Software Licensing Compliance : Ready for audit

Posted on December 23 2020

Reading time: 5 minutes

It is very important for businesses to keep track of their software licenses. When a company makes non-compliant use of its licenses, it risks being fined, which can be very expensive, both financially and for the company’s image.

legal software audit compliance

As an employer, I’m sure you’re asking yourself, how do suppliers know whether I’m using a license correctly or not?

The answer to this question is simple, it is a software licensing audit.

A software audit is when a person verifies the use of all the licenses in a company. In this case, the vendor recommends that a software audit be conducted by an impartial person, which is usually an external publisher. This person will ask the company to provide them with access so that they can validate certain information for compliance.

The person responsible for conducting the audit will pay particular attention to the use of the software by the company. That person will verify whether the number of licenses used is consistent with the number of licenses purchased, and of course, whether the contracts have been respected.

Performing a software licensing audit is a very demanding process, which can result in costs that are, for the most part, unforeseen in a company’s budgets. This is also why software audits are also an excellent source of revenue for license providers.

Software Audit process

First of all, don’t worry, it is very rare for a supplier not to notify a company of its intention to perform a software audit. You can therefore prepare yourself before an audit.

The person responsible for conducting the audit will be asked to explain the different stages of the process to you. They will then proceed with the data collection.

Data collection includes:

  • Identification of the number of licenses
  • The number of applications installed on each device used by the company
  • Number of users using the software
  • Proof of purchase and licensing agreements

It is after this stage that an assessment will be made with the company.

If at the end of the audit, the supplier notices that your company is not in compliance in the use of a license, he may send you an invoice to compensate

Don’t be afraid, not all suppliers send you a legal request directly following an audit. It is often possible to find common ground, which will prevent your company from initiating any legal proceedings and thus avoid several expenses.

avoid non-compliance penalties

Preparing yourself for a Software Audit

For both the first and following audits, a company must be well prepared to receive a visit from a publisher to oversee the use of the software. This is why many of them hire external suppliers to conduct an internal audit.

This allows companies to free their minds and know if they are fully compliant before an audit is done by the real provider of their license.

Show them that you are ready and that you know how to use your licenses. It is very important to involve the employees in this process. They need to know how the software works.

Employees must be aware of what the software allows them to do or not do. It is the company as a whole that must ensure that the misuse by one employee does not have an impact on others.

Use Software Asset Management

calendar software audit payments deadline

Using Software Asset Management (SAM) is the best way to prepare yourself. Software asset management will allow you to better manage your licenses. You will always be able to keep an eye on license renewal dates, as well as updates.

You won’t miss any more payments, since you will have all the license contracts in the same place. You will also find the due dates and payment terms. This will allow you to manage your budget better, in addition to seeing what is more favorable to your business.

Be proactive.

Don’t hesitate to do internal software audits over the course of a year to be sure to avoid penalties due to misuse of licenses.