When it comes to software license audits, the best approach is a proactive one. A little advance preparation today can go a long way in ensuring license compliance if you are ever subject to a software audit in the future. But, a study conducted last year by King Research demonstrates that most companies – particularly smaller and mid-sized ones – do not feel confident in their software license management abilities.
So, what can you do to pass a software audit? Here are five simple steps that can help make your company fully audit-ready:
- Establish and document formal software license compliance policies
- Assign an owner
- Automate software inventory management and software license management
- Conduct internal IT audits and software license audits on a frequent basis
- Communicate with your vendors
Establish and Document Formal Software License Compliance Policies
By making your employees and other end users aware of what is expected of them when it comes to software installation and usage, and what the penalties will be for failing to adhere to those rules, you are more likely to get their cooperation. The Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) has published in-depth information about software copyright laws, which can help serve as a guide for creating these policies and be better prepared for software license audits.
Assign an Owner
Making a specific person or group of people responsible for overseeing software license compliance across your organization can help you increase the efficiency and effectiveness of related procedures. When all information is collected, maintained, and analyzed by the same team, you’ll prevent the mistakes and mis-communication that can occur when there are “too many cooks stirring the pot”. Additionally, designating owners will create true accountability, and lend a sense of urgency and importance to your software license management policies.
Automate Software Asset Management
The most efficient and accurate way to keep track of your inventory of software applications and related licenses, and to ensure license compliance in the event of a software audit, is with a robust software asset management system. This will eliminate any manual software logging and tracking processes, which can be highly error prone, allowing you to dynamically maintain a complete, up-to-date record of all contracts and related license allocations. Sorry, but excel was not designed to keep track of software licenses nor software inventory.
Conduct Internal IT Audits on a Frequent Basis
Since technology environments change so rapidly, most experts recommend that self-audits be performed at least once every six months, perhaps even more frequently for larger companies with complex IT infrastructures and a high number of software applications. If any compliance issues do exist, you’ll be able to detect and correct them before a software license audit takes place, so you can avoid any fines and penalties.
Communicate with Your Vendors
Let your software providers know that you take software license management very seriously, and that you have implemented rigid measures to facilitate compliance with your agreements. This will create goodwill and trust, and perhaps even deter them from auditing you in the first place.
How can you make sure you’re always prepared to pass a software license audit? Visit our Web site to learn more about SaaS IT asset management systems from SAManage, and how they can help you proactively ensure software license compliance.