Auditing Your Software Licenses
As an IT Manager, you should know that you can be subject, at any time, to a Microsoft audit request. That Microsoft EULA (End User License Agreement) that you agree to every time you install Microsoft software means that you accept the terms of its use and you agree to allow Microsoft to audit the use of any Microsoft software licenses installed on your network.
The Microsoft Audit team will periodically focus on particular industries and regions and run widespread audit requests. Basically they are looking to match what licenses a company has paid for and what they are using. Of course, you do not want to be the IT Manager caught with the unpaid for licenses. But it also important to realize, that by managing your software licenses, you also reduce the risk of paying for unused software licenses.
How does Microsoft conduct a License Audit?
If Microsoft suspects a company of using unlicensed software, it sends a series of letters to the organization that can eventually culminate in a letter threatening legal action from the Business Software Alliance (BSA). If you do not comply, the next steps can involve legal action. If you do comply, and you are not license compliant, you may end up owing a good deal of money to Microsoft. Even if you are a small organization and believe you fall under Microsoft’s radar, be cautious. All it takes is a disgruntled employee filing a complaint, and you could have the Microsoft audit team knocking on your door tomorrow.
What happens if you are caught abusing license compliance?
First of all, try not to get caught – by being compliant in the first place. Your software license abuse may not be intentional. Managing software licenses in any organization is a challenging job. But that is still not an excuse. In fact, even if you are using properly licensed software, if you can not show the audit trail, you could still face a fine. Not only can your organization be fined, but human resources can be overwhelmed with putting license records in order.
Anything less than total compliance places your business at risk, perhaps a much higher risk than you realize. That is why large companies and organizations established license compliance policies. And in turn, the license enforcement organizations, like that of Microsoft’s are moving their focus to smaller organizations that are more likely to have been less prudent in their PC software inventory management.
How can SAManage help with Microsoft Audit?
You should always be prepared for an IT audit request. By being prepared for any kind of software auditing request, you will have exactly what you need in the case that Microsoft wants to audit your Windows inventory. When you have implemented an IT Asset Management tool like SAManage, you can record and manage your entire PC software inventory easily. With SAManage, you really get more control over your IT Assets.
And an added bonus of working with SAManage - it is a SaaS based system – it won’t add yet another software license to manage in your inventory. Start doing your auditing and discovery the on-demand way.