3 simple ways to avoid being stung for piracy
Feb 18, 2015
Piracy is a huge no-no for business – and can result in 10’s or 100’s of thousands of dollars in fines; sometimes more – enough to critically hurt a company. As a company director you are responsible for compliance within your business, even if it was your staff who installed the software (and when software is easily downloaded from sites like Pirate Bay, this is easier than you might think). Organisations such as Business Software Association of Australia (BSA) are formed by software companies and actively check license compliance and act as a central point for whistleblowers to report license breaches – usually active staff or disgruntled staff leaving your organisation.
Before we begin, a crash course: Traditional software usually comes in a few different license forms; the most popular in business are either OEM (software that came with a new computer and dies with that physical computer) or a license pack – where a company purchases a group of licenses which can be moved between computers depending on needs.
1 – Business as usual - Audit, Check, Log & Keep Logging.
One way to make sure you are complaint is to simply do an audit of your installed software; and make sure you have proof of licenses for each of the installed programs. Generally as long as you have at least proof of purchase of these licenses, that will go a long way to having everything you need if Microsoft or similar come to check on your company. Keep all the information aside in a safe area so that if you ever need too it is ready to go. As software moves to new computers – log the change so you keep up-to-date with its location and numbers used to make sure you are always covered.
Sometimes licensing is complicated and your IT company (such as Tropical Business Solutions) can step in to assist for you. We actually have the capability to keep a live track of what software is installed on your computers that we have our managed agent on – reports can be created in moments! But ultimately it is your responsibility to make sure staff aren’t installing software you don’t have licenses for.
2 – Educate your staff – Would you steal a car?
Educate your staff! Installing pirated software can be simple after a few google searches or a quick run to the Pirate Bay… but if they really do need that software – it WILL be cheaper long term to simply talk to your IT provider and buy the software. After all, you wouldn’t steal a car, right? Beyond legal issues (which are in no way small), pirated software also comes often with viruses, bugs... top to bottom something you don't want to have in your business.
3 – Brave New World – Clouds of simple licenses as you need them!
Cloud is obviously a big thing in I.T.; and the reasons are numerous - portability, offsite, cheaper overall; but in this instance – you can’t break it! You can physically only have so many users access the software that you pay for so there is no chance of being non-compliant with your licenses; and so are legally in the clear. Also, with cloud, usually you pay for what you need – so for that temp you have on for a month you don’t need to buy new software for him just for that month – you just use it for a month and pay for ONLY that month.
Licenses can be difficult to track – every business IS different; and when software companies come knocking – sometimes they aren’t very nice about it. We are here to help. If you’d like a software audit completed and help putting together an overall license tracking strategy – or a proposal on cloud replacement solution, contact us or call 08 8922 0000.
Tropical Business Solutions
Director at Tropical Business Solutions