In the previous post, we discussed the high cost of software license noncompliance as software vendors seek hundreds of millions of dollars from organizations that violate agreements. Aside from fines and lawsuits, software license noncompliance results in financial reporting errors, which affect business dealings, credit ratings, vendor relationships and share prices. Virtualization, mobility, the cloud and software-defined networking, combined with inconsistent software licensing models from vendor to vendor, have made compliance more difficult than ever.
Organizations need to be proactive in addressing software license compliance issues instead of waiting for audits to uncover costly violations. The key is to develop an overarching software license compliance strategy that increases transparency and accountability and minimizes risk. The right strategy can also help you boost productivity, save money, and more easily adapt to changing IT models and market conditions.
The first step is to assess the current state of affairs in terms of licensing, process and risk. What software licenses do you have now? Is any software being used in a way that violates existing agreements? Are you wasting money on unused software? What are the processes for determining who needs software and how software is distributed? How is installed software tracked and compliance risk measured? Is there a process in place to harvest licenses from decommissioned technology? The answers to these questions will tell you what must be done to improve compliance and how prepared you are to respond to a software audit.
Next, develop a policy that lays out the process for purchasing, distributing and using software. This should identify those who are authorized to purchase software, as well as approved vendors and applications, consequences for violations, and how to report activity that might violate the policy. Employee training that covers this policy should be mandatory and ongoing.
Use an asset management solution to standardize the procurement, management, tracking and retirement of software licenses. This will also enable you to monitor software usage across your organization to better understand your needs and prevent overprovisioning. Each year, take inventory of all licensed software and verify that users are entitled to those licenses. Stay on top of the constantly evolving compliance landscape, especially if you plan to modernize your IT infrastructure and/or change service delivery models, and update your software license compliance strategy as needed.
Renewal Services from Sequel Data Systems is a powerful, free tool that enables the centralized tracking IT warranties and service contracts, including software licenses. Manually tracking this information is time-consuming, costly and error-prone, and keeps your IT team from higher-value tasks and initiatives. The distributed nature of the modern enterprise increases the likelihood that you’ll lose track of licenses, which increases the risk of compliance violations.
Renewal Services is a web-based system that allows you to securely monitor and track software licenses through a customized portal. You’ll receive alerts 60 days before a license is set to expire, and renewals can be requested with the click of a button. You’ll also have access to our software license experts, who can help you maximize your investments. Contact us to request a confidential consultation and demo of Renewal Services.