Compliance with software licensing is a growing headache for IT leaders. More than half of respondents to a recent survey conducted by the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) said their organisation had been audited in the last year by a software publisher or licensing body.
The number of organisations audited has almost doubled since last year’s FAST customer survey was published. Tough economic times may have tempted organisations to skimp on licences but may have also spurred publishers to enforce licences as a way of increasing revenues.
“With so many publishers clamping down on software licensing, this is not an issue that [directors] can afford to ignore,” said Matt Barnes, managing director at FAST.
Two thirds (66 per cent) of respondents to this year’s survey cite licence compliance, and 42 per cent cite software asset management (SAM) as extremely important to their organisation.
Identifying current assets and the licensing position was ranked by 55 per cent of respondents as the biggest challenge that organisations faced in relation to SAM.
While the adoption of outsourced IT or cloud computing promises to shift the burden of responsibility for SAM to the service provider, it can also make the in-house situation more complicated, warned Barnes.
“With many more businesses now adopting software-as-a-service, cloud computing and virtualisation, the licensing requirements of businesses are not only changing but becoming more complex,” he said.
FAST advocates licence compliance not just to avoid prosecution and fines but to save organisations money by ensuring they are not over-provisioned with licences as much as under-provisioned. Getting a grip on licences was the main reason cited by 69 per cent of respondents for joining FAST’s Compliance Programme.