Is your company safe from internal IT license whistleblowers?

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Stay compliant and avoid software license fines

A recent report released by FAST (Federation Against Software Theft) has revealed the extent of unlicensed software in use within UK businesses and organisations. It is only the second time that such information has been released publicly and it reveals 133 whistleblower allegations during the year, of which 98 were directly related to intentional illegal software use. 

The software sector is losing £1.3 billion per year in illegal software use

It is estimated that the software sector is losing out £1.3bn a year in illegal software use. While it would not raise that many eyebrows to hear that 60% of the whistle-blower cases centred around Microsoft products, the fear is that smaller independent software vendors, start-ups and home grown vendors are hardest hit by unlicensed use of their products. Of course, not all of the £1.3bn is malicious; with the complexity involved in navigating some vendors' licensing models, it can be very easy for companies to be under-licensed unintentionally.  Indeed, a cynic could also argue that complex licensing models actually benefit some software vendors as they can also result in significant over-licensing.   

Some vendors have made things easier with cloud subscription offerings such as Office 365.  In these scenarios, companies no longer need to manage complex license agreements, rather, they simply add or remove subscriptions in accordance to headcount. This is one way your company can avoid costly software overheads in uncertain times, such as right now in the UK with the impact of Brexit looming over IT departments.

The FAST report is a timely reminder for IT managers to take stock of your current licensing and ensure that your company is fully compliant with your software licenses, or even to explore alternate license models to see if you can save a bit of money, too.


Phil Morley is a highly accredited Pre Sales consultant with 23 years industry experience, and is responsible for the design of client infrastructure solutions.