It would be nice to get to a point with your technology where you can just coast along and maintain the status quo. However, if you’re coasting with technology, you’re probably slipping backwards. Technology is evolving all the time and to get the most out of it, you have to evolve too.
Business leaders need guidance to help them decide what technology investments are going to serve their organization best and that’s where a CIO or Chief Information Officer comes in. Having a full-time CIO on staff isn’t practical for small and medium sized companies but they can sometimes get vCIO or Virtual Chief Information Officer services from their Managed IT Services provider.
Business Leaders Consult with vCIOs About IT Investments
vCIOs provide IT guidance, bringing executives the information they need to make wise decisions about the right technology investments and how IT can enable business goals. Because they have knowledge of their client’s business and network, as well as knowledge about the latest trends in IT, they help business leaders avoid the costs and frustrations that come from making mistakes when adopting new technology.
Sometimes an executive will bring ideas for technology improvements to their vCIO when they hear about tech developments from industry peers or organizations. But the vCIO should also be bringing ideas to the table.
Topics You Should Be Discussing with Your IT Consultant
See if your vCIO has already talked to you about the following five areas of technology that are helping businesses in multiple industries leverage technology for business growth.
1. Business Process Automation
Advances in low code technology have made it possible to automate business processes without custom coding. Your vCIO could be bringing you this capability through Microsoft’s Power Platform and Power Apps. Power Apps replaces manual and complex processes with automated processes that bring benefits in efficiency and visibility.
The way to spot a potential application for automation is to identify any tasks that your employees are doing that require multiple steps or duplicate data entry. It could be a process where the ball is consistently dropped between people, or that no one ever knows who is supposed to do their part.
2. Advanced Cybersecurity
Has your vCIO talked to you yet about advanced security? While business technology has evolved at a breakneck pace, so has the technology used by cyber criminals. They’re using Artificial Intelligence and new twists on tried-and-true social engineering tactics to break through network barriers.
Advanced security includes tactics like Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR). Traditional security layers like antivirus and antimalware protect against known threats. EDR protects against new and evolving threats. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is another advanced security control that your vCIO should be recommending for your security strategy.
3. Security Accountability of Vendors
Pointing your attention to potential security vulnerabilities that are presented by your vendors might not occur to your internal team. Whether it’s how you allow vendors to access your network, or bringing awareness to cyber criminal tactics that include impersonating people in either company in a fraud scheme, your vCIO should be talking to you about how to assure that your vendors aren’t creating security holes.
Your security policies should detail how vendors can access your network, and your people should be trained so that they can follow the policies. Likewise, training is the key to heightening awareness of the tricks that cyber bad guys use, such as look-alike domains that pass for the real thing.
4. Review Vendors for Suitability
Have you ever thought about all of the ongoing services that support your technology? These are services like internet and phone communications. You might have a lot of these services on monthly automatic billing and if they’re running the way they should, you might not question what you’re getting for your money.
A good vCIO is going to assist you in reviewing your vendors on a regular basis to make sure that you’re not just getting what you’re paying for, but what you need. They can talk “tech-to-tech” and ask the questions that you wouldn’t think to ask because of their IT expertise. They’ll also be able to point out any duplicate or overlapping services that are causing you to spend more than you should.
5. Your Technology Toolbox
A vCIO is a blend of business and technology expertise so you can expect them to not just be concerned about overall IT management, but in equipping your people with the right tech tools. Sometimes evaluation of new software is the result of an employee request, but often the idea arises because the vCIO knows your business and has learned how each department and role uses technology.
A vCIO will ask the questions that you might not think to ask about a new tech tool like – How will this new software or equipment integrate with our network and how we use data? How does this impact our data backup? Does this meet our standards for security?
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
As a business leader, you have a lot of competition for your time and the company’s resources. Having a vCIO at your side to consult with on IT strategy and investments will allow you to make best good decisions about technology so that you can focus on implementing your strategy and manage risk.
vCIO Services Included in XperCARE Managed IT Services
Every XPERTECHS client receives vCIO consulting as part of XperCARE Managed IT Services. Our shared goal is to build a predictable IT foundation on which you can grow and leverage technology.