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Vendors increase audits and extend reasons for non-compliance

Microscope contributor


Vendors are widening the reasons customers can fail a software audit making it even more important for users to step up internal efforts, with the aid of a reseller, to ensure compliance.

Last year saw several cases made against businesses by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) making it harder for firms to avoid an audit.

Analyst house Forrester has highlighted not just the legal issues that resulted from the increased number of audits last year but the fallout from a claim to the rest of the business.

"The audit process becomes unstoppable once the vendor's compliance team spots a problem and places a dollar value on it," warned Duncan Jones, an analyst at Forrester.

In his report, Surviving a Software License Audit, Jones said that along with an increased number of audits there were also more chances of users being caught on the wrong side of the law.

"Even more worrisome is that vendors also deliver an ever-widening list of reasons for alleged noncompliance," he wrote in the report.

Some of the reasons on the list now include virtualisation, multiplexing and external use.

"Vendor license compliance teams are skilled at spotting revenue opportunities, ranging from genuine excess usage and deployment to, in some cases, questionable interpretation of contract clauses. So no vendor manager should be complacent when he or she receives notification that their firm is about to be audited," the report stated.

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