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Software Audits – What can go wrong?

12 Feb 2021

In the final blog of the series on what can cause problems during a software audit, Certero share insight into proving your license entitlement and the impact of the cloud. 

Proving license entitlement

Understanding the licenses you own and what you are entitled to use sounds simple enough. However, this can be a significant challenge particularly in complex organizations where license procurement may not be centralized. Evidence of a license purchase could be an email in somebody’s inbox, it could be an electronic record held on a website, or it could be a license certificate. Internal records are often patchy and missing vital information such as Part Number, Description, Quantity Purchased, Agreement information, Maintenance start and end dates etc. 

In our experience, you should use several sources of information to reconcile license purchases into a single source of entitlement. Good sources of data include: 

  • Vendor consumption reports 
  • Reseller sales order history reports 
  • Internal procurement data 

Once you have an understanding of what licenses you own, this needs to be used to find out which versions of a particular product you are entitled to use. This involves applying upgrades, cross grades, understanding product release dates and maintenance information, to provide a single source of license entitlement. 

Many organizations have no, or only a fragmented, repository for their entitlements. This, coupled with their being no Definitive Media Library (DML) in place, means that you cannot prove your entitlement to use the software when challenged during an audit. 

Obviously, this is very much an issue that can be solved internally. Collecting and collating all entitlements into a central repository that incorporates a DML, will enable you to more fully understand any licensing shortfalls and be able to better react when informed of an audit. 

To combat this issue, you need a software license management solution, which allows you to store all of your license entitlement inside the tool. This central location for software licensing ensures when an audit strikes you are prepared. Certero for Enterprise SAM is one example of a SAM tool which have such capability. 

The cloud and software asset management

Many software vendors will sell to you based on the benefits of moving your software to the cloud to reduce the management overhead, as well as remove the threat of non-compliance. While this is true, as a user will not be able to access software unless they have a valid license, it does not remove the problem of managing licenses overall. 

This is because, to ensure that their employees are never faced with not being able to access the critical software they need to do their job, many organizations over license. While this will make you very popular with the software vendors, it is not good needlessly using your budget this way. 

You can rest assured, if during an audit it was found that you had overlicensed a particular software title whilst under-licensing another, no accommodation would be made for the over licensed spend and you will still be presented with a full bill for the underlicensed title. You therefore need a software asset management (SAM) tool for SaaS & Cloud to identify over and under-licensing, which can also optimize your existing, spend. 

One final thing to consider in relation to the cloud: not all your software will actually reside there. This means you still have on premises software that needs identifying, managing and correctly licensing. It is therefore essential to have a SAM tool which can support on-premises and the cloud and for all your licensing information to be managed through a single solution for accurate reporting on a vendor-by-vendor level. 

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