Software audits are on the rise. Recent reports by industry experts show that software audits by major publishers are reaching new heights. And to make matters worse, the complexity of software license arrangements are increasing at the same time.
Businesses that fail to understand their license agreements set themselves up for a surprise when they find that the company has been less than compliant. Software audits may not be avoidable, but the impact on a business can be significantly mitigated.
Understand the License
Smaller companies may be satisfied that their “IT guy” knows the software rules and will ensure compliance. However, an IT resource may be more concerned about maintaining a network to keep the business running. The business may not know the right questions to ask the IT organization to ensure that license compliance has been considered. And the IT organization may be more concerned with whether e-mail works, how a system performs fail-over, and back-up operations, than the strain an audit can put on infrastructure. Engaging legal counsel before an audit ensues can be the most cost effective and prudent route to take, but unfortunately for smaller companies, lawyers are not brought in until it’s too late for preventative measures. At this point, it will be about audit defense instead of audit preparedness.
Asset Management isn’t just a concept for many large companies, but an actual department. Small business must still be compliant, and can do so with cost effective compliance tools alongside legal counsel to ensure that the proper entitlements exist for each license. And when there are license discrepancies, legal counsel can make recommendations that can bring a business into compliance efficiently.
The Right Tools for the Job
A business’s IT resources should not be enlisted to resolve compliance issues any more than its legal resources should be enlisted to resolve network issues. However, it’s important that the business, IT, and legal counsel have an open line of communication to ensure software compliance.
When it comes to software compliance, it is usually helpful to employ the assistance of legal counsel experienced in discussing software issues from a businesses, technical and legal perspective to mitigate the costs and downtime that arise from a software audit. Business can reduce stress and save money by preparing for a software audit because it’s not whether a business will be audited, but when.