Trojan Horses Aren’t Merely Greek Myths or Computer Viruses

Before it was a way to infect computer networks with a virus, the Trojan Horse was the way that Odysseus—he of Greek mythology—and his fellow soldiers snuck into the city of Troy to put an end to the Trojan war finally.

Both the digital and the wooden versions have gained the reputation for causing vast amounts of damage. The digital one forces us to be watchful of what we download. The wooden one was responsible for reducing a great city to ruins and securing a place in history for it as one of the greatest deceptions of all time.

There’s a third and lesser-known instance of Trojan Horse-like treachery—and it comes disguised as assistance by unscrupulous IT management services. And, like many Greek myths, it’s a tragedy.

But first, some backstory

There were other major players in the Trojan Horse story besides Odysseus and the wooden horse itself. The artist, Epeius, designed and built the giant hollow wooden horse. Also playing a key role was Sinon, whose role was to convince the Trojans to bring the wooden horse inside their city. Apparently, he had a knack for fabricating the truth.

There was also a Trojan priest named Laocoön, who famously muttered the warning to beware of “Greeks bearing gifts.” Alas, Laocoön was not well-liked by the god Poseidon, who took that particular moment to summon a couple of sea serpents to silence the priest by eating him.

This brings us back to our fabricating friend, Sinon, who uses the distraction of this snake fracas to convince the Trojans to accept the Greeks’ deceptive gift.

 The moral of this horsey story

Here’s where it all comes together—where mythology ends and your reality begins. Small and medium businesses can, in some ways, be like the doomed city of Troy. They’re approached by a Sinon of the IT services management world and offered technological peace for a price that’s too good to be true.

The next thing these businesses know, the IT services management provider has rolled their Trojan Horse through the gate, and the ransacking begins. The reasonable price for IT services management mushrooms into a king’s ransom because of expensive upcharges for all the things which turn out to be chargeable exceptions.

IT services end up being more of an a la carte deal—where they even charge you for the decorative parsley on the plate—rather than an all-inclusive meal. That’s why you need to take the time to establish precisely what’s going to be covered if you opt to turn your IT needs over to a services management organization.

What’s included in the deal? Are they planning to manage remotely, where an hourly fee starts clicking if an on-site visit becomes necessary? Will you be stuck paying for replacement hardware if what they provided breaks down or gets outdated? What’s included? What’s not?

Low prices can be like Trojan Horses

It would be an unfair, sweeping generalization to say that you should beware of all IT services management companies that tempt you with a Siren’s song of low prices. It’s wise, though, to make sure you’re not falling for a Trojan Horse by critically reviewing the scope of what’s covered under the services agreement.

Take the time to make sure that if your IT services management vendor says they’re “full-service,” it doesn’t merely mean they’ve got all the services you need, but also that those services don’t cost extra. Ask for examples of scenarios that have played out for other clients, which show how the IT services management vendor responded.

You’re inviting these people into your business, just like the people of Troy rolled the Trojan Horse inside their city walls. Spare yourself the frustration of a hollow promise that forces you to pay extra to keep your company running.

Spare yourself the hollow promise of technical tranquility that forces you to pay extra to keep your company running.

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