Demystifying the True Cost of IT - Part One: Why Does This Cost So Much?
SMBs and nonprofits are no stranger to high dollar quotes for anything from new computers to software upgrades. Even when you take labor costs out of it, the price can seem unnecessarily high. Why would a laptop computer cost you $1500 when you can go down to Best Buy and get one for $300? Why do I need a $2000 firewall when I have a modem from my ISP with 1 year of anti-virus?
“Why?” indeed, and that’s exactly what we’re going to cover in this first of a three-part series on helping you sort out the difference between a true business need vs predatory sales tactics, and when you need to start asking questions.
Before we get into it, we need to be honest with ourselves about a few things. Anytime you’re dealing with another business, there is a financial incentive which drives the transaction from both sides. Make money and/or save money. It’s business, and you are your best advocate.
Another thing we need to be honest about is that as the buyer, it’s a reasonable assumption that who you’re buying from is more knowledgeable about what it is that they’re selling than you are. Otherwise why wouldn’t you just do it yourself?
Here’s where those points become important:
We want to believe that who we’re dealing with has our best interests in mind when quoting products and services, and often that can be true. When seeking expert advice, we count on that advice to be valid and accurate, so that we can base our decisions off that advice and move forward with a solution.
But that’s where black and white turn to gray. In the case of IT services, let’s touch on an example mentioned earlier.
As a business, you absolutely need a firewall between your network and the internet. Seemingly every day there is a new attack method or newsworthy data breach, and you don’t want to add your business to that growing list of victims. The embarrassment of it all is just the beginning. Consumer data leaks, compliance issues and even lawsuits will follow swiftly, and can run an organization into the ground.
That’s the same fear-factor based selling you’ll get when you’re raising an eyebrow at that $2000 price tag, and it works so well because it’s all true. Without proper protection, it’s only a matter of time before it happens to you.
So that’s it, right? Buy the hardware and associated costs lest you risk shuttering your doors upon the click of a malicious link in an e-mail? Well, no. There does exist a place between extremes.
There’s no need for brain surgery when a band-aid will suffice, and while network security is hardly as simple of a matter as that anecdote would suggest, there’s also some wisdom in it.
Does your business need a firewall? Yes, but let’s ask that a little differently.
Does your 6 employee SMB or nonprofit need an enterprise grade piece of hardware designed to handle, filter, and analyze the network traffic of 500 users simultaneously while providing redundant links to two other internet connections and an annual support and service contract which if you don’t buy it will break or limit the functionality of that device?
We’re going to be a bit bold here and say no, it probably doesn’t.
What you as the buyer need to take away from that scenario are several things:
· The Ransomware Blaster 9000 Firewall™ on this quote is impressive
· The Ransomware Blaster 9000 Firewall™ on this quote is expensive.
· The Ransomware Blaster 9000 Firewall™ is more than my organization needs.
· Why wasn’t the Ransomware Blaster 3000 Firewall™ model on this quote?
So why were you quoted that? Because it’s business. But more specifically, IT Security is much like an insurance policy. The more coverage you have, generally considered the better. Your actual insurance policy agrees, by the way.
On the one hand this seller did provide you with a solution to your problem. But was it the right solution? Only you can answer that.
“But isn’t this seller supposed to provide me with the best solution for my organization’s needs? They’re supposed to be the resource I can trust!”
Only you can answer that too, but you’re asking the right questions.
In Part Two of this series, we’ll tackle the other example of why that $300 laptop from Best Buy may be more expensive in the long run, leading us right into Part Three, which will cover why having a trusted partner for your IT needs is one of the most financially important decisions you can make for your business.
In the meantime, make sure you’re clear on what it is you’re being sold, and that the solution being proposed isn’t just a solution, but the best solution, because there’s often a lot of money to be spent or saved between a and b.
-Helios Cloud Solutions