What do you look for when considering a Managed IT solution? Of course, you want the right hardware and software that can help you achieve your business goals. And security is paramount when data breaches and cyberattacks are commonplace.
The most advanced or expensive technology in the world is of little value, however, if your organization isn’t equipped to use it to its fullest potential. Outsourcing your IT to a Managed IT service can overcome many challenges, but not all providers are created equal. Those that offer a virtual CIO (vCIO) as an integral part of their technology solution can help you avoid the following risks.
1. The Wrong Technology
Let’s face it, technology can be expensive, and there’s nothing more frustrating than investing capital in a system only to discover it fell short of expectations or didn’t meet a critical function of your business operations. Worse yet is finding out you paid for equipment you didn’t really need.
In larger enterprises, a Chief Information Officer (CIO) is responsible for assessing and managing an organization’s technology requirements. But most small and mid-sized companies simply don’t have the resources to hire someone in that capacity.
To help ensure a wise investment, look for a Managed IT partner that assigns a dedicated vCIO to oversee your technology needs from the very beginning. This person will serve as your strategic advisor and meet with you to assess your IT environment, discuss your needs, and help you take an inventory of your current equipment and software to determine what can stay, what should go and what should be upgraded. He or she will not only strategize about your current requirements, but will also help develop a customized roadmap to account for future growth.
2. Unexpected Downtime
Even if you secure all the right hardware and software, organizing the transition from your old system to a new one can wreak havoc on an organization if not handled properly. A vCIO can help assure that your organization experiences as little interruption as possible by developing a process and timeline for successful implementation. He or she will coordinate logistics and work with you to determine the most convenient times for making the transition to provide maximum uptime assurance.
3. Poor Security Protocols
Surprising to many is that small businesses are most vulnerable to data breaches, making up 58% of victims. The greatest threats come from outside an organization in the form of cyberattacks, targeting employees who mistakenly fall for email phishing scams. Adding to the complexity is the increase in remote workers and the number of third-party applications being used to conduct business.
The best way to prevent a cyberattack is to provide education for your employees about what to look for and to ensure proper protocols are in place. Additionally, it’s critical to have the right firewalls and security patches installed, to perform timely updates, and to monitor systems around the clock for potential threats.
Without a dedicated vCIO, many of these proactive measures can be overlooked or delayed. A vCIO will keep a pulse on your needs, meet with you periodically — and on an as-needed basis — to explore potential threats and provide resources and education for employees. There will also be a team of IT experts at his or her disposal to provide 24/7 support and remote monitoring. This all amounts to enterprise-level protection, no matter how big or small your company is.
4. Competitive Disadvantage
The majority of business owners are optimistic about the future, and more than half of small businesses expect to report growth in 2018, up from 46% in 2017. The number of small business owners planning to hire more staff also increased considerably. To remain competitive in industry and labor markets, organizations need to stay on top of the latest IT trends and leverage emerging technologies, or risk falling behind industry peers.
By having a vCIO at your disposal to provide guidance and recommendations, you can be confident you’re not missing out on potential technology advances that could give you a competitive edge. A vCIO will stay on top of the latest trends and technology for you and can also leverage knowledge gained from working with other organizations in your industry.
The advantages of a Managed IT partner that offers a dedicated vCIO go far beyond those discussed here. To learn more, access our free infographic below that outlines the major benefits of a vCIO. When considering which Managed IT provider is right for your organization, reach out to the experts at the Gordon Flesch Company.