As the economy continues to falter, the importance of software license compliance is greater than ever before. Because both customers and vendors are facing their own unique struggles during these tough economic times, the number of software audits is expected to rise significantly.
What is causing this trend? On the one hand, clients are experiencing IT budget cuts, and are more frequently installing unauthorized copies of software applications as a means of containing costs. Yet vendors are combating shrinking profit margins, and as a result, are aggressively seeking to recoup any lost or potential revenues from companies using their software illegally.
“The Business Software Alliance (BSA) recognizes that the current economic climate could have an impact on companies cutting corners and using unlicensed software to save perceived-costs,” said Sarah Coombes, the organization’s Senior Director for Legal Affairs in EMEA.
In response to these concerns, the BSA has indicated that it plans to step up enforcement efforts throughout 2009. In other words, they’ll likely be conducting a higher number of IT audits than in previous years.
Late last year, leading analysts like IDC began noting a sharp rise in the number of companies going through software license audits. And, according to the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST), that pattern continues today. FAST research shows that approximately 30 percent of companies have been inspected for license compliance so far this year, up from just 20 percent in 2008.
Experts concur that the most effective way to protect your company from the pitfalls associated with poor software license compliance is through the implementation of formal software and IT asset management (ITAM) policies, supported by advanced audit software and IT audit tools. The BSA agrees, with Michael Murphy, Chairman of its Canadian Committee, advising, ” With so many cost-cutting measures taking place these days, it’s critical for companies to manage their software license compliance properly. Cutting corners in the short term can ultimately prove costly in the long run.”
How can IT and software asset management solutions enhance software license management? By enabling businesses to capture, track, and report on all critical information related to IT contracts and licenses, including proofs of purchase, agreement terms and conditions, and current inventory. By centralizing this data and dynamically analyzing it, firms can more easily detect and correct license compliance issues, before they result in fines, penalties, and damage to corporate reputation. This will improve your chances of successfully passing software license audits.
Visit our Web site to learn more about robust, comprehensive on-demand IT asset management and audit software solutions from SAManage, and how they can help you improve adherence to all your software license agreements and related IT contracts.