Most businesses partner with a managed IT services provider (MSP) to help manage their existing network technology. While a reputable MSP will provide a responsive help desk team and respond to your staff’s needs, it’s just one of the ways that a reputable MSP provides value to its customers. Another important way is through technology leadership. As “digital transformation” initiatives shift the focus toward end-user experience, businesses must be confident that they’re using mobile devices, cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other new technologies in a way that sets themselves apart from the competition. Established MSPs provide that leadership and guidance through their virtual chief information officer (vCIO) program. The vCIO service benefits add up to impact your business and bottom line.
Most small and midsized businesses are in a bind when it comes to technology strategy. They don’t need or can’t afford a full-time chief information officer (CIO). At the same time, they know that without a high-level expert to take proactive control of their IT initiatives, they’re exposing themselves to delays, cost overruns, and technical problems.
There are several areas where proactive vCIO makes a huge positive impact.
When posed the question, many business leaders can talk candidly about their business strategy for the next 12 months or longer. A much smaller cohort will be able to speak in detail about how their technology will evolve to support those objectives.
Technology strategy takes a full appraisal of a business. This includes how the team functions, its existing network technology, a deep analysis of its goals, and deep know-how into how their industry is trending.
A vCIO team has a few essential tools to proactively guide your IT strategy to success.
The most important aspect of a vCIO service is open and frequent communication. Regular meetings with your decision makers help the vCIO team take the pulse of your business and understand their top priorities, so they can design a strategy that aligns with your business goals.
In addition to speaking with your decision makers, the vCIO team should also perform regular network audits. Audits help the MSP plan strategic upgrades, migrations, and other projects to keep your technology effective.
Once a vCIO team has developed a clear path forward, they’ll distill their strategy into an IT roadmap.
The roadmap provides a centralized strategy that all your stakeholders can reference and work on collaboratively. This centralization enhances consistency, ensures proper budgeting, and lays the foundation for progressive improvements to the IT strategy.
Another one of the many vCIO service benefits is proactivity. Proactivity is the heart of effective cybersecurity. Cyber threats now evolve and spread too quickly for businesses to simply install anti-virus software and hope that hackers stay away.
For example, the outbreak of Follina, a threat that exploits a Microsoft Support tool to execute malicious PowerShell code, bypassing Windows Defender and other popular anti-virus protections.
As small and midsized organizations have become the primary focus of criminal threats, they need a team of cybersecurity experts who can help them navigate those risks, determine which are worthy of attention and which are not, and configure their defenses accordingly.
The vCIO fills that role, providing high-level cybersecurity expertise to businesses that couldn’t otherwise retain top cybersecurity talent.
Cybersecurity Vendor Management
There are thousands of cybersecurity tools on the market, helping companies with everything from perimeter defense, threat analysis, and much more. If you neglect those tools’ unique system requirements and integration needs, you could inadvertently create workflow inefficiencies or new cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
Working with a vCIO team enables your team to rest assured that those tools are constantly communicating efficiently. It also ensures that patches and updates are all applied, minimizing the risk of intrusion into your system.
Cybersecurity Network Monitoring
All managed IT service providers monitor their clients’ network to stop minor issues from becoming severe disruptions. Working with a trusted vCIO adds another layer of proactive monitoring that’s designed to protect your firm from sophisticated cybersecurity threats that software won’t.
This includes implementing documented processes for detecting, analyzing, and prioritizing risks, then ensuring that qualified analysts evaluate and contain those threats. The vCIO team will often work with a dedicated security operation center (SOC) to provide this high level of service.
Cybersecurity Awareness Training
Technical cyber controls are an important part of any cybersecurity defense program, but a vCIO team should also design your firm a cybersecurity awareness training solution to mitigate the most significant source of cyber risk: human error.
As federal and state regulators expand and modernize compliance requirements – and levy greater penalties for non-compliance — businesses in all industries are facing an urgent need to improve their compliance processes to be more responsive and consistent.
That means having a thorough plan and the workforce to maintain their technical, administrative, and physical safeguards.
Businesses big and small turn to outside consultants to improve their compliance processes and ensure they’re being applied uniformly across their entire IT estate. The vCIO team at an established MSP can offer a valuable third-party opinion on your organization’s compliance efforts and targeted expertise to help seal compliance gaps.
Automate Regulatory Compliance Activities
A vCIO team can help your team centralize and standardize compliance-related data such as examination reports and requests for information. This provides a foundation for gaining valuable analytics insight and helps you confidently respond to regulators.
Enhance Case and Incident Management
Properly managing a compliance incident involves recording the event, triaging it to the right personnel, then investigating and tracking it until it’s resolved. The vCIO team will audit all your business processes around compliance, business continuity, and cyber security incident management to proactively reduce regulatory risk.
Stay Ahead of Regulatory Changes
After a lull in compliance regulations due to COVID-19 in 2022 and beyond, we expect a raft of new compliance regulations to affect banking, healthcare, and other regulated industries. By helping you determine how these changes will impact your compliance program, a vCIO service helps your team stay focused on other priorities.
Complete Network’s vCIO team has provided businesses in Albany, Charlotte, Bluffton, and Savannah with trustworthy insight and expertise for 20 years. If your organization wants to work with a high-value, high-touch IT partner with a long track record of client success, reach out any time at 877 877 1840 or [email protected]. Take advantage of the many vCIO service benefits today!
In an ideal world, technology would be a consistent source of competitive advantage and benefit for small and midsized businesses. The reality is that many fail to realize that confidence.
Without the right resources and support, even a highly skilled technology team can become overwhelmed by the growing list of technology management duties. When important tasks get neglected, it creates ripple effects throughout an organization that damage productivity and efficiency.
The co-managed IT services model solves these problems by providing your existing IT team with all the support and resources they need to successfully plan, manage, and defend your network technology.
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