There are 2 types of hidden cost of IT which could actually be seen as taxes of a sort. The first is software licensing. Licensing is not a tax but it can seem like a hidden cost. There are licensing costs, maintenance costs and management costs. If you use software then you need to pay for it. Software allows you to save money on people hours. It allows you to scale parts of your business and it allows you to increase the speed at which you can transact with your customers. If you cannot afford to pay for the software you are using then you need to do things the old fashioned way with man hours otherwise suck it up pay for the software and realise the amount of time and money you have actually saved by doing so. There may be open source alternatives you can use without a licensing fee however do not expect all the costs to disappear. Support costs will certainly be there unless you can google all the answers yourself.
The second cost which is harder to see still is that if you use IT you need to protect it. Just as you put a security guard on the front door of your building checking ID’s you need to do the same whilst checking users actually have authorisation to use your systems. This obviously means that there will be some additional overhead just for the ability to use IT. It comes in several different products such as anti virus, anti malware, IDS, HIDS, FireWalls, URL filtering.
In most countries there are legal requirements to keep people’s’ data safe. You can not just collect data and leave it laying around the office. Decades ago we used to store data in filing cabinets but even those cabinets had keys to stop unauthorised access to the data. The modern day equivalent is software which does the exact same thing. It can be used to defend, monitor, alert and store an audit log of who has accessed what and when and from where. Unlike filing cabinets computer systems can be accessed from outside your business. I don’t even need to be in the same country to gain access to your files anymore.
When it comes to the hidden cost of IT. It does exist and it is something you have to pay for the privilege of using IT.