Software piracy is not something your business should take lightly. It may not get the same attention as the number of illegal downloads of the latest HBO series, but it is serious for your business. A software piracy slip can cost your business thousands, if not millions of dollars in fines and legal fees. A global piracy agency exists whose purpose for existing is to search you out, even if the copyright breach was not your fault.
It could have been an application one of your employees used just one time to solve an issue. They just did a quick download instead of bothering to make a purchase request. It could even be an application you use regularly but have forgotten how the license works long ago. Then again, maybe you have a legitimate license, but it is for one computer, and you install it on 20. It doesn’t matter if you intended to be the ‘Black Beard’ of software piracy or it was an accident; the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and their bulldogged associates would love to make an example of you and your business. The BSA has also expanded the methods in which they bust you. They even do ads for paid whistleblowers.
So how did all this piracy regulation and oversight come about? Back in the 80’s big old Microsoft formed an external organization whose only purpose was to protect member companies’ intellectual property. This new organization accomplished this protection by finding and prosecuting as many cases as they could. The laws already existed, but until BSA, there was no means to implement them. Finding software pirates used many resources until recently. But now all they have to do is create an ad on Facebook that targets former or current employees with a paid reward of up to a million bucks for blowing the whistle. The wild thing is that your business doesn’t even have to be using the software; it just needs to be installed or show traces it was. Now, for that big of a reward, you can imagine how many calls they get!
So how can you protect your business? Continue reading our short and easy to understand tips below:
First off, I recommend communicating and enforcing a zero-tolerance policy on unapproved software. This zero-tolerance would include locking down user systems, so only authorized administrators can install the software. Ensure there is a known policy and process for requesting software and installing it. Do this, and when a software need arises, you have complete control over the choice, installation, and licensing.
You also need to ensure you maintain documentation for the licensing. Then make sure you conduct audits at least annually. Have the documentation available to ensure you have the records to keep your business running if all is lost, like the only employee who knows anything about the software leaves.
License Management Software
Manage your software with configuration management and license management software like SCCM or FlexNet. Put together a Definitive Media Library (DML). On a daily level, the license management software and DML ensure you track usage.
Proper policy, license documentation, and license management software ensure the BSA doesn’t catch you red-handed with illegal software. Also, if you get targeted for investigation, you have proof of your innocence because, in their world, you are guilty until proven innocent.
Do you have any suggestions, comments, tips, or questions to add to PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS FROM THE PIRACY POLICE? If you do, please provide them here. We welcome all input, concerns, questions, and feedback, so feel free to Contact Us.
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