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Why your SMB needs a vCIO (Virtual Chief Information Officer)


What does vCIO stand for? 

Virtual Chief Information Officer


What is the vCIO job description?

A vCIO does everything a CIO does only in a third-party, virtual position rather than in-house. This includes IT project management, business consulting, and any associated technical work.

What is a vCIO? Definition of the virtual Chief Information Officer

A Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) is an external consultant that fulfills the role of a CIO, providing the knowledge and skills needed to guide an organization’s technology strategy. They are experts in their field, giving consultation and guidance on IT infrastructure projects.

Choosing a vCIO is an excellent option for small-to-medium size businesses (SMBs) that need to implement or restructure their IT strategy but lack the necessary resources to hire an in-house CIO. For SMBs with a limited IT budget, a virtual CIO can make the difference between competing and failing in today’s modern digital landscape.

What does a vCIO do and what is their area of responsibility?

The vCIO is responsible for assessing all your IT requirements, including both hardware and software, and formulating an optimized strategy for implementing it. A good vCIO will have extensive IT technical expertise, with up-to-date knowledge on the leading products available. 

Beyond developing a winning IT strategy, the vCIO should find a way to increase value by improving client/employee relations. They will keep a keen eye on the evolving IT landscape, pre-empting upcoming developments and avoiding unwanted surprises.

Companies that offer virtual CIO services are dedicated to ensuring that you receive a level of service equivalent to that of having an in-house CIO. They ensure there remains a consistently strong trust relationship between the vCIO and the business owner, quelling any concerns about external stakeholders or interacting in a virtual environment.

Who can benefit from the services of a vCIO and why?

SMBs are perfectly positioned to reap the most benefits from hiring a vCIO. With growing IT requirements that don’t yet necessitate an in-house CIO, you likely need somebody with more expertise than your existing internal IT team or outsourced Managed Services Provider (MSP).

Budget-wise, high CIO salaries mean an SMB is unlikely to receive sufficient benefit from an in-house CIO to make them financially profitable. This is where the true value of a vCIO becomes apparent – you get all the full expertise of an experienced, highly qualified CIO without the high cost of a new hire.

  • Decreased operational costs: Not only is a vCIO significantly more budget-friendly to hire but can also help decrease costs elsewhere. With extensive experience in IT budgeting, the vCIO will know where savings can be made.

  • Increased productivity: A virtual CIO can pinpoint bottlenecks in productivity where projects get held up unnecessarily due to IT problems. With a focus on the ‘bigger picture’, the vCIO works to optimize processes in the long term.

  • Increased Revenue: Naturally, fewer operational costs and increased productivity combined with optimized processes mean more overall revenue for your company.

  • Better reporting: With a vCIO on your side, you can open up a whole new world of IT consulting. You now have an experienced, impartial voice to guide business decisions and provide detailed, informative reporting. 

  • Improved security: While most decent MSPs provide top-quality network security, a vCIO can provide a more tailored solution for your business. This takes into account the specific kinds of threats your industry may attract and better prepare your disaster recovery efforts.


What are the differences between a vCIO and a Managed Services Provider?

While an IT Managed Service Provider delivers the technical expertise required to address issues and maintain secure services, they may not necessarily help to grow and develop your organization’s IT strategy. With a vCIO, you get a talented individual dedicated to assessing specific IT needs, pre-empting future issues, and guiding the direction of your company’s technical ambitions.

Key differences:

  • MSP provides generalized IT support at a lower cost.

  • vCIO provides a service more tailored to your specific company needs.

  • vCIO service is more costly than an MSP but more profitable in the long run.

MSPs not only offer significant financial advantages over an in-house IT team but also tend to be more up-to-date when it comes to pressing developments in the IT world. Between 2014 and 2024, the MSP market is expected to triple from $107 billion to $320 billion as more businesses outsource their IT requirements. However, if you’re using an MSP, you need to be sure it’s providing the services you require and not simply patch-fixing as they go. 

A good MSP helps their clients address cybersecurity threats, network monitoring, hardware installation, and compliance requirements. However, a vCIO will be able to assess and alter IT strategy to meet the long-term needs of the client. The extra advantage of hiring a vCIO is you can be confident your daily IT systems are in safe hands and your technological future is assured. For SMBs pursuing a constructive form of managed IT services, a vCIO is an efficient and cost-effective way to level up your game.

How much does a vCIO vs an MSP typically cost?

On average, hiring a virtual CIO will cost anywhere between $2,000 to $10,000 per month depending on company size and the services required. This should be compared to the average yearly salary for an in-house CIO in the United States: $167,000. Some IT Managed Services Providers will add the option of a vCIO to their package, and this can range from $1,000 for small firms up to $6,000 for large clients. In most cases, a vCIO will typically cost an average of 20% extra on top of the standard MSP rate. In all cases, they will cost far less than recruiting an internal CIO.

Get a vCIO and Upgrade Your IT Management TODAY!

Speak to UBISEC and find out how we can create the ideal tailored IT services package to suit your needs. We will assess your specific IT requirements and provide a quote for managing your IT infrastructure, services, and strategy.

Our research has found that SMBs that onboard a vCIO experience better employee productivity, reduced operational risk, and increased profits. Whether it be a sole vCIO or an additional part of a full MSP package, we can advise you on what’s best for your business.


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Over the last 15 years, Ubisec has become a leading IT solutions provider to SMB/SMEs in the Los Angeles and Orange County regions of California.

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