You and your staff require certain software applications to get work done, whether it be your line of business app, your accounting software, or even Microsoft Office. This brings up a crucial question: do you know where all pieces of software you require came from, and are your licenses valid and up to date?
The Ramifications of Software Piracy
Just like any other digital product, software can be stolen, replicated, or altered to suit the needs of hackers looking to make a quick buck. For a business owner however, it’s quite possible to fall prey to the tricks that these software thieves pull. These hackers might try to sell infected copies of software for “discount” prices, spreading threats across networks that might be detrimental to a business’s success.
Even if you don’t intentionally install copies of software without proper licenses, can you say the same for your employees? In a study performed by research firm IDC, the National University of Singapore, and Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit, it was shown that “pirated software infected with malware was projected to cost enterprises $126.9 billion worldwide in 2014, $22 billion in North America alone.” This means that your employees, thinking only to increase their own productivity, could unintentionally put your budget at risk.
What About Expired Software Licenses?
Furthermore, some software licenses are extremely sensitive to expiration dates. If they aren’t renewed in a timely manner, what happens? Consider this scenario; your staff are being productive and are on the last leg of finishing a mission-critical initiative or project. Just when they’re about to apply the finishing touches, the software prevents them from continuing their work at a decent pace. This means that your staff might be forced to finish projects late, all because of a software license expiring at the wrong moment.
One way you can avoid this is by organizing all of your software licenses so that they need to be renewed either on or around the same date. This makes it much easier to remember to do so, considering you’re only remembering one date rather than several. Better yet, ask your vendors (or PACE Technical Services) if auto renewal or alternative licensing is available.
Whose Reputation is at Stake?
It’s not just your business, but the developer’s reputation as well, that will suffer if you’re the victim of a hacked software scandal. Honestly though, using compromised software or even counterfeit or pirated software can incur heavy legal fees. According to CyberTrend, “Many employees in big companies believe that if they steal a program behind a firewall, they may never be found. But many developers have tracking systems that identify who their visitors are and what they’re viewing.”
So, regardless of whether it’s intentional or not, you can expect to be held accountable if your organization ever does take advantage of software obtained through illicit means.
Besides the fact that updating your licenses and end-user agreements should always be done, some companies simply don’t have the time or resources to ensure that it happens in a timely manner. We recommend that you outsource this responsibility to PACE Technical Services. Our dedicated IT professionals can remotely renew your software licenses promptly, so you never have to worry about doing so. Furthermore, our remote monitoring and maintenance solution can make sure that your organization’s systems are operating as intended. This mitigates the chance that unintentional software license failures damage your staff’s ability to remain productive.
For more information, give us a call at 905.763.7896.