When it comes to computer software, Microsoft is a software giant. With support for billions of devices and with a vast collection of software, Microsoft tends to dominate conversation when it comes to software licensing audits. Software audits are used by Microsoft to verify if their customers and licensed properly, and given the breadth of licensing models, they can be relatively simple to avoid if you speak to a licensed Microsoft Partner. Audit reports have skyrocketed in recent years – previously, these types of investigations were relatively rare. Today, Microsoft is issuing audits at a breakneck speed; 2 to 1 when compared to other vendors like IBM or Adobe. According to a recent study over, 58% of the companies have been audited in the last 12 Months by Microsoft. Microsoft Audit management should always be taken seriously at all costs.
There are two types of Microsoft audits management:
SAM- Software Assessment Management: This is usually first type of audit that an organization is subjected to. It is also referred as ‘self-audit’. Some organizations are asked to fill out forms for the software they are using. This is then compared to what they already purchased. Some organization can also be audited from third-party firms. Microsoft pays third-party firms such as SWI. Organizations which are not in compliance with the rules are helped by Microsoft. Those who have gone through a SAM say Microsoft is genuinely helpful if you are making an honest attempt to become compliant. Such Audit is voluntary for the organization, but if they refuse, they can be presented with the next type of Audit.
LLC- Legal Contracts and Compliance: LLC is a stricter and stringent type of Audit. This is done when an organization refuses SAM and/or is accused by someone of intentional piracy. This is a mandatory and legal audit that one must comply with. Organization can consult an Attorney. Such Audits are handled by Business Software Alliance(BSA) – the biggest anti-piracy group. If an organization is deemed guilty of software fraud, the penalties allowed by law are up to $150,000 per title infringement. Thousands of Organizations are being exposed to these audits as a part of Microsoft’s aggressive growth objectives.
Practices to avoid such Audits
· Beware of Piracy: Buy your organizations software from a trusted certified reseller as nowadays many dishonest sellers are selling pirated software to companies.
· Keep Receipts: Keep all the receipts of your software as during the audits you will be asked to prove the legitimacy of your software. These receipts include all retail licenses and OEM bills.
· Keep Inventory: Keep a detailed record of all the software being used by your organization. This will help you to spot any discrepancy in the licensing. Update such records regularly and keep a close eye on the licenses expiry dates.
· Hire an Attorney: If your organization is subject to LLC, don’t hesitate to seek the legal counsel and plan your steps per it. If you fail to do this, the repercussions could prove drastic for your organization.
· Be prepared: Despite of taking all the necessary precautions, you still may be subject to an audit. In such case, total compliance with Microsoft is necessary. Microsoft with help you if you comply with them.