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Certero warns SMEs of major fines for IT licence misuse

02 November 2012

Certero warns SMEs of major fines for IT licence misuse

Certero is warning the nation's 4.8m SME's to ensure they have controls in place for managing their software licenses after a UK firm was fined nearly £100,000 for license misuse.

Certero Managing Director John Lunt said a recent high profile case involving Isleworth based First Choice Facilities came as a stark warning.

The safety specialist firm has paid BSA the Software Alliance, the leading global advocate for the software industry, £18,000 as part of a settlement following an investigation into unlicensed software use. It also parted with an additional £81,000 to purchase sufficient software licenses to address the shortfall.

It is alleged the firm used unlicensed software as a result of acquiring a new company.

Mr Lunt said the case further enforced the importance of effective Software Asset Management (SAM) for businesses changing infrastructure through mergers and buy outs. "This is a prime example of the risks associated with poorly managed software assets," said Mr Lunt. "It is crucial that all SME's get a firm grip of their software licenses. Otherwise they risk exposing themselves to colossal fines. It is also a pertinent reminder to all firm's which have undergone or plan to fundamentally change their business model. The process of mergers and acquisitions can often result in companies wrongly assuming the software is licence compliant, or that licenses will be automatically transferred over. This is frequently not the case. Every piece of IT software requires a specific licence. This creates a complex and time consuming task to establish an Effective Licence Position (ELP)."

First Choice Facilities was found with unlicensed Adobe, Autodesk, Microsoft and Symantec products. Mr Lunt said SMEs can avoid the pitfalls of licence mismanagement by using a Software Asset Management solution like Certero's AssetStudio which automates these complex processes to ensure licence compliance every day of the year. This can be rolled out by organisations across their IT estate to establish an overall licence position.  Alternatively Certero can provide SAM Services to help ongoing licence management. As an independent SAM Specialist Certero can offer Software Audit Services to a fully Managed Service.

"We are urging businesses to take heed of this latest licence mis-managemet case and reach out if they need support." he said. "We would advise businesses unsure about their current licence position to seek help at the earliest possible opportunity. Every day which goes by brings greater risk of inspection from software authorities. Software Asset Management is a complex area which requires specialist knowledge. If neglected it can lead to major financial penalties. In the long term the process of a software audit may also help to slash back on costs by rooting out unnecessary and unused software licences."

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