Experts recommend vigilence in IT security pricing

Published 11 October 2006

Vendors do well in part because clients are afraid to switch due to cost concerns; savvy IT professionals should price out the market and not be afraid of playing one vendor against another; software packages can be a good deal, but be wary of pricing methods

Like anything, security has a price, but the question IT security officers need to ask themselves is whether they are getting the correct one. Indeed, there is much grumbling these days about overpriced and underperforming security software, and as energy costs continue to eat up IT budgets the complaints are certain to grow. “These guys [security vendors] are pretty fat and happy right now,” said Peter Firstbrook of the Gartner research firm. “They’ve got a very healthy profit margin. Don’t feel sad for your antivirus vendor or your antivirus sales rep.”

One problem is that, although antivirus software has matured, software costs are not declining as one would expect. The reason, Firstbrook explained, is that the leading software vendors know their clients believe that switching vendors will be too costly to justify. Savvy clients, however, will not allow themselves to be taken advantage of in this way, and Firstbrook recommends IT officers to price out the market on a regular basis. They should also consider buying security packages, rather than picking up firewall and anti-virus products in a piece-meal fashion, and should insist that such packages include home user licenses and support.

Budget-conscious buyers should also be certain that their cost-per-license is calculated on a per-seat basis, but that their server license costs are based on the number of CPUs in use. “Companies should not increase their seat count merely to meet a vendor’s price list,” IDG news reported.

-read more in Jeremy Kirk’s IDG News report