How to make your organisation a less attractive target for a software audit

Undergoing a software audit is a nightmare for any company, particularly if a confidentiality agreement hasn’t been signed with the auditor beforehand. The embarrassment and reputational damage which results from being audited and fined by a vendor or watchdog can be very damaging indeed, so an audit is best avoided altogether.

Unfortunately software audits are a fact of life and cannot be avoided forever, but there are steps you can take to keep the number of audits down and to keep the disruption caused to a minimum when they actually occur. Crucially, you can make sure that the audit doesn’t result in a fine (and the associated negative consequences) by managing your software licences effectively on an on-going basis.

Having helped many hundreds of companies through their own software audits, and saving them money on their licences in the process, we have identified numerous ways to avoid straying onto vendors’ radars too often.

In this series of articles we will explain the various measures that you can take to not only avoid arousing suspicion with vendors, but equip you with the tools to proactively manage your software licences to realise tangible, long-term savings too.

First off, volume licencing is not only a more convenient way to purchase reasonable quantities of software from a single vendor, often at discounted rates, but it is also a good way of giving that vendor a good understanding of what you’ve actually purchased.

When software is procured through a variety of routes (direct, through a reseller, off-the-shelf etc.), it can be easy for the vendor to lose track of this, leading it to make ill-informed assumptions about how much you may, or may not, have purchased. If you can purchase the bulk of your software through a negotiated volume licence then the vendor will be more comfortable that all the software you are using is licenced.

Next week, we shall look at the importance of negotiating good licence contracts and keeping accurate records.

Sean Robinson, managing director of License Dashboard, is one of the most experienced SAM professionals in the business. He not only founded the SAM business at Phoenix Software, a UK LAR, but then created the first License Dashboard solution and helped draft the ISO 19770-1 SAM standard.