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Monday, March 13, 2006

IT Audits and Licensing Issues

Software licensing is a major issue during IT audits, and if you find any software licensing problems or concerns while conducting an audit, you should note it in your report. You should also present it to the client while you are sharing your report and ask for documents that prove ownership.

Any small business growing will recognize they need to have software licensing up-to-date and in place. Encourage them to spend time digging up license agreements, invoices and original CD’s in order to ensure proof of ownership is accessible.

NON-NEGOTIABLE

If your client can’t find any documentation, or if they don’t have it, you need to take it up with them after the IT audits are conducted. Tell them not having the documentation will cause major problems in the present or the future, and that they need to work on how to fix the issue as soon as possible.

Most small businesses will need a few months after the IT audits to fix their software licensing problems, but don’t give them any more time than that. Licensing compliance is something that needs to be in your service contract, and should be in your service contract as an immediate fix.

PROTECTION

You should put a paragraph in the service contract that discusses the client’s liability for having licensed software. In this paragraph should also be a clause that states if you identify deficiencies during IT audits, it’s your responsibility to develop a remediation plan and give them two options – remove the software or purchase it. Working for anyone that has illegal software issues can open you up to major legal consequences and potentially tarnish your reputation.

REMEDIATION PLANS

Sometimes businesses don’t use some of their software at all, and these programs can be removed entirely to increase efficiency. Or maybe someone in the past thought they might want to use it and obtained a pirated copy. If you find these programs, your best bet is to simply remove them for the client.

If the PC’s in the office are at their end, the most cost-effective plan might be to upgrade the PC and help them install new versions of software. The second option is to have them keep existing equipment and buy a two-year site license that includes maintenance and upgrades.

Added By: Computer 101 Professional Kit