fbpx Skip to main content

The Shared CIO Role: Evolving IT Leadership to Serve You Better

By July 8, 2019February 10th, 2020Consulting, Leadership, Security
The Shared CIO: Business & IT Leadership

I hope it’s OK to write about something other than the newest cloud feature or the latest tech gadget, because I’m not going to talk about new technologies in this article. Rather, I would like to talk about the necessary leadership in today’s businesses.

Not so long ago, the only IT goal of any business was to find someone who could do the work of implementing, upgrading, and maintaining technology. It was a hard-to-find skill set, and it was even difficult to find someone able to set up a basic network. That is not the case today. There are IT providers all over the place now. Certainly not all are created equal, but there are options.

However, today’s small businesses have a different leadership gap challenge.

The Leadership Gap: Combining Business Leadership and IT Leadership

IT leaders used to be defined by hardware and software expertise.

While technical expertise is still a very important skill that we value at OXEN, a new void has appeared: There are many ways to do IT today. Does IT understand your business deeply enough to know what it needs?

The gap in leadership today is being able to recognize a business need and then finding the right technology to meet that need or  that will enhance your business. Business leadership and IT leadership must now go hand in hand.

Today’s IT leader must deeply understand the business they are working for – their mission, vision, and business objectives – in order to make the most beneficial technology choices. There are many questions:

  • Do you move to the cloud, or not?
  • If you do, what cloud?
  • What parts work? What won’t?
  • Have you taken reasonable steps to secure the data you have?
  • What risks do you have?
  • Do you need a cybersecurity policy?
  • Do you need a security training program? How do you do that?

And that’s just to name a few.

What Is a CIO or CISO?

The “CIO” title was created many years ago in the enterprise space. It stands for “Chief information Officer”. Now we also have “CISO”, or “Chief Information Security Officer”.

Neither of those terms are new, but they used to be irrelevant for small business. It simply wasn’t required. The path that you used to take was fairly straight forward in terms of IT decisions. Now the CIO and CISO leadership positions are needed in the small business, because the right technology path is not clear.

There are many choices to make. Those decisions need to be made with a business mindset combined with a technology understanding. Small business is a prime target for cyber-attacks because this leadership gap exists in the cybersecurity space.

The Shared CIO & CISO for Small Business

Recognizing the need for CIO and CISO leadership a few years ago, OXEN developed a “Shared CIO” and “Shared CISO” role. “Shared” means you share the cost, making it affordable. “CIO” means you get quality leadership that can guide you to the right technology solution. And “CISO” means you have someone focused on your business’s cybersecurity.

For many small businesses, it doesn’t make sense to hire a full-time employee to do this. But it doesn’t make any sense to ignore your business’s needs either.

What does this collaboration between business needs and technology look like? Here are two scenarios.

  • A Technology Driver: Email and phones were the norm for communication for a long time. When tools like Microsoft Teams, Skype, and other instant messaging (IM) programs were introduced to businesses, IM redefined how communication happens. IM is more timely and urgent than email, but it’s less intrusive and attention-demanding than a phone call. This is an example of technology driving business. It enhanced communication efficiency, enabled more collaboration, and changed how businesses operate.
  • A Business Driver: From the other direction, we have security concerns. A business wants and needs to be protected by threats. So, for example, knowing that multi-factor authentication (MFA) can drastically lower the risk of accounts being compromised, a business may adopt this technological solution to meet their security needs.

Both scenarios help the business, but they’re driven by different sides. Having someone that understands technology and your business is highly valuable. That is what our Shared CIO role provides. The role is not about implementing technology. It’s thought leadership, planning, and brainstorming in the context of the mission and vision of the clients that OXEN serves.

How Does It Work?

So, how does it work? Basically, you get a day of a Shared CIO/CISO’s time each month. It can be a full day or spread out through the month. Your shared CIO will work with your leadership team to determine the right opportunities, and challenges, to work on. As those needs change, we will adapt to serve you in the most effective way.

We have seen great success in working with clients in this capacity. We’ve seen dramatic increases in their security posture, as well as helping them evolve their businesses to change the way they work and becoming more mobile or efficient. We are even engaged in working through some clients to give back to the community as a whole.

Our Shared CIO/CISO offering is focused on making your business successful, and helping you to reach your business objectives with the right IT and cybersecurity strategy. It’s time to recognize the void and inquire about how a Shared CIO can help you.

Contact OXEN today at 888.296.3619 or hello@oxen.tech to discuss. Interested in consultation? Visit our technology consulting process page.


Recent Posts / View All Posts

Disaster Recovery

Importance of a Reliable Disaster Recovery Plan for Your Business

| Email, Managed Services, Security | No Comments
Running a business is not always a smooth-sailing operation. There are often things that could go wrong regardless of how cautious you are or how hard you abide by the so-called rules. Because of this, you should have a good backup and disaster recovery plan in case a disaster happens, like an accident or a cyberattack. There are plenty of BDR solutions for different businesses. You must find the one that fits your needs and will protect your network and data in the best way possible. Understanding Backup Disaster Recovery All businesses deal with important information, like details about transactions,…
Social Media Phishing

Quiz Time: Can You Handle Social Media Phishing Attacks at work?

| Managed Services, Security | No Comments
Our last three blogs have discussed cybersecurity threats and how they affect a business. We have talked about the dangers that stem from various types of malware. We have warned you about the newest cybersecurity risks expected to wreak havoc on businesses soon. And in the face of the ongoing growing acceptance of remote work setups, we have delved into the threats related to working from home. Now, we will now talk about social media phishing. The common thing in all these topics is that they are all linked to phishing. A strong phishing attack can make a network open…
Risks of Working from Home

Addressing the Cybersecurity Risks of Working from Home

| Business Productivity, Managed Services, Security, Tech Tip | No Comments
A remote workforce has become the norm since the pandemic. Even now that we consider it safe to return to office work, many businesses have maintained the remote work setup because of the advantages. However, the risks of working from home also bring issues that need attention so as not to risk the company’s network and data. What Are the Cybersecurity Risks That Come with Working from Home? There are risks when working from home. Workers lack the usual protective measures used in an office network. Many workers use their home networks and may also use the same device for…