6 software license terms to consider before moving to the cloud

Some 95 percent of IT professionals have taken to the cloud, according to a recent survey. And if you’re one of them, you might want to check your licensing – you could be breaking your contract.

Many organizations aren’t aware that their existing software license terms may include obstacles to migrating applications to a public cloud. If you’re considering a move, be careful with what you transition—your intentions may not line up with what’s allowed by your contract. The older the agreement, the more likely it will lack clarity on the subject; however, newer agreements can be just as vague. Continue Reading…

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How to negotiate a better software audit clause

Many customers report that the number of software audits requested by publishers has risen dramatically over the past several years.

At best, this proves inconvenient for customers that have to allot valuable time and resources to manage the audit. At worst, organizations face steep financial penalties if unintentional license deficits are discovered.

Perhaps the best means of protecting your company from the risks of software audits is negotiating sufficient protections in your software license agreements when initiating your relationships with publishers. By getting down on paper the terms of any future audits, you mitigate many of their potential risks. Continue Reading…

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5 reasons you’re likely to get audited

auditThere’s no way around it – your organization will face a software audit at some point. A few years ago, Gartner found that 65 percent of organizations were audited by at least one publisher in the previous year, and there’s no reason to believe that figure has decreased.

Organizations, especially enterprises, deal with thousands of licenses from dozens of publishers, with millions of dollars in fines, fees, and penalties at stake if an audit finds an organization under-licensed. Continue Reading…

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IT time wasters: Failing to prepare for a software audit

clock in trashIf you’re like most organizations, it’s been a while since your last self-audit. A survey we conducted found that out of 102 IT admins and executives, 56 percent said their company hadn’t completed a self-audit in the past year.

That doesn’t mean they’re more confident they’ll never see an audit. Almost two-thirds said they believe software audits are becoming more prevalent. And a 2013 Express Metrix survey of 178 senior IT managers in North America about audit activity found that more than half had been audited in the last two years.

The most frequent auditors cited in the Express Metrix survey were Microsoft, Adobe, Autodesk, Oracle, and SAP, in that order. Does your organization license software from any of those publishers? Most companies use software from at least one, so you should be expecting an audit request in the mail soon, if it hasn’t come already.

While some might see IT asset management and other ongoing maintenance as a time waster, the true time drain is responding to a simple audit when you’re not ready. A prepared organization could potentially respond to a request in days, while those that are unprepared could spend months gathering the necessary information. Continue Reading…

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Software license management: Calculating product audit risk

When it comes to compliance risk, we suggest that organizations craft two very different strategies for their overall software estate. Depending on the software, companies should either manage the product or manage the risk.

Manage the product

For high-risk, high-value software products such as Microsoft SQL Server, IBM Websphere, and Oracle databases, companies should pay careful attention to what licenses are bought and allocated and how they are being used. Because these products represent a relatively large portion of software spend and compliance risk, the products should be watched and managed individually and reviewed continually to ensure license utilization is high and compliance risk is low.

Manage the risk

Lower cost or lesser risk software products generally don’t need the same level of attention. Because costs or compliance risks are relatively lower, these products represent a much smaller financial risk to your organization. Managing this group (which could include thousands of software titles) in the same way as high-value products is difficult and unnecessarily expensive. A more efficient approach is to set reasonable, firm policies to guide proper usage and compliance and then conduct occasional spot-checks to find and rectify situations in which those policies were skirted. Since this approach carries a bit more compliance risk, consider setting aside a small opportunity fund to deal with over-deploys or an adverse audit finding. Continue Reading…

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The real costs of being out of compliance with your software licenses

When it comes to software licensing compliance, manufacturers are stepping up their game. All the major software vendors are ramping up their audit frequency. Gartner and other industry pundits have noted this acceleration for the last few years, and there doesn’t appear to be any slackening of the pace. Just as notable, software vendors are also increasing the intensity of their audits, digging deeper and harder into some of the areas in which they’ve traditionally given customers some leeway.

Most of the penalties a customer can suffer from a manufacturer audit are not immediately apparent or quantifiable. Nonetheless, there are very real costs for poor software license governance and manufacturer audits. They include: Continue Reading…

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