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Not the Software Police, But--
A  License Audit May Soon Arrive

Business Owners know and expect financial audits. What they may not expect is having to pass a Software License audit.

 

Microsoft has been aggressively auditing its customers. No company is immune. It is no longer, if you get audited, it is when.

 

In one study, some companies reported Microsoft charging penalty fees, plus retroactive charges. Historically, only the most blatant software pirates would attract scrutiny. Recently however, Microsoft (and other software publishers) have become more aggressive.

 

Recently, two of our clients received letters from Microsoft asking about proof of licensing for software their company is using. In many audits, Microsoft gives the company an opportunity to bring their licensing up-to-date, before assessing fines or pursuing litigation.

 

Often, Microsoft will ask customers as a first step to perform a self-audit on licensing compliance. What they don’t tell you is that they already know how many licenses you should have based on Product Activations and other data.

 

After the Company returns the self-audit. Microsoft sends the company a statement of variances. Depending on the licenses in question, resolving the variance could involve uninstalling the software or purchasing more licenses to bring the company into compliance.

 

Similar to receiving notice of an IRS audit, companies should not ignore the letter from Microsoft. Furthermore, we advise our clients to be proactive rather than reactive. If you have paid for one license and installed it fifty times, Microsoft is less likely to be lenient.

 

A self-audit performed by your IT team can uncover non-compliance and allow rectification prior to an official Microsoft audit. Many IT departments set license compliance as a routine review task.

 

Don’t be caught unprepared when you find an email in your Inbox with the subject line; “Microsoft Software Asset Management Review”.