What Is a vCIO And How Can They Help Your Business?

Not every business can justify having a Chief Information Officer (CIO) full time. Small- to mid-size businesses have an opportunity to benefit from a service your managed service provider (MSP) already offers.

This is where Virtual Chief Information Officers (vCIOs) come in. The role has been around for a while but just recently been popularized with the popularization of remote work. They are transforming the way small and medium businesses run by offering invaluable support that help you craft the perfect IT strategy without having to be physically present—and demanding much less from the budget.

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What Is a Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO)?

A Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) is an industry expert who works alongside companies to provide strategic direction through consulting services and cost analysis based off their client’s technology strategy. Most vCIO’s are outsourced from a third party and reputable MSP versus a traditional in-house Chief Information Officer (CIO).

Services are similar to what a CIO brings but at a more affordable price. Some of their services include developing an IT roadmap, anywhere from formulating strategic goals to the analysis and adjustment of business procedures. They support and secure existing IT infrastructure. As well as provide progressive services, which include long-term strategic goals and identify opportunities for driving innovation, business success, and revenue.

How Does a vCIO Differ from a CIO?

While both perform very similar tasks, there are two main differences.


A traditional CIO is primarily a position with salary and benefits. While a vCIO is contracted out with a flexible price range based off their client’s needs. They normally charge hourly rates or flat fees without benefits on a month-to-month basis. This enables your business to gain the benefits of a CIO at a significantly reduced cost. Some MSPs may also offer time with a vCIO as part of larger services packages.


A vCIO operates remotely so they are accessible whenever they are needed. You can utilize your vCIO differently month-to-month and they can easily adapt.

What Qualities Should You Look for in a vCIO?

When vetting a vCIO for your business, there are a few important capabilities you should look for.

The ability to successfully intertwine business goals and IT strategy.

VCIO’s should have a deep understanding and technological background to provide support to an organization. They should have the experience and knowledge of running a successful IT department. As well as have great communication skills to collaborate with decision-makers in your company.

Experience with the IT budgeting process:

A vCIO needs to be able to provide insight on IT budget planning as well as cost optimization strategies. They should understand how to track return on investment for existing and prospective technologies. Any vCIO should be able to stay within the IT budget while executing their client’s core business strategies.

Up to date on technological advances and trends.

vCIO’s should be profoundly knowledgeable on new technologies and how they can advance your business. They should frequently meet with you to communicate business needs and opportunities for implementing new technologies.

Able to communicate effective and efficiently.

Your vCIO should be able to build relationships with you and your business. They need to be able to quickly adapt to business culture and needs. They also need to be clear and set guidelines about availability, response time, and the support they will provide. Being able to integrate into your organization is essential.

Ability to be flexible.

vCIO’s are there to support your business. They provide strategic planning but need to understand that business goals can change at any moment. They should be able to adapt their plans accordingly.

What Value Will a vCIO Provide for My Business?

Your vCIO should regularly connect with you to provide vision and clarity. They are also there to address any issues such as technology productivity, tech budgeting, IT goals, and cybersecurity risks.

vCIO’s will offer value on these topics:

  1. Insight on technology, cybersecurity, hardware, and software
  2. Direction and implementation of upgrading technology
  3. Cybersecurity risk management
  4. Developing your IT strategy and budgeting processes


Addressing these issues and topics helps your business make improved decisions about technology as well as IT strategies. vCIO’s are there to educate and advise. They offer strategic decisions related to technology that guides organizations to best tools and practices for efficiency.

Let a Managed Service Provider Lighten the Burden

Information technology moves incredibly fast. You also might not have the time to deal with creating and maintaining an IT strategy while ensuring your business grows. That is where a vCIO can help. They will work in partnership with your MSP to create and support a technology strategy that will move you forward.

NetGain Technologies has been a trusted managed service provider since 1984 that provides expertise IT talent. Our team can provide ongoing remote support for your organization across multiple departments.

Book a free consultation today to see how our vCIO’s can benefit your organization.

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