Unauthorized software utilization is at an all time high. In fact, in the Sixth Annual BSA-IDC Global Software Piracy Study, released last month, it is estimated that more than one-fifth of all software currently running on PCs has been installed illegally. These findings are likely to prompt software vendors to be more proactive – and as a result, companies of all sizes will be at an increased risk of a potential software audit.
The laws surrounding software licensing are clear – each and every license agreement allows for a specified number of concurrent users, named users, CPUs, etc. Anything above and beyond those outlined specifications is considered non-compliance. And, any lack of software license compliance uncovered during a software audit will result in stiff financial penalties.
Software license management solutions can help companies ensure adherence to licensing agreements by allowing them to track software allocation and installation, and compare it their purchase contracts. With these innovative, feature-rich systems, software license compliance is made easy through unhindered visibility into all software-related activities across the enterprise.
With or without a software license management system in place, your organization will need to be prepared to prove software compliance if and when you are subject to a software audit. Some tips to follow:
- If you receive a letter indicating that you are under investigation, cooperate fully. Your cooperation could garner leniency from the vendor’s legal representation if you are found to be non-compliant.
- Compile all documentation required to prove software compliance. For example, you may be asked to provide dated purchase receipts, packing slips, invoices, copies of license agreements, software documentation, and the original CDs shipped to you by the vendor.
- Be prepared to make your IT resources available to auditors, as a software audit can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the complexity of your environment, and will require assistance from internal staff.
- It may also be wise to call in a consultant, attorney, or other professional who specializes in software compliance issues. There are many legal implications that can arise when a software audit takes place, and you’ll need to make sure risks and problems are dealt with correctly. So its best to have an expert on your side from the start.
But perhaps the best tactic to take when it comes to software compliance is to avoid any surprises that may come up if an external software audit takes place, by performing your own internal audits on a regularly scheduled basis. Software asset management solutions from SAManage streamline and automate all software audit-related processes, allowing your staff to efficiently perform frequent checks, to ensure full adherence to licensing agreements at all times.
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