Aligning your IT systems with your business objectives is crucial for success. A virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) offers a cost-effective solution to this challenge, providing expert IT guidance and support tailored to your unique needs. Unlike a traditional CIO, a vCIO can deliver these benefits without the high overhead costs, making it an ideal choice for small and medium-sized businesses. Here, we’ll explain the benefits of adding a vCIO to your organization, what you should expect it to cost, and the best way to get started. 

Improved IT Infrastructure

Having a strong IT infrastructure for your business is crucial for business success for a number of reasons, but perhaps most importantly, because it helps your business collect data in real-time to make improvements to the way you do business. 

Your vCIO service will provide you with regular and comprehensive reviews of your company’s IT infrastructure and security. These reviews keep you aware of what can be improved and address any misalignments with your infrastructure, applications, and security. 

They’ll then follow up their reviews with guidance on how to move forward strategically and which solutions can fill in any gaps.

Guidance on IT Security and Cybersecurity 

The cybersecurity of your business is perhaps the critical issue that a vCIO addresses, especially given that cyberattacks have only continued to become increasingly sophisticated and frequent. 

According to Accenture, 43% of cyberattacks are directed towards small businesses while only 14% of them are able to defend themselves adequately. Hiscox, an insurance carrier, reported that such incidents could cost businesses an average of $200,000. 

Given the danger, one might assume that every single business transitioning to remote would do so with a Cybersecurity Threat Prevention Plan, but that’s not the case. 

In fact, research from Alliant Cybersecurity reported that one-in-five SMBs made their transition without any clear plan to mitigate the risks of cyberattacks. 

If your company lacks an in-house cybersecurity expert, then you should absolutely consider bringing on a vCIO. 

In fact, the role of security has become so important that there’s now a new designation for a vCIO who specializes in cybersecurity: a vCISO (virtual chief information security officer). 

This service is designed to help give businesses like yours expert-level security guidance at a scale and budget that makes sense. 

Your vCISO service would likely begin with a risk assessment of your business’s security plan that encompasses your entire company, from your internal training programs and security policies to your business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) plans.

The vCIO is also responsible for helping to maintain your industry’s specific compliance regulations. This function is becoming increasingly important given the state of the HIPAA privacy policy rules and regulations.

Data Backup and Recovery

How would your business respond to a disruptive event that results in data loss or disruption? Is there a set plan in place that informs your company how to deal with your data being held for ransom by a cybercriminal? 

Many businesses either lack the time or the expertise to put together a comprehensive data backup and recovery plan that properly addresses these potential disruptions, but a vCIO would be able to provide assistance in putting these things together. 

If desired, the vCIO could also help your business set up cloud backups and determine which cloud solutions are right for your business.

All of these initiatives will be part of an effort to help maintain business continuity. And in the event of a critical failure that impedes work, they’ll assist with recovery so that your company can get back to up to speed as quickly as possible. 

Alignment of IT with Business Objectives

As mentioned earlier, your vCIO won’t merely work with you to understand your IT strategy and business goals. 

They’ll also work with your company to understand which technologies and IT best practices you need to adopt so that your business not only stays on track but also stays up to date.

Because technology is constantly changing, and at a rate that’s faster than ever, your vCIO service will most likely develop a long-term relationship with your business. 

For this reason, it’s also useful to think of your vCIO service as an outsourced technology department that manages your long-term IT strategy while also helping to onboard your team to new technologies. 

How much does a vCIO Cost?

One of the primary benefits of utilizing a vCIO service is the potential cost savings compared to hiring a traditional CIO or maintaining an internal IT team. However, the exact cost of a vCIO can vary based on several factors, including the size of your organization, the service level agreement (SLA), and the complexity of your IT infrastructure.

Factors Influencing vCIO Costs

Size of Organization. The cost of vCIO services is influenced by the size of your organization. Smaller companies with fewer employees typically require less oversight and can operate on a more part-time basis, resulting in lower costs. In contrast, larger companies with more employees and complex needs require more extensive support, increasing the overall cost.

Service Level Agreement (SLA). When contracting a vCIO through a Managed Service Provider (MSP), the SLA outlines the scope and quality of services provided. A broader range of services generally leads to higher costs. Ensure your SLA matches your business requirements to get the most value from your vCIO service.

Complexity of IT Infrastructure. The complexity of your IT infrastructure also plays a significant role in determining costs. Businesses with straightforward IT systems will incur lower costs for management and monitoring. However, companies with intricate infrastructures, such as those requiring cloud migrations or comprehensive security measures, will face higher expenses due to the increased effort and expertise needed.

Typical Pricing Ranges

The typical prices for vCIO services can vary widely depending on several factors, such as the level of service provided, the size and complexity of the business, and the geographic location. Here’s a more detailed breakdown based on industry norms:

Basic Plans:

Small Businesses (up to 20 employees): Basic vCIO services can start at around $250 to $1,000 per month. These services usually include essential IT management, occasional strategic advice, and support for minor projects.

Mid-Tier Plans:

Medium Businesses (20-100 employees): More comprehensive vCIO services for medium-sized businesses typically range from $1,000 to $3,000 per month. These plans often cover regular strategic planning sessions, more frequent IT reviews, and broader project support.

Enterprise-Level Services:

Large Businesses (100+ employees): For larger organizations, vCIO services can range from $3,000 to $6,000 or more per month. These services act almost as a full-time CIO, offering extensive strategic planning, high-level IT management, and dedicated support for complex IT infrastructures and projects.

Commprise offers flexible packages tailored to your specific business needs rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. These packages can scale with your company. These vCIO services are typically billed monthly, although fixed or yearly billing options may be available depending on the MSP. This flexibility allows businesses to choose a payment structure that aligns with their financial planning.

A vCIO for Your Unique Business Needs

The way your company manages its technology can make or break your business. On one hand, technology helps you scale and can increase productivity in myriad ways. However, if your IT systems encounter a disruptive event or your team struggles to adapt to constant change, it can grind things to a halt. 

Avoid the downsides of technological risk at a cost that makes sense for your business. Get in touch with our team at Commprise to discuss vCIO services, part of our comprehensive Managed IT services and find the plan that will work best for you. 

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