Prevent a Fine with a Software Audit from GenesisIT

It seems like a good idea, but is it?

Damages and legalisation costs for companies caught with unlicensed software appear to be increasing year-on-year. Unlicensed software is the “unauthorised use or distribution of copyrighted software, it includes downloading, sharing, selling, or installing multiple copies of licensed software. Unlicensed software use also includes license infringement – installing a piece of software more times than the license permits – as well as sharing software license codes, uploading software codes to websites so others can download and use it, sharing software license codes or activation keys, as well as user IDs and passwords for web-based software applications” Source: The Software Alliance Unlicensed software use is illegal and can result in both civil as well as criminal penalties.

Risks of using pirated or unlicensed software

Many risks come with using unlicensed software, including: It doesn’t work Many software companies have implemented a way of checking the registration, so it might work for a while but then you receive an update which renders it unusable unless you make a purchase. Microsoft fixes vulnerabilities through Windows Updates, if your copy isn’t genuine then it won’t get the updates which will affect how efficiently the programme functions. Some copies of pirated software can't update properly, leading users to continue using old versions with security holes, putting themselves at risk. Unlicensed software won’t have any type of warranty with it, so if it fails you have no choice but to purchase a replacement whereas with a genuine copy, you would be able to access support or a replacement. No ongoing support In addition to problems with the software itself, pirated programs lack access to customer support, making it more difficult to get help when problems occur. If something did go wrong with your package, who could you ask for help? Security risks Unlicensed software can carry viruses and other types of malware that infect computers. According to the Harrison Group, 24% of pirated copies of Windows were either infected or they automatically downloaded malware as soon as they connected to the Internet. Even if a piece of software isn't infected itself, it can pose a security risk through a lack of updates. If you’re considering installing a bootleg copy of Windows, you should know that, after running some tests on 6 different copies, the following issues were found: 2 of the copies had malware embedded, all of them had Windows Update disabled and the Windows Firewall rules changed. Productivity risks Aside from security holes, using outdated or pirated software can cause users to encounter bugs and glitches, leading to lost work, lost time and frustration. The hacks used to run these types of software can also interfere with how it operates, such as preventing a program from accessing online features to avoid detection. Economic risks Unlicensed software takes away sales of legitimate software. Aside from the obvious effect on software development companies, piracy also harms businesses completely outside the software industry. It is also worth noting that the use of pirated software also drives up the costs for legitimate users. Penalties Unlicensed software use is illegal and can result in both civil as well as criminal penalties. Copyright infringement from using unlicensed software cost small UK business owners over £900,000 in 2016, according to new research. Business Software Alliance (BSA) BSA serves as the world’s leading compliance and enforcement organisation, it helps its members guard against illegal software use by taking legal action against commercial end-user license infringement and distribution of unlicensed software via the Internet as well. BSA uses traditional tools such as civil lawsuits when necessary to stop software theft, providing a real and tangible response to end-user unlicensed software use.

If you are concerned that your business may have incorrectly licensed software talk to us about our IT & Software audit. Genesis can perform a detailed analysis of your existing systems, and discuss longer-term strategic plans before developing a solution that is suitable for your business.

For a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation drop us an email or call 01482 210999. One of our experts would love to help.