The Importance of a Virtual CIO and How an MSP Can Support That Role

Jun 9, 2022

You may already know what a CIO is – an organization’s chief information officer. But have you ever heard of a virtual CIO or vCIO?

Well, as the name suggests, the vCIO performs the same duties as a CIO, only virtually and, most of the time, remotely. This allows organizations without a dedicated IT department to outsource this technology deployment responsibility and decision-making authority.

In fact, the most successful MSPs today are employed as vCIOs to control budgets and drive business strategies. But before we get into how an efficient MSP can help a virtual CIO succeed, let’s understand the basics…

What Is A Virtual CIO?

Apart from the definition above, a vCIO collaborates with clients’ IT departments, plans IT budget, formulates IT goals, and facilitates technological changes. They further help clients secure and audit their current IT infrastructure by developing long-term strategic IT goals to innovate various aspects of the business.

However, terms like vCIO, fractional CIO, and outsourced CIO are often used interchangeably. Though there’s nothing wrong with that, one must be cautious while looking for the intended service.

Notably, a vCIO is referred to as a fractional CIO if it offers part-time services at a cost lower than that of a regular, full-time CIO. On the other hand, an outsourced CIO, though the same as a vCIO, may also mean outsourced chief information officers.

Compared to other technical advisory services, the vCIO of an organization handles a much broader aspect. MSPs and other third-party IT advisory services can help with technology service delivery, while focusing on the business itself.

What Does The Role Entail?

Given the wide role of responsibility, choosing a vCIO can be a challenge. Here’s a breakdown of what the role entails so that enterprises can consider their options accordingly.

1. Being Up To Date With Technological Trends

An efficient vCIO should be able to tap into the technological trends and use them to the advantage of the organization. At the same time, they should be capable of explaining the advantages of tech-related changes to the required personnel.

It should also maintain the company’s technological portfolio and stay in touch with the customers to understand their business needs and technological opportunities.

2. IT Project Planning, Management, And Budgeting

As and when the business needs a budget change, the vCIO is responsible for grasping new business projects. Subsequently, they play a key role in cost optimization strategies and IT budget planning. On top of that, the vCIO should analyze the return on investment for the organization’s current and future technological aspects.

3. Tying IT Strategies To Business Goals

One of the most important roles of a vCIO is to offer the technological know-how to an organization to meet its goals. For this, they should be able to effectively communicate with the company’s decision-makers.

4. Adapt To Changing Business Goals

Though planning is the essence of their role, vCIOs should expect changes in an organization’s business goals and work accordingly.

5. Maintain Strong Interpersonal Skills

Other than understanding what’s outside the four walls of an organization, skilled vCIOs must know the importance of dealing within a set work culture. Hence, they should follow transparency, promptness, and willingness to work with an IT staff. While responding to other employees, they must demarcate their expertise as well as what’s not within their scope of the guidance.

Other than the factors explained above, a vCIO is someone who…

  • Facilitates financial savings by consolidating and centralizing the company’s resources
  • Understands the core procedures of the organization
  • Develops IT strategies according to the conditions surrounding the company and drives financial growth and revenue without incurring unnecessarily high costs
  • Delivers real-time IT insights and advice to entrepreneurs
  • Monitors the organization’s network and overall IT infrastructure against constant online threats
  • Avoids unnecessary expenses by managing the IT budget and formulating cost control strategies
  • Suggests solutions to IT-related problems and challenges
  • Incorporates up-to-date technology to secure the company from ransomware, data breach, and other cybercrimes
  • Fixes the incapabilities in the organization’s IT infrastructure and offers solutions for data protection and cyber security
  • Removes the company’s outdated software and programs, overcomes challenges and drives profit, growth, and stability
  • Uses advanced security solutions and firewalls to prevent cyber attacks
  • Helps ensure that the company is using the available resources efficiently in order to accomplish priorities and achieve business growth
  • Maintains an in-depth monthly report of performance metrics

How Can An MSP Help A Virtual CIO Succeed?

Long story short, vCIOs handle the IT infrastructure planning and implementation in an organization. Based on the industry’s technological advancements, they use their knowledge to offer a tactical advantage. Hence, turning your MSP into your virtual CIO can help the organization commercially and financially.

1. Expertise Sharing

Through efficient vCIOs, you’ll have on-demand access to expert IT advice. And since your MSP works to make your business succeed, it can offer IT advice tailored to the organization’s goals and requirements. After all, an MSP has the expertise to assist in any IT-related challenge faced by an organization.

2. Infrastructure Monitoring

For any organization, purchasing and maintaining IT infrastructure can be an expensive affair. However, with an MSP as your vCIO, you can reduce costs by getting remote access to the latest technology and servers. This will also help you clear up space at your workplace.

3. Budget And Risk Tracking

Your MSP as a vCIO can advise better on maintaining the IT budget while formulating strategies, offering products and training, and more. They can further anticipate risks to your systems and networks and warn you beforehand.

Finally, according to the risk profile, they can advise you on investing your budget according to the business priorities.


Employing a vCIO is essential for a business in any niche, more so if the MSP is turned into the vCIO. As a result, your organization will enjoy the IT expertise of an MSP who works for your benefit and help strategize and secure the business from technological challenges.

And that’s where Virteva enters the scene. With our prompt, secure, and up-to-date IT solutions, we can help you get that competitive edge in an ever-evolving era!

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