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Saturday, August 05, 2006

IT Audits and Licensing

Often you will unearth licensing issues during IT audits. Figuring out whether businesses have licensing issues and then figuring out ways to address them are incredibly important after the IT audits are complete.

One of the most critical issues you will uncover during IT audits is has to do with software licensing. If you find this issue, you should note it in your report and gently ask for the documentation from the client. Any small business that is trying to grow will recognize that software licensing is important and will know about finding license agreements, invoices, end-user agreements and the CDs that will prove software ownership.

NON-NEGOTIABLE LICENSES

If clients cannot locate software licenses, you need to talk to them after the IT audit. Tell them how many problems this lack of licensing is going to cause them and help them come up with a plan now. Most businesses will want your advice and listen to it.

Most small businesses will need a couple months after the IT audits to take the next step, but don’t give them more. Ideally, you want to get rid of their problem with licensing right away, and licensing compliance should be a part of any service contract.

PROTECTING YOURSELF

Your service contract should have a paragraph about the client being responsible for having software that is licensed, and that if you find deficiencies during IT audits it is your responsibility to help clients figure out a remediation plan and give them the option of either removing the software or purchasing it. You shouldn’t work with anyone that can’t or won’t buy software legally because it puts you in danger of legal problems and damages your reputation.

REMEDIATION PLANS

Businesses often don’t use software to its fullest potential, so many programs on a PC can be removed safely because they are obsolete or are unnecessary for business. Similarly, if PCs are almost at the end of their lifecycles, you might consider upgrading the PC and helping clients install the OEM version. Clients can also keep their existing equipment and invest in the two-year site license with maintenance that offers unlimited upgrades.

Blogged By: Computer Consulting Kit