Make Strategic Decisions Better with a Virtual CIO

close up of 3 wooden letter blocks with the letters C, I, O on a wooden table

Many businesses do not have the resources or budget to hire technicians to perform regular maintenance on their systems, let alone someone managing the technicians behind the scenes. The chief information officer, or CIO, is the one who would typically make these calls, but businesses that cannot hire an in-house CIO for whatever reason have the option of hiring a virtual CIO. Read on to learn about the benefits of a Virtual CIO for your business.

What is a Virtual CIO?

A virtual CIO is the same as a traditional CIO, just not on-site. A virtual CIO is an outsourced IT resource under contract with your organization to provide services involved with handling your company’s IT strategy.

The significant difference here is that a virtual CIO looks at your IT strategy as a whole and how that strategy aligns with your business goals. When done correctly, the virtual CIO encourages and informs your IT decisions, allowing you to move toward your organization’s specific goals.

The best way to illustrate the difference between technicians and the virtual CIO is that technicians are responsible for addressing day-to-day challenges and issues for your organization’s IT infrastructure. In contrast, the virtual CIO is responsible for ensuring that the business’ long-term technology goals are met. Think about the virtual CIO as the travel agent booking your vacation, planning things in the style of a roadmap each step of the way.

What are the Benefits of a Virtual CIO?

The first notable benefit of a virtual CIO is the price. Considering their status as a c-suite employee, the traditional CIO is going to require considerable compensation. Small businesses often cannot offer competitive salaries for such high-demand talent, so instead of investing in a position, you can invest in a service with more affordable monthly payments. Plus, you don’t have to invest in finding a CIO’s searching or hiring process, increasing the value you get from outsourcing.

Furthermore, there is a certain level of objectivity that comes from a virtual CIO. Sometimes people get caught up in the passion of running a business and start to make decisions that might not make sense. They let their feelings and predispositions dictate their actions. Someone from outside the organization is more likely to make more objective decisions, hence why many companies hire external auditors or consultants.

Without someone spearheading your IT efforts, they are doomed to fail. Let 4 Corner IT take this task on, and you can say goodbye to the stress associated with technology decisions. To learn more about the benefits of a virtual CIO, reach out to us at (954) 474-2204.

Let’s Look at Some of the Best Business Software Solutions

Happy guy looking at camera while sitting by workplace and working with software

All businesses utilize software to a certain extent, but not all companies have the same needs. That being said, there are certain types of software that all businesses can benefit from, regardless of industry or service offerings. We’ve put together a list of business software solutions that companies can utilize to improve operations.

Productivity Suites

Most businesses use a productivity suite, which is basically just a fancy way of talking about a suite of software that includes a word processor, spreadsheet program, presentation software, email and calendar management program, and other productivity applications. In fact, we would say that it is almost a prerequisite for a business to have a productivity suite just for the ability to open and edit files or documents. Some of the most common productivity suites out there include Microsoft 365 Apps for Business and Google Workspace, but there are other more focused productivity suites for specific purposes, like the Adobe Creative Cloud.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

Similar to productivity suites, most businesses use traditional landlines to make and receive phone calls. While this was an accepted practice for some time, the more modern solution is to utilize a Voice over IP application on either a desktop or a mobile device to make and receive calls. Not only does this save you quite a bit in terms of up-front costs and operational costs, but it also makes adding new users to the infrastructure infinitely easier, as it does not involve installing new hardware (unless, of course, you want to use physical handsets).

Password Management

Passwords are a major pain point for businesses, so you need to treat them as such. While passwords can be made complex, this also makes them difficult to remember. This is where password management comes into play; these solutions offer a secure, protected vault for your passwords and can pull from this vault when the credentials are needed, removing the need to remember them entirely. It is a great way to augment your accounts’ security without compromising on password quality.

Antivirus and Other Security Solutions

It goes without saying that you need to be securing your business’ network and endpoints at all times. It doesn’t matter how small of a business you run. Hackers can and will find data on your network that presents some kind of value, whether it is to them personally or to someone on the black market. They might even be out to cause a little bit of chaos and infect your computers just for the sake of doing so. Who can say for sure? All we can say for sure is that you need to secure your network and its endpoints.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Encryption is a powerful tool that helps you keep your data secure, especially while out of the office. A virtual private network can encrypt data sent to and from your device, improving privacy and security while on unsecured networks. It is especially helpful when working on a public Wi-Fi connection or while traveling.

Adding new software solutions to your business’ infrastructure might sound difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. 4Corner IT can help your business implement software solutions designed to improve operations and provide sustainability for your business. To learn more, reach out to us at (954) 474-2204.

Why Your Business Should Start Taking Advantage of Virtualization

black and white terminal control mainframe in data center ranks among supercomputers

Businesses use a lot of technology to keep themselves competitive and operationally efficient. One way that organizations use to make their technology infrastructure more accessible is through taking advantage of virtualization. Let’s discuss what virtualization is, how it benefits businesses and some examples of how you might consider leveraging virtualization to your company’s benefit.

Virtualization for Hardware and Software

Virtualization in its most basic sense is taking something and making it virtual. In regards to hardware and software, it involves taking these parts of your technology infrastructure and making them available in a virtual environment. Virtual applications and hardware solutions can be deployed to the cloud so that they can be accessed by any online device. Some examples of virtualization might include creating virtual machines, like workstations and server units, that are hosted in a virtual environment for as-needed access.

What Benefits Are There to Virtualization?

Virtual machines are great for organizations that want to consolidate their infrastructure and improve the accessibility of resources. For example, let’s say that you have three server units for your business, one of which is dedicated to legacy applications that are not supported on the latest operating systems. You might run a virtual machine to allow these applications to do what they must with the need to run multiple servers just to make ends meet. In other words, consolidating your infrastructure allows you to simplify it and invest fewer resources to accomplish the same tasks. You also improve security, as each instance of an operating system can be isolated.

Desktop virtualization is also an incredibly useful tool that can let you run instances of operating systems on machines that might otherwise not be able to run them, and it’s all thanks to the computing power of the host machine. For example, you might utilize “thin” computing hardware, or slimmed-down desktops, for your company’s workstations. The operating system and desktop infrastructure are then accessed through the virtual environment. It’s a great way to reduce costs and simplify your infrastructure as a whole.

How Can Your Business Start Taking Advantage of Virtualization?

If your business is ready to start taking advantage of virtualization, we recommend working with 4Corner IT to determine which aspects of your business would do well in a virtual environment and what you should avoid. All businesses are different, and one solution that works for other organizations might not work for yours. We can perform a comprehensive IT evaluation to help you make this determination.

4Corner IT can help you begin taking advantage of virtualization solutions in a way that is in line with your organization’s goals. To learn more about what we can do for your business, reach out to us at (954) 474-2204.

Going Paperless Offers More Value Than You Think

green computer key that reads "Go paperless"

Paper documents have always been a major part of doing business, whether it’s signing contracts between you and your clients or employee paperwork from when you make new hires. The thing with paper documents, however, is that they can take up a ton of space in filing cabinets, and depending on your habits, they can quickly become unorganized.

There are several benefits to going paperless, and your organization can take steps toward making this happen through the use of great technology solutions.

The Benefits of Going Paperless

Here are some of the benefits to going paperless for your business:

  • Protecting documents from being lost, stolen, or destroyed
  • Improved security and privacy through the use of digital filing systems
  • Greater access to important documents for both customers and employees alike
  • Less wasted capital on paper, ink, and toner
  • Less storage space utilized on-premises
  • Ease of editing and sharing documents

Scanning Important Documents

While all of these benefits are great and can contribute to a more effective work process as a whole, it’s important to remember that, depending on how long you have been in business, you probably have a ton of documents that must be converted to a digital file format. One way to do this is by scanning files and converting them into a PDF file format. PDFs are great for accessibility, but they cannot be easily edited. Depending on the solution you are using, you can include fillable forms in your PDF documents that make them ideal for forms you might send to employees or customers.

Digital Signage Solutions

Digital signage solutions are perfect for finding an easier way to draw up things like contracts or consent forms. Basically, digital signage solutions allow whoever is signing the document to “e-sign” or electronically sign a document in much the same way they would if they were physically writing out their signature. Digital signage solutions can make sharing documents in this way easier and more efficient, smoothing out workflows and decreasing service time.

Cloud-Based Document Storage Systems

The real benefit of going paperless comes from the solutions that enable it, like a cloud-based document storage system. These systems give anyone with the appropriate permissions access to view or edit documents. Furthermore, documents stored in these systems can be searched for, meaning no more digging through filing cabinets when you need to find a very specific document.

4Corner IT can help your business take the appropriate steps toward a paperless office. To learn more about what we can do for your business, reach out to us at (954) 474-2204.