Software compliance

Being fully software compliant involves more than making sure you're not running a bootlegged version of Windows.

Here and Vincent Smyth, general manager of Acresso Software, offer some top tips to avoid paying damages

Put a process in place

Depending on the size of your company, having a record of who is using what software should just be a matter of organisation. Once you’ve compiled a list of who uses what software, make sure you are covered by enough licenses.

Monitor your software

There are programmes available that can accurately track and report on software usage. This obviously helps by providing a clear view of software usage patterns. By having a clearer view, you can work with software producers to ensure that you are fully compliant.

Anticipate audits

Make sure that your house is in order at all times as software producers can ask for an audit at any time. These audits can be both time-consuming and create unforeseen costs.

Pick a point person

Once you know what you have to do, it can help to designate someone in your team as a compliance officer. This should be someone capable of addressing both the technology and business impact of the regulations.

New licenses

For every new member of staff you will need to make sure they are fully licensed, either by being covered by existing licenses or by buying ones. Your monitoring software can help you determine whether you need new licenses or not.

Make changes
When upgrading your software, be sure to check if you need to upgrade your licences. Nine times out of ten you will.

Small firms ‘more likely to fall for illegal software’

Small companies are more likely to use unlicensed software because they do not have the resources to look at IT compliance, it has been claimed.

Recent research published by the trade group Business Software Alliance (BSA) found that London companies install pirated software worth £149 million each year.

Julian Swan, director of compliance marketing for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at the organisation, claims that it is the city’s smaller firms which tend to be at the root of this problem.

He explains that that software compliance is less of a priority for enterprises which employ a few people than it is for larger companies which have the ability to staff a full IT department.

However, Swan adds: ‘It’s not necessarily a deliberate act by any means. The trouble is that doesn’t mean that it’s not illegal.’

Alyna Cope, spokesperson for the BSA country committee, also points out that being caught with unlicensed applications puts companies at risk of legal action and she urges them to perform regular software audits.

In addition, Cope claims that piracy often has a wider impact on research and development in the software industry, adding that start-ups and smaller technology companies often bear the greatest financial burden.

See also: Don’t let your employees blow the whistle on your software licensing

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