What is a software compliance audit, and can you avoid it?
A software compliance audit is a review performed usually by the software vendors (e.g.: Oracle, SAP, IBM, Microsoft) or a third party (e.g.: Deloitte, KPMG, EY or PWC) to check if the software that you purchased from them is licensed or if it’s used according to the license agreement that you signed. If you’re using software that doesn’t have a valid license or you don’t respect the terms and conditions included in the agreement, then you’ll be faced with a non-compliance situation which can translate into big costs for your company.
Internal software audit
The good news is that prior to the external audit, you can perform an internal software audit to see if there are any non-compliance threats and find ways to solve them. It can be costly, but it will definitely be less expensive than being found non-compliant and having to pay large fines.
If you have knowledge and specialized resources in-house, you can perform this software audit yourself; if you don’t, there are many specialized companies that offer this kind of services. Maybe the first thought that passed through your mind was that you want to save costs, not spend even more. This is a common misunderstanding related to the internal software audit – indeed it will cost you money but comparing to the fee software vendors are asking when they find you non-compliant following a software audit, this is definitely worth spending.
Have you received a software audit letter?
Let’s say you didn’t get the chance to perform the internal software audit and now you received an audit letter from the vendor. What can you do? First, don’t panic. Even if you received the software audit letter, it doesn’t mean that you did something wrong or that you have to pay millions. Usually, software vendors have the right to perform an audit once a year. However, they don’t do this every year and for every customer, but this doesn’t mean that it won’t happen at some point.
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Get in control of your software licensing estate
If you are the lucky one who ended up with a software audit letter on your desk, then you should start look into your software licensing estate. Depending on the size of your company, this can be a very time consuming job. And if you don’t have software licensing knowledge at hand, it’s even more difficult to get a grasp of your situation. You can, at any time, ask for help. Having a specialist with specific knowledge and experience is an advantage you could use in a software audit situation.
Get ready for your software audit
The best way of getting out of a software audit is to never get into one, but that’s not a realistic scenario. It’s good to have the right expectations and know that once you purchased the software, there will come a day when you’ll also receive a software audit letter. To avoid issues and unpleasant surprises, you can start getting ready for a software audit the moment you purchased the software. How can you do that? By keeping track of all your software and making sure that it is used according to the terms included in the license agreement. It can sometimes be challenging, but it’s always worth the effort.
Software audit services
We offer software audit services so that you can be fully prepared for your audit. Our services include an audit strategy, an internal audit, and negotiation support services. Going through an audit by a software vendor can cause stress for any company and often ends up with an unexpected exposure that could have been avoided. Even when you’re compliant this kind of things always end up taking a lot of time and effort. Make sure that you are ready!