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Table of Contents

  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. WHO IS A CIO.
  3. WHY HIRE A CIO?
  4. WHAT CAN A VIRTUAL CIO DO FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
  5. CONCLUSION
INTRODUCTION
Organizations are now slowly realizing the importance of having continuous service of a Chief Information Officer (CIO). Moreover, many businesses opt for CIOs on flexible basis and these professionals are called Virtual CIOs (vCIOs).
In a situation where cyber security breaches are at all time high, job role of a CIO has evolved from a medium important one to a mandatory position. However, even now it is a privilege of conglomerates and big businesses to have an in-house CIO. But then, how will small and medium businesses protect their information and have the best IT facilities? Here is where a Virtual CIO plays a vital role; they enter into a place where half of the people actually don’t know what to do immediately after a data breach. Security intelligence, an industry leader in cyber security, points out that an average cost of a data breach is $3.92 million as of 2019. So, why take a risk? Read this blog to understand why you should take the opportunity to hire a virtual CIO.
WHO IS A CIO?
Information technology of a company needs an overseer and that is the job of a Chief Information Officer.
It is in the 1981 book written by William Synnott and William H. Gruber that the term CIO got first articulated.
The book titled, ‘Information Resource Management: Opportunities and Strategies for the 1980s’ cites the natural evolution of the role owing to the increasing importance of IT resources and information.
During the mainframe era, i.e. during the 1960s till early 1980s; the computer functioning was mostly accounting related.
So, the information preservation, safety regulations and everything related to it was handled by a Chief financial Officer (CFO).
With the advancement of microprocessors and computer’s bifurcation of various functioning called forth a set of information czar and thus CIOs got more prominence in every organization which continues even today.
A CIO is hired to do some or all of the following tasks:
  • Delineate strategies for a smooth functioning of an IT department
  • Get directly involved in IT related projects
  • Monitor changes in an IT workflow
  • Designing, maintenance and overseeing of technological systems and platforms
  • Advice management on IT risks and help them find the right solution for information protection
  • Research and adapt the finest technology platforms for the best IT experience
  • Give technology leadership & much more
WHY HIRE A CIO?
In order to have a clear picture on why one should hire a CIO, it is important to know the consequences of not having a CIO in an organization.  Without a CIO, an organization:
Face cyber securing challenges – In 2020, an organization should have a robust solution for cloud-vulnerability, contract hacking, social engineering attacks, AI-enhanced cyber-threats and even ransomware risks.
From scrutinizing information permissions to legal compliances, a CIO’s role is important.
Cannot create value from information – CIOs help organization innovate and leverage on valuable data and monetize on it.
They speak the language of the C-suite and give organizations benefits of IT innovations.
Lose focus on strategic priorities – Without an expert who can point out both the strengths and weaknesses in an organization’s IT system, a business will lose focus on its IT priorities.
If priority of a CIO in an organization is to establish a single source of truth, the focus of another CIO in a different organization will be to strengthen security controls and network support.
So, it all varies from business to business.
Cannot stay relevant – In a rapidly changing technology landscape, only an expert like a CIO will be able to suggest the technology best practices, balance the IT budget and motivate IT staffs.
To stay relevant in the industry, every organization needs a CIO who takes IT trends seriously.
WHAT CAN A VIRTUAL CIO DO FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
A virtual CIO, as the name suggests, is an IT expert offering his or her service individually or as a part of an external agency.
Like an in-house CIO, these experts will be responsible for IT requirements of an organization.  
From protecting sensitive information to indulging in IT project; they are adept in technology glossary.
Leveraging on innovative solutions created by virtual CIOs, businesses can prioritize technology planning even if it is a small or medium sized organization.
On hiring a virtual CIO, management get the opportunity to outsource the following tasks:
  • IT strategic planning
  • IT Budgeting
  • IT ROI identification
  • Evaluation and guidance for setting an organization’s technology direction
  • Support vendor relationships
  • 24/7 support and consulting on system security, project oversight, IT purchasing, etc.
  • Careful network analysis and planning
  • Choosing the right software and IT platforms that suits an organization’s need
  • Software documentation
  • Hardware documentation
  • Data backup and recovery
  • Creation of detailed performance metrics and monthly IT performance report
  • Creation of unique IT solutions to stand out in the competition and drive growth
  • Actualization of the IT vision of an organization
Benefits of Hiring a Virtual CIO
  • Faster Disaster Recovery: Even if your organization is small, with the help of a virtual CIO, you can recover faster from data breaches.
This is indeed the need of the hour. For instance in 2020, when everybody has opted to work from home due to Coronavirus pandemic; experts suggest that the number of data breaches has increased dramatically. In an interesting article published in securityboulevard.com, more than 80 companies have reported data breaches. Astonishingly, most of them are fortune 500 companies. Haven’t we read the news on how 500,000 Zoom credentials were put up for sale in April 2020? If big company is struggling to keep their data safe, how cautious should your small IT team be? So, rely on a virtual CIO.
  • Set a Strategic Direction: How about having a flexible and business focused IT strategic planning consultant at all the times?
This is what any small or medium sized organization gain with the help of a virtual CIO. The truth is that the thin line between business strategy and technology strategy has dissipated. CIOs are expected to strategize swiftly by keeping overall business progress and revenue generation in focus.
  • Gain measurable insights: On hiring a virtual CIO, businesses obtain confidence on IT controls.

Very often small organization won’t even bother to measure the IT operational metrics. But it is a very important factor for a business’s success.   
From performance reviews to financial metrics, proactive and keen evaluation can be only done by an expert with exceptional technical knowledge.
A virtual CIO is capable of driving performances based on relevant and impactful metrics. Though there are only 3 benefits explained in the blog, the number of positive outcomes on hiring a virtual CIO is innumerous.
Before anything, as we all know the future workforce will be remote, only a virtual CIO can set the right remote work agenda.
A resilient network model, secure connectivity for remote employees, scalable network enabled by automation, end-to-end monitoring, directing cloud-ready application and much more; hiring a virtual CIO from Ossisto is pivotal in adapting to the new normal. 

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