Many businesses are lured in by the promise of a cheap “basic” managed IT services packages. These packages often sound like the perfect solution for businesses that don’t need all the bells and whistles of a full-service contract. But what many businesses don’t realize is that these basic packages can actually be more expensive in the long run.
Let’s take a closer look at the dangers of the “basic” managed IT services package and explain why it’s important to ask the right questions before you sign any contracts.
The “Basic” Package
Many people find themselves in the same situation with managed IT services. They’ll solicit quotes from several companies. One company will make an offer they can’t refuse – a cheap monitoring-only contract that they can add to as the need arises. This package often comes in at half the cost of a traditional managed IT service agreement. It sounds like the best of both worlds – your business can have the full-service contract if they decide to upgrade to it later, but you can start out with a cheaper option and see how much you really need first.
A few months after the contract is signed, however, you’re made aware of risks you didn’t even know you were taking. Your backup solution isn’t working well, and there’s no way to manage it remotely. You don’t have a good way to block ransomware links that your employees receive in emails. Your IT services provider might even tell you that they wouldn’t go without these services if they were you, because it’s too risky.
By the time all of that is taken care of, the price ends up being similar or more than the other companies who quoted you service initially. Unfortunately, you didn’t really give those companies a full evaluation, because the prices were so dramatically different. Even if you end up liking the service of the provider who sold you on the “basic” package, the whole experience can leave a bad taste in your mouth – and you’re still in a contract!
Ask the Right Questions
That’s not to say a cheaper package is always a bad fit. Sometimes, you just don’t need everything an IT services provider is trying to sell you. You just want to make sure that the company offering the basic package is being genuine when they make a recommendation of services, and not planning to lock you into a contract and upsell you later.
Make sure you know what you’re getting into. If one managed IT service provider offers you a less expansive offering than the others, make sure to ask questions about the services they’re leaving out. “Do you recommend customers get this service eventually?” “How many of your longer-term customers have it?”
If you know other companies that use the cheaper managed IT service provider, call them and ask if they have the “upgrade” features, and how they came to get them. Ask if their first few months included any surprise recommendations.
Finally, ask for a line-item quote that includes the options left out of the basic package, and ask if they can add those options within the first year at the quoted price.
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