10 Ways How To Avoid Software License Compliance Risks was written for Playlouder by a contributing author. Please note that contributing opinions are that of the author. They are not always in strict alignment with my own opinions. –Joe.
Businesses use software every day to be more productive, efficient, and organized. Did you know that the global spending is about USD 672 billion on enterprise software and if you're not properly managing the software licenses for the programs your company is using, you could be exposed to some serious compliance risks?
This places you in a tricky situation and you could end up losing your assets and business as a whole. In this blog post, we'll discuss ten ways you can avoid these risks and keep your business safe.
What is software license compliance?
Software license compliance is the process of ensuring that an organization or individual is using software in accordance with the terms of the license agreement. This may involve verifying that the correct number of licenses has been purchased, that the software is being used on authorized devices, and that it is being used for authorized purposes.
License compliance can be a complex process, particularly for organizations with large and diverse fleets of devices and software applications. However, ensuring that an organization remains compliant with its licenses, especially in managing enterprise software is essential, as failure to do so can result in significant penalties.
Working with a qualified software license compliance provider, organizations ensure that they remain compliant with their licenses, and you avoid any potential penalties.
Common Software compliance risks
Before diving deep into ways on how to avoid software license compliance risks. let's have a look at the most common software compliance risks:
- Not knowing what software you have installed: One of the most common risks associated with software compliance is not knowing what software is installed on your system. If you don't know what software is installed, you can't be sure that it's licensed correctly.
- Inadequate inventory management: Another common risk is inadequate inventory management. If you don't keep track of your software licenses, it's difficult to ensure compliance.
- Lack of license documentation:. If you can't provide proof of purchase or other documentation for your software, you may be subject to audits and fines.
- Out-of-date licenses: If your software is no longer supported by the vendor, you may be required to upgrade to a newer version or pay a penalty.
- Unlicensed software: Using unlicensed software is another risk. This leads to audits and fines, as well as damage to your reputation.
- Violating licensing terms: This can include using more copies of a program than you're licensed for or installing software on unauthorized machines.
- Failing to renew licenses: If you don't keep your licenses up-to-date, you may be subject to penalties
- Failing to comply with audits: If you're audited and found to be out of compliance, you may be subject to fines or other penalties.
- Downloading unlicensed software: This leads to viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. It results in fines and damage to your reputation.
Ways to avoid software license compliance risks
As you can see, it’s important to have a legitimate software license in place. So without further ado here are ten ways to avoid software license compliance risks.
1. Use appropriate software licensing management tools
Software compliance risks can come from a number of different sources. Organizations need to take a proactive approach to managing these risks and preventing them from becoming compliance problems.
One way to do this is to use tools for software licensing management. These tools help organizations track and manage their software licenses, ensure that they are compliant with licensing terms, and avoid compliance problems.
Using these tools, organizations reduce the risk of non-compliance and keep their software licenses up to date. In addition, organizations use these tools to monitor their software usage, protect their assets, and make sure that they are not using more licenses than they are entitled to.
2. Keep track of your software licenses
The first step in avoiding compliance risks is to always know which software licenses your company has and where they're being used. This will help you avoid over-purchasing or under-licensing.
Additionally, it's important to stay up-to-date on your licensing agreement and make sure you understand all the terms. It will help you avoid any potential problems down the road. Taking these steps helps your organization avoid costly software license compliance risks.
Having all of your licenses in one place will help you keep track of them and ensure that they're being used properly.
3. Understand your software license terms
Once you know which licenses you have, it's important to stay up-to-date on your software licensing agreements and make sure you understand all the terms. Each license has different rules about how the software can be used, so it's important to be familiar with these rules before using the software in your business.
Not understanding the terms of your license will put you at risk of violating the terms and facing potential penalties.
4. Be careful when making changes to your installation
If you need to make changes to your software installation (for example, if you're upgrading to a new version), be sure to check the terms of your license first. In some cases, making certain changes could void your license altogether.
Consulting with a qualified IT professional before making any changes can help you avoid any compliance risks. To be on the safe side read the terms and conditions and let the IT experts do their thing.
5. Keep detailed records
Good record-keeping is essential for software license compliance. You should keep track of all software licenses in use by your company, as well as records of purchase, installation, and activation. This helps you keep track of which licenses are up to date and which ones need to be renewed.
6. Heed license expiration dates
Many software licenses expire after a certain period of time, usually one year. Be sure to keep track of when your licenses expire and renew them in a timely manner. Letting a license expire can lead to compliance issues down the road.
7. Know how many users are covered
If your organization uses software, it's important to know how many users are covered by your licenses. This may seem like a simple task, but it can be difficult to keep track of users, especially if they come and go frequently. Failing to do so can lead to compliance risks, including fines and penalties. Here are a few ways to avoid these risks:
- Keep a central database of all users and their contact information. This should include both current and former employees, as well as contractors and other third-parties who have access to your software.
- Make sure that only authorized users have access to your software. This includes setting up appropriate permissions and controls.
Taking these steps helps minimize the risk of non-compliance with your software licenses.
8. Don't make copies of licensed software
Making copies of licensed software is a violation of copyright law and can lead to hefty fines. If you need to make a copy of licensed software, be sure to get permission from the copyright holder first.
However, there are some assets which usually have free copyright. For example, there are websites available for getting uncopyrighted music for videos. There are a few ways to avoid these risks:
- Use only licensed software. If you need to make copies of a program, make sure you have the necessary licenses. Otherwise, you could be violating copyright law.
- Keep track of your licensed software. Make sure you know how many copies of each program you have and where they're installed. This will help you avoid exceeding your licensing limits.
- Get permission before making copies. If you're not sure whether you have the right to make a copy of a program, contact the copyright holder and ask for permission. In most cases, they'll be happy to grant it.
9. Don't install software on personal devices
Installing work-licensed software on personal devices is a violation of most licensing agreements. If you need to use work-licensed software at home, talk to your IT department about getting a personal license or installing a virtual private network (VPN).
10. Don't resell licensed software
In order to avoid software license compliance risks, it is important to understand what constitutes a violation. The unauthorized reproduction, distribution, or reversal engineering of software is a violation of copyright law and can lead to civil and criminal penalties.
Additionally, modifying or removing copyright notices or licensing information from software programs is also a violation. To avoid these risks, businesses should make sure that employees are trained on proper use and compliance and they should never resell the licensed software.
Software license compliance risks should not be taken lightly. Following the steps outlined in this blog post can help protect your business from these risks. If you have any questions about complying with your software licenses, be sure to consult with a qualified IT professional who can advise you on the best course of action for your specific situation.