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The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has launched a new advisor guide, entitled ‘Risk Management Guide: Protecting your software assets’, which is designed especially to help Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) limit interruptions to business operations. With business continuity essential in the competitive business-world, organisations should understand the importance of managing all assets, including software to maximise benefits and protect themselves from the risks of unlicensed or illegal software.
The BSA, a not-for-profit organisation that represents the world’s commercial software industry and its hardware partners, commissioned GfK NOP to investigate the attitudes towards software and awareness of risks in SMEs across Europe (GfK NOP 2007, ‘Commercial Risk’ research). Ninety-five percent of businesses were confident that all their installed software is fully licensed; however the piracy rate in Europe stands at 39%, according to the annual 2007 Global Software Piracy Study, conducted by IDC.
“The discrepancy between the perceived and actual value of software piracy demonstrates the immense lack of awareness to software usage, responsibility and management. Organisations are encouraged to manage operational risks seriously and this must include the threat of using illegal software,” said Alastair de Wet, BSA Chairman
Software piracy can jeopardise the reputation of an organisation potentially harming business contracts, as well as carrying numerous technical threats; including loss of functionality and risk of viruses and malware, which can result in data loss and corruption of files or networks. In addition, illegal software does not have the same upgrades and support as legal versions. Disasters can strike and increasing the risk by using illegal software is likely to have a harmful affect on business productivity.
de Wet added: “To limit organisational vulnerability to risks, software assets must be managed and Software Asset Management (SAM) is helping to shape the future for effective control over these assets. SAM does more than just help avoid risks; it can provide efficiency gains and significant cost savings, from streamlining processes, reduction in infrastructure, as well as expenditure on software. This type of advanced management must be considered by all SMEs and large enterprises.”
Businesses can reduce their software risks by ensuring audits are put in place, licenses are kept in a secure place and reviewed regularly, SAM practices are adopted, and an organisation software policy and procedure is created and communicated to all employees.
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