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The Real Cost of Software Non-Compliance (and what to do about it)

From the experts | Posted on July 13, 2015 by Melissa Nitoiu

Software compliance is one of those aspects of business that exists safely in the back of your mind until, suddenly, it rears its ugly head. Issues of software non-compliance rarely occur intentionally, and are often the result of a company expanding beyond the scale of their original licensing agreements.

In short, while it may be a good problem to have, it becomes a huge headache if left unchecked for too long. Our team digs into the real costs of software non-compliance – and how to address it.

When software licenses get problematic

Case in point: The highly-publicized (and ongoing) Forever 21 lawsuit, in which the retail chain was sued by Adobe alongside two other companies for allegedly using unlicensed versions of their respective software. Software firm Apptricity won a similar lawsuit against none other than the U.S. Army after they claimed the army was using their software in far more bases than it had originally paid for. The latter case saw a payout of $50-million to the winners, so make no mistake: There are risks involved with lapsing on your software licenses.

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More often than not, if you take the proper steps to ensure that your licenses are in good standing, you’ll be fine. It’s about giving you and your IT team the tools and resources to attain peace of mind and proactively get ahead of any potential issues before they are allowed to go from a small matter to a huge headache.

What software non-compliance looks like

The typical case of software non-compliance is a direct result of how business has evolved over the past couple of decades. Gone are the days of one-to-one software sales alongside a boxed retail copy. The proprietary limits of individual copies of software (usually limited to 2 or so installs per purchase) have made it impractical and expensive for any corporation to buy enough to fit their growing needs. In response, corporations (including, in all likelihood, yours) have embraced volume licensing, allowing unlimited installs for a set number of machines depending on the license.

Software non-compliance happens when the growth of a company (more employees, and therefore more machines to install software on) outpaces your ability to keep track of all of your licensing agreements. It’s quite possible to have a license for 500 machines when your corporation has grown to several thousand machines. If you add the very probable likelihood that each machine will be sporting multiple licenses for various pieces of software, the problem can quickly and quietly build in the background of your day-to-day business until it becomes a serious issue.

Getting ahead of a worst case scenario

In the most extreme cases, a large case of software non-compliance will trigger an audit of your company by the software developer, and the matter will be resolved that way. But no one wants to wait until they’re audited to know something was amiss; responsible organizations want to adopt best practices to stay informed and aware of all their licenses at all times.

Part of our value-added service at Softchoice includes checking your software licenses, so you can build and maintain your peace of mind while your company continues to grow and flourish.

Why we like software licensing checks

While the importance of making sure all of your corporate software licenses are in compliance cannot be overstated, neither can the sheer legwork of keeping track of all of them. Rather than devoting members of your IT team to keeping track of an ever-growing network of licenses, we suggest utilizing a dedicated software service, such as our Adobe TechCheck, to keep track of everything for you.

From data collection, to entitlement evaluation, to cloud storage (thanks to the recent release of Adobe Creative Cloud 2015), any member of your organization, from IT managers to CEOs, can effortlessly keep tabs running on any and all software licenses your company may possess. Softchoice takes it one step further by helping you understand and monitor all SaaS apps being used by your employees, regardless of whether they’re under license or not (such as Google Drive or Dropbox). We give you maximum insight with minimal hassle.

Your next step

If you want to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with having all of your software licenses monitored and in good standing, schedule a consultation with one of our Adobe Licensing Specialists today.

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