Six Ways to Attract a Vendor Audit

08 June 2010
3 minute read
Best practice

Six Ways to Attract a Vendor Audit

08 June 2010
3 minute read

Head in Hands Are you bored at work? Do you fancy a new challenge? How about the prospect of attracting lots of board level attention, the threat of legal action, loss of IT jobs, enormous punitive charges and all round fire fighting with a vendor audit?

Simply follow this quick guide and you’ll soon be attracting vendor audits quicker than you can say “Six Figure Settlement”!


Firstly, ensure all your employees are aware that they can earn a juicy reward for an anonymous tip-off regarding piracy to the BSA. There is currently a £10,000 reward in the UK and in the US the reward is on a sliding scale between $5,000 to $1,000,000.00. For example Associated Healthcare had to pay a $50,000.00 settlement as a result of an anonymous report filed on


Don’t worry about keeping copies of historical licensing documentation or licenses; your vendor is sure to keep an accurate copy of this for you. Especially OEM licenses and all those dusty boxes – throw them away! You can rely on your vendor to keep an accurate track of your purchase data. If your vendor asks simply say “Sorry we lost it – please let us know what we have”. 


Phone up your vendor regularly and ask lots of stupid licensing questions that demonstrate that you are ripe for plucking. The goal is to make it clear to your vendor you have no care for intellectual property by making statement such as “We have no idea what we’re using, our guys install whatever they want” and “Oh, I thought that was free”.


One of the key triggers that initiate a vendor audit is through third party data mining of public data. For example a vendor might use third party data from a company such as Dunn & Bradstreet (or by looking at your company website) to establish that you have 20,000 employees, and then compare that figure to your purchase history which states you have bought only 10,000 licenses of an email client. This discrepancy represents a ‘lead’ for the audit team to investigate. Set many traps like this to ensure audits on a regular basis.


Once you have attracted at least one audit – why not introduce the sales reps from your other vendors to each other so that everyone is aware of your flagrant piracy violations. A tip off regarding one software vendor often leads to several vendors filing suit.


Make sure everyone in your company has access to all the software CD’s they need, for convenience why not burn extra copies and stick post-it notes with the license keys written on them? Remember convenience and ‘keeping the company going’ is more important that paying for licenses. Somebody else can sort that out later. Make sure plenty of these CD’s are lying around when your vendor comes to visit.

What other tips would you recommend to guarantee some audit activity from your vendor?

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