certified ISO 9001
There are these things that are simply not popular - and auditing is definitely one of them for IT managers. But with the right preparation, the license audit is no problem. The checklist shows what needs to be considered.
What, who, when? The audit briefly explained During the audit, the manufacturer of software (for example Microsoft) checks whether all versions used in a company are also licensed, or in other words whether software is being used illegally. The manufacturer secures the right to do so in the license agreement in the so-called audit clause. An audit can therefore affect any company; the auditors usually select the companies randomly. The audit itself is then carried out by experienced auditors. Often two representatives visit the company, in large companies there are more. How long they stay is hard to say - just until the audit is completed. This can happen after a few days, but possibly also after weeks. In general, the better the preparation, the shorter the audit. To get through the audit safely, quickly and relaxed, here are the best practical tips for companies. Know the problems Sub-licensing is the main problem during the audit. For most of the companies involved, it is not a result of intention but of negligence. Those who do not keep accurate records quickly inadvertently issue a license twice. If the auditors uncover such underlicensing, it becomes expensive - not only for the company. Those responsible are also personally liable.
It is therefore best to prepare for the audit continuously, even if no audit has been announced. This means: IT should document exactly who is using which license. A SAM tool helps here. The program automatically keeps track of the licenses and warns in case of double allocation or under-licensing. For the concrete preparation of an audit, the manufacturers usually grant a time window of 30 days. You should use this time to compile all records of the licenses and their usage. If you use used licenses, you should also provide proof of legal purchase and manufacturer-compliant transfer at the audit date. Your advantage: If you have purchased the products from us, we have already compiled all the necessary documentation for you at the time of purchase.
Cooperation is the most important prerequisite for a quick and positive conclusion of the audit. Which rights the auditors have depends on the respective regulation in the license agreement. In principle, however, your company must make all workstations accessible and prove all licenses. Since the process is very specific, most IT departments lack the knowledge of their own rights and obligations. An external consultant is therefore valuable, especially for companies with many IT workstations. Rate the result At the end of the audit, the auditors prepare a license balance sheet. Put simply, it can produce three results: underlicensing, matched licensing, or overlicensing. Sublicensing - what to do? The biggest problem is sublicensing. On the one hand, it means fines, on the other hand, companies are obliged to purchase missing licenses. Corresponding offers are available from the manufacturer - but the manufacturer only sells licenses of current software. However, most companies use an older version in their operations. Although the new programs are compatible by downgrading, they are expensive. It is cheaper to buy used licenses. In this way, underlicensing can be legally remedied without high investment costs. Often we can even organize the appropriate version! Overlicensing: recovering capital Over-licensing is less of a problem as there are no penalties and no action is required. However, this means that your company has paid too many licenses - in some cases maintenance contracts even generate high additional costs! By selling the surplus packages, you have the opportunity to recoup part of the investment. Feel free to contact us, we regularly buy up software licenses.