Many businesses cut costs on issues like software compliance, an ill-advised move to conserve resources. With software vendors becoming more aggressive in their pursuit and prosecution of unauthorized use of their products, it behooves businesses to ensure compliance with licensing requirements. There are a few basic steps to ensure you only have the software installed that you are entitled to use.
Make it Someone’s Job to Know
Since software compliance is an ongoing necessity, it benefits you to hire someone who is specifically in charge of it. A business owner can easily become bogged down by the organizational details required in reviewing all the software the firm uses. Come up with policies for controlling and using the software in the business, and then hire someone to ensure all users sign off on them. A compliance officer minimizes your risks of prosecution for software piracy by ensuring you have records of all software purchases, licensing arrangements, installations, and deployments. He or she can provide education and reminders to other employees about compliance procedures. Finally, the officer can make sure licenses and installed software match the number of users. This will help you make effective IT financial decisions. Having someone in charge of tracking and optimizing licenses on a consistent basis frees you up to keep your policies up to date, improve procurement and use of software, and assign users for specific software assets.
Do Regular Audits
If you are unsure of your software license compliance, you should immediately perform an internal audit. Once you establish your compliance, you need to perform audits on a regular basis as part of your software asset management program. Compliance programs are mostly a revenue-generating program for software companies, and it can get expensive if you’re found to be outside of compliance. You can be cited for copyright infringement or software piracy. Typically, you will only receive 30 to 45 days’ notice before an audit, which is insufficient time to prepare if you have not kept up with your licenses. Moreover, internal audits not only prevent fines, but they also increase the efficient use of software assets. As an example, they determine which licenses you can retire or re-deploy.
Automate Your System
By automating data collection and detection methods, you will cut down on the amount of time spent searching for information and manually plugging it into a spreadsheet. It also makes your data more accurate. You can find software equipped with import wizards or capable of assisting you with massive uploads and downloads. There is also tracking software you can use on all your firm’s computers. Automated licensing metrics are crucial to install upgrades. Regardless of what type of software assistance you utilize, any program will still require human input. Make sure you or your software manager understands both the program they are using and the data they are receiving. You can hire a lawyer or a software licensing consultant to help you automate some of your processes and comprehend some of the more intricate wording.
Hiring someone to head your software compliance branch and performing internal audits are two steps that can lessen your chance of facing a software vendor audit. Correctly automating your data will save time and provide accurate and reliable proof that you are in compliance with your software licensing agreements.
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