According to the 2010 FAST Ltd Customer Survey, the number of organisations to receive software audits in the last 12 months has almost doubled, suggesting the need for business to identify current assets and licenses is an ever important issue for IT managers.
Software Asset Management and IT compliance firm FAST surveyed their customer-base and found that 55 per cent of respondents had been audited by a software publisher or other body in the past 12 months. The 2009 survey showed a figure of 30 per cent for similar period.
The report highlights the need for businesses to ensure IT management covers not only hardware but also the software it runs. In ever-difficult economic times examining the licences held by an organisation can be a key way to optimise the financial implications of IT as avoiding overspend on unwanted or unused software licences can literally save thousands of pounds per year. However, the rise in audits also highlights the importance of compliance with licensing laws as those found guilty of software under-licensing can literally find their businesses crippled by the repercussions.
The virtualisation of the software world has added further complications to monitoring an organisation’s software use as do lenient IT administration policies still employed by many firms. A software audit is an essential house-keeping chore for any firm, particularly those who allow software installation by more than just IT department staff.
With more software companies seeking to ensure their licensing rules are adhered to, the small time taken to audit your businesses use could prove a very worthwhile investment. In August of this year the Business Software Alliance (BSA) – an organisation which provides resources to help companies develop and maintain a best practice approach to software licensing – announced a £12,000 settlement with Northern Ireland-based medical equipment manufacturer Armstrong Medical Limited that had been found to be using unlicensed copies of BSA member software.
BSA figures show over 1,000 firms were caught by the BSA to be infringing software licensing leading to over £2 million being paid out in settlements. This week the BSA also revealed it had recently paid a £10,000 bounty to an employee who informed on his former company’s use of unlicensed software.
Do you carry out regular software audits of your own business? Have you been subject to a software audit by a software company or other external organisation?