Software Piracy Risks: How to Protect Yourself and Avoid Financial Penalties

Why you should care about pirated software use

  1. Pirated software will infect your PC and, potentially, the entire network
  1. Pirated software may not work properly and will fail on you
  1. Pirated software will bring your company significant fines for copyright infringement

BSA and how they may impact your organization’s revenue

How to protect yourself against pirated software use and avoid penalty fees

  1. Perform self-audits for all software installed across your organization. It may be a time and resource-consuming process but will save you money in the long term. Make sure to inventory all devices where software applications are installed. This is more often easier to say than done because knowledge is the key when evaluating software licenses. Our recommended practice is to implement a software asset management program to guide you through regular checks of your software use.
  2. Purchase additional licenses to cover potential compliance gaps. If you identify any shortfall in licenses by undergoing a self-audit, make sure to cover the deficit with proper licenses purchased from authorized resellers or the vendor itself.
  3. Limit user access to application installations. Adopt a software policy at the organizational level which doesn’t allow your employees to have admin rights and install programs themselves on their local PC. Additionally, create internal procedures where software administrators make themselves responsible for software that is installed across the company.
  4. Write internal procedures and perform regular mock audits. It’s not enough to do an assessment of your software and hardware environment and then forget about it. Evaluation of license use should be a recurring task for your team; moreover, the process needs to be documented and updated on a constant basis.
  5. Engage with subject matter experts. When all of the above fails, you can always seek expert support. Working with third party companies who specialize in software asset management (SAM) and anti-piracy discovery practices will save you time and money in the long term. These companies have specific search terms to identify any trace of pirated software installations. They also have knowledge around the latest licensing models and can help you create the baseline of your license purchase and installations while calling out any anomalies identified in your systems.

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Connor Consulting

Connor Consulting

At Connor, we provide auditing and advisory solutions to ensure contract, license and royalty compliance, but we’re far from the typical accounting firm.