The only way to ensure growth and longevity is to protect one of your business’ most valuable assets: information. You need a strategic plan to manage information and ensure it consistently aligns with your goals. This is easier said than done for many small businesses that have an IT team of only one or two people.

To remain competitive, you have to prioritize strategic IT initiatives—they can’t be a bottom-of-the-bucket task that gets your team’s leftover attention. You need a chief information officer (CIO) who can provide expert risk management advice and devise a strategy to leverage the latest technology and help you gain a competitive edge in your industry.

 

For small businesses who can’t afford the hefty salary of an experienced CIO, a virtual CIO (vCIO) is a cost-effective way to fill the expertise gaps within your organization. Here’s a look at three major benefits.

 

  1. Strategic Planning

The number one job of a vCIO is to identify operational gaps within your organization and develop a plan to fix them. This includes:

  • Information security
  • Compliance
  • Data management
  • Audit and legal preparation

These tasks are too important to expect your IT team to complete in between installing new hardware and performing software upgrades—they’re high-priority job functions that require a great deal of attention to detail. A vCIO will have the experience necessary to ensure you adhere to all government and industry regulations and avoid unnecessary fines that impact your bottom line.

 

  1. Disaster Recovery Planning

A vCIO will help you plan for every worst-case scenario—even those you haven’t even thought of. For example:

  • Power outages
  • Computer room flooding
  • Natural disasters
  • Data breaches
  • Total system failures

The list of possibilities is more extensive than you may be prepared for. A vCIO will help you develop a strategy that makes sense for your organization and ensure you can recover and from virtually any event.

 

  1. Business Intelligence

You know business intelligence and data are the driving force behind growth, but do you have someone who can help you translate that information into action items for your IT team? A vCIO can contextualize intelligence data to help you:

  • Ensure managers have an outline of action items that need immediate attention
  • Provide insight into technical gaps in your infrastructure
  • Make operational recommendations
  • Develop and implement data-driven policies and procedures

A vCIO will help you cut costs and avoid missed opportunities by choosing data visualization and analytics tools that make sense for your business.

 

You have a lawyer on retainer and a contract with an accountant—that’s the level of importance you should place on strategic IT. If you don’t have the budget for another full-time executive, ask your managed service provider about vCIO services designed to help you make smart technology decisions that keep you in the game.