Small businesses reap the benefits of hiring a fractional CIO
Small business owners can wear many hats. Not only are they CEOs of their enterprises, but they are often obligated to fill the roles of CFO, COO, CIO, CMO, manager, HR representative, salesperson, analyst – the list goes on. If this rings true with you, there is help.
We understand that the responsibilities you’ve taken on can feel endless, and while these sorts of challenges are common while growing a business, it doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. Shifting some of these responsibilities onto another’s plate should be the first step, and it may be easier to do than you think. Take, for instance, the role of CIO – chief information officer. Did you know that you can outsource your CIO responsibilities?
A chief information officer (CIO) is the title given to the executive who is responsible for the enterprise’s information technology (IT) strategy. The CIO role can vary; some will focus only on IT projects, while others will have a more strategic role to play in reaching the entity’s organizational goals. Data security can now be a predictor of an entity’s wellbeing – we’ve seen even the most successful of companies crumble under a significant breach. As data security becomes increasingly more vital, it may be beneficial to hire a fractional CIO.
A fractional CIO is an outsourced individual who takes on the role of CIO for your small business. They can work for your entity part time or on an as-needed basis, and they can be especially beneficial when your entity is on a deadline to meet specific IT goals, especially, regulatory or other compliance requirements.
For example, earlier this year, the buzz was all about General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance. The GDPR was the European Union’s (EU’s) attempt to streamline their data security laws and was applicable to all businesses operating in the EU member states – even U.S.-based businesses. U.S. businesses who were required to comply with this new regulation often didn’t know where to begin, which is where a fractional CIO can step in and take control. CIOs understand the risks your business faces and how to best mitigate those risks.
Benefits of a fractional CIO
Aside from implementing new IT or data security standards, fractional CIOs can help a small business thrive by providing them with the following.
Experience. A seasoned CIO will be well-equipped to keep your company safe from threats. The experience they have working with other companies and in other industries can provide insight that you could not have hoped to gain by acting alone.Cost savings. Data breaches are more expensive than you might think. According to IBM, the global average cost of each stolen record is up to $148, so if multiple of your customer accounts are compromised, you may be in over your head. A fractional CIO will end up saving you money, as well as time, stress, and even your reputation.Much-needed change. It can be difficult for any organization to make changes, and when the leaders are overwhelmed, it’s even less likely. A fractional CIO can be the catalyst to incite change in the organization and help reach your goals.Market advantage. With the help of a fractional CIO, you can be the first in your field to adopt new technologies or IT strategies that give you a competitive edge. Not only will this differentiate your business as a leader in the field, but it will also directly result in increased revenues and perhaps even a larger client base.
It’s not hyperbole to say that a fractional CIO can be a game-changer for your organization. When you are weighing your options, take into account how much of your time and stress will be freed up. What is your time worth? What is your stress level worth? What disasters could you be preventing by investing a bit of money upfront into a person dedicated to keeping your organization secure?