5 reasons ‘free’ software might be costing you a fortune

Like most small businesses, we use a lot of software. Most of it is hosted in the cloud, so we can use it from anywhere. It incredibly powerful and a critical part of keeping our business competitive. We use accounting software, HR Tools (like our own product, Team Absence), Office suites like Google Docs or Office 365, Customer support tools and all kinds of other products specific to our industry.

So what's a reasonable price for these products? Naturally, it varies, depending on the value we get from it, but I rarely trust ‘free’ software anymore, and here's why....

1. You are the product

If you are not paying for to use a software product, then I’m sorry to say that you are the product. We’ve got used to things like social media being free, but they are funded by collecting huge amounts of personal information about us and selling that information to advertisers and other third parties. We’re all too often willing to put up with some advertising and the loss of privacy in exchange for keeping in touch with our friends, but when our business data is on the line, we should think more carefully.

If you're not paying for a product, you are the product...
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The more critical the data, the more care you need to take. Accountancy and HR solutions typically hold the most sensitive data in most companies, so you should never trust free solutions in these categories.

2. Can they really support you, if you’re not paying them?

If you aren’t paying them, how do they make a living? Can they really afford to offer the level of support and service that your business needs? Probably not.

In fact, the lack of a viable business model for ‘free’ software is likely to mean that lots of corners are getting cut, which can lead to several other problems highlighted below.

3. Are they protecting your confidential data properly?

Can you really be confident that they will be taking all the proper precautions with your precious data when they are earning absolutely nothing from you? How much time and effort would you give to a customer that never pays you?

What would happen if your confidential and business sensitive data were to be leaked all over the Internet? At best, it would be embarrassing and hurt your company’s hard-won reputation, at worst it could totally kill your business. Don't take the risk when it comes to security.

4. Downtime

Can you be sure the service will be up and running when you need it? Without a robust infrastructure, cloud-based software is unstable. It takes a team of highly skilled professionals to keep services running smoothly, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so it’s always there when you need it.

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5. Viruses and malware

Some free software is actually created specifically to be given away, as a means of installing viruses and malware on your company’s computers. Always take care when installing anything free and make sure you have up to date virus scanners on all your office computers.

What next?

Always be willing to pay for software that adds real value to your business. That doesn’t mean you should pay any price. Keep looking for great value and a price you can afford, but if you care about quality, security, service and trust, make sure you choose a partner that has a sustainable business model.

At Team Absence we aim to be great value for money, but we do charge our customers. It means we can promise never to sell customer data to any third parties, ever. It means we can afford to look after our customers by giving them the support they need, when they need it. It means we can invest in our infrastructure to ensure our service always works and takes all reasonable security precautions (in fact, we've just updated our database servers with the latest security patches this week!).

What it really means though, is we can serve our customers better and still be here next year.

We do offer a free 14 day trial though, so what are you waiting for...

Try Team Absence today

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