Ongoing software license compliance is an important objective, but one that is quite difficult to achieve for many organizations. Poor software license management policies can put companies in jeopardy for high monetary fines and penalties, as well as damage to image and reputation, if an external IT audit occurs and non-compliance is determined. In fact, fines can range as high as $1,500 for each illegal copy of software. And if assets are seized during the audit, it can also slow down productivity and result in loss of revenue.
Your Compliance Standing Changes Every Day
Even in the most simple and straightforward IT environments, managing software licenses and IT contracts is a harrowing task – particularly when its managed using error-prone, time-consuming manual processes (i.e. tracking license allocation in Excel spreadsheets).
But, it can be even more challenging for large companies with heterogeneous infrastructures. In these scenarios, the software landscape changes so rapidly that manual tracking activities simply aren’t enough to keep page. New computers are constantly added, as others are taken out of commission. And software applications get installed and removed from various PCs and laptops across the business at least several times each day.
Licenses are Acquired from Many Different Resellers
Additionally, many companies typically acquire their software from multiple different sources – OEM partners, retailers, resellers, etc. Each contract has different terms and allowances. This can make precisely keeping track of license compliance standing at all times a nightmare. Both the effort required, and the risks associated with software license compliance increase exponentially for every software vendor a company does business with. And for large enterprises – where software can account for as much as 20 percent of IT expenditures, and hundreds of software applications can exist – this can pose a major problem.
One-Off Compliance Assessment Does Not Work
Many companies perform license compliance checks as a one-off activity, either on an annual basis or every few years. This approach, however, is highly ineffective, because the software landscape is so dynamic. Each and every day, new PCs are acquired, new vendor contracts are signed, and new software applications are installed. Which means, just one day after you perform your software audit, the results are no longer valid.
The Solution – Ongoing Software License Compliance
The solution is easy. With a comprehensive, fully automated software asset management tool in place, as part of a broader-reaching IT asset management strategy, companies can monitor all these changes, and gain instant insight into how they impact the current state of software license compliance. IT teams will always know what is installed, and who is using it, and immediately compare it to existing contracts and agreements. The threat of non-compliance will be virtually eliminated, and companies can maintain good relationships with their software vendors.
Software asset management solutions work by capturing software contracts and other related information, such as proof of purchase, and terms and agreements. These details are then dynamically compared to existing assets in inventory, and key stakeholders are immediately alerted if and when any compliance gaps are detected. The process is ongoing and proactive – not just a task that takes place on an infrequent basis. So, potential compliance issues can always be instantly uncovered and corrected – long before they create problems.
About Laura Miller
Laura Miller is the Senior Director of Sales Operations, ITSM at SolarWinds. She works one-on-one with customers ranging from SMB to Fortune 500, providing them with a modern way to look at service management. Laura's ITIL experience and ITIL v3 Foundations certification provides her with a unique understanding of the service management industry. Her guilty pleasures are anything chocolate, ice coffee, and reality TV.
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