Software audits are a serious threat and can cost your business hundreds of thousands of dollars. A typical Microsoft audit results in a ‘settlement’ of 30,000 to 40,000 dollars per 100 computers. The problem is that most companies don’t know what they have, and as such, cannot make an informed decision about their licensure.
When you prepare for a software compliance audit there are a few things you should take into consideration. First, calculate the total number of devices your business uses, such as workstations, servers, and virtualized environments. Also make a note of any devices that may be on your premise but not currently active. A thorough Microsoft audit may impose fines for software installed on hardware that is no longer in use.
After you know how many devices your business has, catalogue the individual software instances. It is required by law that your business owns either an individual license for every software instance, or some form of volume licensure. If your business makes use of volume licensure you must be careful that the number of software instances you have installed does not exceed your volume agreement. Big ticket items in an audit dispute include operating system software (Windows 7, 8, etc.) and server software (Windows Server 2012) but smaller items such as office suite software (MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel) can add up quickly.
Once you know what software you have installed, consider how many instances you actually need. Many businesses make the mistake of installing all available software, on all systems, because it takes less initial setup time. However, if you plan your software installations in advance you can drastically cut your license requirements. Remember, if you get audited, Microsoft is not going to care if your employees never used the software.
While we have focused primarily on Microsoft audits, don’t neglect software from other manufacturers. Microsoft retains the highest audit rates in the industry but Adobe, Autodesk and Oracle are not far behind. Other frequent auditors include SAP, IBM, McAfee and VMware.
Software licensure management can be a daunting task but there is help. IT Computer Support of New York offers a fixed price solution product as well as access to a free management software trial. Call us today at 1-877-448-2769 to get started or visit our website for more information.