According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical computer and information system manager earns $139,220 per year. A chief information officer (CIO) often makes even more money each year. Although you may want a CIO to help your company become more efficient and tech-savvy, you may not have enough room in your IT budget to pay the salary of someone with that much experience.

Just because you have to keep a close eye on your budget, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t get advice from an experienced CIO. Instead of hiring a full-time CIO, you can choose to hire a virtual CIO – also known as a VCIO.

In most cases, a VCIO isn’t an employee. Instead, you use a contractor or even a business to fill the role. In return, you get expert advice while staying within your budget.

If you’re uncertain about whether you need a VCIO, consider these 4 ways that a virtual CIO can help your business grow.

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Improve your IT infrastructure and processes

Depending on your business’s current IT investment, your IT infrastructure may include computers, routers, servers, firewalls, operating systems, applications, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and other items. Building an IT infrastructure can get complicated quickly.

If one piece of the system doesn’t work well, then the whole infrastructure can suffer.

Hiring a VCIO is one of the most cost-effective ways to ensure that your business has the IT infrastructure and processes that it needs to operate efficiently and accurately so you remain competitive your competitors while keeping your clients happy.

The IT components that suit one company may not work as well for your business. You cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach to building a reliable system that helps your company exceed its goals.

But with a VCIO, you get an IT infrastructure plan that meets your requirements without forcing you to spend money on features that you don’t need.

Protect your system from malware and hackers

The media usually focuses on malware attacks and data breaches that affect large companies. In reality, most cybersecurity attacks target small businesses. Cybercriminals target small businesses because they know that many of the companies don’t have the protections that they need to prevent malware infections.

It makes sense for you to find a VCIO with the right experience to protect your system from malware and hackers. After all, any amount of money lost resulting from a data breach is enough to ruin your day.

An excellent VCIO will proactively advise you on how to guard your network’s security to prevent viruses, ransomware, and other types of malware from affecting you. While you may not know how to protect your system, a VCIO with years of experience will have a plan to stop spam, install advanced firewalls, track performance, and use the latest security solutions.

Given the chances that you will become a hacker’s target, you have to ask yourself whether you would rather pay a virtual CIO for protection or pay a criminal to regain access to your data.

Develop a data backup and recovery plan

A lot of small businesses keep all of their information on-site in computers and servers. It only takes one disaster for you to lose all of that data. Just one flood, fire, or burglary could make it nearly impossible for your business to continue serving its clients.

A data backup and recovery plan could save your business when disaster strikes. With help from a virtual CIO, you can benefit from a system that stores your encrypted in the cloud or on off-site servers as well as your on-site equipment. Even if a disaster destroys your office, your data will remain safe in a secondary location.

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Choosing a company as your VCIO can help you develop an even more robust backup and recovery plan. Many IT companies maintain data centers, where your information will remain safe no matter what happens at your office. The right company will also have the security hardware and software to keep your data safe from criminals.

Discover the right cloud solution for your business

Don’t make the mistake of believing that all cloud solutions are the same. Before you even start to compare applications that will help your business flourish, you need to consider whether you want to use a public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud.

You have a lot of options when choosing public cloud options. Questions get harder to answer, though, when you decide that you want the advantages of a private or hybrid cloud.

A VCIO can go over the differences between public, private, and hybrid clouds to help you choose the best option for your business. More likely than not, you will want to invest in private or hybrid cloud so you can control access better and make data more secure. Your VCIO can help you establish a private cloud that feels similar to having an on-location data center. By avoiding an on-location data server, though, you get to save money while adding more security to your system.

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PCS International: Your VCIO Team

Hiring a CIO costs a lot of money, so it’s understandable that a lot of SMBs don’t have them. The high cost of employing a CIO, however, doesn’t mean that you have to lose access to tools and advice that will help your business grow.

Contact PCS International to learn more about how a virtual CIO could help you save money and grow your business. With the right VCIO, you get the best of both worlds.