Nick Lennon is the ANZ Country Manager at Mimecast, having joined in 2007 as a Channel Sales manager. As a leader in management excellence, Nick has personally grown the local team from five members to over 100 since Mimecast’s introduction to the ANZ market. Nick maintains a passionate focus on achieving rapid local business growth, understanding evolving challenges across all verticals and ensuring customers get the best service driven by Mimecast’s strong culture.
You’re ‘rebuying’ technology services every year. Make them earn it.
Most small-to-medium sized companies, by their very nature, must keep budget in mind when evaluating advanced security solutions. Entering a new financial year, you should be prepared for annual bills and possibly price increases from your technology vendors.
Look at it like this: every year, these vendors are effectively asking you to ‘rebuy’ their services and usually that doesn’t happen at a discount. So it’s important to ask questions about what you’re getting from your money. Here are some questions you should ask amongst both your technical teams and your financial team when you get that annual bill from your security vendor – whether or not it involves a price increase.
How has the integrity of the service been?
Is the security solution providing the security we need? Does it stand up when we need it? Does it experience downtime and is it a pain to manage? Or does it just work?
What scale and efficacy does the service provide us?
Particularly with on-premises solutions, you may be paying a premium for services that don’t scale or provide the most efficacy for you. Be critical of those solutions and what they’re doing for you. As your business grows, are they prepared to grow with you?
How has our support been since the last price increase?
If you have questions, or if something goes wrong, how quickly can your day-to-day IT staff get the answers they need? Has the vendor added any kind of new services to improve their capabilities in this regard?
Are we getting new features?
What are we actually getting for the additional money we’re going to have to spend? Does the vendor provide us with cutting-edge, state-of-the-art features? Especially when it comes to security, you want the best you can get. And, given the changing nature of attacks in the cybersecurity world, you need all the help you can get to stay ahead.
Are our SLAs improving?
Similar to the other questions around support and service integrity, the SLAs you have with your vendor should be part of the evaluation once you see a price increase. If you haven’t seen them improve, or if there isn’t a new SLA from the vendor that improves on what you have, consider that a large red flag.
Make your security vendors earn it
So, after having these discussions internally, if it becomes clear that any price increases are unwarranted due to some stagnation or even degradation of what you’ve been getting, you shouldn’t hesitate to raise these questions directly with the vendor.
Think back to the idea of ‘rebuying’ services. If you sit back, renew and don’t make the vendor justify their business every year by advancing capabilities, keeping up with the latest threats and providing great service, then find someone who will.
Make your providers earn your money every year and demand higher and higher levels of capabilities, services and outcomes. If you aren’t getting that, don’t passively renew. You won’t be maximising your precious budget to best leverage the money you do have.
Yes, the vendor evaluation process can be long and difficult on top of everything else you must do every day. But hikes in renewal prices are made with the assumption that you, the buyer, aren’t motivated enough to opt out and see what else is out there. Don’t fall into that trap. The people you work for expect a lot from you and for you to earn it, every year. Make your vendors do the same.