benefit Most From A Virtual CIO?

SMBs and companies undergoing digital transformation are 2 prime candidates for a vCIO. Likewise, organizations with limited IT expertise on staff or organizations with budget constraints can also benefit. Most MSPs can find these types of companies that are primed for a vCIO in the healthcare, manufacturing, retail, professional services, education, non-profit, real estate, hospitality and tourism, finance and banking, and technology startups. In Los Angeles, entertainment companies also fall under this umbrella. 


Business man and woman talking about virtual cio


What Is The Role Of A Virtual Chief Information Officer?

A virtual CIO is someone who is not just available, they are a proactive member of your business team. Your vCIO is invested in both optimizing your software and network performance and ensuring you are equipped with the latest cybersecurity defenses. You can expect a partner in building  your software stack, updating and upgrading your tech infrastructure, and even preparing for potential disasters with backups, recovery systems, and response plans.


Strategic Planning

Your vCIO will provide strategic planning for your business technology. They will investigate the best available software for your business model, customer volume, and price range, as well as the data infrastructure necessary to support your operations. They will plan for both growth and disasters in equal measure and provide you the benefit of that planning.


Expert Advice

You can rely on your vCIO for expert advice in regard to your software and security setup. They can provide insights to guide your tech-based decision-making and counsel on how to improve or grow your IT infrastructure.


Management of IT Resources and Vendor Relationships

A vCIO will be on-point to manage your IT resources and act as the leader or liaison for your technical services. They can also take charge of IT vendor relationships, and may be able to secure better deals with software and hardware providers.


More Flexible and Affordable than an On-Staff CIO

The core benefits of a virtual CIO are flexibility and affordability. A vCIO provides better options for small businesses because they are more flexible and affordable than hiring on-staff IT leadership.


Team working together to work virtual cio implemented


How a Virtual CIO Defines Objectives and Plans your IT Roadmap for Future Growth

One of the core benefits of a virtual chief information officer is their investment in your business growth. A vCIO can provide support, guidance, and proactive improvement to ensure your business’s IT infrastructure is aligned with your plans for growth.


  • Strategic Alignment
    You can work with your vCIO to make sure your tech is ready for any big moves your company is about to make, like drastically increasing your customer base or offering new services that require technical structure and support to deliver.

  • Cloud Integration and Management
    Your vCIO will ensure that your company is ready for cloud integration by choosing the right cloud services and handling any necessary migration. They can then manage your cloud stack as part of the software structure.

  • Technology Innovation and Adoption
    If new technology would improve your operations, your vCIO will suggest the best options and guide company-wide adoption of the technology.

  • Performance Monitoring and Improvement
    Performance monitoring involves testing the efficiency of your IT infrastructure to ensure it is meeting the needs of your operations. Your vCIO will monitor and seek solutions for improvement.

  • Regular IT Audits and Assessments
    Every IT infrastructure needs regular auditing to ensure it is working at optimal efficiency and security. Your vCIO will take charge of audits and any upgrades that may be necessary.

  • Infrastructure Modernization
    Lastly, your vCIO will make sure that your company does not fall behind the curve in business software and IT solutions. They will keep you up to date with infrastructure modernization and management.


How Much Does A Virtual CIO Cost?

Another way to ask that question – is hiring a vCIO more affordable than an in-house position?

The answer is “yes”, a virtual CIO is almost universally more affordable than an in-house CIO. This is because a vCIO is an outsourced position. Small businesses do not have systems large or demanding enough to require a full-time C-level IT executive, but they still need the expertise and proactive IT management.

A vCIO is able to work with several companies at once, meaning that no single small business needs to pay the full value of an on-staff C-suite IT professional. Instead, you gain the benefit of their full scope of skills and proactive IT management at a much more small-business-friendly price.


If You’re in Need of vCIO services, Frontline Inc. is Here to Help

Ready to meet the increasingly technological needs of today’s small businesses, Frontline can provide the virtual CIO services you need to stay on top. Supported by a team of IT professionals, your vCIO will be able to provide the full insight, leadership, and IT management your business requires to excel with the latest software and the highest level of cybersecurity.

Contact us to consult on your small business needs and what a vCIO can do improve your IT performance.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a vCIO?

  • A Virtual CIO (vCIO) is a contractor or company outsourced by another company to serve as its chief information officer (CIO).

Is a virtual CIO a CIO?

  • Yes, but hired as a managed service provider and not on a full-time basis as an in-house CIO.

Virtual CIO vs. Fractional CIO

  • A virtual CIO offers managed IT services, while a fractional CIO is a part-time CIO hired on an as-needed basis.

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