19 Jun 2017

Can you afford to fail a software license audit?

Better management of software licensing has become a key factor in organisations maintaining business continuity, reducing exposure to cyberattacks, as well as avoiding potentially crippling financial penalties for non-compliance.

Yet according to industry body, the Business Software Alliance (BSA), as of 2015, 39 percent of all software running on computers around the world was not properly licensed, only a slight decrease from the figure of 43 percent it reported in 2013.

The findings stem from the BSA’s most recent Global Software Survey, Seizing Opportunity Through License Compliance, published in May 2016.

Looking at specific regions, it revealed organisations in APAC were the worst offenders, with 61 percent of all software installed on computers unlicensed.

Australia fared much better with 20 percent of installed software estimated to be unlicensed, putting us just behind US with 17 percent. But while this is well below the global average, Australian CIOs can not afford to rest on their laurels, as the implications for non-compliance can be far reaching.

The BSA survey  also found that 49 percent of CIOs globally felt unlicensed software made their organisation more vulnerable to cyberattack, a problem made worse by the fact that 15 percent of respondents reported their employees had installed software on the network without authorisation. Perhaps even more worryingly, almost 30 percent of staff outside of the IT department had gone rouge and installed software without their employer’s knowledge.

For many CIOs and systems administrators, simply keeping track of licenses for commonly-used applications and suites, such as Microsoft Office and Adobe, is hard enough.

That why it’s important to have proper Software Asset Management (SAM) processes in place, enabling you to first take stock of all installed applications and suites, and their licensing status.

This will also give you better visibility into what versions of software products you’re running, and whether you’re fully up-to-date with the latest versions, patches and so on.

Top 3 reasons for having better SAM processes

Keeping your software licensing house in order has the following 3 core benefits:

  • Business Continuity: By obtaining full knowledge of your business-critical applications and who is using them, it’s easier to effectively plan areas such as architecture changes, disaster recovery and cyber security.
  • Reduced External Audit Costs: One of the key unintended consequences of an unfavourable software audit is the compliance – or ‘true-up’ – costs can eat into your IT budget, or even absorb it completely, leading to opportunity costs such as stifling innovation and reduced competitiveness.
  • Effective Software Utilisation:While many companies discover they have more users than their license permits, it’s also often the case that more users are allowed. Identifying software which can be provided to other users is one of the most important drivers of ROI available through SAM management.

Brennan IT to launch dedicated SAM service

SAM is undoubtedly a critical factor for ensuring smooth business operations.

Yet as companies rely more and more on technology, at the same time trying to keep track of what’s being used, the task can seem pretty overwhelming, as well as being a major distraction from the day-to-day tasks of running a business and planning for the future.

In July this year, Brennan IT will launch a SAM Review practice to help Australian organisations better understand their software compliance status and obligations, while implementing strategies for ongoing monitoring and automation of updates, upgrades and user authorisations.

Our goal is to have you fully up-to-date, and always prepared in the event of software audits from dominant software developers including Microsoft and Adobe.

We offer a structured process with the following 5 steps:

  • SAM audit scope (Kick-off)
  • Gather raw deployment data
  • Analyse usage reports
  • Automate licensing operations and entitlements
  • Present baseline report

Engaging with a dedicated SAM services provider is an important first step to ensure your software licenses are all in order and that you are fully compliant, today, tomorrow and into the future.

Brennan IT can help in shielding you from business disruption, unexpected compliance costs and security risks, while ensuring you reap the full benefits of your software investment.

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